Imagine toiling over a piece of art you’re creating. You’ve given everything you have to finish it and make it perfect. Now, imagine someone copies that piece of art. They gain notoriety, accrue accolades and make a boatload of cash off your work. Uncool and unethical, right?
According to documents filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court this week, British pop star Dua Lipa did just that to reggae fusion group Artikal Sound System. All but one member of the Delray Beach, Florida-based band jointly filed a copyright infringement lawsuit Tuesday, March 1st, naming Lipa, Warner Records and other members of her team as defendants in a suit which claims Lipa’s smash hit “Levitating” — a top-trending TikTok audio, which spent over a year on Billboard’s Top 100 list in 2021 — was ripped off from Artikal Sound System’s 2017 track “Live Your Life”.
After listening to both songs, you’d be hard-pressed not hear the similarities, especially in the choruses, which — as music producer, composer, audio engineer and YouTube star Rick Beato pointed out in his March 3rd comparison video — have an “almost identical chord progression”, are “in the exact same key” and “virtually identical when you put them at the same tempo”. Rick proceeds to play the tracks at the same time at the same tempo and the results are what you’d expect — a singularly indistinguishable song.
The lawsuit postulates that Lipa Et. al. listened to “Live Your Life” before and during the writing of “Levitating” and, given the degree of similarity, is highly unlikely that “Levitating” was created independently. Artikal Sound System is asking to be remunerated for any profits made, as well as damages.
You can find “Live Your Life” streaming on Soundcloud and judging from the comment section, it seems the majority — if not all — of listeners are siding with the Florida gang. Similar sentiments poured in from YouTube users below Rick Beato’s comparison video. Neither Artikal Sound System nor Dua Lipa/Warner Records could be reached for comment. What’s your thoughts?