The highly publicized court case between Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and Marvin Gaye’s family has finally come to a close. On Tuesday, the jury presiding over the trial found Thicke and Williams guilty of plagiarizing Gaye’s smash hit “Got To Give It Up” in the production of Thicke’s hit song “Blurred Lines”. Although evidence has appeared proving that “Blurred Lines” was an original production that was only influenced by “Got To Give It Up” the Marvin Gaye estate was still awarded 7.5 million dollars by the court.
The verdict passed in this trial has the potential to set a horrible precedent for music going forward. To simplify, Thicke and Williams were found guilty of creating a song that was influenced by another song. Most if not all musicians create music based on artists that influenced them. This is true for all music out in the marketplace today. Therefore this trial has opened the gateway for artists and their kin who feel entitled for inspiring a generation to sue up and coming artists for having music that is influenced by them.
What does this mean for indie artists? As an independent artist you and your team are all you have. Most of you do not have a machine behind you nor do you have the same connects as a major label artist. This means in the event that you are sued by an artist of critical acclaim your career could come to a dramatic end.
However, there are ways to avoid this. One option is to make sure any singles you release are not directly inspired by one artist as to not draw attention to yourself. You can also make songs that more musically diversified pulling from various genres. You can even try crafting music that sounds unique to you and you only.
Regardless of what you choose to do, the thought of someone suing you for using them as your inspiration is a scary thought indeed.