Minnesota hip-hop artist, Lizzo has been making waves. Her song, “Truth Hurts” has recently made its way to regular radio rotation.
In the month of May, “Truth hurts” peaked at number 4 on Spotify and has also landed on the European and Canadian charts.
The first time I heard it, the chorus sounded oddly familiar.
Listening back and forth, Lizzo’s vocal melody is nearly identical to Rae Sremmurd’s 2016 hit “Black Beatles” featuring Gucci Mane.
It’s no coincidence that thousands of people have recently revisited the “Black Beatles” video on Youtube around the same time frame as “Truth Hurts” began hitting the radio.
Believe it or not, copyright infringement is common in the music industry. Often times artists will borrow ideas or samples from other songs with approval from the original artist.
Here are some examples of songwriters who dealt with legal backlash due to cutting from the same cloth without permission.
Most recently, Ed Sheeran is facing court appearances over potentially plagiarizing Marin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” in his song “Thinking Out Loud”.
He has also been accused of copyright issues in his songs “Photograph” and “Shape of You.”
Just last year, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke were court-ordered to pay Marvin Gaye’s Family $5 Million dollars over similarities between their song “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”.
Justin Beiber and Skrillex’s “Sorry” was also targeted and accused of stealing a vocal riff from indie pop star Casey Dienel’s song “Ring The Bell.”
Even Lana Del Rey’s “Get Free” was said to be too closely inspired by Radiohead’s “Creep,” from which Radiohead’s team demanded 100% of the publishing earnings.
Going back to the 90s, The Verve’s 1997 song “Bittersweet Symphony” was considered a rip off of The Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time”.
In the end, The Verve lost all control of their biggest selling song. “Bittersweet Symphony” was even nominated for the ‘Best Song’ Grammy award with Keith Richards’ and Mick Jagger’s names listed rather than the members of The Verve.
Being inspired by other artists and musicians is impossible to avoid, and is encouraged, but get too close to the original piece of art and you may find yourself in trouble.