Aretha Franklin Wants Royalties For That Hat She Wore…

from the oh-really? dept

It’s always amusing to see what people feel they “deserve.” Reader Brad writes in to point out that Aretha Franklin apparently told a radio reporter recently that she deserves royalties for any sales of the famous hat she wore to the inauguration. It’s unclear if she was joking (one hopes she was)… But it does seem to be a common theme, where people suddenly think they automatically deserve a cut of something, despite not having set up an agreement for that beforehand. Newspapers want a cut of Google’s revenues. Record labels want a cut of ISP revenue (and Apple’s revenue). It just happens so often that it’s worth calling out — even in a totally ridiculous discussion about a hat. No one deserves a cut of anything if they didn’t actually negotiate it beforehand.

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Comments on “Aretha Franklin Wants Royalties For That Hat She Wore…”

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Tgeigs says:

She needs the cash, yo...

Do you have any idea how much Urethra needs to eat to maintain her famous figure? She must constantly graze, ever mobile, and crane her neck so that she can reach the topmost branches and leaves. But beware, Urethrasaur…there is always a Britneysaurus Rex nearby!

Ok, I need to have my morning coffee…

JoanieR says:

Royalties Shmoyalties

Even as the Diva of Soul, Aretha “deserves” nothing here. Not only was there no agreement prior to the event that prompted Aretha’s back-pedaling, what has happened to “pay it forward” or even “do the right thing?” If she genuinely enjoys her milliner’s creations, then she ought to wear them, tell everyone the source, and enjoy the fruits of her kindness. Aretha, get a life.

R. Miles says:

A revision is needed.

No one deserves a cut of anything if they didn’t actually negotiate it beforehand.
No one deserves a cut of anything if they didn’t actually do any labor before hand.

Given this seems to be at fault for the following industries:

But hey, why worry over semantics, right?

my two cents says:

Oh, really?!!

I suppose you think that Michelle Obama shouldn’t get paid for “blowing up” her designer, either, uh? I’d argue at the very least, he should give her the clothes (hat). Who had heard of the designer (in either case) internationally before she wore the hat or Mrs. Obama wore the clothes? How many sales do you think were made? And, have you ever heard of re-negotiation of a contract? I believe that’s what is called an endorsement deal.

BruJr says:

Re: Oh, really?!!

Umm… Last time I checked, even celebrities have certain needs to be met – eating, housing, clothing (well, except maybe certain elements of the …ahem… more “mature” entertainments). Does this mean that every celebrity should recieve an unsolicited royalty for every food or clothing item they happen to be photographed consuming/wearing? If this is the case, then the company that made Nick Nolte’s shirt in the famous mug-shot should be entitled to damages for defamation.

my two cents says:

Re: Re: Oh, really?!!

When celebrities wear designers’ clothing they know that by having their item worn it could go either way – be on the best dressed list or worst dressed list. So, yeah, I believe they should be paid. The celebrity is taking a risk, too. No different than when they’re on the red carpet and reporters ask them, “who are you wearing” – that’s a plug for the designer (who didn’t pay for advertising or royalities) but who allows the celebrity to “borrow” their item (i.e. jewelry, gowns, shoes).

Tgeigs says:

Re: Re: Re: Oh, really?!!

Please tell me you’re dicking around. You’re telling me that because a celebrity CHOOSES to wear a manufacturer’s clothing that the label then has to PAY THE CELEBRITY? Even if it’s unsolicited?


1. Label makes hat
2. Celeb likes hat, wears it
3. Hat receives press, resulting in sales for label
4. Label is FORCED to pay celeb?

Is that what you think is right/just?

lulz says:

Re: Re: Re: Oh, really?!!

but who allows the celebrity to “borrow” their item (i.e. jewelry, gowns, shoes).

By your false logic, every designer of every single garment MUST PAY the purchasers, because, well… they are getting free advertising.

I don’t deserve money if I wear an American Eagle shirt in public.
I don’t deserve money if I drive a Honda in public.
I don’t deserve money if I lend someone a book and they buy more books from that publisher

I don’t deserve money if I advertise a company or product by word of mouth or implicitly by wearing it in public. Maybe I’m just a good person giving my preferred company free advertising.

Royalty whore.

Me says:

Re: Re: Oh, really?!!

A friend of my wife’s designs maternity clothing that many celebrities happen to fancy. Her experience tends to confirm what you’ve probably already heard; Many celebrities expect, and get, free items with the expressed understanding that it may boost sales when they’re seen wearing them. Never heard of anyone requesting royalties when such a boost in sales actually does happen.

Wendell Bailey says:

Queen's Hat

No one said the designer is FORCED to pay a royalty. I can only speak for myself. If I designed something that a celeb wore and it doubled my business and brought me customers and attention from all over the world. It caused me to move to a bigger shop and store, in the suburbs no less. (Mr. Song is moving to a new fancy location) The celeb would not have to ask me for a commission, I would have already discussed it with the celeb. This reminds me of something Oprah said. She said she has put author’s books on her book club list and the books have gone on to be number one on the bestseller list and some of these authors have not even given her a simple “thank you”. Before Aretha and this hat Mr. Song sold 90% of his hats to African-American church women in Metro-Detroit. Now his business has grown and he is considering openning stores in other cities with large African-American populations and he is shipping hats all over the world. All of this is directly related to Aretha and the hat.

TruthFinder says:

Re: Queen's Hat

To Wendell Bailey:

I am always surprised by people opening their traps without knowing some basic facts. So, let me tell you some.
Mr Song had planning his move for over a year becuase of his slumlord is too much to bare. By the way, Mr Song evidently tolerated the slumlord and the slum city for 26 years before needing a larger space. That’s right, a larger space was needed more than a year ago. The other fact is that Mr Song apparently tried to send her Thank You notes and gifts but was blocked by large ass road-blocks. If you know anything about Urethera, she is impossible to find and impossible to deal with probably because she hides from the IRS and bill collectors. AND he shipped all over the world even before Urethra’s debut at the Inauguration. Do you think anyone would have given rat’s ass about Urethra except being disgusted at her looking like a bus accident and acting like a trash, before the designer, who was already well known in the fashion industry, dressed her enormous head? It sure seems like Urethra owes Mr Song, not the other way around.
What kind of a classless person would expect to ask for money because they happened to wear a free garment from a designer?
Get the facts. Don’t be a dumbass. You only make yourself look like what you are…a dumbass.

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