Back in July, news broke that Universal Music Corporation had sent a warning letter to “Toy” songwriters Doron Medalie and Stav Beger, regarding claims that Netta’s Eurovision-winning song was too similar to the White Stripes 2003 hit “Seven Nation Army”. Now a settlement appears to have been reached.
White Stripes frontman and songwriter Jack White is now officially listed as one of the three composers of “Toy”.
The news was broken by KAN entertainment correspondent Nov Reuveny, who noted that Jack White would now receive royalties from the song.
Exclusive: Jack White, the lead singer and guitarist of “White Stripes”, is now getting royalties for the @Eurovision wining song Toy, following accusations that the writers copied a part of it from his hit Seven Nation Army.@kann_news #Toy @whitestripesnet pic.twitter.com/TVsm3f3lKm
— ??? ?????? | Nov Reuveny (@Nov_reuveny) February 6, 2019
White’s name can now be found in the listing for “Toy” held with the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Israel (ACUM).
Along with the Israeli songwriters Doron Medalie and Stav Berger, the song is also credited to John Anthony White — the full name of Jack White. His portion of the song is published through his publishing company, Peppermint Stripe Music.
Last year Universal sent a formal letter to the “Toy” songwriters. As reported at the time, the letter claimed that a portion of “Toy” was taken from the White Stripes’ song “Seven Nation Army”. Their objections revolve around “the harmonies and pace of both songs”, rather than the melody or lyrics.
Released in 2003 as part of the White Stripes album Elephant, “Seven Nation Army” is the band’s signature song and won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. The song has a lot of fans — and it’s only natural they might be hyper sensitive (or super skilled?) when detecting similarities.
Even before the grand final of Eurovision 2018, similarities between the two songs were noted by fans, including this mash-up of the two songs.
An agreement with perks
In August last year, Israeli media reported that an agreement between the two parties was due to be struck. Medalie and Berger had reportedly agreed to give Universal some of the song’s distribution rights in certain territories, potentially exposing the song to an even larger audience.
The resolved copyright claim would also mean that “Toy” is no longer at risk of being in violation of the Eurovision rules — which in turn could have jeopardised Israel’s hosting of Eurovision 2019.
While Universal’s claim was founded on the resemblance of “Toy” to “Seven Nation Army”, the addition of Jack White to the songwriting credits is not in itself an admission that “Toy” was based on “Seven Nation Army”.
But it does mean that we are in the curious case of having a highly acclaimed, award-winning singer-songwriter, known for his excursions into garage rock, blues, folk and punk styles, now being one of the songwriters of a Eurovision-winning song.
What do you think? Should Jack White have been credited as a songwriter? Should he be invited to perform “Toy” live at the grand final of Eurovision 2019? Tell us your thoughts below!