March 30, 2018 Musicology No Comments

And by “man” I mean any “news” service that bothers to tell this tale and wastes your time and mine.

Oh, it could’ve been reasonable. It isn’t, but it coulda been.

Coulda been that some guy in Texas wrote a tune. And then someone somehow heard Texas guy’s track and then, perhaps quite by accident, appropriated it for their own track. And unlike Texas guy, they know Ariana Grande, and now it’s on the radio. Texas guy hears it in his car and almost drives off the road. “They jacked my tune.” It happens.

But most of the time it’s more like this. Delusional guy pieces a “song” together and maybe puts it on soundcloud. It’s barely coherent music, containing all the hallmarks of a complete novice’s decision making. But, being a novice, delusional guy doesn’t know this. That’s understandable and sometimes this leads him to me. He finds out what a musicologist is and he comes to me and I break it to him gently that there’s nothing here that he can sue anybody over. I might use any number of illustrative methods of trying to ease his disappointment and often absolute incredulity. But nobody gets hurt, and nobody has to read about the next day and no bandwidth, literal or metaphorical is wasted on it.

But here, evidently, there’s a complaint. And that’s why I bother to post on it. There is no Blurred Line. Don’t reference that. Don’t talk about how that landmark case shifted the rules and calls everything into question and will lead to a zillion other copyright lawsuits. Don’t give this that justification, explanation, rationale, credibility. Call this “silly,” or if you can’t, then just don’t report it. Every crackpot does not deserve his 15 minutes, and you shouldn’t get 15 minutes out of this yourself.

And if you insist on reporting it, then get a musicologist to give you a quote, so that at least the story isn’t, “Did Ariana Grande steal ‘Side To Side?'” but instead is, “Look at what some lawyer bothered to sue over.”

Whoever wrote the complaint should be embarrassed, either for taking this guy’s money, or for taking a stake in this silly scheme. Either way, like Taylor Swift did recently, Ariana should fight to have her legal bill paid for this lottery ticket of a suit.”

Written by Brian McBrearty