Probably the biggest collaboration of last year is now under threat for copyright infringement… Seems like this happens every year right? Bruno Mars and the producer Mark Ronson are being sued over their super hit ‘Uptown Funk’.
The funk/disco band Collage claim that elements of ‘Uptown Funk’ are ‘deliberately and clearly copied’ from one of their own singles. What single? Well their 1983 track ‘Young Girls’ of course! What do you mean you’ve never heard of it?
Pitchfork managed to obtain their complaint, and the group states, ‘Upon information and belief, many of the main instrumental attributes and themes of ‘Uptown Funk’ are deliberately and clearly copied from ‘Young Girls’, including, but not limited to, the distinct funky specifically noted and timed consistent guitar riffs present throughout the compositions, virtually if not identical bass notes and sequence, rhythm, structure, crescendo of horns and synthesizers rendering the compositions almost indistinguishable if played over each other and strikingly similar if played in consecutively.’
However, ‘Uptown Funk’ has been called out for copyright infringement before too, by all-female rap group Sequence no less. Wait you haven’t heard of them too? Um…
Wait, wait, wait, I know where the real twist is! Three of the newly-credited ‘Uptown Funk’ writers were members of widely known ‘The Gap Band’ according to the NME, and they too even claimed that there are similarities between ‘Uptown Funk’ and their own hit ‘Oops, Up Side Your Head’. Right that one we all know.
So what I will say is that the chords used in Collage’s track are identical to the chords used in ‘Uptown Funk’. The dynamics and rhythm are pretty similar too. But the melodies, textures, structure and hooks are entirely different. Is it enough to win a legal claim, heck, like hell if I know, but I can understand the thought process. The likelihood of Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson directly stealing this track is next to nothing; the majority of the views on the track are now are from people trying to find similarities between them both. It was hardly a chart buster. As for Sequence? You’ve not got a chance, they don’t sound similar at all; that’s a money grab if I ever saw one.