Singer/songwriter Catie Turner’s song ‘Prom Queen’ is finding an audience on Spotify. Since its release earlier this year, the track has been streamed nearly 1.3m times on Spotify, while a live acoustic video has been watched more than 700k times on YouTube. What’s interesting is that a lot of this buzz has come in the last week, thanks to the song being used in the trailer for a new YouTube series being launched by online-video star Shane Dawson. His docu-series about fashion YouTuber Jeffree Star is about to drop, and he chose Turner’s track for its trailer after falling for her performances on the last series of American Idol.
Did he pay her a sync-licensing fee for the track? Seemingly not. “I gave him permission to use it because, like, he was doing me a favour,” she told Tubefilter. “He works so hard. I’m like, listen, Shane, your ‘payment’ to me is the whole platform of YouTube you’ve introduced me to.” And yes, Dawson has been criticised for asking artists to donate songs for free to his projects, given their wide audience (the trailer for the Jeffree Star docu-series has been watched nearly 12m times so far, as a guide).
Dawson has pushed back at the critics: “The amount of youtubers and artists i have helped over the years is countless. when i use a song i promote the artist HEAVILY and with care. if a song is made for me specifically then i pay very well and i always have,” he tweeted last month. Hmm.