Montag, Januar 15, 2007

Timbaland rips

There is currently alot of buzz on the net about Timbaland having ripped portions of a freeware C64 song without giving credits, let alone any money.

If it's true (and it seems to be) then this is a real shock, a successful producer like timbaland stealing from other people... Those people tend to rip your head off if you sample more than three milliseconds of their work, seems they take it much easier the other way around.

The facts about this read like this :

In 2000 Tempest does a MOD called "acid jazzed evening". A MOD is an Amiga-Music file, Amiga being the old computer (you probably played around with one of those if you are close to 30).
A while later someone called GRG converted this track into a SID-File (having asked tempest for permission beforehand), SID being the soundchip of the old C64-Computer (yet again, if you are close to 30, you probably had some fun with this one).

In 2006 the new Nelly Furtado album produced by Timbaland contains a song called "do it", which is apparently built around the SID-Conversion of "acid jazzed evening". In the liner-notes he claims full credit for this song. No hint of any other artist involved.

There is a great Youtube-Video around comparing these two songs :

Another video about a ringtone he released in 2005 :

I am very convinced about this, basically because of one thing : You can clearly hear the arpeggios of the C64 Track in that Nelly Furtado Track. "Arpeggio" is a musical term describing the style of splitting up a chord and playing the individual notes in fast succession, in "real" music its done on guitars or harps, in electronic music this is something very popular in trance music. However, a very distinctive style of arpeggios can be hard in alot of MOD and SID Files where they are done in a very special technical way (you can't even determine a real notelength for each small note). I do not know alot of real hardware or software synth that can do those kind of arpeggios, you need a real or emulated C64/Amiga for this (and have to know how to work these, too). (Edit: As was revealed meanwhile Timbaland has a "SID-Station" in his Studio, a Synthesizer built upon the Soundchip of the C64. Which is capable of playing tunes like the one from GRG...)

The point of all this is simply that even a big-ass producer like timbaland does seem to confuse the term "freeware" with "free to do anything with". If I put out music for free on the net like the MOD and SID files mentioned above, I still hold the copyrights to it and no one is allowed to abuse that stuff. It's just my decision not to charge any money for listening to it. It's strange that someone who is surely very uptight about his own copyrights does not care about other artists copyrights.

And I know that HipHop has always been about sampling, but there has been a "culture" about paying royalties for sampled material for some decades now, and thats for a good reason. Seems those vultures now start to grab their melodies and stuff from people who can't defend themselves. (Neither tempest nor grg will go to court with this, because as someone stated "it's a suicide mission to trial geffen records, or any other major for that matter.")

To this date, neither Timbaland nor Geffen Records have issued an official statement nor tried to contact tempest or GRG.

Part2 of this post with some more thoughts.

Links :

There is a discussion going on on the with some more in-depth background information.

A page on pelulamu gathering links and information about the subject (thanx for linking us).

Some more info on ukscene.

The digg-page about this with comments from tempest himself.

Def Sounds (an american Hiphop-Mag) catched on to the whole story.

Finally, the official ringtone which sounds very, very much like the original SID-File.

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