‘Harlem Shake’ Samples Used Without Permission; Artists Seek Payment

"Harlem Shake"

(from Billboard.biz, March 11, 2013) The “Harlem Shake” by Baauer has become a recent chart topper and YouTube sensation. The song has been featured in many YouTube videos where one dances alone for 15 seconds and is then joined by a large group who all dance to the recently famous song. The track, that was released in April 2012 for BBC Radio 1, is a collection of hip-hop and dance music that features synth riffs, a small rap sample, some animalistic noises with some drum and bass sounds to create one big dance party hit. Two very distinct moments in the song are ¬†voices saying “Do the Harlem Shake!” and “Con los terrorists.” Both of these phrases, unfortunately, are not said by the voice of Baauer but instead by rapper Jayson Musson and Hector Delgado, respectively. Both of these artists were unaware of their involvement in this recent music hit. Musson, who recorded the “Do the Harlem Shake!” line in a 2001 song by Plastic Little called “Miller Time,” found out that his line was used in Baauer’s song last February ¬†and is seeking compensation from Mad Decent Records. On the bright side, Musson was flattered and even thanked Baauer for “doing something useful with our annoying music.” After talks with Mad Decent Records, he will receive compensation for his sample. Hector Delgado was informed of the use of his sample in “Harlem Shake” just a few weeks ago by his former manager, Javier Gomez. His sample, “Con los terrorists” is from his track “Los Terroristas.” Unlike Musson, Delgado is not being so understanding with the ordeal that Baauer did not receive permission to use his sample. The Latin artist described the incident to the New York Times, “It’s almost like they came on my land and built a house.” Lawyers for Machete Music, Delgado’s former label, are discussing appropriate compensation with Mad Decent Records. Delgado’s manager threatened to stop the song because of the incident. Even with the legal involvement of this pop culture phenomenon, “Harlem Shake” continues to stay on Billboard’s Hot 100 and shows no result of the incident.