Did Lana Del Rey copy Radiohead?

radiohead-pablohoney-albumartThis week, Lana Del Rey stated that she is being sued for copying Radiohead’s 1992 song Creep in her 2017 release, Get Free.

First, some facts…

  • Both songs use the same chord sequence: | I | I |  | III | III |  | IV | IV | iv |  iv |
    • Creep is in G major, so | G | G | B | B | C  | C | Cm | Cm |
    • Get Free is in Bb major, so | Bb | Bb | D | D | Eb | Eb | Ebm | Ebm |
  • They are both mid-tempo (Creep is around 92 BPM; Get Free is around 102BPM).
  • They both have a similar rhythmic feel – straight 8s 4/4 time, in 8-bar sections (this is a similarity but an unremarkable one, given that it applies to a huge number of songs).

…and some history…

  • Creep is part-borrowed from Albert Hammond’s The Air That I Breathe (1972) – later a hit for The Hollies. According to The Guardian, Radiohead gave Hammond and his co-writer Mike Hazlewood a credit in the Pablo Honey album liner notes.

Here are the three songs in reverse order of release:

IASPM 2014 – Dynamic Popular Music

Dynamic Popular Music – The First Stages of a New Art Form

Keith Hennigan, Trinity College Dublin

Keith begins with an entertainingly ‘sci-fi’ way of looking at musical creativity – that is, speculating about the opportunity to make different choices at various stages in the composition’s development (and in its playback timeline). Dynamic Music is categorised (after Collins) as ‘Interactive’ (where the music changes in response to the user) and ‘Adaptive’ (where the user interacts with an additional element that in turn affects the music). Keith adds ‘Generative’ to the taxonomy in order to include music that changes due to internal systems [JB note – he comments that he was prevented for tech reasons from doing a live iPhone demo but I infer he was going to show us something like this – http://www.generativemusic.com/].

Virtual Remixing: Competition, Creative Commons and Copyright #crassh3c (Sam Bennett)

Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel

Sam Bennett (Australian National University): Virtual Remixing: Competition, Creative Commons and Copyright
In the last decade, remixing practice has changed from a niche, often concealed, highly specialised skill, into a marketing tool, promotional opportunity and point of focus for online music technology communities. This paper critically analyses examples drawn from 3 identifiable categories of online remix site:
– Creative commons sites such as ‘ccMixter’ offer users unlimited access to royalty free sample sets for remixing;
– Online remix competition hosting sites, such as ‘Indaba music’, host official remix competitions, often with prize incentives; and
– Stem remixing ‘events’ organised by individual commercial recording artists.
Yet such practice presents a dichotomy: on the one hand, remix competitions and creative commons sites allow users access into previously unheard multi track recordings, exposing both the performance and production aspects of composite parts of an original multi track recording. Prior knowledge or remixing ability is not a prerequisite and remixing events are open to anyone, anywhere, with a computer and DAW. On the other hand, commercial recording artists launching remix competitions and ‘events’ ensure full creative and copyright control by: creating instrument and vocal stems with their original effects processing in tact; limiting what the user hears either by song choice or stem formulation; ensuring only professional remix engineers are employed for commercially released remixes; and, retaining copyrights on all adaptations of the original work. Building on research published in The Oxford Handbook on Music & Virtuality, this paper evaluates the benefits and limitations of online stem remixing from the perspective of recording artist, hosting site and online remixer.