October 6, 2017 Musicology No Comments

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 copied Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up, one binary question, but whether it was or wasn’t illegal, the more important binary question.

In 2015, a jury awarded $7.3 million dollars to Marvin Gaye’s family over the hit song “Blurred Lines” by Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke. From a musicologize standpoint, an earth shattering verdict that comes up in conversation for me regularly, and while it’s fascinating, it’s confounding. 

This is not a re-trial. This is just an appeal.

The Williams/Thicke team will be arguing more the legality of the trial than the wrongness of the verdict. But today the door opens back up.

It would be hard to make too much of this. In my humble opinion, today is the day water begins to go back to being wet; world goes back to being round; and there’s no point in going further with the speculation than I already have but, if past continues to be unreversed prologue, I guess it’ll be time to reconsider.

Today is like Christmas to a musicologist. Where’s that popcorn emoji?

UPDATE: The legality of the trial was indeed what they concentrated on, probably justly, and the verdict was upheld, probably reasonably. And the important thing remains…

Written by Brian McBrearty