This is for you dance music lovers out there. Who did it better, AVICII “Fade Into Darkness” or Leona Lewis‘ new single “Collide”. The web is abuzz over who borrowed what from who and when why and how. Here’s how it went down:

A new track from Leona Lewis just hit the Internet, and if you’ve heard “Collide,” you’ll notice that it bears an uncanny resemblance to a track from none other than Tim Berg, “Fade Into Darkness.” We’re used to hearing about friendships and partnerships in the DJ world, but this is one that certainly departs from that clean track record.

You may remember that Avicii previewed the track in question — which was at that time referred to as “Penguin” — all the way back in December, as part of his BBC Radio 1 “Essential Mix.” It was sampled from a tune called “Perpetuum Mobile,” which originated from the Penguin Cafe Orchestra back in the late 80s. (See what they did with the name there?)

According to Tim’s management, when the vocal track was commissioned, it was pitched to Leona Lewis without their knowledge, at which point in time her camp expressed interest in using the track on her upcoming album.

Here’s where things start to get fishy. SyCo, Simon Cowell’s label that represents Leona, was apparently turned down by AtNight, since “Penguin” / “Fade Into Darkness” was already Tim’s next planned single. Still, Leona’s people liked the track so much that they brought in producer heavyweight Sandy Vee to essentially reproduce the track for use with Leona’s vocals — all without AtNight’s knowledge or approval.

Fast forward to today, when the duo has revealed the track to be called “Collide,” with a scheduled release in September. Today was also the first time Avicii’s crew even heard the track, and only when chatter on Twitter got back that there was some funny business going on. Now Leona’s camp is pitching the track to BBC Radio 1, and from what we hear, the radio station is inclined to support The X Factor winner’s track over the young Swede’s, despite the fact that most onlookers credit the original production to Tim Berg. We’ve heard that Simon Cowell himself has been involved in the debacle, apparently disregarding Ministry of Sound — who has picked up “Fade Into Darkness” and represents Tim — and trying to push the track thru the Radio 1 pipe to airtime.

Ministry of Sound has come out swinging, however, and has directly accused Leona and crew of plagiarizing the track for their own profit. To complicate matters, unconfirmed reports on Twitter are now saying that Avicii is listed as a co-producer, but we have confirmed that AtNight Management has absolutely not agreed to any such arrangements, and that no legal documents have been signed by anyone involved.

UPDATE: Avicii himself has finally taken to Twitter to share his side of the story. In a series of Tweets, he first credits the Penguin Cafe Orchestra for the original sample, and goes on to express his disappointment at someone “taking our idea” before he had the chance to release it. We don’t deny it’s a sticky situation, but at the same time, the track has leaked in various forms over the past few months, and doesn’t yet have an official release date. In this mess though, who knows when that’ll happen.

UPDATE #2: Avicii’s management has released a statement regarding the matter:

“We never got to hear the track before it was promoed on radio, how could we clear anything? We’re not amateurs – we don’t sign papers without knowing what [we’re] getting into.” – Ash Pournouri, Manager and Executive Producer of Avicii

UPDATE #3: The debate as it played out on Twitter between Sandy Vee and Avicii:



Avicii vs Leona Lewis Part II: what happens next?

By now you’ve no doubt heard about the controversy surrounding Leona Lewis’ track “Collide,” but now that some of the smoke around the original story has finally cleared, we’re back with more food for thought. We all know that Avicii legally secured the rights for the original sample from Penguin Cafe Orchestra, and when Leona’s camp approached him for rights to the track, Avicii was in no position to license it as the release was already scheduled and complete. Even after sending Leona a completely finished track with the Autumn Rowe “Fade Into Darkness” vocals over it, Syco was ruthless in its intent to use the track, and when AtNight refused even more generous offers, all lines of communication between the two camps were torn down.

That’s mostly a rehash of what we’ve heard up to now, but what we’ve really been curious about is what Avicii planned to do next. Keep reading for a look at the situation.

Syco, which is backed by Sony Music, is a much larger entity than AtNight, which represents Avicii, who hasn’t even been signed to a major label yet (individual releases are signed, but not Tim himself). AtNight is a small management company with Avicii (and more recently Cazzette) as clients, and it probably doesn’t have the money nor the manpower of a major record label to pursue a legal case that could drag on for years in court. Not to mention the fact that if Avicii and crew didn’t win the case, the young company might not be able to take the blow.

We’re told that Avicii continues to focus on nothing but his music, and that “Fade Into Darkness” was just the first in a string of big upcoming releases, the next of which is scheduled to be “Le7els.” Getting involved in a legal pursuit would most likely mean a major distraction for Ash Pournouri, Avicii’s manager and executive producer, and could detract from his ability to work hand in hand with him on current and future tracks until the legal stuff was out of the way.

It seems that Syco and even Leona herself have tried to cover this poor judgment call by crediting Avicii on the production, and going as far as to indicate that they have agreed to split royalties. However, sources tell us that this is most definitely not the case, and that AtNight has not even heard Leona’s track in any official capacity, but only what’s surfaced online. There are no legal agreements for use of the track, and Syco’s silence on the matter is suspect for sure. In response to a Tweet by Leona just this morning, Avicii responds “@leonalewismusic thanks for accusing me of lying and speaking on my behalf.” He also asks for a name of the person who supposedly signed off on the situation in the first place.

Decisions on Syco’s part in the promotion of Leona’s track also set off some red flags, and if there had been a deal in place, Avicii for sure would’ve required a hold on their release, as “Fade Into Darkness” was much closer to it. Combine that with an incredibly aggressive marketing campaign by Sony and Leona on BBC Radio 1 and on Twitter a full two months before release date, and you can see why the who situation looks fishy.

Unfortunately, it seems like like justice may never be served in this case of David versus Goliath, where money and influence mean more than talent and originality. We’ve still yet to get responses to any of our numerous emails to Sony Music, and its silence on the matter beyond crediting Avicii in the eleventh hour is the extent of its public statements. We’re not sure we’ll ever really know the complete tale of what went on behind the scenes, but this game of “he said, she said” has got to come to an end soon.

Read more at ONTD:

Here is Avicii’s instrumental: