Taylor Swift Facing Trial in “Shake It Off” Copyright Lawsuit

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The first single ” Shake It Off ” released from Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989 is now in a lawsuit for alleged copyright issues. The lawsuit was first filed back in 2017 claiming that Swift copied the lines “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate” from a 3LW song.

The lawsuit was dismissed back in 2018 when the judge claimed the lyrics were too generic to be copyrighted. Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, writers of the 3LW song then appealed the ruling once again, and in 2019 the court reversed the lawsuit.

The judge from 2017, Michael Fitzgerald who had originally dismissed the case denied Taylor’s prompt to do so again. Fitzgerald is now claiming there’s still the plausible cause of un-originality.

The case is set to go to a jury trial but no date has been set currently.

I chose this article because, I am a Swiftie myself and I feel as this lawsuit does not have enough concrete evidence to be taken to trial. I think it is suspicious that the lawsuit was dismissed at first but now it is being taken to trail again.


iHeart Pledges to Only Play “Taylors Version”

Photo by Taylor Swift on Twitter

With Taylor Swift in the process of slowly re-recording her old work, with the newest release of her album Red radio stations were still playing the old versions, now owned by Scooter Braun. iHeart, the world’s largest radio chain made a public pledge recently to only play “Taylors Version” of her songs.

Tom Poleman, chief programming officer for iHeart Media states that “whenever Taylor re-records a new track, we immediately replace the old versions.” He also states that the company is fully committed to delivering and playing what the fans want to hear. It has been abundantly clear that fans want to hear the newly re-recorded versions.

Variety Magazine made a comment that most radio stations never switched out the “gold tracks” from the old version to the new track. Although Taylor never came forth with the wishes of playing strictly “Taylors Version”, Swifties have made it clear that they want to hear the re-recorded version.

As of now iHearts the executive decision only applies to the re-recorded version of Fearless, which was released this past June and obviously Red. As Taylor keeps releasing her own versions of her old albums, iHeart will only play those versions.

Snapchat Makes Licensing Deal With Sony

Photo Via: musicbusinessworldwide.com

Snapchat has made a licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment, permitting the use of the record company’s artists’ music on the app. This will grant Snapchat access to music from Sony’s three major labels Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Snapchat’s existing music partners include MERLIN Members, major publishers Sony Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner Chappell, Kobalt, BMG, NMPA, and DistroKid. Ben Schwerin, Head of Content and Partnerships at Snapchat commented, “Our new deal with Sony Music marks a major milestone as Snap now has partnerships with all the major labels, in addition to networks of independent labels and emerging artists.”

All music from these labels will be available in the music catalogue of Snapchat’s Sound Feature. This feature permits its 200 million users to add music to their Snapchats. Since the feature has been added in 2020, it has been used nearly 1.2 billion times. 

Following the partnership with Sony, Snapchat also announced it will be releasing a two new features, ‘Sound Lenses’ and ‘Cameo Sound Lenses’.  Described by Snapchat as “a Lens that transforms pictures of anyone to appear as if they are singing a song”, and “apply visual effects to put you and a friend as the stars of your own animated music video”.

The social media platform says these new features will create a more immersive experience for its users as well as provide another platform for artists to their share music. Dennis Krooker from Sony Music Entertainment shared, “We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Snap to develop new commercial opportunities for our artists around short form video and augmented reality experiences.”  

Spotify Acquires Audiobook Platform Findaway

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Spotify has been working to expand its streaming reach beyond music, investing millions into the growing podcast market and recently partnering with Shopify, to feature artists’ merchandise directly on their profiles. Now Spotify is moving onto audiobooks.

Spotify has shared its plans to acquire the audiobook distributor, Findaway. Founded in 2004, Findaway is an audiobook distribution platform that connects audiobook creators with selling partners including Apple, Google, Scribd, Audible, Nook, and many more. The company also operates Findaway Voice, a platform that pairs authors with professional narrators for companies like Audioworks and Playaway. 

Spotify has yet to share the financial terms of the deal but plans to bring in Findaway’s full team of about 150 employees.  Spotify’s Chief Research & Development Officer, Gustav Söderström announced, “We’re excited to combine Findaway’s team, best-in-class technology platform, and robust audiobook catalog with Spotify’s expertise to revolutionize the audiobook space as we did with music and podcasts.”

This expansion into the audiobook industry would make Spotify a commercial bookseller and an audiobook publisher, a first for the music streaming platform. 

Nir Zicherman, Spotify’s head of Audiobooks explained, “With this acquisition, the plan is to accelerate into the audiobooks space by expanding our platform.”  Zicherman added, “As an industry, we think there’s massive potential and growth ahead for audiobooks. Combining Spotify and Findaway and their amazing team and their amazing tech, the idea is to realize that future faster than we ever could as separate companies.”

This is a strategic move by Spotify, as the audiobook industry is predicted to grow from $3.3 billion to $15 billion over the next five years. 

‘Why Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson Is Accused of Being a Culture Vulture’

In December 2020, Jesy left the group in pursuit of her solo career. Since then she’s been pushing her career as a solo artist. Unfortunately, people are paying much more attention to recent allegations rather than her music. The discussion of her “culture vulture” behavior has been a continuous one as ‘Little Mix’s style evolved. Jesy’s white British identity gives insight to why people were upset at her use of “artistic expression”.

On occasion Jesy is seen wearing grills on her teeth, oversized clothing, colorful wigs, etc. Not to mention, there is a clear difference in skin tone compared to when Nelson first joined ‘Little Mix’ to now.

Recently, rapper Nicki Minaj collaborated on a song with Jesy called ‘Boyz’.  In this music video Jesy is seen wearing oversized jewelry, hair accessories, hair scarves, oversized clothes and timberland boots. Which is typically associated with Black culture. Black artists and black people created this style of fashion and are almost never credited for it.

‘Boyz’ ft. Nicki Minaj is an adaptation of P. Diddy’s ‘Bad Boy For Life’ single in 2001.

But what doesn’t sit right with a few Little Mix members and fans is the slow changing of skin color, to seem more “exotic” looking. These aspects about the music industry are problematic because artist of color who identify and showcase their identity aren’t embraced the same way. They are dismissed as “over the top”, “ghetto”, or ignored as a whole. While artist like Jesy are embraced and celebrated for it.

Hoop earrings, exotic looking nails, Timberland boots, and colorful wigs go deeper than video shoots. There’s a historical pattern of Black people and people of color being robbed of their culture, while other races are able to capitalize from it. Nicki Minaj openly defended Jesy against ‘Little Mix’ member Leigh-Anne Pinnock for accusing Jesy of “Blackfishing”. Which surprised many fans as this is a tactic white artists use to appeal to the “urban” audience. Leigh-Anne Pinnock, who identifies as African-Caribbean, expressed her frustration over her experience with Jesy in the group. She witnessed different variations of her culture appropriating behavior and in opposition of this, she spoke out publicly.