On Monday, Norwegian broadcaster NRK revealed the four acts who will compete in the first semi-final of Melodi Grand Prix 2020. Among the four was Norwegian pop singer Raylee and her song “Wild”. But fans soon pointed out that part of the song sounds very similar to several older songs.

Raylee’s “Wild” is already shaping up to be one of the strongest entries in this Saturday’s first semi-final. It currently leads the wiwibloggs poll, with over 46% of voters picking it as their semi-final one favourite.

The song is a celebration of being wild and free and a “beautiful monster”. It has a strong dance flavour, while Raylee’s beguiling vocals snake and bounce around the track.

But it’s the introduction of the song that is raising eyebrows. The song begins with a distinct riff played on an acoustic guitar. The riff is looped for about 20 seconds before it makes way for the full electronic backing.

For many fans, this riff sounds just like the beginning of the 2018 song “Nimfomanka” (“Nymphomaniac”) by the Russian singer Monetochka. The YouTube lyrics video has almost 7 million views, while the Spotify stream has over 1.5 million listens.

Eurovision fan @esc_JNL overlapped the intros of the two songs which appears to show that they match very closely — with the one big difference being the singers’ individual vocals.

For Finnish fans, the riff also sounds familiar. It appears to start off the 2018 song “Nostalgiaa” by the singer Evelina. The single has clocked up almost 280,000 views on YouTube and over 2.77 million listens on Spotify. The song also reached No.2 in the Finnish singles chart.

There’s also a very similar start to the song “Dope” by German producer Oliver Moldan. It was released in April 2018 and the video has almost 380,000 views. And last month another song was added to the list: “Drunken Truth” by Steve Void & FANNYPACK ft. Andy Marsh. However that video has only picked up 751 views so far.

Why do all these songs seem to have the same sound?

Is it a coincidence that all these songs seem to use the same riff? Is it plagiarism? Or is there a modern-day troubadour travelling around Europe, playing the one same riff on his guitar?

One possible explanation is that the guitar riff is a sample that the producers of all these songs have leased from a music library.

This is a common practice in modern music production. Sometimes the producer will lease the sample with an exclusive agreement, other times the sample may be available for anyone else to lease.

Does “Wild” break Eurovision 2020 rules?

The official Eurovision 2020 rules don’t explicitly prohibit using samples in a song, so that’s not a problem.

The issue is the “1 September rule”, which states:

The compositions (lyrics and music) must not have been commercially released before 1 September 2019 (the Release Date).

There’s a possible grey area as to whether the rule applies to the song as a whole or to identifiable components within the song.

If a composition was released prior to 1 September, the Eurovision rules say this:

In case the composition has been made available to the public, for example, but not limited to, on online video platforms, social networks or (semi-) publicly accessible databanks and/or performed publicly, for example but not limited to during concerts, the Participating Broadcaster must inform the ESC Executive Supervisor, who shall have authority to evaluate whether the composition is eligible for participation in the Event.

In particular, the ESC Executive Supervisor shall assess whether such disclosure prior to the Release Date is likely to give to the composition an advantage in the Event vis-à-vis the other compositions.

This rule has previously been applied to Anja Nissen’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2016 entry “Never Alone” and Jamala’s Eurovision winning number “1944”. However, the issue in both instances related to previous public performances of the song rather than their components.

If “Wild” makes it to Eurovision, it could be argued that the success of “Nimfomanka” and “Nostalgiaa” — each with millions of views or listens in their respective countries — could give “Wild” an advantage with Eurovision viewers in Russia and Finland. Or perhaps it would be a disadvantage — with viewers wondering why Norway’s song sounds like their local star’s single.

There is also the possibility that if a Melodi Grand Prix track wins the national final but is in breach of Eurovision rules, the song could be revamped into a compliant version ahead of Eurovision.

Malta’s “Dai Laga” dilemma

If this situation sounds familiar, back in 2018, Malta Eurovision Song Contest act Aidan Cassar had a similar issue with his song “Dai Laga”.

The song had used a previously released sample from a music library which sparked an investigation by the Maltese broadcaster.

A new version of “Dai Laga” was released that had removed the sample. The song went on to place fourth in the Maltese national final.

Raylee is due to compete in the first semi-final of Melodi Grand Prix 2020, this Saturday 11 January. Four acts will compete in the semi, vying for one place in the grand final on 15 February.

Read more Norway Eurovision 2020 news here

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Hanne Jonassen
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Hanne Jonassen

Forget about the riff, what about the assimilance to both Replay and Fuego???

btw
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btw

Me Tana 2.0
“Talking about us” is the best!!!

Edouard
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Edouard

I think I’ve found the earliest example of this riff, dating from all the way back in 2014! A Turkish song with over 19 million YT views…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4Vj66SUFcs

Porsteinn
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Porsteinn

‘Wild’ reminds me of almost EVERY uptempo song I’ve heard before…

Aris
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Aris

When I first heard it I actually thought of Replay by Tamta

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

If “Wild” wins MGP, the solution would be to give it a “Dai Laga” style re-vamp. No more sample equals no more issue of publication before the set date. Problem solved.

Zaz
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Zaz

A eurosong: *exists*
Wiwi: is this plagiarism?

Mary Jane Poland
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Mary Jane Poland

When I first heard it I actually thought of Replay by Tamta

Balint
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Balint

I don’t dislike Wild, but the chorus kinda reminds me of Jonas Blue’s song Mama.

takamura
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takamura

as if. If “Heroes” and all the following swedish entries weren’t disqualified, why should this be? A precedent has been set.

Carola
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Carola

The difference is that while Heroes sounded similar to that Avicii song, its components were all unique to it. On the other hand Wild literally has the same sample as all the other videos linked in the article.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I feel the whole song sounds like a collage of ideas previously used in other similar songs. But this says less about the people involved with this particular song and more about how big part of the pop music industry operates. There’s nothing new in the combination of lyrics that aren’t personal to their authors, samples that were sold all around the world and producers sticking to what worked before for them. Sure, it may lead to entertaining tracks, but shouldn’t we demand more from a song contest entry?

Tibor
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Tibor

We absolutely should. This is no case of plagiarism. But it is no case of creativity, either – probably it’s not even meant to be. It’s disposable pop by numbers, I rarely enjoy or respect. This is not the direction I personally want Eurovision to be headed.

NickC
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NickC

Sorry, but I disagree. We have to draw the line somewhere. If I get a collage of a number of previously used sounds, does it make it original?

Sabrina
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Sabrina

Can’t read “draw the line” without playing Triana Park’s song in my head. 😀 It’s one of those problems that don’t have a satisfying answer, Nick. Pop music always have leaned on taking what other people did before and finding a new way to use it. How can we measure how original a song has to be to be accepted in the contest? If it wasn’t legally ruled as plagiarism, they can compete. So each voter will have to draw their own line.

Tibor
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Tibor

I don’t quite understand what you disagree with. Most sounds have previously been used, we live in an age of sampling, but getting inspiration from other music and using parts of it to create new music is as old as music itself. Calling everything randomly plagiarism won’t solve any problem. For me the line has to be drawn, where there’s no creative element involved, so I guess that, ultimately, we’re on the same page where it counts. 🙂

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I think the problem here isn’t even that it’s disposable pop, but its “assembly line product” nature. Last year, for example, I loved “Chameleon”. That track is not groundbreaking in any level, but I could notice the creativity on how they mashed up different influences and trends, how the track was trying to surprise the listener, not just give them what they normally listen to. I want bops in Eurovision, I just want people to put more effort on them.

Tibor
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Tibor

Pot-ay-to, pot-a-to. 🙂
I would never call “Chameleon” disposable and I like pop music, not everything has to be experimental and innovative. But I want creativity and skill, and Michela gave me both.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

Oh, got it. When you say disposable pop, you say literally disposable! We’re on the same page then. 🙂

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

As a songwriter, I can still write an entirely original song and sell it to a mixer/producer. After that is the producer’s choice then to use samples or not to accompany my song for the singer’s track. To be clear: It is studios, mixers and producers who you are demanding more of, not songwriters, per se. (Unless of course, they are one and the same.)
It’s an interesting discussion point that belongs to the Sobral school, for sure.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

You have a good point, Mask. And that’s why I wrote “the people involved with this song”. We normally address the songwriting team, but the producing team has a huge influence in the final result, especially if it’s an uptempo song. In this particular case, the sample was most likely a producer decision, maybe the songwriters didn’t even have a say. Or they just trusted the producer to give their best. Though I must say I also don’t see anything remotely original in the song itself. The lyrics seem like a collage of others too. I feel both ends suffered… Read more »

Jack
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Jack

This is way too unoriginal to go to eurovision

NickC
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NickC

This shows how bad and limited the modern music scene has become. The more we push for modern and contemporary sounds, the more of the same sound we will get. And this strategy really backfires in Eurovision. This is why I love Sobral siblings. They did not try to be modern, they wrote a good song, and while some labelled it dated, end result was highest ever Eurovision points. While more contemporary, Arcade was not trying too hard to be modern either. It had some classic quality to it. Shame on Norway for even shortlisting this piece of trash after… Read more »

Nicolas
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Nicolas

Producers just buy sounds in sound libraries catalogs. Remember the Franka “Crazy” story with a romanian producer. It’s the same here for sure.

Álex
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Álex

We haven’t even started the national finals season and already plagiarism stuff, which is so boring for me. Please, enough of it right now.

uzhas
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uzhas

just don’t read and don’t give a damn about it if it is boring to you. problem solved

WannaEatMySpaghetti
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WannaEatMySpaghetti

Well, if there were already same sounding song what’s the problem with one more? :’) Tbh I hope that other songs are waaay stronger than the ones of the 1st semi final so I don’t really care to know if there is plagarism on this one.

Mako
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Mako

I don’t like her song. I prefer the one of Lisa which is better.

Ricky Gervais
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Ricky Gervais

Netta won using the evident Seven Nation Army sample and the world hasn’t ended. Some people love to make big thing out of nothing…

Dani
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Dani

Uhhh, “Toy” sounded nothing like ” Seven Nations Army”.
It was just wealthy, self-full music labels that can copyright everything they want because they can, and just live for the lawsuits.

PP77
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PP77

On 3 July 2018, Israeli infotainer Guy Pines reported that Universal Music Group may file a lawsuit claiming “Toy” similarities in rhythm and harmony with The White Stripes’ song “Seven Nation Army”.Universal sent a pre-suit notice letter to the songwriters Doron Medalie and Stav Beger, claiming copyright infringement.] In February the Israeli composers agreed to give writing credit to Jack White,[22] and he gets a share in the royalties for the song.] 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.

PP77
Guest
PP77

“Listen To Your Heartbeat” Sweden 2001 became part of a controversy after it was claimed that it was plagiarised from Belgium’s 1996 entry “Liefde is een kaartspel”. At first this was denied by the Swedish composers, Thomas G:son and Henrik Sethsson, but after the Belgian songwriters and the author’s organisation SABAM pressed for legal action, a cash settlement was agreed

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

it’s awfully dated no wonder it sounds like many other songs

Tiia
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Tiia

The short riff doesn’t make it plagiarism. But i immediately noticed it sounds like ”Nostalgiaa”. Since i’m Finnish. But it doesn’t bother me. Because the songs are different, only the riff at the start is the same-sounding.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr Vanilla Bean

Fair warning: Everyone has to stop being so ‘sexist’ and appreciate this masterpiece. Or else the Irish ire will come down on you! 🙂

Padraig Muldoon
Admin

I am sorry that my comments yesterday have upset you so much that you’re carrying them on into new posts. I shouldn’t have suggested your focus on Laurell’s submissions was sexist. I’m presuming that if there were male writers with the same levels of notoriety you would react similarly. My bad. You’re simply an argumentative individual. A contrarian of sorts. <3

Mr Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr Vanilla Bean

I couldn’t resist. The article seemed adjacent to the other one. But once again, I’m not upset, just protesting incorrect accusations, which thankfully you have just resolved yourself. I’ll take contrarian as a compliment, though. 🙂 For the record, I have been very critical of numerous G:sson and especially Siegel songs. Laurel just seems to be their current successor. But she has yet to give us a gem like Euphoria, or Crisalide.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Genuine misunderstandings from both sides, I hope. It feels a bit like watching two family members arguing at Christmas. Awkward.

Paul
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Paul

Scraping for drama – there’s no rule break

Tom
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Tom

This is terrible rip off of Chameleon mixed with one of Margaret songs. Typical fan wank that will end up in the semifinal. Norway deserves better!