The hype of Melfest competitor Frans and his song “If I Were Sorry” is growing bigger each day, and he seems the inevitable winner of Melodifestivalen 2016. But with that attention comes an accusation of plagiarism, with some saying “If I Were Sorry” is too similar to American singer-songwriter Matt Simon’s 2014 song “Catch & Release”.
“If I Were Sorry” is currently dominating YouTube with the the highest number of views of Melfest finalists, he is number one on all Melfest betting lists, and “If I Were Sorry” is the most played track on Spotify in Sweden, with 400,000 daily streams – almost twice as much as SaRaha’s “Kizunguzungu”. It looks like Frans is unstoppable.
But as the Swedish newspaper Expressen reports, people have started to point out that Frans’ song is similar to singer-songwriter Matt Simon’s 2014 song “Catch & Release”.
Both songs have the same folk-pop sound and Frans sings in a similar style to Matt. But that in itself is not grounds for plagiarism. For that to happen, the songs would need to be proved to be structurally similar.
Henrik Nyström — the general manager for Matt Simons’ Scandinavian label Pias Recordings — says that the two songs are very similar to each other and that the label’s head office in London will investigate. Nyström told the paper that “It is too early to to say what will happen, but the songs are very similar to each other, that’s for sure.”
Frans’ record label Sony Music have not yet commented, but the head of press Tove Blum told Expressen that “My personal opinion, when I’ve heard both songs, is that I can’t hear the similarity.”
Last year Melodifestivalen winner Måns Zelmerlöw was similarly accused of plagiarism when people pointed out that “Heroes” resembled David Guetta’s “Lovers on the Sun”. But it did not prove to be an obstacle for Sweden, as the song was cleared and Måns went on to win Eurovision 2015.
This is also the third incidence of Mello-drama plaguing the Swedish song contest. In early February, Anna Book’s “Himmel för två” was disqualified as it had previously been entered in the Moldovan national contest. Then two weeks later a snippet of Molly Sandén’s song “Youniverse” was released early, prompting SVT to release snippets of all songs in her heat.
What do you think? Is “If I Were Sorry” too similar to “Catch & Release”? Or is it all an overreaction? Share your thoughts below.