Shamoon Ismail, Bilal Khan embroiled in plagiarism controversy

Published: October 22, 2018

KARACHI: Shamoon Ismail can’t catch a break lately. He was recently threatened by a media company who wished to remake his song without permission. In recent development, the singer has now accused Bilal Khan for allegedly plagiarising another one of his tracks.

The Bachana hit-maker released his latest song titled Tere Saath four days ago and a lot of fans immediately noticed a striking similarity with Ismail’s Taare, which was released in August this year.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Ismail revealed a fan shared Khan’s new song with him and at first, he was doubtful whether it was merely a coincidence or not.

“So, I shared it with my musician friends and my followers and even they noticed it was very similar to Taare,” he said. “They pointed out the details in composition and it wasn’t just ardent fans speaking out but people actually went to a great length to draw comparisons. Someone even asked a professor from a US university and found out the composition was very similar.”

On the other hand, Khan has denied even knowing about Ismail or his music. In his Instagram post, he spoke out, saying, “A singer-songwriter Shamoon Ismail has accused me of copying his song. But this is the first time I’ve heard of him or his song. His fans have been commenting on my posts and sending messages. But I want to say I haven’t copied anything and I don’t even need to. I’ve been making music for a decade now and I’m proud of the music I make.”

As people drew comparisons between the opening guitar intro, Khan said there are so many contemporary pop songs which have used similar guitar riffs, such as Eastside by Benny Blanco, Love lies by Khalid and IDGAF by Dua Lipa.

“As far as the drum pattern is concerned, it’s also much popularised by The Chainsmokers.” He continued, “Having said that, I don’t find any similarities between the two songs. But if people think it’s similar, it’s purely coincidental.” Meanwhile, Ismail said, “Khan is living in denial. I don’t have anything personal against him. If he had asked me directly that he wanted to remix or remake the song, it probably would not have been an issue.”

In his Instagram post, the Coke Studio singer directed a question at Ismail. “If he genuinely feels I have ripped him off, I want to ask him what he wants to do now? Because I am also an independent artist, I don’t make money by releasing these songs online. My focus has always been making music and I don’t want any unnecessary drama to distract me from making the best music possible.”

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While Ismail will not take the legal route, he does intend on reporting the matter to YouTube. “I want to take legal action but I don’t plan to because we all know our pursuing it through court system doesn’t actually solve anything here. It’s a big hassle and it costs a lot of time and money. And then, he’s a more popular star than I am so it’s not going to hurt him anyway. It’s only going to hurt my value.”

He however will make a video response if YouTube takes it down.

Ismail admitted he didn’t attempt to directly contact Khan after the release of the song. “My stance was, at first, to figure whether it’s actually plagiarised or not. I received a lot of backlash after I called out the media company earlier because people thought it was a publicity stunt. I had to pull back out of it because that damages my brand value.”

Nonetheless, Ismail will continue to raise his voice against plagiarism. “People know I’m supporting the right cause. A lot of people have reached out and are in full support. And because the media is talking about these issues, I am hopeful about the cause.”

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