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April 18, 2013 12:53 AM   Subscribe

The new Will.I.Am single sounded very familiar to trance producers Mat Zo (previously) and Arty. But that's only one example of his serial plagarism of EDM artists: posted by empath (37 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
(just fyi, i linked to time stamps in a lot of these which can bork the inline metafilter player if you try to watch them from there).
posted by empath at 12:56 AM on April 18, 2013


Wow. You weren't joking about the level of familiarity.

I can only assume that house-buying levels of legal settlement will be coming their way.
posted by jaduncan at 12:57 AM on April 18, 2013


Oh, and forgot to add -- even the logo for his new album is basically ripped off from an EDM label.
posted by empath at 1:03 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Goddamnit, you sue after the song becomes a massive hit. After.
posted by phaedon at 1:11 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Will.I.Am's only good songs are Dirty Spaceman and Everybody Poops (previously).
posted by jeffburdges at 1:11 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing is, these songs are already big hits. It's not like they were little underground records.
posted by empath at 1:19 AM on April 18, 2013


Epic was one of the biggest records of last year. -- listen to the reaction to the part that BEP sampled at 1:15 here when tiesto plays it. People went crazy for it at every show I heard it played, especially the part that Will.I.Am sampled.
posted by empath at 1:26 AM on April 18, 2013


Yoko Kanno does this all the time, apparently.
posted by cthuljew at 1:36 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


That shit is unseemly.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:36 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


With all due respect, Cthuljew, that first Yoko Kanno video linked above is pretty different from the brazen sampling by will.i.am. The Yoko Kanno "soundscapes" are similar to their purported sources, but the melodies are at least somewhat different and there is no sampling going on. will.i.am, on the other hand, isn't even pitch-shifting the samples he uses.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 2:12 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


That second YK video is less defensible, however.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 2:15 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Try running Shazam on this one.
posted by empath at 2:16 AM on April 18, 2013


The Yoko Kanno "soundscapes" are similar to their purported sources, but the melodies are at least somewhat different and there is no sampling going on.

Hmm, did you watch the second video? I'm not so sure. Some of that sounds almost directly ripped from the DJ Food tracks.
posted by smoke at 2:17 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ha should have previewed.
posted by smoke at 2:17 AM on April 18, 2013


It's not a ripoff. It's 'sampling', the very foundation of electronic music.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:36 AM on April 18, 2013


even the logo for his new album

This may all be attributable to the severe brain damage he must have received when someone took that big divot out of his head.
posted by pracowity at 2:45 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can only assume that house-buying levels of legal settlement will be coming their way.

It seems insane that the lawyers at Mr. I.am's label didn't clear samples in advance. Hasn't that been standard industry practice since De La Soul's trouble with The Turtles over 3 Feet High & Rising?

If they are samples - some of the examples sound like they're ripping off synth sounds, melodies, &c. rather than directly sampling the originals? (I'm listening quietly through laptop speakers, so might be completely wrong about that...)

Oh, and forgot to add -- even the logo for his new album is basically ripped off from an EDM label.

To be fair, logos riffing on IEC 5009 are incredibly common.
posted by jack_mo at 2:48 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems insane that the lawyers at Mr. I.am's label didn't clear samples in advance.

Since he's done it before, I'm guessing he assumes (and probably rightfully so) that he can just settle later.
posted by empath at 2:52 AM on April 18, 2013


An interesting footnote on settlements for plagiarism.

Richard Ashcroft of the Verve actually obtained permission to sample The Rolling Stones' song "The Last Time" for the 1997 Verve hit "Bitter Sweet Symphony" and agreed a 50/50 split. However, Allen Klein, who owns the rights to the song and who is a notoriously hardnosed manager, later successfully argued in court Ashcroft had sampled too much of the song, despite the arrangement work done by the Verve.

The court settlement did two things. It gave Mick Jagger and Keith Richards writing credits alongside Ashcroft. It also meant that 100% of the royalties for the song go to the Rolling Stones.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:53 AM on April 18, 2013


It's not a ripoff. It's 'sampling', the very foundation of electronic music.

In fairness, you actually need to clear samples with their original users if you're going to try and sell them. For somebody dropping 500 copies of a 12", there's not much money in this, so people don't usually mind on that sort of level (the legal costs would probably exceed the profits); but when you're a money-maker like will.i.am you do need to clear things, and he hasn't from what I hear. I expect the lawsuits to come flying.

It also meant that 100% of the royalties for the song go to the Rolling Stones.

While it's an emotion that does nothing, I remain angry at about that.
posted by solarion at 3:12 AM on April 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Try running Shazam on this one.

I did and I got Rebound by Art & Mat Zo.
posted by phaedon at 3:12 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Epic was one of the biggest records of last year

What were the others ?
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 3:57 AM on April 18, 2013


Since he's done it before, I'm guessing he assumes (and probably rightfully so) that he can just settle later.

Interesting. I can't tell if that means an out of court cash settlement after the fact is cheaper than clearing in advance and paying royalties, or if it suggests Will.I.Am suspects artists he's sampling are likely to refuse permission (because willingly being sampled by him would be embarrassing and naff).

Also, I'd almost forgotten Will.I.Am is a musician. He has this weird roving celebrity status in the UK, so whenever he impinges on my consciousness it's in his role as a reality show judge, half-arsed Olympic torch bearer and inventor of inexplicably hideous iPhone accessories.
posted by jack_mo at 4:07 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Good artists borrow, great artists ste" oh fuck this guy he needs to PAY. What a tool.
posted by nevercalm at 5:24 AM on April 18, 2013


Since he's done it before, I'm guessing he assumes (and probably rightfully so) that he can just settle later.

That sounds about right to me. He pays nothing when people don't sue him, his expensive lawyers make a reasonable out-of-course settlement with anyone who sues him with a strong claim, and no one ever gets to say no to him because the song is already out there. He is telling everyone that he is going to sample your shit and you are just going to deal with it.
posted by pracowity at 5:31 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Stop giving him the attention he so desperately craves and does not deserve.
posted by tommasz at 5:36 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did he seriously record with Chris Brown? Wow, what an asshole
posted by NiteMayr at 5:57 AM on April 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait. I thought information just wanted to be free?

It's interesting how these discussions always swing in one of two directions: It's evil song owner/creators killing the creativity of righteous samplers on the one hand, and evil samplers stealing from righteous song owners on the other hand. Either argument is likely to manifest depending on the consensus bias in favor of one party over the other.
posted by slkinsey at 6:40 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have absolutely nothing against sampling and bootlegged remixes as long as you give credit and share the money if any is made. I also don't have any problem with piracy, as long as no money is being made. I don't think that's inconsistent with thinking that will.i.am did a shitty thing here.
posted by empath at 6:43 AM on April 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Typically if someone in the EDM scene wanted to do what I will charitably call a 'remix' as in this case, a producer would drop it on his soundcloud page or play it during his DJ sets or put it on a free mix cd online. They'd never put their name on it and call it theirs, and even if they did, most dance music stores wouldn't sell it, after they got a letter from the label.

There's a long history of selling bootleg white label remixes and re-releases in EDM, but that mostly had to do with the difficulty of buying the originals on vinyl in a lot of cases, and you just never see it any more now that mp3s make it easy to get the originals or get free remixes that credit and usually link to the original artist.

If Will.I.Am wanted to just rap over his remix of mat zo's track, put it on his website for free and give him credit, I don't think anybody would have blinked. Hell, Mat Zo probably would have tweeted about it or whatever. I don't think that what he did with the Deadmau5 track was a big problem, either. Stealing drum loops is ridiculously common, and he did a lot of work on the rest of that track.

It's doubly stupid because EDM producers that can mimic what Mat Zo and Arty did in that breakdown are a dime a dozen. Hell there are probably tutorials on YouTube for how to make every synth on that record. It's hard to come up with a specific original palate of sounds and the melody that they did, but it's a lot easier to mimic it once its been done. They could have had a very similar feeling song with a different melody and it would have worked just as well, and again, nobody would have complained-- that's how musical influence is supposed to work, after all. There are a bunch of hip-hop producers with less resources than Will.I.Am who have done exactly that. It's just so lazy and entitled.
posted by empath at 7:14 AM on April 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't big acts like Will.I.Am just buy their beats anyway? My understanding is he's not in the studio fiddling with a synthesizer; he's listening to a bunch of snippets that various half-nameless people bring him and then picking one that works with whatever else he has in mind. If so, why not buy the music directly from the original producer?

Related; I'm always curious about who these nameless producers are and how I can listen to their music directly. For instance Blood Diamond5, a musician from Vancouver, wrote the awesome beat behind Das Racist's Girl. But I only know that because I looked hard to figure it out. I'm also vaguely aware of Clipse/Neptunes as an unusual example of producers becoming recording artists themselves, albeit not very successful. My impression is there's 10x as many producers manufacturing beats as there are successful recording artists. Is it true? Why is that?
posted by Nelson at 8:14 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


> He has this weird roving celebrity status in the UK, so whenever he impinges on my consciousness it's in his role as a reality show judge, half-arsed Olympic torch bearer and inventor of inexplicably hideous iPhone accessories.

I was curious about the torch thing- why would some demi-famous American hip-hop guy be chosen to carry the torch? Turns out a few people in the UK were wondering the same thing:

Five minutes of Will.I.Am swaggering about with a torch in one hand and a BlackBerry in the other, smirking blithely while he repeatedly misspelt the name of the town he was visiting ("Its nuts here in taurton … so much excitement …") is worth weeks of some anonymous, "inspirational", non-tweeting, non-rapping, non-member of the Black Eyed Peas doing the same thing.

What a dork.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:54 AM on April 18, 2013


there's 10x as many producers manufacturing beats as there are successful recording artists. Is it true? Why is that?

Easier to DJ than to MC, no?
posted by mrgrimm at 8:56 AM on April 18, 2013


there's 10x as many producers manufacturing beats as there are successful recording artists. Is it true? Why is that?

Easier to DJ than to MC, no?


It's definitely not easier to produce than it is to rap. They're two completely different skill sets. Creating a signature sound in the production world is just as difficult as standing out in any other genre.

The two disciplines just appeal to different personality types. A lot of people feel more comfortable behind a laptop producing than in front of an audience rapping.

Others (like myself) choose to produce rather than rap simply because they find the beats to be the most interesting part of rap.
posted by corey le fou at 2:34 PM on April 18, 2013


I'm just going to refer to him from now on as Steal.I.Am, ok?
posted by Catblack at 8:24 AM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Will.I.Am says: "Oopsies, honest mistake!"
posted by pompomtom at 9:36 PM on April 23, 2013


I'm just going to refer to him from now on as Steal.I.Am, ok?

Will.I.Scam, surely.
posted by jaduncan at 1:08 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


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