Musicology

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Don’t hold your breath waiting for Radiohead to sue Sam Smith over “Midnight Train.” Back in 2014, when Sam Smith’s had his mega-hit with “Stay With Me” (which won him four Grammy’s including the two biggies, SOTY and ROTY, and made Smith a star) it was widely observed that “Stay With Me” sounded a helluva …

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This will be the most essential music theory lesson you will ever read in under ten minutes. Victor Hugo said, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent,” which is just great, but it doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t put music into words. Theory and musical terminology are what …

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Oct 6, 2017 Oral arguments begin today in the appeal of the “Blurred Lines” case. And any forensic musicologist worth their salt has to care. Any modern day composer or songwriter has to care. One needn’t necessarily root, but you gotta care, because it matters a great deal, not whether Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke …

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What’s the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement?   It’s largely a matter of what’s immoral as opposed to what’s illegal. Let’s take plagiarism first. When we throw out the term “plagiarism,” we mean “taking and passing off another person’s words or ideas as your own, without attribution (crediting the source),” and it’s considered wrong, …

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Is this just another frivolous lawsuit? How can we tell? accessToday we learned that canadian songwriters, now plaintiffs, Ronald McNeill and Georgia Lyons-Savage are suing Carrie Underwood and claim to have composed the chorus, melody and lyrics to “Something In The Water.” Carrie Underwood’s begins her greatest hits record (hard to believe she has one already) …

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“Chance The Rapper” sued by the songwriter of Lonnie Smith’s “Bridge Through Time” — a jazz record also sampled by Jay-Z and others. Chance The Rapper is reportedly being sued for copyright infringement over his track, “Windows” which was on Chance’s 2012 mixtape 10 Day. The mixtape wasn’t directly sold at retail, so one might say, “The 10 …

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The three legged stool and why you need a musicologist before you write that complaint. I don’t know. But looking at the court decision that threw this out, I’d have to say the plaintiff, Timothy Arnett, didn’t engage a musicologist, and didn’t have his ducks in a row before filing his complaint. In it, he makes …

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I’m a forensic musicologist and the Blurred Lines verdict was wrong. Nevertheless, it is a historical fact, and a mildly unsettling one. But it shouldn’t be THIS unsettling. I’m hearing lawyers say things like “My client and I are of course operating in a ‘post-Blurred Lines world’ now, so we have to consider…” And I …

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Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and their hit ‘Thrift Shop” have nothing to fear from “legendary jazz musician” Paul Batiste’s latest lawsuit. New Orleans jazzer Paul Batiste is evidently suing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, claiming he hears his own work in their hit song “Thrift Shop.” So of course, I was anxious to see if there was …

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“Hey, that’s my song! They stole my song!” You’re watching a tv show or a commercial and you hear your own melodies in the background.  Or you’re listening to the radio in the car and you hear a song that sounds just like yours. It’s the same lyric or the same melody or both, but …

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