(Updated) Banks: “Neon Jungle Put My Song on Their Album Without My Permission”

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Banks (aka Jillian Banks) is at the beginning of what seems to be a very promising career. Her anticipated debut album drops in the fall, she’s sitting atop the Hype Machine’s most blogged artists list, and is playing sold out show after sold out show. Pop group Neon Jungle has just released their debut album, Welcome to the Jungle, on RCA Records (owned by Sony Music Entertainment). A cover of Banks’ song “Waiting Game” is on the album, and Banks says she was never asked for permission. “Waiting Game” will be released on Banks’ debut album Goddess on September 5th. The album is being released by Harvest Records (which is part of Capitol Music Group, which is owned by Universal Music Group). Banks’ team has told her that Neon Jungle’s use is legal. This DMN article explains how an artist can release a cover song without permission.

Neon Jungle’s use may be legal, but releasing someone else’s song on your debut album before they release it on theirs is pretty disrespectful.

Here’s Banks’ response:

Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 3.09.52 PM
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  Updated 7/31/14: The deluxe edition of Neon Jungle’s album includes a cover of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”. Hozier released the song in late 2013, and it is currently impacting U.S. rock radio. The iTunes deluxe pre order of Welcome to the Jungle includes a cover of Lorde’s “Royals”. NME contacted Neon Jungle’s representative regarding the Banks cover. The rep declined to comment.   Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

68 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    This is nonsense – all they did was cover her song! They didn’t “steal” it, people cover songs all the time. Some of the biggest hits in history were originally released by other artists. Banks will make money from every copy of Neon Jungle’s album that is sold. Hardly disrespectful!

    • Anonymous

      “This is nonsense”

      Legally, yes — but why not take a look at the law and see if it needs an update?

      I can definitely understand why it’s hard for a new artist to accept that people are allowed to take her work and make money from it without permission.

      Covers can feel like rape, and money doesn’t help you forget it.

      Now, there’s a lot of things you can’t do with cover versions already — why not see if there’s room for further improvement?

      Maybe it shouldn’t be allowed to publish covers within a certain period of time after the original release, unless you have the owner’s permission?

      • danwriter

        “Covers can feel like rape, and money doesn’t help you forget it.”

        You’ve never made a living in this business, have you?

      • Anonymous

        Covers can feel like rape?


        Come live my life and then try and find the words to aptly describe it, cause rape is already taken, so genocide maybe? I don’t know, might need to come up with a few more words.

        Cause if she just got raped then the Dictionary might not have the word for what i’ve been through, and i know i ain’t the only one!

    • Musicservices4less

      If Jillian believes in the saying “an eye for an eye” or wants a “gotcha” moment, there might have been a way to annoy Neon Jungle. Let’s assume this matter is governed completely by US copyright law. Actually it may not be because Jillian’s song was originally released in the UK. But let’s assume release in the US for shxts and giggles. Let’s also assume that team Neon and team Banks know what they are doing from the business side of music. So Banks releases first and Neon requests from Banks a mechanical (negotiated) license for its cover version. Banks refuses to issue a mechanical license and in fact never does issue one. Neon is actually dead in the water and is a copyright infringer. Neon then looks at going compulsory (rarely done correctly) and finds out that it had to start the compulsory route before any release of their cover version. Jillian, my bill is in the mail. Consult with me next time you feel “uncomfortable” and maybe we can make it better. . .

    • Anonymous

      At least it’s a cover version where she will get paid and get some added exposure.

      I’ve had some of the biggest Pop Stars use my songs before they were released and because they make Millions I guess they couldn’t spare the royalties, so instead of a cover version they just stole parts and used me as a muse for their show, either way, frustrating to the say the least.

      At least I wait until they release their team effort before ripping it to pieces. 😉

      I feel the girls pain, if it’s straight up legit reporting and not some marketing scam, it’s a super dick move by that band, but more then anything it sounds like they in bed together doing that dirty humping music marketing 101 stuff.

      If the babies aren’t crying from the sandbox the parents and adults would never come around to hand them their warmed bottle of baby milk and their little cheese doodles you buy from Wal-Mart or wherever.

      HOLD UP

      Waiting Game is on her SoundCloud, that’s release sweetie, um for what looks like a year! Better grab a rag and wipe up that spilled milk and find a shoulder to cry on. Once it’s released it’s free game.

      Come join me Jillian and see if you can handle the heat, ya know, where it gets lifted BEFORE IT’S RELEASED, anywhere!!! And you get no money from it and no help with exposure or anything, and she’s complaining about this? Makes me wanna go ballistic haha

      No wonder she is #1 in blogging.

      I guess I better jump in someones crib and rattle the rails and scream my head off, seems to be one of the best ways to make that music money. Who’s got a nice plump teet full of warm milk for me??? 😉

  2. steveh

    A quick check reveal that Banks released Waiting Game in the UK in 2013 on an EP and as a single (which peaked at #99 in the UK single charts).

    Thus the song was in the public domain 6 months before Neon Jungle (also a UK act) released it on their album.

    So it’s a perfectly legit cover and did not require Banks’ permission.

    Also Neon Jungle’s release was in Feb 2014 – how come we are only hearing about this now, 5 months later? Methinks it’s all part of a big PR operation.

    Definitely a non-story for DMN.

    • Nina Ulloa

      i mentioned it’s legal, and linked to an article that explained why.

      the song was on prior EPs, but Neon Jungle released it on their debut album this week.

      • steveh

        Neon Jungle’s Youtube of this song is dated Feb 3rd 2014

      • steveh

        also Neon Jungle’s youtube title clearly states “Banks cover”

    • annon

      Its not in public domain; she should have the right to first use but if her song was released in some fashion (single, etc.. ) then its just a simple cover where she will get paid mechanicals, etc..

      • steveh

        Banks’ original version WAS released first, a year ago in the UK.

        Yes it is in the public domain.

        • Anonymous

          Publicly released is different than Public Domain

          Publicly Released: You can cover any song that has been publicly released without getting anyone’s permission so long as you don’t make substantive changes to the lyrics or melody, and you abide by the compulsory license requirements. http://www.artistshousemusic.org/

          Public Domain: A work of authorship is in the “public domain” if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner. Works published after 1977 will not fall into the public domain until 70 years after the death of author, or, for corporate works, anonymous works, or works for hire, 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first.

          • steveh

            Yes in formal terms you are correct, however people generally use the term “public domain” in both contexts.

            To quote wikipedia:- “In informal usage, the public domain consists of works that are publicly available; while according to the formal definition, it consists of works that are unavailable for private ownership or are available for public use.”

            The fact in this case is that the Banks original version of this song was already released = publicly available. Therefore it was not necessary to ask permission to do a cover version.

          • steveh

            Yes in formal terms you are correct, but in general usage people use the term “public domain” in both contexts.

            To quote wikipedia:- “In informal usage, the public domain consists of works that are publicly available; while according to the formal definition, it consists of works that are unavailable for private ownership or are available for public use.”

            In this case the Banks original version was already released and publicly available, and so could be covered without the need to ask permission.

          • Anonymous

            In 30 years in the music business, this is the first time I’ve ever read “public domain” used in this fashion. Copyright law has been notoriously knotty since its creation. “Public domain” has a very specific meaning regarding creative works. If you want to be taken seriously, I suggest that you use the term properly.

          • steveh

            With respect, sir – I don’t need to be taken seriously.

            The facts in this case speak for themselves.

            Would you not agree that, seeing as the Banks original version was previously released, the cover version is legitimate?

          • Anonymous

            Any cover version is legitimate, yes, because the song has been publicly released. But it won’t be in the public domain for at least 150 years.

          • steveh

            yes I was indeed using the term “public domain” incorrectly. Perhaps on my UK side of the Atlantic we are a bit less formal in the use of the term.

          • Anonymous

            In all light-heardedness – since when do Brits consider use of language as less formal – I thought the ‘Queen’s Language’ was the only proper language.

            I work with International organisations quite a bit so I do declare that usage of the term, ‘Public Domain’ is always the same colour on both sides of the pond.

          • steveh

            You’re a typical septic, mate – all mouth and no trousers….

          • Anonymous

            “Any cover version is legitimate”

            Wrong — there are lots of limitations (not enough though)…

  3. JTVDigital

    Just commented on her Facebook…sure this is legal, it’s a cover song.
    And she’ll make additional money thanks to it.

    • steveh

      I just checked the thread on Banks’ FB page. OMFG the level of ignorance among her fans is astonishing!

      They cannot comprehend that a cover version of a previously released song is perfectly legal and does not require consent.

      Well on thing you can say, this has certainly not endeared Neon Jungle to Banks’ legion of fans, that’s for sure. It could be said that their release is a bit of a clumsy move.

      • Nina Ulloa

        not really a smart move to put a cover of a song coming out on her debut album on your own album shortly beforehand.

        or maybe it is smart, they are getting a lot of visibility…not necessarily good visibility though.

        • steveh

          Yes it’s certainly awkward that the two albums are released close together in time.

          But nonetheless I think there is more to this than meets the eye.

          The Neon video is dated Feb 3rd and has had well over 200,000 views. It would have probably been recorded before Christmas last year. Team Banks MUST have known about this for months. Why kick up a public stink just now?

          • Anonymous

            Doing a YouTube video is one thing, but that doesn’t mean that the group will include the song on their record. It was very disrespectful to include work from her debut before she had the chance to unveil the entire work as she planned.

          • Anonymous

            “It was very disrespectful to include work from her debut before she had the chance to unveil the entire work as she planned”

            There’s no such thing as ‘disrespectful’. There’s illegal and legal, and this is obviously the latter.

            But it does raise the question if covers should be restricted more than they are right now?

            I personally think it should be considered.

            There’s a lot of things you can’t do already and I think most people agree that’s a good thing. Why not let the owner decide if covers are allowed at all — or at least within a certain window after release?

            It’s her blood, sweat and tears after all…

  4. Richard

    They don’t need permission, but the author sure should get acknowledgement and royalties

  5. Andrew B. White

    It’s a cover version.
    No one has ‘stolen’ anything.

    Bank’s highlighting of Neon Jungle’s version has three results:
    1) Neon Jungle’s YouTube views and profile will go through the roof
    2) In return the mechanicals from plays of Neon Jungle’s version will go to Banks – ka-ching!
    3) Yet again we see a flaming war between ‘fans’ and misguide opinions of ‘the business of music’

    Some might sarcastically (and rightly) call this clever and legitimate promotion in the music business of 2014.

    That aside, has anyone noticed that both of these songs are incredibly mediocre?

  6. There is something

    She is either a marketing genius or a drama queen.

    Bottom line, if you don’t want your song to be covered, don’t release it !
    I have a feeling she won’t complain when the royalty check comes in anyway…

  7. Double Dip

    She gets two shots at her song being a hit. It came out already, and was intriguing enough to be covered.

    Actually, that’s three shots. Plus the press.

    This is basically what a win looks like.

    THAT’s the news, here.

  8. Adam

    Who is this idiot Banks? Does she not know the first thing about compulsory licensing? Furthermore, what is this BS about them being first…? She released the song as a single already. It’s free publicity for her. Sounds like another Whiney musician… She complains “makes me feel like my thoughts were stolen…” Jesus why doesn’t she go cry in a corner! She released the damn song already. She can’t be so dumb as to think she can control who covers her songs can she??? Wow. Wow. Wow. Talk about uninformed and unprepared for the life of a musician….

  9. Also

    Also, headlining this as “Banks: “Neon Jungle Put My Song on Their Album Without My Permission” is like saying “I walk using my feet” that’s just how it’s done. Period. This shouldn’t be a surprise OR a headline….

  10. stephen craig aristei

    Hey Steven Corn, JTVDigital and Major Client Artist Manager (I wish people commenting on here would have the testicular fortitude to put up their name along with their comments….kind of CS….!), Steven and JTVD are right,…Especially Steven….the road to “clearance” is fraught with many pit holes and rabbit holes that lead nowhere and leave you “unprotected” and “unlicensed” ! However it would appear that someone would have to provide “acceptance” of the license request in order for the “first mechanical license” to be valid and legal! The “first recording”, at least in the US, has long been a “protected item” in the courts…..The fact that this artist was allowed to have the “first recording” of someone else’s original copyrighted song, is once again a clear example of “children” in this business (attorney’s, record executives, managers, agents, publishers, etc.) who don’t know what they are doing, nor the law, nor how to protect their clients or rights…..I am not surprised that something like this occurred and I would fully expect things as silly and short sighted as this to continue until the industry evacuates those imbeciles who continue to undermine this industries’s recovery !

    • There is something...

      It’s not the “first recording”. As someone pointed out, this song has already been released as the single by the original artist / copyright owner.

  11. PR

    great PR by Team Banks, people are talking about her album about a month before it gets released and her ‘fans’ will buy it. kudos. As someone mentioned, the cover was posted in februrary, so they’ve known about it for some time, great PR move in my opinion. They even have the artist playing the part (she is probably naive and was unaware of the february post, which just makes it even better). Also, Banks will get the streaming royaltives from Neon Jungle’s cover right?

    For any artist that are upset, you should know once you release a song (like she did on her EP) anyone can cover it. And you will get the songwriting royalties.

  12. Willis

    Terrible tragedy. Simply horrible. Most artists would be thrilled to get another outlet for their creative efforts…and a royalty check.

  13. George Regis

    Good grief. This young lady Banks has got to get over herself.

  14. L

    The fact thatpst of you have never even heard of banks show how old and out of date this readership is. Banks is a credible artist. Neon jungle are a pop band trying to claim
    Credibility by using banks track. She has a right to be annoyed. They are a re packaged spice girls and she has talent

  15. hippydog

    she might have never been asked, but her label was.. The song had to have been cleared at some point to be legal.. Sadly, what ever label agreement she signed most likely stated they had full rights to do so..

    cant even blame the copyright law on this one, as it clearly states she is protected unless she signs those rights away..

    Also if she wanted to be a bitch about it, she probably could claim its a bad derivative work (which gives her some extra rights)

  16. Cmonbro

    Are any of you artists?

    I mean I am sure there is a bit of marketing in “outrage” (Since I never heard of the british pop group covering the song) Can you guys not understand where she is coming from?

    Like this is her debut major label album (regardless of EPs). She would like to present a complete unadulterated work for people to hear. And what you have is a label/band trying to capitalize off her indie cred in the UK by stripping the cover on the album. Sony will make the money off of it so they don’t care.

    • steveh

      AS I said upthread, Team Banks would have known about the Neon Jungle cover at least 6 months ago.

      Why kick up a fuss now?

    • Anonymous


      Sometimes I wish the Industry would release some of its real dirty for people like you, shut a lot of these self entitled cry baby artists up too.

      Some of the shit some of us go through, gets real annoying seeing these babies sucking their thumb and wailing at the top of their lungs cause they think someone stole their lollipop. Yo bae, look down to your right, there’s your lollipop, still sitting in the sand where you dropped it a few minutes ago, pick it up and lick away, might be full of sand now but hey, no one stole it, you just dropped it, so what if some other babies sitting in the same sandbox making little sandcastles with their tiny pales and shovels saw you dropped the lollipop and decided to buy/build one just like it, oh wah wah.

      I tell ya, parenting has really gone downhill, and now with technology, Parenting 101 is to just shove some flashy tech device in their faces to shut them up.

      Someone get her a tablet with Sim Life or Farm Wars or whatever new fresh free game app that’s out now.


  17. Anonymous

    Anyways all that aside.

    BANKS and her team showing everyone how to be the #1 blogged about Arteest.

    You gotta wail and wail and cry and cry, i can assure you, the music has so little to do with it it isn’t even funny.

    Be like this boys and girls! When mommy won’t hand you the scissors to cut out the design in the little kiddies book for your arts and craft time, the one with lines already drawn in, this is what ya do, so mad a pacifier doesn’t even work, fo sho this gets ya that music moola!



  18. Anonymous

    So here’s a free backlink for her! My pleasure.

    Be sure to Check the date.

    You can think it over, but Come join me on my part of the stage, Jillian, and see if you can take it. There ain’t no waiting going on here.

    If a cover of a song you released a year ago is a problem I wanna see how you handle what I have to deal with, on the daily!

  19. David

    Most of the world outside the USA legally recognises that authors, songwriters, etc, have ‘moral rights’, which include the rights for their authorship to be identified, and to object to ‘derogatory treatment’ of their work. I doubt that in the Banks case the cover version would be regarded as derogatory (not that I have heard it), but I just point out that in most of the world the ‘whiney artist’ actually has some legal backing.

    • steveh

      Yes but “moral rights” only apply in song cover versions when the song is altered, adapted or majorly changed.

      The Neon Jungle cover of Waiting Game sounds like a pretty faithful rendition to me, so not breaching the moral right to “integrity”.

      For an adaptation cover version permission from the original writer needs to be granted. Not so in this case.

      Wikipedia:- “The right to object to derogatory treatment, or “right of integrity”, is considered by Bently and Sherman to be “one of the most important of the innovations in the 1988 Act”. Applying to authors of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, as well as the directors of films, the right forbids “derogatory treatment” of the copyrighted work in circumstances where the author should be protected from such treatment. The word treatment refers to “any addition to, deletion from, alteration to or adaptation of the work” – in other words, any interference with the work’s internal structure. This deliberately excludes translations of literary works, or arrangements or transcriptions of musical works involving nothing more than a change in key or register.”

  20. Anonymous

    Has anyone listened to the two recordings. Is the Neon Jungle a true cover version or a derivative work?

    /runs and gets popcorn.

  21. Sebastian Wolff

    As idealistic as knowing which songs of yours people have covered, it’s not a realistic expectation of reality, especially when you don’t own your catalog. Banks doesn’t own her publishing anymore; she doesn’t have permission to grant. Her version, while based on a song in the public domain, is substantially different to classify it as a new work. The publishing is represented by Warner, Kobalt, and likely someone else.

    Any artist who has released a song in the US makes the work subject to compulsory provisions, meaning anyone can cover their song, serve the owners/administrators/publishers of the work a notice of intent (or negotiate a mechanical license directly), and issue monthly statutory mechanical royalties. Alternatively, anyone can go to Harry Fox, Limelight, Loudr, or any other company that grants mechanical licenses, and clear their own cover and distribute it.

    Footnote: IANAL.

    • Anonymous

      Right, maybe i should be a little less hard on the poor girl.

      She’s sold her rights to someone else, she’s the puppet on the end of the string, strings perhaps being pulled in a cross marketing effort.

      Probably just doing her job, sorry to be so harsh.

  22. Me

    This happened back in the early 70s, when The Flying Burrito Brothers released a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” before the Stones version was ever released.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      On that point, it sounds like there was previous permission so it doesn’t matter that the Stones didn’t techincally release it first. BUT, this is just the Wikipedia excerpt on it (for what it’s worth)…

      “Prior to its release on Sticky Fingers, Gram Parsons convinced Jagger and Richards to allow him to record “Wild Horses” with his band The Flying Burrito Brothers.[citation needed] While the Rolling Stones had already laid the track to tape, the Burrito Brothers’ version was actually the first to be released, appearing on their second album, Burrito Deluxe, in April 1970, one year before Sticky Fingers.”


      • Me

        True, but I’m sure The Stones didn’t intend for Gram & co. to beat them to the release.

  23. Marlene295

    I first heard about Banks because of the Neon Jungle Cover. Since both artists are under the same Universal Music group emblem I’m sure the decision to use Waiting Game on the Neon Jungle album was made by the label and not actually the girls or their management. I’m sure Banks’ management and label should have at least heard something about the use of her song at least once.Judging by the Neon Jungle Girs’ Instagrams it seems like the album was finalized at the least 2 months before its release. Besides the fact that the girls do a rather amazing cover of Waiting game they also have amazing original music on their album so its not like they’re banking on the Banks cover to sky rocket the charts rather just as an added bonus to fans who want to own it if they choose to buy the Delxue Album. I’m not sure why Banks feels like it was stolen when they clearly acknowledge she’s the original artist and that it is in fact a Cover! If anything Banks should have an issue with her label who owns the rights to her songs not the neon jungle girls who seem to actually like her song and are probably proud that it’s an added bonus on their deluxe album.

  24. Anonymous

    I gotta say, I’m pretty attracted to Jillian, she is yummy. Don’t know if she is single or not so apologies if she isn’t.

    Anyways, you’ll do great on Jimmy girl, don’t worry bout it too much, use the nervous energy to focus and elevate the fire in your soul, and then just do what you do. It’s live tv, but it’s not anything to get too worried about, ive seen lots of people make mistakes and it doesnt hurt their career so dont worry about that at all, just be loosey goosey and you’ll do great.

    I might try and watch, so give me a nice searing look or sly little smile, or kiss, if you can.


      • Anonymous

        and i got spools and spools of thread, like Industrial sized spools, if you need…