The Official Site of The Storycrafter

Sung to the tune of money

Today is my birthday. 

(Pauses for well wishes). 

Thanks. But I'm not here for accolades of age, the ubiquitous annual congratulations for something I had no power over 48 years ago today. I'm here—writing this musing—because I've always been curious about what I call the ridiculousness of The Birthday Song. 

You know it.  

"Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear ___, 
Happy Birthday to you."

Did you know Warner Music makes $2 million per year on that little ditty?  It's only four lines, three of which are redundant and one of which is merely a direct address version of the other three! I heard a long time ago that the reason restaurants make up their own versions of the song is because it's actually copyrighted. (Someone should tell Warner about my local Red Lobster. Damn seafood birthday rebels!)

I never gave that much thought, always shrug it off as a wives' tale or just some litigious ghost story told to kids at Chuck E Cheeses around the globe, but I guess it's true.

Now, as I spend my wee umbilical-cutting anniversary hours falling down yet another rabbit hole of the Internet (The birthday conundrum stopped here), I can't help but wonder if anyone will ever challenge Warner for what really should be Public Domain. 

Then again, if I owned the rights... 

I'd be spending today in Cancun.