Ministry accuses Syco of stealing song for Leona comeback

By | Published on Monday 18 July 2011

Ministry Of Sound

Ministry Of Sound has hit back at Simon Cowell’s Syco record company after the Sony division seemingly claimed that the dance label, or one of its artists, had cleared the use of one its tracks as the backdrop to the new record by Leona Lewis.

As soon as the new song from one time ‘X-Factor’ winner Lewis premiered on Radio 1 on Friday, the internet was ablaze with comment that the music used was exactly the same as that in the instrumental track called ‘Penguin’ by rising superstar DJ Avicii. ‘Penguin’, which has enjoyed airplay on various specialist dance shows, is due to be released with vocals under the name ‘Fade Into Darkness’ by the Ministry label.

As reports circulated that the clubbing giant was consulting its lawyers, a rep for Syco reportedly told the tabs that there was “zero legal case to answer” because “Avicii is already credited as a songwriter on Leona’s song, it’s a case of sour grapes from Ministry Of Sound”.

But, of course, a mere credit (or, for that matter, royalties paid through collecting society MCPS) is not enough if you want to take someone else’s music, drop your own lyrics on top, and release it as a record. Therefore, for Syco’s claim that there is “zero legal case to answer” to be true, Avicii or one of his representatives would have had to have given permission for his music to be used.

And, they all say, no such permission was given. Indeed, they add, they didn’t even know about the Lewis track until it came on the radio, and can only assume Syco got a copy because Ministry Of Sound had been seeking a vocalist for its release and had sent demos of the original track to various music companies as part of that search.

Responding to reports about Syco’s response, Avicii himself took to Twitter this weekend to say: “To answer everyone, the first time I heard Leona Lewis ‘Collide’ was today. I didn’t produce it and neither me nor my manager could approve it… I’m just upset for someone taking credit of our idea before I had a chance to release it… And for the time and effort that has been put into this by my manager and label”.

Meanwhile that manager, Ash Pournouri, released his own statement, saying: “We never got to hear the track before it was promoed on radio, how could we clear anything? We’re not amateurs – we don’t sign papers without knowing what we’re getting into”.

Ministry Of Sound is reportedly preparing a legal response to the release of ‘Collide’ and Syco’s comments about the use of the Avicii track. Meanwhile a source close to Ministry told CMU: “Ministry Of Sound signed Avicii a year ago and have been working on vocal ideas for over six months on the ‘Penguin’ track. Meanwhile Pete Tong, Annie Mac, and Scott Mills have been playing the instrumental for months now. But this week we’ve realised Simon Cowell and Leona Lewis have stolen the record”.

We await Syco’s second response.