Pink Floyd are being accused of exploiting artists with The Dark Side Of The Moon animation contest

Pink Floyd plus new Dark Side at 50 logo
(Image credit: Pink Floyd - Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

Pink Floyd have come under fire from creatives after inviting animators to enter a competition to create new music videos offering "a fresh visual interpretation" of songs on The Dark Side Of The Moon:  the competition has attracted ire from creatives due to a small print clause stating that the English prog rock legends will assume ownership and all rights to monetise entries. 

The competition was launched one week ago, on January 19, with a video presented by drummer Nick Mason.

The accompanying text states:

"Pink Floyd is celebrating The Dark Side of the Moon 50th Anniversary release by inviting a new generation of animators to enter a competition to create music videos for any of the 10 songs on the iconic 1973 album. Pink Floyd has a rich history of collaborating with animators from the beginnings of the band (Ian Emes, Gerald Scarfe etc.), and in some cases the visuals that accompany the songs have become synonymous with the music itself. The 50th Anniversary will be no exception.

"The band would like to give all animators an opportunity to present a fresh take on these timeless aural works. Animators can enter up to 10 videos, one per song on the album.

"A winner will be selected from a panel of experts which will include Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Aubrey 'Po' Powell (Pink Floyd's creative director). The deadline for submissions is November 30th 2023."

On the face of it, the competition looks like a wonderful opportunity for young and established animators alike, promising £235,000 in total cash prizes, with a £10,000 prize for the artist creating the winning entry for each song, and a £100,000 first prize. In addition, all winners will have their video entries uploaded to the official Pink Floyd YouTube channel.

Some online commentators however have taken issue with clauses 23 and 24 in the competition's terms and conditions. Clause 23 states "you hereby agree and acknowledge that in submitting your video entry you irrevocably, exclusively and with full title guarantee assign to the Promoter, including by way of a present assignment of future rights, all rights in and to the your video entry (including, without limitation, all copyrights and/or other proprietary rights as defined in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) and/or pursuant to laws in force throughout the world... in perpetuity, and without restriction and/or further payment to you and/or any third party" while Clause 245 states "Without in any way limiting the generality of the assignment of rights set out in clause 23 above, the Promoter will have the sole right to monetize and use the submitted video entry content from the winners including, without limitation, on Pink Floyd’s YouTube channel and its other social network pages including, without limitation, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Snapchat."

Joaquín Baldwin, a director of cinematography and layout artist, who has worked on Zootopia, Frozen, Moana, Ralph, Encanto, etc wrote on Twitter: "So, you are giving away lunch money for maybe hundreds of music videos, which you'll fully own the copyrights to, asking most of those students and upcoming artists you so much want to support to work for free. 'Money, it's a hit. Don't give me that do goody good bullshit'."

Comic book writer Dave Scheidt tweeted: "The person running this social media is getting paid. Whoever thought of this stupid idea is getting paid. Pink Floyd is getting paid. Why would you make an animator or filmmaker work for free? Exposure ain't gonna pay your rent.

"They could be offering $1,000,000 but that doesn't change the fact that they are asking people to work for free with the tiniest chance of getting paid for their time and labor. Not how animation or professional art works. This is exploitation."

Fellow comic book writer Hamish Stelle comments: "How are we still doing these scams in 2023 my GOD."

And another comment on the competition reads: "Why would any animator work for free? Is this an early April’s Fools Day joke? Like, WTF?"

Correction: in line with information received from Pink Floyd, this article originally stated that the competition was being run in collaboration with the BFI (British Film Institute). The BFI tell us they have not been involved in the competition at any stage, and we've removed mentions of the Institute from the article. 

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Earlier this week, a new Pink Floyd logo celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Dark Side Of The Moon confused some less enlightened fans, who have vowed never to listen to the band again.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.