There were a number of notable moments at Kanye West’s public hearing for his new album “Eagles” in Miami late Monday night — including Nazi imagery, a lyric that referenced anti-Semitism, and West wearing a black Ku Klux Klansman hoodie — but One of the moments was his standout moment. He used the Backstreet Boys’ 1997 song “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” in the first song he played called “Everybody”.
The legalities related to this use are more complex than they may seem. Instead of extracting a sample from the boy band, the song features a recreated chorus from Charlie Wilson, who joins West, Ty Dolla $ign, and Lil Baby on the track — an interpolation, which is essentially a cover of part of the song re-sung or played back in Another song.
While a sample may require permission from both the record company and the publisher (or whoever those rights holders are), since interpolation does not use a recording, only the publisher’s permission is required.
The Backstreet Boys are not the authors of the song, which takes credit for the success of mega-hitmaker Max Martin and his late mentor Denise Pope. Therefore, the group had no control over the use of that song, or any other song for which the songwriters were not credited; The Martin or Bob estate is supposed to have done this but it appears they did not.
It’s also possible that since the song hasn’t been released yet and isn’t making money, West could simply play it publicly but not officially release it, which wouldn’t constitute copyright infringement (David Guetta did just that last fall with his song that included a fake verse from Artificial intelligence production.)
Representatives for Backstreet, Martin, and his publisher, Kobalt, declined or did not respond diverseRequested for comment on the song’s use, a Kobalt rep simply added: “We do not comment on legal matters.”
West’s album, titled “Vultures,” is supposed to be released late Thursday, although it remains unclear who his distributor will be. West parted ways with his longtime label, Def Jam, and publisher, Sony Music Publishing, in 2021 upon the expiration of his contracts with both, though this news did not become public until he began spewing unapologetically anti-Semitic comments, resulting in him losing deals Multiple profitable business, last year.
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