Artists Treatment After Death

Jesse Figueroa

It is an unfortunate fact that many young musicians die before their time, for example the passing of 20 year old Jahseh Onfroy better known by his stage name XXXTENTACION. Following his passing his record label Capitol Music Group released 3 albums and many singles after his death. With the recent passing of rapper known as Juice WRLD there are questions on what to do with the young musician’s unreleased music, and who owns the rights to said music; His record label or family and friends?

With the case of Gustav Elijah Åhr stage name lil peep who passed away in November of 2017. His label released one posthumous album ”Come Over When You’re Sober Pt.2” being a follow up to his debut album titled “Come Over When You’re Sober”. However, his mother Liza Womack is in charge of everything else including the release of the controversial song “Falling Down” featuring an even more controversial artist xxxtentacion. This song had the two deceased musicians in it so both Ms. Womack and Ms. Bernard (Jahseh’s mom) had to work together to get the song released, however many deemed this release as being against Peep’s wishes due to some of Lil Peep’s collaborators saying the deceased artist disliked XXXTENTACION greatly due to abuse allegations he was facing before his untimely death. Peep’s mom and brother Karl run a web page in memory of Peep where they post stories they have of him and sell merchandise created by Karl in memory of his brother.

Although every case is unique most of the time the family of the musician is in charge of their music as is the case with Nirvana’s Courtney love, the wife of the deceased lead singer/ guitarist Kurt Cobain, owns the bands music due to Cobain switching everything to be under his name so when he died everything was transferred to her and not the other living members of the band. Jimi Hendrix’s half sibling Jani Hendrix created a company called Experience Hendrix, which is in charge of his music and other things relating to the deceased artist. 

In conclusion every artist leaves behind a legacy some leave theirs sooner than others. Every case is different due to an artists wishes, some may leave family in charge of their music and the licensing to their studio. While others may not have a plan due to them passing away unexpectedly and it becomes a battle between family and record label.