Nobody’s Watching Rockwell Or His Potential For Royalties

The New York Post wrote up a heartwarming tale of how Berry Gordy's own son has been stiffed by Motown (technically Jobete, a subsidiary of Motown Industries). If you are capable of reading words, seeing sights and hearing sounds it's likely you've been subjected to that annoying car insurance commercial that uses the chorus "Somebody's Watching Me," the only hit from Rockwell (nee Kennedy Gordy). Well, turns out he's probably getting nothing.

He may have pocketed some of the total licensing fees for "Somebody's Watching Me" but because the song was covered and none of Rockwell's vocals are featured in the advertisements, he doesn't get any residuals. Clearly the situation is much more complicated than a single paragraph can detail but considering how notorious Gordy was for shutting artists out of future profits from their own work, it only stands to reason that his own son would suffer from these money-grubbing practices.

"No royalties for R&B royalty" [NYP]

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6 Responses

  1. Damn, in the immortal words of the late funkster, Rick James, "Cold blooded!" That means that MJ's family gets no royalties as well, because his voice was on the hook of the song, even though he sang it as a favor to Rockwell.

  2. Which goes to the heart of the bill before congress. You know the bill?
    The one Cathy Hughes/Radio One has launched a full out media campaign against? The bill that pays some royalty to the artist that performs a song? The law that would finally bring American artists into lucrative international (euro) copyright law?
    This one:

  3. Soulrific.....u are too funny!!!!!
    Couldn't have said it better myself.

  4. I guess the same can be said for MJ's estate in regards to "Thriller" being used in a commercial for a party supply store here in L.A.. I cringe everytime I see and hear the commercial with its atrocious homage to the video. Funny how MJ songs or MJ affiliated songs are now popping up in chessy shit.

  5. that graphic scared the hell out of me.

  6. I read the story and I'm not sure where the vitriol directed toward Berry Gordy is coming from. First of all, the writer didn't even speak to Gordy or Rockwell, so we don't even know the situation between them nor do we know what Rockwell's finances are. The song has been out for 25 years now, I'm sure he's had plenty of time to get his money straight -- if not from the song, at least from being a son of Motown.
    Secondly, I'm willing to bet the original copyright holders probably did offer up the original, but Geico wasn't willing to come out of pocket -- hence why it was explained that GEICO, not Motown, pulled the necessary strings to save as much money on the deal. Geico was the one that hired the new voice to sing the song, not Motown.
    I know Gordy's questionable business dealings have been well-documented fhrough the years, but this blog is reaching...really reaching.


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