Ed Sheeran He could be forgiven for sporting an extra wide smile as he kicks off his world tour in Croke Park later this month.
s Sheeran counts down to a stadium tour that will also include dates in Cork and Limerick, knowing that one of the biggest nightmares of his career is now over – and no, I’m not talking about it Galway girls music video).
This week a court ruled on his 2017 hit shape of you did not plagiarize the 2015 single Oh why by Sami Chorki and Ross O’Donoghue.
A judge opposed the allegation shape of you – co-written with Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid – took off a “sentence”. Oh why.
Sheeran took to Instagram to express his satisfaction and portray the win as a win for the music industry at large.
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“Claims like this are far too common today and have evolved into a culture where claims are made with the idea that a settlement is cheaper than going to court, even when there is no basis for the claim, and it really is detrimental to the songwriting industry,” he said.
“There are only a limited number of notes and very few chords used in popular music, and coincidences are bound to happen when 60,000 songs are released a day on Spotify, that’s 22 million songs a year, and it’s only 12 sheet music available. ”
Sheeran is valued at over €180m and reportedly earned £63,000 per gig in 2015. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for the stress that the court process has brought. But he’s nonetheless justified in arguing that a pop industry is constantly looking over its shoulder, concerned that an injunction would be a cold and cheerless place. And that the resulting music wouldn’t last much.
He is not the first to come to such a conclusion. After being sued by the writers of The Chiffons He is so finewho claimed George Harrison had plagiarized her with his hit song My dear Mrhe confessed that as a songwriter he was never quite the same again.
“I was like, God, I don’t even want to touch the guitar or the piano in case I touch someone’s note,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sheeran’s warning on Instagram echoes an earlier statement from superproducer Pharrell Williams, co-author of Robin Thicke’s infamous Blurred lines.
This tune was kind of gross, with its creepy attitude towards consent. It was also the subject of a landmark lawsuit in which the Marvin Gaye estate alleged that Thicke and Williams stole the “feel” from Gaye give it up from 1977.
“Judgment hampers every creator out there making something that might be inspired by something else,” Pharrell later said financial timeS. “That goes for fashion, music, design…everything. If we lose our freedom to be inspired, one day we will look up and the entertainment industry as we know it will be frozen in litigation.”
Blurred lines indeed sent a shiver through the industry. “I shouldn’t be thinking of precedent when I’m trying to write a chorus,” Evan Bogart, who had written for Beyoncé and Madonna, complained New York Times after the verdict.
Other artists have shown a willingness to stay one step ahead of the problem. Before releasing her single Look what you made me doFor example, Taylor Swift gave Right Said Fred a songwriting credit because of the similarities between the chorus to her track and her hit i’m too sexy.
In his statement, Sheeran said that the majority of the songs are made up of the same 12 notes, so sonic coincidences are inevitable. Essentially, the challenge facing artists and songwriters is – and as beach boy Brian Wilson commented – “all the good songs have already been written”.
There is also the problem that everyone in the creative industries draws from everyone else. It’s not just like that in music.
George RR Martins A song of fire and ice Novels – later made into films as game of Thrones – were his answer to Tolkien’s Lord of the rings.
They weren’t a rip-off from Tolkien. And yet he would not have written them if he had not met them Lord of the rings as a young reader.
Corresponding logic was advanced by Kurt Cobain when explaining the inspiration for Nirvana smells like Teen Spirit. He was trying to “rip off the Pixies,” he said, referring to the cult Boston band known for their loud-quiet-loud dynamics.
The thin line – or the blurry one, as Robin Thicke would call it – is the one that separates inspiration from plagiarism.
But even then, some musicians tend to position themselves higher. Elvis Costello, for example, declined to complain when fans pointed out parallels between the riff and his single Pump it up and that with Olivia Rodrigo Brutally.
Tom Petty felt similarly about The Strokes and their song Last night. He accepted that there were similarities to his standard american girl , but that was fine with him. “OK, good for you. I don’t mind,” he said.
It’s not the first time he’s faced legal action. In 2019 he put a suit over his lane photointended to be similar to Matt Cardes Amazing.
But regardless of whether you’re a fan of Sheeran or you think he’s the worst thing that’s happened to pop music since U2 decided it was time to wrap up their wry streak within the songwriting community shape of you The verdict will no doubt bring relief.
The best songwriters are like magpies, stealing ideas from anywhere. And while there’s no justification for stealing footage, of course — especially when you’re a superstar with a galaxy of lawyers on speed dial — in this case, many will see Sheeran as siding with the angels.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/ed-sheeran-verdict-is-a-win-for-songwriters-everywhere-41527561.html Ed Sheeran’s verdict is a win for songwriters around the world