Coincidence or rip-off? It’s a question that often gets bandied about when it’s discovered that two songs sound a little bit too similar comfort.
There’s countless examples across music (some of which are handily gathered here) and with the internet acting as a storage space that never really expires, its entirely possible for an artist to plagiarise something from anywhere in the world from conceivably any point in time, but by the same token, sooner or later they’re going to get found out.
According to the latest uproar, one of the year’s biggest singles from one of the year’s most talked about releases is just one such example of an artist that’s potentially plundered a less-known act for profit.
You’d think that dropping their familiar sampling and EDM blueprint in favour of a ream of star-studded collaborators for Random Access Memories would mean that Daft Punk are less likely to be accused of copying their ideas, but allegations have been levelled at the French duo that their ubiquitous disco-hit ‘Get Lucky’ may have lifted central characteristics from another funkified tuned called – wait for it – ‘Robot Dance’, as Pedestrian.tv reports
But who have the Parisian pair of robots, along with Chic guitarist and production legend Nile Rodgers supposedly ripped off so shamelessly? ‘Robot Dance’ is the work of South Korean guitar shredder and YouTube sensation, Zack Kim Yong Woon.
The 30-year-old guitar wizard is best known for dazzling online lovers of eccentric covers with his ‘free hands’ style arrangements of classical composers, popular videogame music, and the theme to The Simpsons, but it is his original composition ‘Robot Dance’, which currently sits at over 360,000 views on YouTube since it was first posted in January 2011, that has apparently drawn the attention of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Guy de Homem-Christo.
We’ve put the two side-by-side so you can hear the comparisons between the two (which – for the record – are both in the same key of B minor) so you can hear the similarities between the (fairly common) chord progression and top-line melodies.
So what’s the verdict? Were Daft Punk in fact up all night to get lucky by scabbing a riff off of one of YouTube’s more popular sensations?
There are obviously similarities that can’t be ignored, but as most musos will tell you it’s a pretty common chord progression being employed meaning it could be a coincidence, a huge one, but a coincidence none the less.
Either way, it’s definitely humorous to picture the French robots sitting around a computer monitor, along with Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams, watching cat videos and FAIL compilations when they ‘got lucky’ and stumbled across Kim and thought: ‘we’re one of the biggest acts in the world, I’m sure we can get away with basing our first official single in three years from a highly anticipated album on someone else’s work’. Then they all high-fived and got to recording.
Additionally, call us cynics, but considering Daft Punk roped in Nile Rodgers for his golden touch to pen the song, it’s difficult to swallow either A) them sitting Rodgers down and instructing him to go along with plagiarising the work of a South Korean guitarist or B) Rodgers pilfering the riff himself and Daft Punk – or the team behind possibly the year’s best marketing campaign – wouldn’t have noticed at some point.
Or maybe they did! (*conspiracy noise*) Surely soon enough the thread will unravel, and it will be revealed that every single track on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories is in actual fact a direct rip-off of an internet meme. Julian Casablancas’ auto-tuned turn on ‘Instant Crush‘? Clearly a shameless facsimile of Nyan Cat. The Pharrell-assisted ‘Lose Yourself To Dance‘ is just like ‘Gangnam Style‘ – and they’re both about dancing! (Ok, we’ll stop now).