“Louie Louie” A Lesson In Performance Royalties

There is a new video from the AP circulating around the Internet showing Jack Ely, the singer  of “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen, bemoaning his lack of royalty payments. The story does not paint the picture very well and tell the reasons he is not compensated for his performance. This is a classic case of someone being a performer on a song that may be popular, but royalties reward the WRITER of a song more than then performer. Jack Ely did not write “Louie, Louie” (credit goes to Richard Berry), but did sing the definitive performance of the song. It is arguable that the vibe of The Kingsmen’s version is what makes the song so appealing and the reason it is the definitive version of a song recorded countless times. No one will argue that this practice is not fair, however it is definitely nothing new.  

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.