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Advice: Recycled Composition

Hello A_B. I've got an interesting situation and I'm not sure if counts as being ripped-off per-se, but it's definitely fishy behavior. I'm keeping some details generic for now, but if it's worthy of an A_B post then I'll be specific.

In 2008, I approached a musician at a furry convention that was offering song commissions. I was a fan, so I paid for one. In 2009, they finally produced the finished work but it was not to my liking. They agreed to refund me and in 2010 I received a full refund.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago when I discovered that the artist had re-established themselves on FA. I discover they have an off-FA musician promotion page and I decide to check it out. There was an older album released in 2007 and I decided to listen to it. One of the tracks in that album matched in both tempo and melody. However some of the instrument samples differed (some remained the same) to the one that was offered to me as a finished product in 2009.

In essence, I had been sold a recycled composition and clueless to that fact. It was just by pure luck that I didn't like it and they agreed to refund me.

A_B, what do you make of this? What's your advice?
Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 15th, 2013 08:20 am (UTC)
Hm... without hearing the melody/composition between the two this is really hard to give advice on. However, so many songs can sound exactly the same, and it's a fair bit different world then instances of traced/copied graphic art.

You got the refund, thankfully. I would ask them politely about the recycled tune, and see how they reply. There are coincidences like this, and with music it happens often. I wouldn't think this is suitable for a beware unless you can find other examples where it's a direct rip from something. Often times in the music community I've noticed folks using other samples of songs, beats, and general ideas - it feels like a much looser thing then with graphic art. But I could be absolutely wrong on this.
Nov. 15th, 2013 02:07 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's worthy of a beware. Like Neo said, since there's nothing to really compare it to, it's hard to give a solid opinion.

A visual artists drawings can be very similar, though different. They use the same structure to draw (poses/style), and change things to fit the description, if that makes any sense. It's just how you'd feel personally.

Also, maybe they weren't very experienced and had basics or things that they were used to, to go off of, perhaps using their music as a crutch. There's a lot of factors.

I'm glad that they refunded you though.
Nov. 15th, 2013 02:18 pm (UTC)
Makes me wonder if this is comparable to an artist using virtually the same pose in more than one drawing. Draw enough over a decade or more and you will have used some poses several times.

Would love to hear from a musician in the community! I just can't really say because I'm sure there is etiquette and things that are "simply not done" in the music community that I am not aware of.
Nov. 15th, 2013 02:59 pm (UTC)
A lot of visual artists will recycle poses of work turned down and refunded. If they refunded you and wanted to re-sell the work to make some of their money back for their time I don't really see a problem with it.

Nov. 15th, 2013 04:12 pm (UTC)
Except that this scenario is the reverse of what you mention. If I turned something down and then it was adapted into a later work, then that's a different issue entirely.

Let me make a visual art analogy: Artist draws original, non-commissioned art for a portfolio collection that is to be sold. Later on, the artist offers commissions and decides to pull a piece from that previous portfolio, modify a few details and provide that to the client after having advertised as offering an original piece. Maybe more difficult with traditional media, but with digital media this would be simpler.

I hope this clarifies the timeline I put forth.
(no subject) - mazz - Nov. 15th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekchan - Nov. 15th, 2013 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - socks_the_fox - Nov. 15th, 2013 09:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekchan - Nov. 15th, 2013 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 15th, 2013 03:10 pm (UTC)
Since you got a full refund anyway, it seems like a non-issue at this point... just avoid buying from them in the future, I guess.
Nov. 15th, 2013 04:21 pm (UTC)
Recycled beats is not a new thing in music (I'm gonna go out on a limb and use techno). Its done quite often then! That classic 'doonce doonce doonce' beat, and such. The thing is, if the composer is actually good you're barely going to register it (or care, otherwise techno and its cousins never would have made it far). Its pretty akin to using a pose again.

But given the fact that A) you turned down the offered composition and B) you were refunded in the end means this isn't beware-worthy.

Edited at 2013-11-15 05:00 pm (UTC)
Nov. 15th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)



J.Cole's "Work Out" song is a rip off of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up"

Straight up, now tell me do you really wanna love me forever. Oh, oh, oh. Or is it just a hit and run (Well, hey) Straight up I tell ya I just really wanna ...

Totally had a flaily point attack when I heard that. Music "artist" indeed. Happens a lot in music, but ...that one. That one sat with me wrong.
(no subject) - teekchan - Nov. 15th, 2013 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lichdog - Nov. 15th, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nellyaa - Nov. 16th, 2013 09:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spyral_out - Nov. 16th, 2013 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 15th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
Like everyone else said, we'd need to listen to the music to give good advice, but personally I wouldn't even find this an issue. There's "recycled" themes in the art industry all the time, it's going to happen especially if it's something you've been doing for years. If it were near exactly the same, that would be a different story, but there's no way we can tell without hearing it.
Nov. 15th, 2013 07:42 pm (UTC)
From your post this is what I make of it;

Commissioned music; didn't like it. Got refund. Now upset he is using it elsewhere?

As an artist, this is extremely common. If people scam (don't pay) or don't like the sketch, I'll often either sell it as a YCH, or use it for another commission.

There has been one, maybe two times, where I took payment after completion and the commissioner never paid, so I reused the finished image.

If you didn't pay (Refunded in this case) it's not yours and the artist can do what they like.

The only way it could be is if you provided you own beats, and he is using those.
Nov. 15th, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
Oh you beat me to it!
(no subject) - ryunwoofie - Nov. 18th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 15th, 2013 08:12 pm (UTC)
OP was saying that they commissioned this person in 2009, and the artist released a compilation with a song that had a very similar beat/melody the refunded commission, which was originally made in 2007.

Edit: I seriously don't get it. People aren't reading the entry right. The artist didn't re-purpose the OP's old commission into a song. They used a lot of the original song for the OP's commission

Edited at 2013-11-15 09:44 pm (UTC)
Nov. 15th, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
Which would've made the OP's commission "recycled work" technically. Which, unless it's blatantly obvious that it's been reused, happens a lot with music and just art in general, it's not that big of a deal.

Edit because bad keyboard is bad.

Edited at 2013-11-15 10:11 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - lichdog - Nov. 15th, 2013 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neolucky - Nov. 15th, 2013 11:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lichdog - Nov. 16th, 2013 12:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Nov. 15th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - doggiy - Nov. 20th, 2013 02:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Nov. 20th, 2013 05:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 15th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
Speaking from a classical music background, my experience may be different than what the pop music world is like, but here you go:

Without hearing both tracks, it's hard to say. Honestly at this point, I wouldn't worry about it, unless you were thinking of commissioning this person again.

Did you compare both tracks side-by-side, or were you working off memory? Are you positive of the dates of composition for both pieces?

A lot of composers recycle tunes, rhythms, words, etc. Especially from themselves! Just listen to movie soundtrack composers, they love reusing their favorite motifs, they'll steal from classical pieces, they'll use tunes of modern pop songs...the music world has a much larger gray area of borrowing/influence/homage vs plagiarism than visual arts. Yeah, a composer will get called on their nonsense if 'borrowing' is ALL that they do, but if it's here and there, nobody cares. Unless this person was literally reusing stuff note-for-note and only changing a couple words in the tune, there's probably not too much to be done about it.
Nov. 15th, 2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
This just sounds like he reused your commission. You got your refund, so the song ended up being his to do as he pleased.

Sort of like an artist may reuse a pose of a refunded or nonpaid commission as a YCH/prepose.
Nov. 15th, 2013 10:16 pm (UTC)
I think what the OP is worried about was their commission being "recycled work", since they state that the album was released 2 years before they commissioned the person.
(no subject) - 0acorn0 - Nov. 16th, 2013 01:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kontonakuma - Nov. 16th, 2013 02:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 15th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
I think the OP is just wondering if they should warn other people, so nobody else gets recycled music from this artist.

Sorry if this is super obvious, but I feel like the above comments focused more on the OP's resolution than future customers |3
Nov. 15th, 2013 11:02 pm (UTC)
No, this is exactly it and I'm not sure why everyone thinks it's the reverse.
Nov. 15th, 2013 10:56 pm (UTC)
There seems to be some confusion on the timeline and the end product. To re-iterate what I said earlier, this is not a case where I rejected a commission and then it was later incorporated into a derivative work. Rather, it's the reverse. The album (and the track in question was uploaded in 2007. That's a full year before I even made the purchase.

What's in question? This isn't simply sampling as a few of the posts have defined. Music isn't my specialty; I only grasp a few bare concepts. I cannot tell you specifically if there's been a transposition of octave or a change in tempo to the very BPM, but do know the concept of melody and that's when you hear a certain arrangement of notes and you recognize a certain part of a musical composition. In my particular case, the song I was provided in 2009 and the song that was uploaded in 2007 match in melody throughout the entire duration of the song. It is undeniably recognizable.

I haven't provided samples of the songs because it would then become apparent who the musician is. I've kept mum on that because I wonder to what net effect making a full-fledged aware on them would accomplish. They're not taking commissions and I have no loss of money as a result.
Nov. 15th, 2013 11:06 pm (UTC)
If they are not taking commissions then I do not think this is enough material for a beware. It's annoying that the songs are probably the same tune, however there's very little to be done about it unless:

1.) You owned the track and want to use it for commercial purposes.

2.) He's taking commissions and recycling lots of songs.

Otherwise this is kind of a grey area and not beware able. I wouldn't take to warning anyone unless you can prove this is a habit and repeatedly done by this particular musician. The simple fact of them no longer taking on work sort of negates the point of bewaring about them.
(no subject) - tenzanosumi - Nov. 16th, 2013 12:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dinogrrl - Nov. 16th, 2013 01:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kontonakuma - Nov. 16th, 2013 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Nov. 16th, 2013 02:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neolucky - Nov. 16th, 2013 09:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ljmydayaway - Nov. 15th, 2013 11:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 16th, 2013 11:46 am (UTC)
Like others have said, we aren't listening to the music so it's hard to render a verdict on whether the two are copies or not.

Even if they were, unless the artist is reselling the same copy to multiple people (vs reselling a previously personal work), that's borderline. Depends how much they tried to edit it to your tastes I guess.

As others have said, since you didn't like it and they refunded, it seems not beware worthy. NOT since a refund negates all bad practices, but because it doesn't sound like anything too bad happened in the first place. Sounds more like you didn't like their style/creative process and got a refund, end of story?
Nov. 16th, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
I can't help but feel really troubled by the amount of people saying this is "normal" in the music world so it's not something to worry about.

If this was drawn art with the same issue everyone would agree that it's wrong, I'm sure.

When you commission someone for an original piece of art--drawn, composed, or otherwise--you expect an -original- piece of art, don't you?
Nov. 16th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
The music and visual arts worlds are indeed very different.

I agree that if you commission an original piece, you shouldn't get recycled music. That being said, where does recycling end and personal style begin? Without being able to compare the two pieces of music, we're basically taking shots in the dark as to which case it is.
(no subject) - zydala - Nov. 16th, 2013 08:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neolucky - Nov. 17th, 2013 12:53 am (UTC) - Expand
( 48 comments — Leave a comment )


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