WFMU and the Free Music Archive challenged songwriters everywhere to unseat “Happy Birthday to You” from it’s cultural throne by composing possible replacements.



The song "Happy Birthday To You" is the most recognizable song in the English language, but it can cost independent filmmakers an estimated $10,000 to clear the song for their films, and it will remain under copyright protection in the United States until 2030. This is a major stumbling block hindering the creation of new works of art. It's time to shake (or at least unsettle) “Happy Birthday” from it’s fortified cultural throne, and replace it with a melody that the children can sing without fear of being served.

The contest's first, second and third place winners will have their work featured on a CD promoting the winning Birthday song alternatives. WFMU will organize and pay for the digital and physical mailings of the three winning tracks to the luckiest people on earth - any media or public organization who might have need for new birthday songs - movie studios, theater troupes, restaurant chains, sport leagues, scouting associations, youth groups, minor league baseball teams, major league Jai Alai squads, bowling alleys and we’ll also send the track to music journalists, bloggers and radio stations to help get the word out and cement the new songs into the cultural subconscious.

Judges include Maralie Armstrong (AS220), Jonathan Coulton (musician/internet superstar), Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo), Frannie Kelley (NPR Music), Lawrence Lessig (Harvard Law School) and Greg Saunier (Deerhoof).
The Free Music Archive is an online library of high-quality, legal mp3 downloads selected by established curators including KEXP, dublab, ISSUE Project Room, and CASH Music. The Free Music Archive is directed by WFMU, the most renowned freeform radio station in America.

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