Decoding Primary ‘I Got C’ Plagiarism Allegations + Caro Emerald team's response .
This year’s Infinity Challenge music festival was the biggest of IC history greeted by 35,000 audiences and starred by top musicians. The overall outcome (rating and songs) was top-notch indeed, though IC fans seem slightly disappointed and critics point out this year’s festival lacks preparation compared to previous years — it would always be impossible to meet their ridiculously high expectation of Infinity Challenge. There is one single aspect of the music festival that got me worrying– the ugly plagiarism allegations surrounding Primary’s song ‘I Got C’.
Every song from the music festival have been sweeping major music charts and one that received most attention would be Leech’s (Park Myung-Soo and Primary) “I Got C” which scored a perfect all-kill on the weekly iChart on Instiz (allKpop reports on this) Primary is clearly one of the hottest, up-and-coming song writers in town who deserves all the attention– wanted or unwanted.
Here is K-pop Decoder’s analysis on plagiarism allegations.
>Because it is from the same genre, ‘swing music’?
Primary’s agency Amoeba Culture said on Oct 3 that “Caro Emerald’s song (which people suspect Primary had ripped off) and ‘I Got C’ are technically two very different songs” and such allegations have been raised ‘due to similarities caused when adopting the same genre– a combination of swing music and retro hip-hop’, additionally blaming too much attention given to Primary.
Whether to buy such claim or not, this is, actually, a rather interesting topic to explore especially at this point — IU went under fire last week or so for copycat allegations on her new song ‘Red Shoe’ and her explanation is almost identical– all blaming the genre of ‘swing music’.
Many music savants acknowledge three facts that:
1) Swing music (especially the basic beats) may sound similar to untrained ears especially since the swing music has not been traditionally a popular genre to adopt and mix in K-pop music.
2) DJs usually work on top of the existing source/beats and build a song from there while adjusting/changing the original source bit by bits and Caro Emerald’s song may have been used as some sort of building blocks during Primary’s song-making process.
3) Although it is entirely understandable to ‘reference’ beats and adopt existing song’s general vibe, how can you explain a similarity in melody line sand how Primary reacted in previous allegations?
I personally dont agree with allegation that ‘I Got C’ is a copycat of ‘Liquid Lunch’ (it sounds totally different to me)– but cant say the same for Primary’s other songs, especially the chorus part of ‘Crave’.
> Diggings by Savvy Net Users
Primary’s past record is not entirely clean– there are relatively well-known songs under suspicion — Park Ji-Yoon’s ‘Mr. Lee’ (for copying Caro Emerald’s ‘One Day’) and ‘I’m back’ (for lifting off Nuno Bettencourt’s ‘Crave’– especially the chorus part) Though one can simply ignore such allegations as ‘rumors created by haters’ (which may be partly true), Primary needs to come clean on at least on why he reacted as such to allegations surrounding ‘I’m Back’.
Primary initially denied such claim entirely (via Twitter) and then later, named Nuno Bettencourt as the co-writer of his song without telling it publicly. Fans were able to notice the change only after someone notified that the copyrights registry page of his song has been updated.I will include links to those songs for you to decide:
> My Two Cents
It may be just a coincidence or simply rumors he attracted by getting too famous too quickly. But there are extremely popular song writers, such as Yoon Jong-shin, who have been writing countless songs for over 10-20 years and there is not a single allegation. Another mistake, another allegation may be enough to kill his career and the industry people will find him ‘to risky’ to use.
Video comparisons under the spoilers:
[Happy Ending vs 2 songs]
[Mr Lee vs One Day]
Caro Emerald Finally Spoke! (Full Text) Delving into Primary’s ‘I Got C’ Plagiarism Controversy
One of the hottest song producers in town, Primary was caught in an ugly plagiarism controversy for his new mega-hit ‘I Got C’ which scored a perfect all-kill in music charts thanks to Infinity Challenge’s immense popularity.
(For anyone not entirely familiar with this issue: K-pop Decoder posted our own analysis of the copycat controversy two days ago explaining Primary’s excuse, his past record, and links to several of his songs that went under fire and Caro Emerald’s original songs– and now it is even better to know what the other side thinks about the allegation and Primary’s explanation)
And finally… the artist who is thought to be the ‘original’ creator of those songs responded to this controversy. To summarize Caro Emerald side’s email: polite and civil attitude, but with definite undertone and their answer is crystal clear– ‘yes, he did lift off our songs’. Some of the noteworthy quotes are:
> About ‘I Got C’:
“When I listen to “I Got C”, I can hear that a lot of the inspiration comes from three of our songs [...] The chorus and melody in the verses are identical to our song “Liquid Lunch”. Some parts are so identical they could also be seen as plagiarism [...] “I Got C” sounds like a remix of theses songs.”
> To ‘Primary’s excuse that it was because the swing music’ :
“I don’t agree with Primary if he says that this is part of the swing genre. The elements he uses are clearly copied from our songs and arrangements”
(Ouch! That must have hurt!)
“He uses our music as a template to create his own, which is an honour but on some songs he’s just going too far with it.”
Below is the full text. (Released by Dispatch)
We’ve understood that I Got C is on fire in South Korea and we are receiving a lot of emails about plagiarism/likeliness to our songs.
Let me introduce myself. I am part of the songwriting team, producer and manager of the Caro Emerald project
First of all, I am happy to see that our music is getting popular in S-Korea. I heard ‘I Got C’ yesterday because someone sent me a link. I love the track, the production is hot and even though I don’t understand the lyrics, I have to say the song is very hooky. I can perfectly understand why this is a big hit!!!
I Got C
When I listen to “I Got C”, I can hear that a lot of the inspiration comes from three of our songs. The piano intro is similar to our Caro Emerald Song “You Don’t Love Me”. The horn sample in the chorus is identical to (if not sampled from) the horns from “You Don’t Love Me”. This is probably too similar and could well be seen as plagiarism
The chorus and melody in the verses are identical to our song “Liquid Lunch”. Some parts are so identical they could also be seen as plagiarism.
The breakdown middle (8?) has idendical chords to our song “Paris”.
“I Got C” sounds like a remix of theses songs. I don’t agree with Primary if he says that this is part of the swing genre. The elements he uses are clearly copied from our songs and arrangements.
This Song was released worldwide in Europe (including S-Korea on iTunes only) on January 29, 2010 by us (Grandmono).
“Happy Ending” is clearly based on “I Know That He’s Mine”. It has the exact same chord scheme. If you strip away the melody, it’s basically our song. That’s very much plagiarism.
Primary also copies my arrangements for “I Know That He’s Mine” and “The Other Woman” like the strum guitars, the guitar solo, horns, harmonica, baritone sax and percussion and brass.
It’s tricky to say if this is plagiarism, but it’s just not very original to say the least.. The combination of the same chords and copied arrangemet make it more likeley to say that this is plagiarism of our song “I Know That He’s mine”
The chords scheme, song structure, drumtrack, instrumentation, arrangement(horns, piano chord breaks, handclaps, DJ cuts etc) are identical and clearly a rip off of our song “One Day”, I do love the way Primary did this. it sounds very fresh. But it is very close to “One Day”
Is all of this plagiarism? I think it’s up to a judge to decide this. not to us.
I would like to say that Primary sounds like a talented Producer. He uses our music as a template to create his own, which is an honour but on some songs he’s just going too far with it. I would like to say he should start trusting his own talent because he sure is a good producer!
Hopefully, Primary’s current success will help introduce our music to the South Korean public. and people will discover the Grandmono philosohpy of releasing luxury vinlys. deluxe cd packages and album apps. And even better, we would love to come over to perform live and on TV!
Best wishes. David
Sources: Nate, Kpopdecoder 1, Kpopdecoder 2
So what do you think people ? I know this is long and meh but I think this is interesting, especially since there is a quite elaborate response from the source team.