Harlem Shake in trouble over unlicensed samples

Harlem shake, the newest viral phenomenon, just doesn’t seem to stay out of the news. This time it has found the creator of the Harlem Shake music in hot water because of uncleared samples he used in the track.

Electronic artist Baauer has found himself in trouble with two separate artistes seeking compensation for using samples from their tracks in the Harlem Shake track. The New York Times has reported that both Reggaetón artist Hector "El Father" Delgado and MC Jayson Musson from Philadelphia were both shocked to hear their samples on the Internet sensation Harlem Shake. They emphasised on the fact that they had not given permission to Baauer for their performances to be used on Harlem Shake.


Viral trouble


Delgado, now an evangelical preacher in Puerto Rico, is the voice in the beginning of the track that goes “Con los terrroristas” while Musson ends the track with the trademark “Do the Harlem Shake” in the middle of the 30 second video clip, following which everyone starts thrashing around.

Both Delgado and Musson are now seeking compensation from Mad Decent Records, which put out the single last year.

“It’s almost like they came on my land and built a house,” said Delgado. His former manager Javier Gomez is quite sure that he will gain compensation from Mad Decent. “Hector will get what he deserves. We can turn around and stop that song. That’s a clear breaking of intellectual property rights.”

Musson, on the other hand, isn’t too bothered. He thanked Baauer for “doing something useful with our annoying music” and is still negotiating with Mad Decent over royalties.

Baauer, whose real name is Harry Bauer Rodrigues, claimed that he found Delgado’s recording online. “The dude in the beginning I got off the Internet, I don’t even know where,” he told The Daily Beast.

While taking samples off the internet to use in underground electronic music is not a new occurrence, the Harlem Shake has transcended beyond being a small fry track. The viral sensation has sold 816,000 digital downloaded copies as of Friday, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and has been on top of the Billboard 100 pop chart for three weeks now. 

YouTube revealed in a blog post titled "The Harlem Shake has Exploded" that the viral meme had spread to crazy levels in a matter of days. Versions of the video are being uploaded to the tune of 4,000 videos a day. Not just uploads, the number of views have crossed 400 million, mostly because people are trying to understand what this video is all about, we believe.


We bet Baauer was not expecting this viral explosion when he used the samples off the Internet. Mad Decent has quite a controversy on its hands now.

Published Date: Mar 11, 2013 16:00 PM | Updated Date: Mar 11, 2013 16:00 PM