Update, Feb. 17, 2017, 5:55 p.m. EST: Snapchat has removed a lens, after English singer Kate Nash accused the app of using her song without permission. According to Snapchat, the company did receive a music license from a third-party company that claimed to have full rights to what was played during the lens. Unlike other lenses (such as Ed Sheeran’s), the lens was not done in direct coordination with the artist, hence, Nash’s complete confusion.
Snapchat is working on a potential replacement to the lens. It is unclear why Snapchat wishes to have a sunny, summery lens during the cold winter.
Snapchat has been having some fun with music on the app. Last month, they helped Ed Sheeran debut 30-seconds of his new song “Shape Of You” via a lens, where users could don blue sunglasses and dance amid fictional disco lights.
But not everyone is playing along. Kate Nash, an English singer-songwriter perhaps best known for the song “Foundations,” accused Snapchat of stealing the rights to that exact song. She broadcasted her accusation on Twitter Friday, posting a video of her using the lens:
“Hi, Snapchat. It’s Kate Nash. I can barely hear myself over my own song. But where’s my paycheck?” Nash said in the video.
The song sounds like “Foundations,” though it’s only a beat no lyrics. We tried using Shazam to identify the song, but the app couldn’t recognize it.
Nash also shared a longer more-detailed accusation on Instagram:
HI SNAPCHAT it’s KATE NASH I can barely hear myself here on this filter over MY OWN SONG FOUNDATIONS. You know it well. So uhh SHOW ME THE MONEY MATE ?!???????? Haven’t been on a record label for 5 years & would really appreciate being paid for the use of my work by a giant corporation!! Google says you were evaluated at 22 billion ahead of IPO last year. So dude where’s my pay cheque….? This is seriously disappointing and fucked up. Another example of a giant corporate company using artists to make money/for an image/or their actual art and not supporting or funding artists and their community in anyway. So messed up. Snapchat screws over independent artists. Add them to the list. #katenash #foundations #snapchat #wtf
“Snapchat screws over independent artists,” Nash wrote.
Turns out Snapchat did obtain the rights. It did not reach out to Nash directly. Rather, the company obtained the rights via a third-party service.
As Mashable reported, Snapchat has always had a close relationship with musicians and has been further prioritizing that effort this year.
“Sometimes there can be challenges as a platform grows, but [at Snapchat], they’re all passionate music fans, and have the interest of advancing the artist,” Chris Mortimer, head of digital marketing at Interscope Records, said in an interview last month.
Snapchat does not disclose terms of its deals, but we learned that Snapchat typically pays artists to license songs, and that the company also typically works with each partner to make sure any music used in a lens or in a promo video is properly licensed.
As to where Nash’s paycheck is? Perhaps it’s in the mail. The song “Foundations” was released by Fiction records, which is under Universal Music Group.
UMG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.