The Virginia based indie rock band, Car Seat Headrest, has had to put their label through something that it has never done before for something they had no control over. They were on the brink of releasing their upcoming album, Teens of Denial, that had originally featured a song called “Just What I Wanted/ Not Just What I Needed.” On this song the band included parts of a song that was originally by the Cars’ titled “Just What I Needed.” What happened was that the use of the song elements were initially approved by the Cars’ publishers, but Ric Ocasek pulled the approval for use right before the record was set to be released. Which means that all of the copies of the album were already made, distributors were all set to sell the records and a digital release was set for May 20. As reported by Pitchfork, It cost the label $50,000 to now take back all of the copies and have them all destroyed before the release, with the costs only on the rise. Matador, Car Seat Headrest‘s label, has never had to do something like this in their existence and the band is in no way to blame. The physical release has since been delayed until the summer, while the digital release still occured on its scheduled time but with the song re-recorded with out including the now unusable song elements.
Rusty Clarke, Matador’s head of sales, called the entire situation a “substantial cost” and “an unprecedented situation.”
Speaking out on behalf of the band, Will Toledo had this to say in regards to the company. For the label, this was a nightmare situation,” he said. “People were crying; people were not happy about it.” He also spoke out about Ocasek’s role in the entire situation.
What the conversation revolves around is not the art itself at all, and that’s the only part of it that really seems wrong to me. I don’t think that Ric ever listened to the album or the song, which is the only part that really bothers me. He can do whatever he wants and it’s his right to do so. But I just hope that if I ever get to the point of being where he is, and a situation like this comes along, that my first reaction would still be, ‘Okay, well, what’s the song?’ I would want to listen to it first and see what, artist-to-artist, what’s going on, rather than it be my manager telling me they’re doing something bad, let’s sue them, and saying, ‘Okay, I’m mad now. I have no idea what the situation is, because it’s removed by many people from me, but that seems to be the situation here.