Lady Gaga Just Responded to a Songwriter's Claim That "Shallow" Stole His Melody
Karaoke staple and Oscar-winning song from A Star is Born, "Shallow" may find itself in hot water. A songwriter named Steve Ronsen is threatening to take legal action against Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson, the duo responsible for writing and recording "Shallow." Ronsen claims that the song borrows from his work, specifically a song called "Almost."
Entertainment Tonightreports that "Shallow" borrows a three-note progression that's present in "Almost." Vanity Fair reports that the song had about 300 streams on SoundCloud before the news of the possible copycat situation broke and that it's now boasting over 20,000 streams. The magazine adds that after a court case ruled in favor of the Marvin Gaye estate over Pharrell and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," the idea of suing over copying bits and pieces from pieces of music has become more common. In that case, the Gaye estate won $5 million.
"It was brought to my attention by many people that the 'Shallow' song sounds like mine. I did not seek this out, I haven’t even seen the movie (I heard it’s pretty good)," Ronsen said in a statement to ET. "I admire Lady Gaga and I just want to get to the bottom of this. There are other writers that wrote the 'Shallow' song, including Mark Ronson. I have secured a musicologist who also agrees that the songs are similar. I am simply going about this how anyone else would investigate any possible infringement."
Orin Snyder, Lady Gaga's attorney, released a statement that addressed Ronsen's accusations and his lawyer's claims. As for the "musicologist," Gaga and her team enlisted their own and found that there was really no question about plagiarism, since the whole track is based on a "three-note progression" that's pretty common in the world of music. ET adds that no actual legal case has been opened, which could be an indication that this is all just a play for attention from Ronsen.
"Mr. Ronsen and his lawyer are trying to make easy money off the back of a successful artist. It is shameful and wrong,” he said to ET. “I applaud Lady Gaga for having the courage and integrity to stand up on behalf of successful artists who find themselves on the receiving end of opportunistic claims such as this. Should Mr. Shirian proceed with the case, Lady Gaga will fight it vigorously and will prevail.”
"We provided Mr. Shirian a lengthy letter with the findings of multiple leading musicologists, each of whom found no actionable similarities between the two songs," the statement continued. "Even Shirian's own musicologist acknowledged the generic three note progression is present in many other songs predating his client’s song."
Things could go from shallow to deep real quick depending on whether or not this goes to court.