Twitter was in a state of uproar this week after American musician Megan Ryte was accused of plagiarising South Africa’s DJ Lag’s song on her new record.
It’s never nice to see your work stolen without credit, and likewise, you should never steal someone’s work and hope to get away with it! This week we witnessed exactly what can go wrong if you get caught out for alleged plagiarism after an American artist named Megan Ryte released her new single, featuring some hip hop heavyweights including Will.I.Am and A$AP Ferg. The song itself sounds great, but the big problem is that it sounds a little too similar to another track released by our very own DJ Lag.
Culture vs Ice Drop
Megan Ryte probably didn’t expect to have her mentions filled with comments coming all the way from South Africa when she announced her new song, sharing a snippet in the process. The 32-year-old DJ from the States was promoting her new single Culture which featured Black Eyed Peas member Will.I.AM and A$AP Mob rapper A$AP Ferg.
She teased the new single with a video and a social media post which read, “Here’s lil sneak preview of my insaneeeeee video directed by Nabil for my new single CULTURE ft Will.I.AM and A$AP Ferg! The song is available everywhere at midnight and video droppin at 10am tomorrow!!! 11/20 ! LETSSSSS GOOOOO [sic]”
We’re not sure who rang the alarm from Mzansi, but the moment that South Africans caught on to the track they realised that they had heard it before. In fact, the beat sounded pretty much identical to the one that DJ Lag used on his own song Ice Drop.
Once more South Africans caught on, it became a national mission to bring Megan Ryte to task.
Listen to both songs below and tell us if you spot the similarities:
Why do artists steal songs?
Instead of addressing the accusations of plagiarism, Megan Ryte has instead chosen to disable all comments on her Instagram and YouTube pages, making the problem immeasurably worse. South Africans are determined to bring the story to the attention of as many American gossip tabloids as possible, and they seem to be doing a good job already.
Although all of this still begs the question: why would an artist blatantly steal someone else’s song? There are several possible reasons:
- They thought they could get away with it. In many parts of America, South Africa (and indeed Africa) is still regarded as “backwards” and perhaps some artists believe that “Africans” wouldn’t catch on if they simply stole a piece of intellectual property from the continent.
- Their producer cut corners and didn’t tell the artist. We have also seen this happen on a number of occasions; a producer will steal an already existing concept and sell it to an artist who develops it as their song. The artist is completely unaware until it all blows up.
- Accidental plagiarism? Believe it or not, this is something many songwriters are warned against. An artist might think of a catchy tune, not realising it already exists (perhaps they heard a snippet of it and forgot, but recalled the tune thinking it was their own).
Regardless of the reason, DJ Megan Ryte definitely has some explaining to do…
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