Timbaland Accused Of Timbalifting Another Musician’s Track

Jan 18th, 2007 // 15 Comments

For those of you have that haven’t been following the case of Timbaland vs. Finland, here’s a summary: In 2000, a Finnish musician named Janne Suni created an instrumental track called “Acidjazzed Evening” (which you can listen to

); it was later remade by instrumentalist GRG, who kept the melody intact (that second mp3 can be found ).

Six years later, Nelly Furtado released Loose, which included the Timbaland-produced track “Do It,” and now there’s a series of YouTube videos and forum threads claiming that Timbo jacked the “Do It” music from Sunni’s 2000 original (the Timbo detractors also claim that he first jacked himself, noting that his track for “Do It” originally appeared in a 2005 ringtone).

Confused? These two YouTube videos feature a side-by-side comparison. And while we certainly want to get Timbaland’s response to all of this before making a final call, these tracks do sound alike–and trust us, we know, as we had to listen to them a half-dozen times just to write this up.

Janne Suni – Acidjazzed Evening [MP3, link expired]
GRG – Acidjazzed Evening [MP3, link expired]
Nelly Furtado – Do It [MP3, link expired]
Acidjazzed Evening [Janne Suni's page]
Producer Timbaland rips song from finnish musician? [YouTube]
Timbaland rips song – new information [YouTube]

idolator

  1. Dr. Paul Proteus

    Its called sampling, and believe it or not, if someone thinks they can get away with it, like for example by sampling something that it took who knows how many people like a year to figure out; they will probably sample something without clearing it in order to save money.

    I got no less love for Timbaland. Dude is possibly the greatest beat producer in the game. Scratch that, he IS the greatest beat producer in the game.

    If every DJ out there got called out like this for every sample he tried to get away with without clearing, there’d be no DJs left.

    Get over it.

  2. KeBove

    Damn, it’s pretty tough to ignore the similarities there. Still, I’m on Timbaland’s side here. Like Dr. Paul said, he’s the best beat producer around. Whatever he has to do to keep up the good music, we should just let him do it.

  3. Jory

    How To Become The “Best Beat Producer”:

    1. Find good beats from obscure Europop bands

    2. Sample them

    Easy!

  4. sparkletone

    Ideas, musical or otherwise, don’t exist in a vacuum. They always come from somewhere/something. I have some sympathy for Timbaland here, but at the same time I feel it’s pretty shitty to give no credit to someone whose work on which you so heavily base your own.

    Cleared or not, it’s never been cool not to acknowledge your sample sources at all and just pretend it was all your own work and hope no one notices. That’s… intellectually dishonest, creatively dishonest… However you want to phrase it.

    I’m not positive that’s what’s going on here, but the evidence is pretty damning.

  5. sparkletone

    It’s not like ideas exist in a vacuum, or come from nowhere. I have some sympathy for Timbaland here, but at the same time it feels pretty shitty to take some obscure bit of work, retool it into your own song and then not acknowledge that you did that.

    Cleared or not, sampling’s never been about, or at least it shouldn’t be about, just outright appropriating someone’s work without giving credit where credit’s due. Doing things that way seems … dishonest to me somehow. Some of it’s probably legal reasoning. If you were allowed to quote musical bits of a certain length like you can quote bits of someone else’s writing, this probably wouldn’t be an issue. You could just give credit and move on with your work.

    I’m not sure if theft is really what’s going on here, or if it’s just a huge cosmic accident, but the evidence seems pretty damning. If what appears to have happened is the case, the lack of credit (nevermind monetary compensation) seems… Intellectually dishonest? Creatively dishonest? Something like that.

  6. sparkletone

    Argh. Truly sorry about the double post (stupid, crappy wifi dropped me). Where do I think I am? Stereogum?

  7. Jory

    As someone who knows a thing or two about audio production (and knows how to use a sampler), I can say this is almost positively sampled.

  8. Kappuru

    timbo didn’t just go into ableton live and create something close. it’s sampled… and since it’s a mod, you could just export the channel as a wave. that easy.

  9. ens3000

    Those video links are far from conclusive IMHO. Like I said on the YouTube comment threads here and here:

    So the two tracks have similar chord progressions and melodies. There’s a million pop songs that sounds like both of these tracks. I’m not convinced there’s outright stealing going on here or that there’s enough here to warrant legal action. Sorry.

    Ask yourself this: Timbaland has produced countless hits and been in the game as a top producer for a decade give or take, right? This Finnish cat has had how many hits now? I’m guessing that would be zero or at best nowhere close the number Timbaland has had.

    Now what’s the likelihood Timbaland was so desperate for a hit that he decided to steal from a no-hit-having Finnish nobody to get one? It’s pretty clear Tim has more than enough talent on his own and the track record to back it up. I’m not saying it’s 100% for sure Tim didn’t rip this dude off cos I can’t that say for sure (though I REALLY doubt it), but if this dude has never done anything else in the seven years since he did his track, that doesn’t say much about him and makes you wonder how much talent he could really have….

  10. R.Maden

    “I got no less love for Timbaland. Dude is possibly the greatest beat producer in the game. Scratch that, he IS the greatest beat producer in the game.

    If every DJ out there got called out like this for every sample he tried to get away with without clearing, there’d be no DJs left.”

    You forgot that he just ripped another artist, sold the music to people worldwide and made a lot of money with that while at the same time the RIAA and other organizations bring people to court because they’ve “shared” their music with others via P2P networks without receiving money.

    There’s something called copyright law. If you want to use other people’s work you have to follow that law, which offen means to credit/pay royalties. Janne Suni (“Tempest”) could start a case against Timbaland, the problem is that David has to pay a lot of money (that he doesn’t have) for his lawyers first while Timbaland is backed up with enough money to pay for 10 lawyers. Brave new world …

  11. Falconfire

    Now what’s the likelihood Timbaland was so desperate for a hit that he decided to steal from a no-hit-having Finnish nobody to get one?

    Um yep. Its pretty common in the music industry, its called Im a celeb so Im immune to cheating.

  12. Bluewater

    Falconfire: Actually it’s kinda funny how right you were, when Timbaland finally was interviewed on the subject his primarily defence was “I’m Good” which in my book translates to I’m a celeb, because I really find him pretty average as a musician. But before stating he was good he explains how he has not stolen the song because he simply sampled it. Oh…well you can hear for yourself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTvY3wZrHrQ

    He has also spoken to MTV…and tried to use some fighting words:
    “Timbaland called the accusation “foolish.”

    “It makes me laugh,” he said. “The part I don’t understand, the dude is trying to act like I went to his house and took it from his computer. I don’t know him from a can of paint. I’m 15 years deep. That’s how you attack a king? You attack moi? Come on, man. You got to come correct. You the laughing stock. People are like, ‘You can’t be serious.’”"

  13. cheech

    timbaland’s respect for chip music goes thusly :

    “It’s from a videogame, idiot. Freakin’ jerks”

    http://www.vorc.org/en/20070208154302

  14. ruzel

    What Cheech said. Another copy of that interview is available at Youtube. But given everything that Timbaland says about what he feels the difference between sampling and stealing is (despite how ineptly he puts it) it would seem that he does believe there’s a difference. Could he just be mistaken? Maybe he really thinks that it came from a video game. Who knows what context he first heard it in? Regardless, Tempest should continue to pursue litigation and settle the matter in court. Timbaland made too much money off of this to do ignore it.

  15. Beanmaster73

    This is clearly an example of copy right infringement- Timbaland obviously used this guys music for his song and ringtone- even if it was from a video game its does not mean he can use it for a sample- and the use of this particular video game song DOES NOT fall under the fair use rules allowing people to use samples for the use of parody or for news purposes- this finnish guy has an excellent case and should pursue legal action no matter what the cost cause he would surley win or at least force Timaland to settle-

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