By now you’ve no doubt heard about the controversy surrounding Leona Lewis’ track “Collide,” but now that some of the smoke around the original story has finally cleared, we’re back with more food for thought. We all know that Avicii legally secured the rights for the original sample from Penguin Cafe Orchestra, and when Leona’s camp approached him for rights to the track, Avicii was in no position to license it as the release was already scheduled and complete. Even after sending Leona a completely finished track with the Autumn Rowe “Fade Into Darkness” vocals over it, Syco was ruthless in its intent to use the track, and when AtNight refused even more generous offers, all lines of communication between the two camps were torn down.
That’s mostly a rehash of what we’ve heard up to now, but what we’ve really been curious about is what Avicii planned to do next. Keep reading for a look at the situation.
Syco, which is backed by Sony Music, is a much larger entity than AtNight, which represents Avicii, who hasn’t even been signed to a major label yet (individual releases are signed, but not Tim himself). AtNight is a small management company with Avicii (and more recently Cazzette) as clients, and it probably doesn’t have the money nor the manpower of a major record label to pursue a legal case that could drag on for years in court. Not to mention the fact that if Avicii and crew didn’t win the case, the young company might not be able to take the blow.
We’re told that Avicii continues to focus on nothing but his music, and that “Fade Into Darkness” was just the first in a string of big upcoming releases, the next of which is scheduled to be “Le7els.” Getting involved in a legal pursuit would most likely mean a major distraction for Ash Pournouri, Avicii’s manager and executive producer, and could detract from his ability to work hand in hand with him on current and future tracks until the legal stuff was out of the way.
It seems that Syco and even Leona herself have tried to cover this poor judgment call by crediting Avicii on the production, and going as far as to indicate that they have agreed to split royalties. However, sources tell us that this is most definitely not the case, and that AtNight has not even heard Leona’s track in any official capacity, but only what’s surfaced online. There are no legal agreements for use of the track, and Syco’s silence on the matter is suspect for sure. In response to a Tweet by Leona just this morning, Avicii responds “@leonalewismusic thanks for accusing me of lying and speaking on my behalf.” He also asks for a name of the person who supposedly signed off on the situation in the first place.
Decisions on Syco’s part in the promotion of Leona’s track also set off some red flags, and if there had been a deal in place, Avicii for sure would’ve required a hold on their release, as “Fade Into Darkness” was much closer to it. Combine that with an incredibly aggressive marketing campaign by Sony and Leona on BBC Radio 1 and on Twitter a full two months before release date, and you can see why the who situation looks fishy.
Unfortunately, it seems like like justice may never be served in this case of David versus Goliath, where money and influence mean more than talent and originality. We’ve still yet to get responses to any of our numerous emails to Sony Music, and its silence on the matter beyond crediting Avicii in the eleventh hour is the extent of its public statements. We’re not sure we’ll ever really know the complete tale of what went on behind the scenes, but this game of “he said, she said” has got to come to an end soon.
PS: We thought we’d share this mashup of the two tracks just so you can see how incredibly similar they are. In its reproduction of the original track, Sandy Vee copied melodies that were 100% original contributions by Avicii. Listen for yourself.
Avicii vs Leona Lewis – Penguins Collide Into Darkness