If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve probably seen a lot of people talking about heavy metal band Arch Enemy.

If you don’t know Arch Enemy they’re a Swedish metal band formed back in the 90’s but now have a new Singer Alissa White-Gluz, who is American.

They recently released their best selling album to date Will To Power and have been touring the globe ever since, as well increasing in popularity, well, until now.

So what exactly is happening!

A photographer called J Solmeron was lucky enough to get a press pass for a metal festival in the Netherlands back in june. The festival is called Fortarock and had bands playing such as dragonforce, Watain, Alestorm, and Arch Enemy.

Solmeron took some photos of Arch Enemy and posted one on his instagram account, this was also picked up by the Arch Enemy singer Alissa White-Gluz who also shared the photo on her personal account expressing how much she loved the work. So far all good!

The photographer states that he then saw fans posting the photo we he states “I usually turn a blind eye too” which is an interesting statement. I’ve personally dealt with many professional and non-professional photographers over the years, who are all happy for people to share their work as long as they get a credit.

Obviously, this is where you can encounter a problem. There is no set rule that every photographer follows, some are happy for work to be shared, others are not unless they receive payment.

So what happened in this case?

A few days later Solmeron saw a clothing company called Thunderball Clothing using his picture on their instagram account. A business account at that. So he decided to email them explaining they did not have permission to use his work without prior consent.

He explained he usually charges 500 euros for an image but in this case he would be happy for the company to keep using the picture if they donated 100 euros to a cancer charity.

This is where thing’s escalated.

He receives a response stating: “Alissa’s sponsors and fan clubs are authorized to share photos of her. Thunderball Clothing is a sponsor of Alissa and Arch Enemy.”

They go on to state:

“Arch Enemy loves to have a nice cooperation between photographers, fans and festivals, and sharing moments from the concert is a way to stay connected. Generally speaking, photographers appreciate having their work shown as much as possible and we are thankful for the great photos concert photographers provide.”

“Please let me know if there is really a problem here or merely a misunderstanding.”

Now, solmeron decides to interpret this as being taken advantage of, and doesn't seem to think it’s actually a privilege to be able to take photos of bands such as Arch Enemy. Stating that artists have made plenty of money from using other people's photographs.

Some photographers would kill to be able to photograph bands like Arch Enemy and rarely get the chance.

Both parties have a point, a photographer wants to be paid for their work, a band want to be able to share that work, however, when a company uses that photo without consent, then we have to agree with Solmeron, they could potentially benefit financially from this photo. Which would be classed as commercial use whereby the company are trying to promote a product.

However, you could also argue that the creator of the clothing was just happy to see Alissa wearing the outfit and just wanted to show it off and did not share the photo for the sole purpose of trying to generate income or new business.

You also need to remember that he was allowed to take pictures of the band and then he could sell those pictures without the need to consult the band. He would make a financial gain from this. He also receives a great deal of exposure. His work wouldn’t even be seen by this amount of people unless the band existed.

In many cases it works both ways, photographers are allowed to take pictures of bands, bands are expected to be able to share the work on any platform they see fit. The band receive no compensation if the photographer sells their work. For sure it’s different if a company then decide to use the photo to promote a product. However, as soon as the photographer stated his main issue was in fact with the picture being used to promote a product, the band removed it and so did the company.

You could easily argue that no intention to promote a product was ever the goal by the band or clothing company.

Now obviously, exposure doesn’t pay the bills and every artist has the right to request payment for their work but in this case 500 euros is lot for a photograph, and he even states he usual charges much more. Many photographers would kill to be in a position where they could charge 500 euros for their work.

The replies Solmeron received were actually from the bands manager, Angela Gossow, social media has gone crazy over this and has basically dubbed the band as awful people which is not just at all. You also need to remember that being in a band for this long, you probably would have had plenty of issues with promoters, venues, licensing, and photographers.

Could she have handled it better, well yeah, there was no need to ban the guy from all Arch Enemy concerts, that’s a bit childish. But also, from the photographer's point of view, yes he should feel privileged to be able to take pictures of bands like this, but, you can also understand that artists need to be paid, and let’s not forget, although he stated he usually charges 500 euros which is pricey, in this case, he offered to accept a charitable donation on his behalf for just 100 euros.

In an age of social media sharing, photographs are constantly taken without consent and re-used, copyright is not managed at all. However, some photographers couldn’t be happier for their photos be used by bands and companies as it helps them get their name out.

It’s definitely an interesting situation and it would be a real shame if this has a big impact on Arch Enemy because they are a great band.

If you have different thoughts on this then drop a comment below and check out other videos on our channel.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


...people just like you all over the world make our work possible. Without you, we would not be able to keep our journalism open and free. Your support is vital in keeping our publication independent.

Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable for our future. Please consider contributing to our passion.