A US Jury is currently deciding whether Ed Sheeran’s song “Thinking Out Loud” is a copy of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”, and it isn’t the first time Sheeran has had a run in with court in association to his songwriting.
If you listen to both songs, the Jury notes that the bass line and percussion are familiar, and that “the songs’ “aesthetic appeal” (seems) to be similar”.
In addition to this, Sheeran has ben charged $20 million for his copy of song “Photograph”. “Songwriters Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington had sued the singer in 2016, claiming his hit ballad had a similar structure to their song “Amazing”“.
“Also in 2017, the team behind TLC’s 1999 single “No Scrubs” were given writing credits on Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”. It came after critics and fans made comparisons between elements of the songs”. (BBC News)
However, with all this in mind, and while it’s important to respect rights, it’s also a song that has different lyrics and a different melody, and Sheeran has a track record for creating beautiful music. Is it really his fault that he wrote a song with similar chord progression? Something that most pop songs share simultaneously anyway?
Should the message instead be to share music, to sample and create together? And if a mistake like this is made, should it really be dealt with by such extreme measures? Food for thought.