Lloyd Webber"s Ding Dong! royalties: Composer is earning money from Wizard of Oz song downloads that anti-Thatcher activists are trying to get to…

Lloyd Webber's Ding Dong! royalties: Composer is earning money from Wizard of Oz song downloads that anti-Thatcher activists are trying to get to No.1
The composer, who will attend Mrs Thatcher’s funeral this weekTrack is climbing the charts as protestors urge Thatcher critics to buy itIt has already topped the iTunes and Amazon download chartsOfficial Singles Chart will be released today

By
Simon Murphy

PUBLISHED:

01:23 GMT, 14 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:08 GMT, 14 April 2013


Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber is gaining royalties from downloads of his Wizard Of Oz stage musical version of the song that activists want to reach No.1

Lord Lloyd-Webber, the prominent Conservative and admirer of Baroness Thatcher, is inadvertently profiting from a campaign to get Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead to the top of the charts.

The composer, who will attend Mrs Thatcher’s funeral this week, is gaining royalties from downloads of his Wizard Of Oz stage musical version of the song that anti-Thatcher activists are trying to get to No1.

Downloads of the song from the music mogul’s 2011 West End production are outselling that from the 1939 Wizard Of Oz film on one of the country’s most popular download sites. And for each 99p download of the Lloyd Webber version, it is understood his company, The Really Useful Group, receives royalties for copyright – although it is unclear how much.

Music download website, 7digital said the recording by Lloyd Webber’s cast at the London Palladium was outselling the original film version because it shows up first on its search engine.

The website would not confirm how many people had downloaded the track, but a spokesman said it was in the hundreds.

Last night, other leading music websites, iTunes, Amazon and eMusic, did not respond to requests by The Mail on Sunday asking how many times the Lloyd Webber version had been downloaded.

The song has however already topped the iTunes and Amazon charts for several days. In the midweek Official Singles Chart it was listed at number 10 and is
on course to be number one after selling more than 10,600 copies.

It came as elderly actors who played Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz have told of their shock at the campaign to propel Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead to the top of the charts in the wake of Baroness Thatcher's death.

Ruth Duccini, 94, and Jerry Maren, 91, who sang the song as part of the classic family film's cast of munchkins, said it was 'terrible' that the song had been hijacked by critics of the former prime minister, who died at the Ritz on Monday.

'Nobody deserves to be treated in such a way… I am ashamed I really am,' Ms Duccini said.

Campaign: The song Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead from the iconic family film is climbing the charts in the wake of Baroness Thatcher's death

Campaign: The song Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead from the iconic family film is climbing the charts in the wake of Baroness Thatcher's death

'Ashamed': Ruth Duccini, who was among the cast of munchkins that sang the song in the 1939 film, has hit out at protestors campaign to get the song to the top of the charts

Shock: The actors, seen at the Walk of Fame in Hollywood with fellow cast members, said they were saddened by the campaign to get the song to number one

'Ashamed': Ruth Duccini, 94, left, and Jerry Maren, 91, right, described the use of the song as 'shocking'

'When we were filming the movie no one intended it to be used in this way,' she told the Sun from her home in the U.S, adding that the campaign made her 'very sad'.

Mr Maren, who also appeared in the Judy Garland film, agreed, adding: 'It is shocking that the song is being used to celebrate the death of someone.' He described Baroness Thatcher as a 'great lady'.

The pair spoke out after the BBC was accused of fudging the decision over whether to play the track during the chart show on Radio 1 this weekend.

The song is climbing the charts after critics of the former Conservative prime minister launched an online campaign to get it to the number one spot as a means of 'celebrating' her death.

Allies of Lady Thatcher have branded the
campaign 'utterly disrespectful', and have urged the BBC not to play
the song. But the corporation has confirmed it will play a 'brief
excerpt' of the track during the chart show following hours of private
talks.

'Utterly disrespectful': Jerry Maren, 91, who played a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz, said Baroness Thatcher was a 'great lady'

'Utterly disrespectful': Jerry Maren, 91, who played a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz, said Baroness Thatcher (seen with her son Mark) was a 'great lady'