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Post Column: 'Glee' music thievery reeks of network laziness

To this day, I’m still not entirely sure how I ended up as the senior music supervisor of the popular television show Glee. I’m a comedy writer whose grasp of music goes as far as singing “Sexy and I Know It” to myself in the shower every morning before breaking down and weeping; nothing in my skill-set made me ideal for the position. Somehow, though, FOX decided to give me the job, probably because the other applicants kept going… let’s call it “missing.”

I wasn’t familiar with Glee before taking the music supervisor position, but I enjoyed what I saw. The lovable antics of this diverse cast of strangely beautiful teenagers touched my heart and made my soul sing. I knew immediately that my hard work would be rewarded not with a soulless corporate paycheck, but with the satisfaction of working on a beloved TV program.

“WHERE IS MY MONEY TUB!?” I screamed into the intercom, smashing my $40,000 bust of Jane Lynch in frustration. “You know I can’t function without my 11 o’clock money bath! I will fire everyone in this building if you don’t –“

There was a nervous knock at my office door. “Uh, Mr. McAndrews? Sir?” My hipster secretary, Lionel, poked his beatnik head into the room. “I think we have kind of a problem.”

“We’re a Tween Choice Award winner, Lionel; we don’t have problems, problems have us.” That sentence made much more sense in my head, but I soldiered on. “What’s wrong? I swear to God, if those Modern Family jack-holes egged our building again-“

“No, it’s not that,” said Lionel, pushing his glasses up timidly. “And before you ask, no, Chris Colfer didn’t kill a groupie again. It’s, er, about the song we used in the last episode.”

“’Baby Got Back,’ right?” I frowned. “I’m given to understand it’s an ancient ballad lauding the merits of large buttocks. Can’t say I see the appeal myself, but then these days I’m not sexually attracted to anything but large stacks of money and pictures of dead pandas, for some reason.”

I stared quietly out the window for a moment before Lionel coughed. “Well, uh, sir, the problem is that we didn’t use the original Sir Mix-a-Lot version. We used a cover by an independent musician named Jonathan Coulton, and we sort of didn’t, um... ask him. Or pay him. At all. People are kind of angry about it, sir!”

“’Ask’ him? ‘PAY’ him?” I scoffed. “I’m a television executive, Lionel — I don’t know what either of those words mean.”

“Er...” Lionel swallowed. “But, sir, isn’t that kind of, um... stealing?”

“Stealing is such a harsh word, Lionel!” I cried. “Incidentally, so is ‘unemployment,’ so maybe stop asking questions. Besides, Coulton didn’t write the song — he just stole it from Sir Mix-a-Lot anyway!” I took a moment to chuckle to myself.

“Uh, but sir, when Coulton did his cover, he asked Mix-a-Lot first, and then paid him royalties.” Lionel was starting to sweat a little. “That’s kind of what you’re supposed to, um, do, when you cover another musician’s work. You have been doing that for all these songs we’ve covered on Glee, right?”

I furrowed my brow. “I was under the impression that the magic Google fairy makes the songs, and then gives them to me, and then I put them on my TV show, and then I get lots of money.”

Lionel grasped his dreadlocks in horror. “Sir, you’ve just been stealing songs this whole time? We’re going to be in a lot of trouble!”

“Aaaargh! This is so bad!” I threw up my hands. “Why didn’t anybody tell me stealing was WRONG!? I mean, other than my parents, and teachers and every TV show I watched as a child!”

Thankfully, it was at that moment that I awoke in my own bed in my own apartment. The downside was that I was once more an impoverished college student; the upside was that I knew in real life, nobody would ever dare to make a popular TV show based around musical creativity, and then fill it with stolen song covers.

Ryan McAndrews is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. Send him your covers of “Baby Got Back” at rm287608@ohiou.edu.

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