Published on February 7th, 2019 | by Alan Cross4
Jack White wins a songwriting credit as the result of an unfortunate sonic coincidence
Last May, I was in a London hotel room watching the finals of the Eurovision song contest. When Netta Barziai had her turn with a song named “Toy”–the eventual winner of Eurovision 2018–I thought, “Gee, that sounds a little familiar.”
Then in July, one of the writers of “Toy” got a letter from Universal, saying that the label was most concerned about the sonic similarities between “Toy” and this song.
Backroom discussions ensued without the need for a lawsuit. A deal was struck and now the official songwriting credits of “Toy” are Doron Medalie, Stave Beger and John Anthony White. Jack will now get a percentage of the royalties from “Toy.”
How much? No idea. That was all part of the deal. It’s secret.
It should be noted that no one was admitted any plagiarism. In fact, these sorts of deals are rather common in today’s day and age. After all, there are only 12 notes in the Western scale and only so many ways to put them together in a pleasing way that results in a hit song.
Most of these similar-sounding melodies are discovered independently and without any attempt or intent to copy anything. They’re simply unfortunate sonic coincidences.