Black Keys Sue Similar Songwriters

After settling with Pizza Hut and other advertisers for using their songs last year, the band are now targeting "soundalike" songs which intentionally sound like them on other adverts.

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After settling a lawsuit against advertisers who used their songs without permission last year, the Black Keys are now targeting ad songs that merely sound similar to their own.

To explain, here's how music works in advertising. A company could buy the rights to a song by a major artist like the Black Keys, but it's expensive.

If they want the Black Keys sound and style for less money, a company can go to a production house who can record something similar but with a different composition to avoid lawsuits. That is, until now.

Billboard reports that the band are taking Pinnacle Entertainment and Manhattan Production Music to court for using "substantially similar" music in their adverts for a chain of casinos.

It is alleged that a representative for the casino had casually mentioned that the apparently similar song was "a licensed track inspired by 'Howlin' for You' by The Black Keys." It seems like the band picked up on this admission, and a similar comment on the casino's Twitter feed.

Meanwhile, drummer Patrick Carney says musicians should never feel entitled to anything.

"We've definitely worked hard, but a lot of bands have worked just as hard. You just have to feel really lucky. Never feel like youre entitled to it because then you just sort of turn into a prick," he told 93XRT.

Hear "Howlin' For You" by the Black Keys here:

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117 comments sorted by best / new / date

    TTP Penguin
    Let's hope AC/DC don't get wind of this, otherwise Airbourne are screwed!
    BjarnedeGraaf
    I was about to say the same, damn you sir! damn you to hell! xD
    rolandroi
    I was about to type the exact same sentence you just wrote. and it's very unnecessary for me to say this. Damn!
    MattHessing
    "Never feel like youre entitled to it" Surely a feeling of entitlement is the basis of any lawsuit?
    ihartfood
    I can't stand their antics but I really do dig their tunes. It's also cool that Dan brought back Dr John. But suing Pizza hut, randomass TV commercials and talking bad about just about any band they can think of gets on my nerves. To a certain extent i think it's okay to speak your mind about other musicians, but not to the extreme they seem to take it.
    GhostPlayground
    The ironic thing is that the Black Keyes have allowed more bands to use their music in ads than any other band in the world.
    the_resistance
    i don't think that's about the lawsuit. i think he's talking more about their success
    MattHessing
    "Meanwhile, drummer Patrick Carney says musicians should never feel entitled to anything ." I know that's just me quoting UG, thus making my point invalid. But Whatever...
    sonofgkex
    Everything these hipster pieces of slime say it pretty much moronic.
    fastfingers10
    I agree. To me, they come off as somewhat egotistical (and as immature as this sounds) I'm already getting sick of them since they're already over played on the radio. Also, I hate hipsters.
    twiggy3634
    Hypocritical, considering they steal their sound from every delta blues band from the 80s, as well as hendrix's bluesy tracks
    sonofgkex
    And they don't even do it very well. Black Keyes suck big donkey balls. And they like it.
    joelisonfire
    I never really listened to the black keys before, and now I've got a reason not to listen to them! douchebags!
    CoolMcAwesome
    what is next? They sue other bands for using and A chord with the delay set to the same millisecond? "Hey that is the way WE used the A chord, you can't do that"
    Spychosis
    "Never feel like youre entitled to it because then you just sort of turn into a prick" Then a prick you have become.
    TheSilverBeatle
    All the Black Keys do is rip off old blues music. They are a poor-man's White Stripes. I don't see how they can sue an ad company for making generic ad music that sounds like them. I never liked this band and now I like them even less.
    Superperfex
    I agree with you on this one. They haven't done anything groundbreaking whatsoever. I mean, the fact that the 70's rock scene had a bunch of rock and roll artists that had similar sounds proves that it's just a part of the times. Bands influence each other and start to sound a bit like each other. It's not the time to sue other bands, it's a time to just write more material that is unique and special. For the Black Keys, it might be a tad hard for them though since, you know, what you said...
    MattHessing
    This is all true, but you have to remember that this case is based around people ripping off a specific song . It's not really the same as fitting into a pre-existing genre. I definately agree that this band aren't as original as alot of people seem to assume though!
    BjarnedeGraaf
    I disagree with you on the "groundbreaking" issue. they are fairly mainstream getting in some top charts in some countries. how long ago was the last blues guitarist who did that? they didnt invent blues, but I guess they brought it back to the public again. Thats sort of groundbreaking in this day and age. Which makes me think the same thing could be done with rock. On all other points I agree with you though.
    jordo246
    How is getting your music into the charts groundbreaking, that's what you're supposed to do
    Savage Animal
    White Stripes are a poor imitation of blues rock, the Black Keys are the real thing. listen to their first two albums if you don't believe me
    BassKid101
    I could not agree with you more, dear God. I don't have a huge problem with their music, even if it is just a rip off of old blues in a sense, and completely a poor man's White Stripes, but these guys are two of if the biggest dickhead's in music. They really aren't the fantastic musicians they think they are.
    The Demigod
    I figured getting married would chill this guy out. Guess he's just a natural douche.
    biff022
    What a joke! White dudes playing bad blues that have all been done to death a thousand times over!?!? Suing people over ripping off their ripoffs!?!?!? Saw them at Lolla and they were terrible. Saw them with the Stones and their sound was piss poor and their signal static-y... not to mention the drummer is the stiffest "pro" I've ever seen. It's a testament to the terrible state of rock music that these guys are in the mainstream. In the 90's and before, they'd be a one-off specialty blues act. Honestly, I'd rather listen to Blues Traveler for this type of white boy blues.
    pomes
    Reminds me a lot of this situation: http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/news/loca... Basically, a tune which sounded incredibly similar to The John Butler Trio's song Zebra was used in an ad for Oikos Greek Yoghurt, aired during the Superbowl last year. Last story short, there was a monetary settlement to JB.
    paulohd2
    I guess they have figured out that writing mediocre songs will only take them so far.
    Charvel1030
    I personally cant stand this band at all. I think the music blows and they in general are pricks. You havent done shit and you're talking shit about other bands and suing everyone you can think of. Guess they realize that they are not going to be around forever and they need to cash in any way possible. I hope thier bus crashes
    ne14t
    Just lost the little shred of respect I had for these ****ers. I have always found the drummer to be a mouthy little shit, I mean shit meg white is a better drummer in my books and well she drums like my 7 year old cousin...And of course they weren't influenced by the greats like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker...god damn hipsters. /end rant
    RamonesRock
    queens of the stone age - burn the witch
    black keys - howling for you sounds mighty similar to me
    unicornfist
    Funny seeing as how "Howlin' for You" is a copy of Queens of the Stone Age's "Burn the Witch".
    barrymiles
    I don't think they're close enough to call it a rip-off...but Burn The Witch is ****ing awesome.
    steve987
    Everything these guys do annoys me, I don't even know their music, and I'm glad I don't because they seem like complete dickheads.
    fastfingers10
    They are complete dickheads. There was an article about this issue (last summer?). They were insulting a few bands and calling them talentless (Nickelback being one of them which I COMPLETELY agree with). You guys think you are that much better than everyone else out there?
    mitchell.minami
    HA! That's fricken stupid, considering they're one of the biggest ripoffs. Little Black Submarine sounds like a ripoff of Led Zeppelin and RHCP.
    sciencefriction
    Everything these guys say is b/s. They're just blues rip off artists with nothing original to say.
    i_am_metalhead
    So a band that write completely mediocre, unoriginal music is suing someone for simply sounding like them? Looks like they're gonna have to sue half of the mainstream artists out there.
    Gibson0516
    I'll admit to liking some of their songs, even though they dissed on my favorite band (yes, Nickelback). But as people, these guys, especially the drummer, are d-bags.
    biff022
    I don't know how to respond to this... I mean... Nickelback and you like some songs but they're douches but... wow... at a loss. I guess I'll just vote you down for being Nickelbacks biggest fan.
    Redsectoreh
    These guys have really been choking the past few years. Terrible band, won't be too much longer until they dissolve when all of this hipster shit dies down.
    cloberdoor6
    5thCircuitRider
    Little Black Submarines is my fav song from them totz, don't forget about the part in the beginning that is pretty much Stairway to Heaven.
    Rick_Diculous
    Every song that goes Am, G, D is not automatically a Mary Jane's Last Dance ripoff. Little Black Submarines isn't and neither is Dani California.
    rabidgoon
    It's kind of amusing that a generic, boring, second-rate blue act would think that people are 'stealing their sound' when everything they've released is ostensibly stolen.
    CalumCanavan
    I really don't like their music, but I would respect them a hell of a lot more if they actually seemed like nice people.
    --ESTRANGED--
    what a pretentious bunch of ****s. never liked the black keys and for ****ing sure wont be buying anything of theirs in the future. they're mediocre at best and are nothing but 70s rip off merchants. sit there quietly you asshats.
    DirtyMac
    I really like the black keys and all.... but Little Black submarine is just the progression of mary janes last dance but after the second G he goes back to A instead of D then A.....
    TheBigDirty716
    These guys were a lot cooler when they weren't constantly chasing the $$$$$ around. But i guess you gotta get it while you can. especially when the only thing that sounds new on the albums is the addition of a few extra instruments.
    coltsteel
    Exactly..Substantially Similar..IF that's the case then no new music would ever get made. That's why all these bands are really into the electronics now. It hides the fact that their songs are just older songs disquised by their new shit. It makes it harder for older bands to sue.
    hhun
    So in all fairness, shouldn't Led Zeppelin be suing the Black Keys?
    Eifler121
    You guys haven't seen the commercials that rip them of, have you? It's almost every commercial now where it's either a Black Keys song or a rip off, with the tone and everything. They're not suing the Pack A.D. or Black Angels or a real band, they're suing advertisers whose sole intent is to bank off of the Black Keys' success.
    N7Crazy
    I like The black keys, so to qoute LCD Soundsystem (with a twist) Shut up, and play the blues!