This Is the New Song We Will All Sing on People’s Birthdays

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 20 2013 4:19 PM

Here’s the New Birthday Song

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An orang-outang named Major celebrates his 50th birthday in France.

Photo by Alain Jocard/AFP/GettyImages.

Last month I mentioned that, because Warner Music Group has continued to collect (dubious) royalties for the traditional “Happy Birthday” song, the Free Music Archive had launched a contest to replace that song with a new tune that people could use for free. (The contest was held partly to celebrate the 10th birthday of Creative Commons.)

Well, the contest has a winner: “It’s Your Birthday,” by Monk Turner + Fascinoma, which was chosen by judges including Lawrence Lessig and Jonathan Coulton. What do you think?

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I like it! In fact, I prefer it to the traditional song (if not necessarily to the birthday song Jack Black once performed on Saturday Night Live). Is it as easily singable as the one we all use now? Maybe not, but I think a group of musical novices could feasibly carry this tune together.

I recommend checking out the runners-up, too. Those are some good alternative birthday songs! Try one the next time you’re celebrating the day one of your friends, relatives, or co-workers was born. Especially if you plan to film the occasion and release it in theaters or show it on television.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.