The DIG Do’s and Don’ts of Song Jacking

“Pretty sure that’s a Song Jack Dude?”

26 Oct 2016


By Joey Spinoza

“Pretty sure that’s a Song Jack Dude?” is a phrase I hate with absolute abhorrence. It grinds my gears because although I 100% adhere to the rules of song jacking I am also genuinely observant of the ambiguity of this rule. I want to discuss this in its true form, I want to shake the filthy water from between the sheets and lay it all out to dry so people can make an appropriate and correct judgment. Lets start at the beginning.

Before the Internet, or even in the early days of the Internet you could song jack and it would mean something - because the availability of content was so minimal that you could track the origin of the jacked content and your ruling would be valid. Basically I am saying that back then you should have known better, you should have noticed before you released. Now, in 2016 we face a new problem - we have to understand that the rules have changed and in fact there is now a new set of rules due to a colossus world of BMX content available deeming a ‘song jack’ either legit or non-legit.  

Song Jack Dude


So imagine you work for a brand, a legit BMX brand that makes parts, bikes, apparel and has been in the game long enough to remember when Edwin messed with X-Up landers (I’m trying to set a scene alright). This brand creates a video for a rider, the song you use is a song you chose in good faith and you did an average amount of research but most of it is based on the fact that you watch and observe BMX videos every day due to the nature of your job. 16 minutes after releasing the video on Youtube and every media channel has scooped it up you notice a comment that reads “sOng jACK ToDd chambeRs eDit” and immediately your eyes roll and you slump into the back of your chair. A quick Google for Todd Chambers brings up a video filmed with a Go Pro in Norwich, England and the video had 1,220 views and was once embedded by a Russian BMX blog. THAT IS NOT A SONG JACK! If you seem to understand what I am saying, and if you agree with this new wave of difficulties then the following Do’s and Don’t’s might help.

1. The song was used in a parts promo and the edit featured a lot of panning shots of frames and pedals, can I still use it?

Yes, use it but use it for a fucking epic banger section, if it means so much to you, if it's an amazing song then you shouldn’t feel like a child who got picked last in football, you should feel like an Amazon warrior who just hunted a snake with a piece of string. Be bold and prove that the song you chose is better off with bangers not wangers.

2. The song was used like 20 years ago in a section on a VHS. What even is VHS?

No, go search for a new song and stop being a sneaky git. If you know the song is out there, it's been used even if it was used way before you developed a pubic hair then just leave it where it is. Search for something new.

3. It was used on the end credits of a DVD?

Hard one this, no one watches end credits because they have already got up and gone to piss, so the chances are no one will ever know. Saying that though you are still being a sneaky git, you could probably find another song and keep thing legit. My advice is to move along, nothing to see here.

4. It was background music for an interview.

Use it. Not even going to discuss this one. Just use it.

5. An Energy Drink Co used this song and they probably paid for it? Can I use it?

If an energy drink company used it used it then there's a chance that it might just be really bad; made by some hippy guy in Garage band in Greece on a ‘year out’ after Uni. It was possibly even downloaded by googling ‘Royalty Free Hip Hop Guitar Music?’ So you should probably have a little walk to the bottom of your street, find an empty space and ask yourself what the fuck you are doing with your life

6. I want to use ‘Diary of a Mad Man’ is that cool, I mean – its been ages right?

Please use it. Please see what happens. Please.