British musician hit out at production company Betty wanting to use his music for free last week (November 6)

Whitey, the songwriter whose response to a TV production company attempting to use his music for free went viral last week, has said he “exposed a raw nerve” with his response.

The British musician, who has licensed music to TV shows such as Breaking Bad and The Sopranos in the past, published his response to production company Betty last week (November 6). Whitey’s response to the company (pictured right), who are co-owned by Discovery Channel, was published on his Facebook page and reignited the debate around how musicians make money from their art in 2013.

Speaking to NME about the fall out from publishing his email to Betty, Whitey explained that he is often happy to give his music to people who cannot afford to pay for its use, but draws the line and big name companies who try avoid giving money to musicians.

“People always want it for free, the crux is to work out who deserves it,” he explains. “I let film students, fan stuff, indie stuff go for nothing, or for a little fee to go out drinking with – if they have it. I have no problem whatsoever with free music. Individuals share music now, so what? Times change. But now bigger companies try it on all the time too. They’ve smelled the file-sharing free buffet and they come muscling up to the table for a plate. I’m guessing I’ll be getting less of that now. My table’s become a dangerous place.”

Asked why he thinks his e-mail went viral, Whitey replied: “I definitely exposed a raw nerve here and I’ve shown that trying to fleece a musician can blow right up in your face. Proceed with caution.”

Whitey released his debut album, ‘The Light at the End of the Tunnel Is a Train’, in 2004. Since then he has remained deliberately unsigned, working with publishers to licence his music temporarily to labels and funding his own albums via Kickstarter. He refuses to work with Spotify or iTunes.