Blurred Lines. Stay With Me. Girlfriend. Midnight Memories. All of these songs were popular at their release, but their popularity isn’t the only thing that they have in common. The other thing that they have in common is that they were all subject to plagarism claims. Stealing someones work seems to be the new craze in popular music which is really unfortunate that some of these songs have to be dragged through scandal when they are great works of art.
Popular music is characterized by its formulaic nature, it has a catchy tune, it can be enjoyed with a group or alone and the lyrics are simple and easy to remember. The problem with pop music and really any type of music is that there are a set prescribed number of notes that can be used. So the musical combinations that can be created are are finite. So how much similarity is acceptable before something can be considered a copycat?
The axis of awesome identified the I-V-VI-IV progression was spotted in 73 songs, all of which were well loved in their day and to this day. All of these songs were greats and these artist didnt have to compose with the fear of being labeled a plagiarist, but in this generation one that is so willing to drop a lawsuit for the tiniest offense, will this delay the creative process? Will the next generation be denied their “Don’t Stop Believing’” , their “Paparazzi” and I am just sorry for a generation that doesn’t have their own version of “ Apologize”, will karaoke really ever be the same?
I think that the similarity between songs needs to be measure on a different ruler than say the ruler that is set for literary work, where the number of words in the world are truly astronomical so the combinations are infinite. I think it would be a shame to limit the next generation of musicians betause specific chords had been used in the same melody before. If Slip Knot and Justin Bieber can be accused of having the same melody, then there is obviously a lot of room for people to be able to create using the same basic notes and they should be allowed to do so.