News: "Harlem Shake" Could Face Big Problems

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 6:20PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Musician Baauer may need to call up his best legal team as new reports claim his infectious "Harlem Shake" anthem has unauthorized copyrighted samplings on it.

According to reports, at least two artists have their voices used on one of the most popular global tracks right now.

Hector Delgado gave up being a reggaetón artist five years ago to become an evangelical preacher in Puerto Rico. So it was something of a surprise when his former manager, Javier Gómez, called him three weeks ago and said his voice could be clearly heard on "Harlem Shake," a song that had gone viral on the Internet and then climbed to the top of the pop chart. He wasn't alone. Jayson Musson, a rapper from Philadelphia, received an excited call from another member of the former rap collective Plastic Little, who told him that his voice could be heard on the hit song as well, yelling out the key phrase "Do the Harlem Shake!" Neither gave permission to the song's producer and writer, Harry Bauer Rodrigues, who records under the name Baauer, to use snippets of their records, they said. (New York Times)

While details are still surfacing, the musicians reportedly want to receive a check for the smash hit.

Both Mr. Musson and Mr. Delgado are seeking compensation from Mad Decent Records, which put out the single last year. The label and Mr. Rodrigues declined to comment. But the tale of how an obscure dance track containing possible copyright violations rose to the top of pop charts illustrates not only the free-for-all nature of underground dance music but also the power of an Internet fad to create a sudden hit outside the major-label system. (New York Times)

Despite a huge current buzz, "Harlem Shake" reportedly dropped back in early 2012.

The Internet is full of free downloads, but most don't end up topping the charts like Baauer's "Harlem Shake." The single was brought to market through a label as uncommon as the track's quirky success story. Jeffrees, a sub-label of Diplo's Mad Decent, released the track last year through its usual structure: first for free, via a non-exclusive deal, then as a paid download. The unique approach that not only bolstered the tune's indie credibility, but worked for the label too (to the extent that yesterday Warner Bros. announced a deal that will see it distributing and providing other services for the single). (Billboard Biz)

Coincidentally, Dipset's Jim Jones recently revealed he initially had the track but did not capitalize off of it.

"Well actually, that was record mine's for like a year," Jones revealed in an interview. "I had that record a year ago and I never, it was supposed to be for Pauly D's album and we never did nothing with it so when I started to hear this 'Harlem Shake' and I heard the beat, I was like, 'D*mn. I had that beat already for a year.' So I just put the [remix] record out. Yeah. ... I been had that record before anybody even thought about that record. It was a record for Pauly D's album for 'Jersey Shore.'" ("Jenny Boom Boom")

Check out the Miami Heat's take on "Harlem Shake":,/p>

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