There are only so many ways the twelve tones of the Western scale can be put together in a pleasing order, so some accidental duplication is inevitable. But what if you hear a song that sounds awfully close to one that you’ve written? The Music Network offers this help.
Imagine hearing a track on a playlist that sounds similar to one on your songs… but it’s been released by another artist.
This is what happened to Sydney-based electronic artist and FBi presenter Seduna – aka Alex Hollis. The song in question – released in March 2018 by Berlin producer Digitalluc, entitled ‘Float’ – allegedly shared similar melodic progressions, stylistic use of particular samples and beats to Hollis’ track ‘coy’, released in March 2017.
“I started freaking out, as you would, and my housemate was helping me look for where it was on the internet, and it was absolutely everywhere. I’m talking like ten YouTube videos, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, Last FM, Hype Machine, everywhere and anywhere it could possibly be, even Reddit,” she remembers.
“On Spotify there’s been over 600,000 plays. He’s getting money from it on various platforms; he’s had over 50,000 plays, I think, on YouTube. Over 30,000 on SoundCloud and that’s just three right there.
“My original track had 4,000 [plays on SoundCloud] so it’s really easy for someone to find a track that they like and go, ‘Oh this has had no response, it’s been a year, it’s not going anywhere, it’s not going to be picked up.’ [Then] take it and kind of blast it everywhere across the internet and get a bigger response. It was pretty heartbreaking to see something that I’ve worked on all over the internet under someone else’s name.”
From a legal perspective, Andrew Fuller, director of Melbourne-based Clearview Legal Counsel (which specialises in arts, entertainment and media law), highlights that these sorts of infringement claims can be difficult to win.