Netflix is ​​suing Grammy-winning Unofficial Bridgerton Musical

Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow accept their Grammys for The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical

Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow accept their Grammy for The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

Netflix today announced that it has acquired Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, the creators of the unofficial Bridgerton Musical-a project that the streamer originally gave his full support for, when it was still only a very effective piece of fan-created marketing for the well-received romantic show.

Let’s flash back a second early 2021, when Barlow and Bear first started exploring on TikTok the idea of ​​expanding their love of Netflix’s sexy period drama into a musical. The project quickly gained fans, including Bridgerton author Julia Quinn and Netflix themselves, promoting their efforts on social media. (After all, it’s clever marketing to show how much passion fans can exert on your IP.) The streamer even went so far as to authorize Barlow and Bear to release a real album — which is how they became some of the youngest Grammy winners in award show historyand some of the first ever to win in a musical theater category without staging their show as musical theater.

The problem seems to have come when Barlow and Bear decided to change that last bit last weekto make TUBM (as “The unofficial Bridgerton music album Live in Concert”) on the stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and charging as much as $150 for tickets. (And also, if Deadline notescompete with Netflix’s own plans for a live Bridgerton experience.)

And just like that, Netflix went from “Aren’t these fans awesome” to “That’s Oursbastards” at a rate, accusing Barlow and Bear of falsely claiming to have permission to stage the show. (Contrary to the permission they apparently had to release the album; we have a feeling this is going to be a legal hassle, as Barlow and Bear can presumably claim that they were just doing a live performance of songs they already had permission to release. AAlthough, if we’re being honest, Netflix’s claims here…seem pretty hard to refuteSo far, neither artist has responded to the lawsuit, which also claims they are getting ready to tour and sell merch related to the show, which would only bolster Netflix’s claims.. If nothing else, it’s a stark little reminder that companies love fan projects and engagement…as long as they don’t give the impression thathat they fuck with their money.

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