Is Facebook ripping off artists? Music may be fair game for content farming, and for some artists it’s fortuitously so – given the pay-off for brand partnerships and synch deals. But what if an artist is literally paid nothing for a song that has gone viral?

That is what happened to Sydney electro duo Bag Raiders when their 2008 single ‘Shooting Stars’ started appearing in video montages of people falling through the air, seven years after its release.

According to Know Your Meme, its first use can actually be traced back to December 29, 2015 when YouTuber ‘Glaceygirl’ created this 14-second clip:


Glaceygirl’s clip has only had 76,620 YouTube views but its hundreds of successors have eclipsed its engagement ten times over. On YouTube, the parody tribute to Harambe has over 235K views and the ‘Fat man does amazing dive’ clip has been viewed 1.7 million times. And Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime show on February 5 helped pick up the meme’s pace. In defence of meme-makers, she did jump/dance off the top of the NRG Stadium.


The Facebook account ‘Shooting Stars meme’, which posted the above clip, has almost 350K likes and some of the meme clips it has published have millions of views. Herein lies the problem.

According to a report by Trichordist in January, YouTube pays 0.00069 to rights holders per stream. This is actually shocking considering Apple pays 0.00735 per stream and Spotify pays 0.00437 (according to Trichordist) – but at least it’s something.