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Tuesday
May142013

Gotye Nailed for $1 Million for Use of a Sample

"Somebody That I Used to Know" was a massive hit for Gotye, charting in more than 30 countries. But how many people know that the song coalesces around a guitar riff plucked from a 1967 jazz recording?

Gotye sampled a portion of "Seville" by a Brazilian classical guitarist named Luiz Bonifa. The first few bits of lyrics are also said to have been inspired by Bonifa.  See?

Before the song was released, Gotye did the right think and licensed the sample from Bonifa's people, promising to hand over a whopping 45% of the song's royalties.  And that has added up to a rather healthy sum.

A conservative estimate is $1 million, but that doesn't take into account YouTube plays or any kind of streaming royalties.

Bonifa isn't around to enjoy the sudden riches, though.  He's been dead for close to a decade.  But his family is thrilled.

(Via Courier Mail.  Thanks to John for the tip.)

Reader Comments (3)

While this story is interesting—I <3 Gotye) and I'm happy for Bonifa's family—I think your headline is a tad misleading. Was he really "nailed" if he licensed the sample? The term usually means "to expose so as to discredit" and it's not really the case. Thanks, as always, for the good stories, though!

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTaryn

Yeah, I agree...it is a good story and it's great to see that Gotye recognises in cold hard dollars what the core inspiration is worth :)

May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I agree, that's a misleading headline. It makes it sound like Gotye used the sample without a license and has been ordered to pay damages. I suppose it'll gather more hits than "Sample in Gotye song nets $1 million for jazz musician's estate."

May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroyliss

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