This week in 2014, 8-Bit Operators released "Enjoy The Science" a Depeche Mode tribute, on cd and download. An interesting fact I don't believe I've officially discussed before concerns the quest for licensing of these songs. As with the other 8BitOps projects, one thing that sets them apart from other tributes is the fact we endeavoured to get the personal thumbs-up, so to speak, of the actual tributee bands themselves, and even wished for some promo from those bands. We succeeded in doing so with the Kraftwerk tribute release 8-Bit Operators: The Music of Kraftwerk, wherein I met Ralf Hütter and the band briefly and ultimately they chose the tracks and approved their licensing (despite of, or perhaps due to, some of the artistic liberties taken by the 8BitOps artists' versions) and helped promote the release on Astralwerks Records. The same occurred with Devo, and communication with Gerald V. Casale and promo on their Facebook page, and ultimately Depeche Mode doing the same. We even managed to get The Beatles tribute to Yoko Ono prior to release, and though not an official endorsement, we did receive an encouraging email back.
In the case of Depeche Mode, through our avenues in reaching Vince Clarke (who also had his people respond positively and whom I eventually met with, along with Daniel Miller to personally give a cd of the release) and Martin L Gore, we encountered the publishing suits, who began to insinuate that due to some of our covers' drastic departure from the originals, they may well be "derivative" works, rather than regular "covers". Derivative works would have required new copyrights and clearances that would have killed the project, frankly.
But in a small victory for all artists striving for integrity and freedom, Martin Gore, who was cc'd in the correspondence (and who had received our tracks for Depeche Mode to listen to on their tour bus at the time) interjected with a simple email stating "I approved all the tracks on this project as regular covers." This silenced the suits and we ploughed ahead with the project, which Depeche Mode subsequently posted on their official website, twitter and facebook feeds.
Thanks again to all of the more than 100 artists, friends and industry folk who co-operated on both sides of this project since 2005, tributors and tributees alike. It's been a fun decade-plus of releases and hyper-fandom! Love on ya!
We are devastated and heartbroken to learn that our great friend, lovely person and legendary drummer, Jack Howard passed away. He was one of my best friends for almost 40 years. I will miss you terribly, Jackie Howard. ♡