As our writer Melissa Caruso covered extensively in a previous issue of Elmore, licensing is a big business for musicians, especially with record sales dropping each year. However, companies have found a way to avoid paying out the big bucks for songs by popular artists: hiring musicians and songwriters to create “soundalikes,” songs that sound like a specific artist but are different enough in melody and arrangement to avoid a lawsuit. The Black Keys have not been a fan of this process, having already sued Pizza Hut and Home Depot for illegally re-creating two songs off of their album El Camino (both cases were settled out of court). Now, the band are back in court suing a casino company for running ads with a song very similar to their hit “Howlin’ For You.”
According to reports in The Hollywood Reporter, the band’s lawyers allege that the owners of L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles made advertisements for the casino using a soundalike recording that bears enough similarities to “Howlin’ For You” to constitute a case of copywright infringement. The casino owners have yet to comment on the case officially, but they answered accusations of theft by fans on Twitter by saying that they had purchased “a licensed musical interpretation of the song.” However, all recordings of the offending ads have been taken down from Youtube.
Watch the video for “Howlin’ For You” below: