Benny Blanco’s 2018 hit song “Eastside,” featuring vocalists Halsey and Khalid, is at the center of a new copyright infringement lawsuit, per TMZ. Musicians from the group American XO submitted the suit to a California federal court, naming Blanco, Halsey, Khalid, as well as co-writer Ed Sheeran, and Universal Music Group, Interscope Records, and Blanco’s Friends Keep Secrets label, as defendants.
None of the defendants have issued a statement as of this writing.
The plaintiffs are American XO songwriters Konstantine Lois and Shane Williams. The suit alleges that Blanco lifted the “Eastside” beat and central guitar riff from their song “Loveless,” which appeared on their 2016 album Pacific Coast Bloody Nose. The suit doesn’t have any definitive evidence that Blanco, or any of the defendants, encountered “Loveless” before writing “Eastside.” The suit quotes older articles, such as a Vibe interview from 2012, to highlight the possibility that Blanco came across the American XO song in his voracious music listening:
“I draw inspiration from everyone. I listen to every type of music. I try to expose myself to 10, 12 new artists every day. I’m listening to everything from Beirut to Wiz to Yo Yo Ma to Arcade Fire. I try to spread it around because you never know. There could be something in one of those songs that gives me an idea to do something like this or something like that.”
The plaintiffs, however, argue that the musical similarity between their song the Top-10 hit is undeniable. “Both the ‘Loveless’ riff and the ‘Eastside’ riff comprise of identical two-note dyads of identical note intervals played over identical beats,” the lawsuit stated. “Both riffs are played on guitar and require identical finger positions.”
The distinctive guitar riff in question is used in the introductions of both songs and repeated throughout. Listen to both songs below:
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.