ON THE RECORD

The fall­out from the ‘Blurred Lines’ case is now be­ing felt, with hits in tight sup­ply

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - COVER STORY - JIM CAR­ROLL

One ques­tion which is a main­stay of mu­sic in­ter­views con­cerns the acts and records which in­flu­enced the in­ter­vie­wee’s new work. Fans are al­ways cu­ri­ous about the mu­sic which their favourite mu­si­cians dig and which may have in­spired them in the stu­dio. Most mu­si­cians are fans too, so are happy to wax lyri­cal about the records they have re­cently dis­cov­ered or re­dis­cov­ered.

But fol­low­ing re­cent legal shenani­gans you can ex­pect some artists with hit records to an­swer that ques­tion in the fu­ture with ret­i­cence and re­luc­tance. The court case which found that Robin Thicke and Phar­rell Wil­liams had cogged from Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give It Up when they

wrote Blurred Lines may just be the tip of the ice­berg in this re­gard.

It has now emerged that Mark Ron­son had added five new writ­ers to the cred­its of

Up­town Funk. He and his pub­lish­ers ac­knowl­edged a debt to a Gap Band tune so the

five writ­ers of I Don’t Be­lieve You Want To Get Up and Dance

(Oops Up Side Your Head) join the six writ­ers al­ready cred­ited on the run­away block­buster.

Given the suc­cess of that tune, there are prob­a­bly funk/soul song­writ­ers and pub­lish­ers scour­ing Ron­son’s in­ter­views from the past 12 months to see if he’s men­tioned any other in­flu­ences in an at­tempt to get on the Up­town

Funk cash bandwagon. It all leads to a fas­ci­nat­ing ques­tion about where mu­si­cians get the spark to write a song in the first place. Speak­ing at Ban­ter in Dublin early this week, Matthew E White pointed out that mu­si­cians are in­spired and in­flu­enced by ev­ery­thing they hear in their life long be­fore they go into stu­dio.

Does this mean that song­writ­ers are li­able to be pe­nalised if some­one spots some­thing from the past that they can now link to the artist’s new tune?

While there is a case to be made for fair com­pen­sa­tion in the case of sampling or in­ter­po­la­tion, it will be a far dif­fer­ent mat­ter if the act of re­fer­ring to an­other track is go­ing to end in legal ac­tion. The amount of claims which this could lead to is mind-bog­gling.

Yet it is worth re­mem­ber­ing that there’s a large part of the mu­sic in­dus­try built on the tru­ism that where there’s a hit, there’s a writ. The mu­sic pub­lish­ing sec­tor in par­tic­u­lar is full of folks who can sniff out pos­si­ble cred­its and pay days a mile away.

There’s no doubt that acts, par­tic­u­larly acts be­hind those mas­sive hits which at­tract the most at­ten­tion, will be more care­ful in the fu­ture – and not just with pesky jour­nal­ists with their ques­tions about in­flu­ences.

Trinidad James is one of those cred­ited on Up­town

Funk and his manager Danny Zook spoke to Bill­board mag­a­zine about what’s to come. “Ev­ery­one is be­ing a lit­tle more cau­tious,” Zook be­lieves. “No­body wants to be in­volved in a law­suit. Once a copy­right dis­pute goes to a trial, it is sub­ject to be de­cided by public opin­ion and no longer re­solved based en­tirely on copy­right law.”

YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR THIS

Saun & Starr Look Closer

(Dap­tone) Starr Dun­can-Lowe and Saun­dra Wil­liams have got soul. The Bronx duo made their bones in gospel choirs and wed­ding bands be­fore Sharon Jones brought them into her band as The Dapettes. Their de­but al­bum is chock-a-block with fan­tas­tic soul tunes full of pas­sion, suss and raw emo­tion.

ETC

Your Old Droog is com­ing to town. One of the high­lights at SXSW 2015, the Ukraini­anAmer­i­can rap­per from New York may have been mis­taken for Nas when his first tracks dropped last year, but this lanky dude is very much his own man. He plays his first Ir­ish show at Dublin’s Twisted Pep­per on June 6th.

There are prob­a­bly funk/soul song­writ­ers and pub­lish­ers scour­ing Ron­son’s in­ter­views to see if he’s men­tioned other in­flu­ences

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