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Henry Adaso

On Eminem, Skepta, and DMCA Abuse

By July 19, 2011

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Whoever invented the idea of paying others to do your work must have been a music mogul.  "Money talks," we're constantly reminded in the music industry, where this practice is also known as "business as usual."

Case in point: the recent story involving Interscope Records and rapper Skepta. Skepta is a U.K.-based grime artist with a respectable following in the States. He writes his own rhymes and makes his own beats; and while he's no Rakim, his production has always impressed me. Also impressed by Skepta's production? Jimmy Iovine, head honcho of Interscope Records.

As Torrent Freak first reported, Iovine heard Skepta's new single, "Dare to Dream," on YouTube and fell in love with it. So he did what any fair and reasonable businessman would do--he sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, citing copyrights violation for a song he didn't own. Then, he emailed Skepta asking if he could buy the track for his star rapper Eminem.

A conflicted Skepta thumbed an explanation on his Twitter page:

"Just got a f*%king CRAZY email. I don't know if I should be angry or privileged. This explains why the f*%k YouTube took 'Dare To Dream' off," he tweeted. "Jimmy Iovine Interscope heard my new single 'Dare To Dream' and decided he wanted to sign it for Eminem hence Universal takin it off YouTube."

He added: "I overly love the song but at the same time I do understand Eminem together with the 'Dare To Dream' chorus will be absolutely f*%king CRAZY."

After consulting with his team, Skepta decided to cede the track to Iovine. "Being in an industry where money talks," he explained, "everybody involved in the 'Dare To Dream' project came to a conclusion to sign it to Interscope."

YouTube has been scrambling to expunge the track from the web, but new versions keep popping up. A cursory glance at the YouTube comments shows an overwhelming sense of disapproval from Skepta fans. Many of them think he should've kept the track for himself.

I'm not mad at Skepta for doing what most of his peers would've done. And Eminem will, no doubt, murder that track. It's the way Iovine went about securing it that bothers me. It's an abuse of the DMCA vehicle and sets a terrible precedent for the industry.

Skepta - Dare to Dream

Comments

July 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm
(1) Old School Music Lover says:

Agreed…this was pretty shi%^y of Interscope records. They have plenty of talent, resources and rappers/singers. One thing that bugs me is that all these new song writers/producers take someone elses art than to create their own.

July 20, 2011 at 1:27 am
(2) Sterfish says:

The thing that bugs me about this is the arrogance of getting the song taken down before asking to buy it. What would’ve happened if Skepta had said no?

Also, the way this went down makes me think this could be a common practice. This is an easy way to bully indie artists and producers.

July 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm
(3) Old School Music Lover says:

Exactly…and it will continue to happen because small inde artists are in a tight spot…sell the song and get paid (which I can’t blame them) or make song for the love of music, but never get discovered.

That’s why I think the internet for inde artists will hopefully level the playing fields. giving independent singers/artists a venue to showcase their music without have need to be mainstream.

July 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm
(4) big yogi says:

I dn’t blame skepta because it was probly one of Skepta’s biggest paydays.

July 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm
(5) Interscope records says:

Was never like that! Eminem wanted to Buy this song cz of an English Rapper.

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