Will Loomis thinks that Jessie J's song 'Domino' is a ripoff of his song 'Bright Red Chords', allegedly. But how many notes does it take to be scoundrel in the music business?
I am almost reluctant to give you this link, because it goes to a site where you can waste more time unproductively than you ever thought possible. However, in fairness, this is where I heard about the story. Who knows where they heard it from?
In short, Will Loomis of the band Loomis &The Lust accuses (allegedly - every verb in this article will have the same adverb implied from now on) Jessie J of stealing his song Bright Red Chords and fashioning it into her Domino. The evidence...
I bet you thought there was going to be some over exaggeration going on here but, no, the tune of the verse is the same in both songs. Take a note, go up a major third, then down a fourth from the starting point with a minor third as a passing note. Basically it is five notes, and the rhythm is quite similar too.
I don't hear any other similarities other than those imposed by Western music only having twelve different notes to work with. So it boils down to those five notes. Loomis (insert adverb) says that he never gave Jessie J permission to use his song. And he is suing her for who knows how many countless millions.
Now, suppose it had been the other way round. Typically if Major Publisher A feels that Small Guy Musician B has stolen one of their songs, they will use their financial power to get all of Small Guy B's money. Yes, all of it. This has happened. So if the copying had been the other way round, I would expect Loomis to lose, legally, financially and completely.
But in this case, if it goes to court, Loomis will probably only be able to afford dimwit lawyers, while Jessie J's publisher will have the brightest legal brains on the planet. And they can afford to appeal if the decision goes the wrong way. I would expect that Loomis will have to settle out of court. We will never get to know what the settlement is, but I would expect that he gets a modest payoff in return for shutting up and never speaking about the matter again.
Does five notes constitute a ripoff? This depends on how distinctive the combination of notes is. Think of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind - don't even consider using those same five notes in your song.
But in my opinion, both Loomis and J (if I might call her J) are using a generic combination of notes that has almost certainly been used many times before. All that is necessary is to find the same combination in someone else's earlier song and Loomis has no claim to J's money.
And if the same combination can be found in the work of someone who is long dead and out of copyright, then anyone can use these notes freely. I'm sure Mr. J.S. Bach must have featured them at some stage in his massively complicated works of counterpoint.
My view is that these are both entertaining songs. No-one will remember them in five years' time, but for today they keep people happy. Let Jessie sing her version of these notes to millions, and Loomis bask in the glow of publicity for a while. No harm done.
P.S. If the name 'Loomis' seems familiar, here's why...