Taylor Swift is a pop music juggernaut. She’s songs are everywhere, she’s inspired legions of devoted fans, and she’s even parlayed her catchy, chart-topping hits into a burgeoning movie career. All of this attention, however, has a downside, as the 25-year-old songstress is being sued for stealing one of her biggest songs.
The New York Daily News reports that a 50-year-old R&B musician named Jesse Graham has filed a lawsuit against the Grammy-winning Swift. The charge says that she ripped off a song he wrote, “Haters Gonna Hate,” for her 2014 mega smash “Shake It Off,” and he is looking for $42 million dollars out of the whole deal.
Musically, the two songs have almost nothing in common, aside from the fact that they’re both songs of course. Jesse Graham’s rhythmic slow jam features the phrase “Haters gonna hate, players gonna play,” while the chorus of Taylor Swift’s up tempo pop number is “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” He claims that the two songs have the same hook, and that Swift uses it 72 times in her song.
According to Graham, there is “no way” that Swift could possibly have come up with those lyrics without having first heard his song, and told the Daily News:
If I didn't write the song “Haters Gone Hate,” there wouldn't be a song called “Shake It Off.”
For the sake of comparison, here is Swift’s 2014 smash hit from her album 1989.
And here you can check out “Haters Gonna Hate.” Like I said, there’s not much musical connection between the two, aside from the lyrical similarities.
While launching a $42 million lawsuit may seem a bit extreme, Graham didn’t just instantaneously leap to that step. Initially he simply wanted to be credited as a writer on “Shake It Off,” which, considering that the single is eight times platinum, would probably mean a rather nice payday. He also asked that Taylor Swift take a selfie with him.
Though he has spoken to Swift’s label and representatives a handful of times, he has repeatedly been dismissed and told that his claims have no validity. After being rebuffed time and again, he finally decided that legal action was his only course.
We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, but now that you’ve heard the two songs and have had a chance to compare them, do you think that Graham has a case?