It is entirely possible that it is coincidence. But it would be a remarkable one at that. ‘We Don’t Steal Music Says Skrillex and Justin Bieber.’ Well, that was said.
“Like most artists that sample music, Bieber could have licensed my song for use in ‘Sorry.’ But he chose not to contact me,” Dienel, who goes by “White Hinterland,” wrote on her Facebook page. “After the release of ‘Sorry,’ my lawyers sent Bieber a letter regarding the infringement, but Bieber’s team again chose to ignore me. I offered Bieber’s team an opportunity to have a private dialogue about the infringement, but they refused to even acknowledge my claim, despite the obviousness of the sample.
“Justin Bieber is the world’s biggest artist, and I’m sure that he and his team will launch a full attack against me. But, in the end, I was left with no other option. I believe I have an obligation to stand up for my music and art.”
This is where we are left, here is the original:
And here is the explanation from Skrillex:
— SKRILLEX (@Skrillex) May 27, 2016
Justin was quick to respond to the matter and support his writing partner.
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) May 28, 2016
Well, it is now left up to the courts or a possible out of court settlement. Since we are in the industry and speculation can be highly contentious, it would likely not be appropriate for us to state just where we land here. The reverb tail, time, and sound of the part from the Ring the Bell and Sorry are remarkably similar.
Normally I would say, here is where it ends, but then a writing partner of Diplo weighs in on the conversation and things get VERY interesting:
Though Skrillex does do a pretty convincing job proving they did not sample White Hinterland on the track, it does not invalidate the lawsuit — which addresses the similarity of the vocals on both songs.
Prior to Skrillex’s video posting, Diplo — Skrillex and Bieber’s collaborator on the Jack Ühit “Where Are Ü Now” that helped spark the pop star’s comeback — offered TMZ some opinions on how things have played out.
Diplo said he did think that White Hinterland’s allegations were probably true that the Bieber song, which was produced and written in part by Skrillex, did sample the indie musician’s “Ring the Bell.” But he was surprised that they didn’t clear it in advance. Diplo said it must have been an oversight caused in part by having so many writers on the track, which he estimated as being between 5-10. He said he was nearly in a similar situation with Beyonce‘s Lemonade track “All Night,” but he caught it in the studio before things got away from them.
“Somebody added it and then didn’t tell anybody, so it’s just they should have fact checked it,” he said.
As for what comes next, Diplo predicted that as the song’s rights holders Bieber’s camp will pay up.
“They don’t want to go to court with it, that’d be like even more money that everybody wastes,” he said.
Whatever the outcome is, I hope that the creators work it out for the sake of everyone involved.