Beach House Comment on Volkswagen’s Statement Over Alleged Song Plagiarism
It's been about a month since a British Volkswagen commercial surfaced online featuring a song that shared a very peculiar similarity to a tune by Beach House. The Baltimore dream-pop duo has since gone on the record to reveal that an agency working for VW commissioned a professional music team called Sniffy Dog to compose the sound-alike, only after they turned down multiple requests to license their tune 'Take Care.' And while Beach House originally blamed the ad agency and not VW, it seems that they may have changed their tune after a spokeswoman for the German automaker made a statement about the whole ordeal.
“We greatly respect the talent of Beach House and never set out to replicate a specific song of theirs or anyone else’s," reads the statement, part of which was posted on the band's Facebook page and part of which was quoted in a New York Times article. "Most important to us was to find a track which matched the narrative of the advert, telling the story of the daughter’s growing up and the evolving relationship with her father, and we believe we have achieved this in the final edits."
The statement was posted on Facebook under the comment "VW cop out big time," and guitarist Alex Scally went on to tell the Times that it has caused much confusion among fans. “The worst thing is that it feels like something close to what we made," he said. "A feeling and a sentiment and an energy has been copied and is being used to sell something we didn’t want to sell.”
Beach House are possibly considering legal action, but if they pursue any it would be using the so-called “right to publicity" law and not any sort of copyright violation charges against the car maker, the ad agency and Sniffy Dog. Such an approach would seek compensation for damage to the band's image and reputation caused by that fact that some fans believed Beach House had indeed licensed the song for the commercial.
Because in the end, proving that Sniffy Dog had plagiarized a substantive portion of the Beach House tune is not going to be easy -- no matter how firm Scally is in his personal beliefs . “The fact there is such lyrical similarity, and the fact the snare drum comes in when this message comes in, just feels very invasive,” says Scally. “They are using not just textural things, which people take all the time. They are using an actual musical moment.”