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The “Hot Cheetos & Takis” kids haven’t seen one hot cent

The group now known as KIDS brought in more than $10,000 in Google AdSense money, but they've never had the chance to play the role of beneficiary. 


Chase Hoffberger


Posted on Feb 18, 2013   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 12:24 am CDT

Remember “Hot Cheetos & Takis,” that YN Rich Kids music video that took over the world in August 2012 to the tune of 5.5 million views? That video and its subsequent iTunes- and Amazon-ready recordings have brought in an excess of $10,000, and the Kids haven’t seen a single hot, red cent.

According to a report run Sunday in Minnesota’s Star Tribune, the YMCA-organized YN Rich Kids (now known simply as KIDS) are the creators and performers of a hit rap track that’s brought in more than $10,000 in Google AdSense money, but they’ve never had the chance to play the role of beneficiary. 

Instead, that money has gone directly to videographer Richard Peterson, who claims ownership of the video on YouTube and maintains that he has no legal obligation to hand over any money—nor does he plan to distribute any of the earnings outside of a $1,700 check he gave to the YMCA in October as a “donation.”

The KIDS are also responsible for roughly 11,000 online purchases of “Hot Cheetos & Takis” through iTunes and Amazon, singles that sell at 99 cents a single and deliver 65 cents to the artist on each sale, but the Star Tribune reports that the shareholder behind the single is Minneapolis’s North Community YMCA and not the collection of kids who made the song so popular.

“We’re running a community center, not a record label,” North Community YMCA director Alicia Johnson told the Star Tribune. “If the team got $1,000 off [a basketball game], the money wouldn’t go to the individual athletes. It would go back into the program.”

Common sense, but Johnson’s organization may not be treating the situation practice. In October, she and the rest of the North Community YMCA allegedly handed the KIDS’ parents a waiver cutting their children out of any legal rights to their work—a waiver the parents reportedly refused to sign. 

“We’re not saying the Y shouldn’t get a share to continue funding this program, but our kids deserve some of it for their college educations,” offered Tiffany Powell, one of the KIDS’ mothers. 

Now it looks as though the parents are turning elsewhere. Recently, they began negotiations with a local management and production company called All Goode Music, which has enlisted attorneys to help in the YMCA dispute and a pending record contract. 

“At this point, we’re fending off labels that went them,” said AGM’s Paul Bolen.

Photo via 13twentythree/YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 18, 2013, 4:51 pm CST