Music Industry

Published on July 6th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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Can you find merit in this copyright infringement lawsuit involving these two songs? And are we running out of melodies? Maybe.

Back in May, Israel’s Netta Barzilai won the 2018 Eurovision contest with this song.

According to a source in the UK, Universal Records is threatening to sue the writers of that track for infringing on the copyright of this song.

Okay, so there are some similarities in the chorus, but is that really grounds for a full-on lawsuit? And surely if we looked hard enough, we could find those seven notes of “Seven Nation Army” in an even older song.

Yep. We’re running out of songs. Rolling Stone reports on what’s going on:

Anne-Marie’s “2002” is the biggest solo release of her career, a multi-week Top Five single in the U.K. built around a simple, effective gimmick: cribbing lyrics from songs that were hits between 1998 and 2003. “Oops, I got 99 problems singing bye, bye, bye,” Anne-Marie sings on the track, released in April. “Hold up, if you wanna go and take a ride with me/Better hit me, baby, one more time.” Anyone with memories of Top 40 radio from 15 years ago will recognize the references to Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” ‘NSync’s “Bye Bye Bye,” Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” and Britney Spears’ “… Baby One More Time.”

This sort of borrowing, in which an artist employs a snippet of an already-recorded song in the creation of something new, is known as an interpolation. (Think of how DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” swipes its melody from Santana’s “Maria Maria” or Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” riffs on Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise.”) “Blatant lyrical or melodic callbacks appear to be in vogue at the moment for pop acts, and not just in unabashedly nostalgic songs like “2002.”

The Anne-Marie track was co-written by Ed Sheeran, who is a master of interpolation: He also lifted TLC’s “No Scrubs” on his own “Shape of You” and borrowed from Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” on “Strip That Down,” a hit he gave to Liam Payne. Other major recent examples of interpolation-based records that soared at pop radio include, but are not limited to, Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” (source material: the Marvelettes), Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello’s “Bad Things” (Fastball), the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (the Fray), Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” (Flo Rida) and Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” (Right Said Fred).

Of course, this isn’t a new practice.

Keep reading.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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One Response to Can you find merit in this copyright infringement lawsuit involving these two songs? And are we running out of melodies? Maybe.

  1. Dan says:

    The entire Eurovision contest, and THAT is the song they felt was best?! This makes me sad.

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