Despite fans insisting that the Europop banger – which has clocked up over a billion views on YouTube – should appear in the soundtrack to the Mattel and Warner Bros. film, Variety understands there are no plans for that to happen.
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If Barbie Girl by Aqua isn't in the end credits of the Barbie movie I want my money back
— TheTatermeister is obsessed w/Minecraft (@TheT8ermeister) April 27, 2022
If Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” doesn’t appear on the Barbie soundtrack… pic.twitter.com/HiVbibfH12
— art tavana (@arttavana) April 27, 2022
“The song will not be used in the movie,” Ulrich Møller-Jørgensen, who manages Aqua lead singer Lene Nystrøm, tells Variety.
Variety has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.
Although Møller-Jørgensen wouldn’t expand on why the Danish pop band’s mega-hit won’t be sound-tracking “Barbie,” there has previously been bad blood between Aqua and toy company Mattel, who created and own the Barbie brand.
After “Barbie Girl” became a phenomenon in 1997, selling over 1.4 million copies in the U.S. and staying at #1 in the U.K. singles charts for four weeks, Mattel filed a lawsuit against MCA Records (now part of Universal Music), who distributed the track in the U.S., for trademark infringement.
Mattel, who were concerned that the song could harm the wholesome Barbie brand, were unhappy with what they considered to be the track’s suggestive lyrics, describing the song in their filing as being about “a promiscuous Barbie doll sing[ing] in a flirtatious tone” and a “licentious Ken doll respond[ing] `kiss me here, touch me there.'” They also cited a scene in the accompanying music video in which Ken (played by Aqua vocalist René Dif) accidentally pulls off Nystrøm’s arm.
“The video features the Ken doll dismembering the Barbie doll by pulling off her arm,” Mattel complained.
In response, MCA Records said the song was a parody protected by the First Amendment and filed their own lawsuit for defamation over statements that a Mattel spokesperson made during the course of the lawsuit.
“Even if we found the lyrics acceptable, we would be filing this suit because the song was published and distributed without our permission and certainly without our notification,” the spokesperson reportedly said. “They are referring to this song as upbeat and fun, and it’s really our belief that unlawful exploitation of another company’s property for one’s own commercial gain is neither upbeat or fun. It’s theft.”
However, the United States District Court in California dismissed both parties’ claims, declaring “Mattel’s statements were non-actionable hyperbole” and that the song is a parody, “poking fun at both her and the plastic values she represents.”
Mattel attempted to appeal but were met with short shrift. Again dismissing both the trademark infringement and defamation claims, United States Court of Appeals circuit judge Alex Kozinski ruled: “The parties are advised to chill.”
25 years later, it seems Aqua are still out in the cold.
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