Copyright infringement is one of the most common instances of lawsuits in the music industry. It’s possible to get away with using a few notes or quoting a brief phrase from an existing composition, however, copyright laws have become stricter, and artists are being accused of stealing parts of songs and using them as their own.
This creates constraints on creativity and has consequences for creators which wouldn’t be present if copyright laws didn’t exist. Pop music, for example, has signature elements which mark its genre, therefore creating music which doesn’t sound similar to another pop song is extremely difficult.
With the tightening of copyright laws through the years, artists are provided with less opportunities to be creative and borrow elements from older songs which could foster innovation and heighten their music. It is difficult to create content which hasn’t in some way been used in the past, as musical passages tend to evolve and become modernized rather than disappear.
In recent years, pop has had a love affair with disco, bringing to life the grooves of the 80s through a different lens. Disco revivalism has been buoyed in electronic music, pop, and even indie in some instances, introducing a modern rebirth. This example clearly shows the evolution and collaboration in music without the fear of being criticized for producing something which already exists.
Making music is a form of expression, thus no artist should be forced to overthink what they produce, setting limits on their creativity. Yes, uniqueness is key, however, there should be room for music which has inspired mankind throughout centuries.
If not motivated by previous generations, music today wouldn’t sound the same. If artists don’t have the freedom to take content and create their own versions of existing materials, then a big chunk of innovation will automatically be taken away.
Making original music without taking into consideration previous influences is a very difficult task to accomplish, and copyright laws have made it extremely difficult for artists to create freely, without the stress of being ‘called out’. This may influence the music industry in the long run as the emphasis and effort will be set on making music which doesn’t sound like anything else, rather than creating something which expresses the artist truly.