Yeah, 2009! Through this CSDb-thread I just learnt that the Brittish electro artist Frankmusik has sampled a bit of a C64 tune from 1993 by the demoscener Jeff. After previous controversies there has been a fair amount of threads about ‘another theft from the scene’ in the forums at 8bitcollective and CSDb. Frankmusik’s sample of the song from Jeff is worse than these because 1) it is a mainstream artist (Island Records) that presumably cashes in a bit of money, which is a standard argument among chip-people to bring on the hate, 2) the sampled bar is important to make the break stand out from the rest of the song, 3) Jeff is known as one of those people that say “what’s made in the scene stays in the scene” (atleast for me).
However, what’s sampled is a few seconds of bass/drums/arpeggio in a somewhat “generic” part of Jeff’s song. Frankmusik also changed some of the percussions from the original song. In the sampled bars the tones are not the same (maybe he thought he could get away with it that way hehe). It seems these percussion sounds are also used in other parts of the song, in the original mix, but maybe that’s just some sine-wave pitch-down, I can’t really tell. (maybe some spectral detective work is in order)
It could be that the outcome of this is affected by a certain court case going on in Finland. On January 24th we can expect a decision from the Helsinki district court, regarding Glenn Rune Gallefoss and Universal Music. Again, this is the demoscene having a go at Timbaland only this time it’s not about the composition of the song (which was made by Tempest on Amiga) but the performance of the song (which was made by GRG on C64). As opposed to the old dispute, this time there is actually a court involved and there are several interesting aspects of it (which I will probably expand on in a few weeks time). One of the more funny incidents is that in order to convince the court that GRG’s work involved creativity and not plain conversion of the original composition, the court apparently listened to five different SID-covers of Popcorn! I think that’s just brilliant. But anyway – here are the links to the songs that this post was supposed to be about.
Edit Jan08: The sample from Jeff’s song is probably not in the newer versions of the song, released on Island Records. The youtube-clip is apparently some kind of beta of both the song and the video. I also learned that Island Records is a part of the Universal Music Group these days (which seems like a messy story including brands such as Motor Urban Def Jam Records). This will not lead to another C64 vs Universalism, since Jeff is taking it easy.