Tame Impala ‘plagiarism’ coverage grasping for straws, clicks

Tame Impala performing as The Spice Girls on Halloween 2013 in San Francisco.

Tame Impala performing as The Spice Girls on Halloween 2013 in San Francisco.

By Mike Frash //

UPDATE 8/20: Hats off to Rolling Stone‘s Jason Newman, who actually took the time for some investigative journalism to follow up with the Rata publishers. They said that “It was a joke,” and Rolling Stone got a hold of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, who replied, “This is a joke, right?” Now, Pablo Ruiz is considering legal action thanks to the music media noise machine that spread the non-story on Monday.

Rolling Stone reported, “Ruiz told ESPN Radio that he would be interested in performing with the band when they play BUE Fest in Buenos Aries on November 24th.” So, maybe Tame Impala and Ruiz can join together for “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” > “Océano” > “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, have a laugh and move on. Read our original On The Media report below:

Music blogs overshadow Tame Impala’s mini tour announcement with borderline slander.

Consequence of Sound, arguably the best U.S. music blog over the past couple of years, ran a story today reporting that another blog from South America has accused Tame Impala of plagiarism. Pitchfork picked up the story an hour later, and like a pack of flies on shit, many other music outlets followed suit from there, pointing to the CoS story.

Suddenly the headline is: Tame Impala are accused of stealing “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”. In an age when headlines matter more than content, accusations like this stick in the hearts and minds of consumers longer than one news cycle.

So, who really made this accusation? CoS points to the “Chilean news site” Rata, a small music blog from Chile. Online media entities are the ones accusing here, not an individual, an artist or a record label. This source article seems to be satirical in nature, much like The Onion. The article claims “the discovery happened at a gathering where musicologists analyzed songs from different eras, and made this conclusion.” The video then, also made by Rata, offers “proof”:

Apparently those familiar with former pop star Pablo Ruiz have been joking about this similarity for a while now, but one could also argue that Pablo Ruiz plagiarized Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba”. That doesn’t make it true just because someone said it or put it on the Internet.

I mean, come on, there’s evidence of Kevin Parker’s first demo of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” as he’s working through the songwriting process here:

All of this is a bit of a low blow considering Tame Impala announced a tour today, which visits New York, California and South America, including a stop at BUE Fest in Buenos Aires, Argentina. So, perhaps this is all a tie-in to promote the tour, but that sure would be testing the notion that “all publicity is good publicity.”

This is also a classic example of the echo chamber that is the music news industry at this point in time. One outlet reports, everyone else regurgitates the same thing with a link to the “source”, deferring journalistic integrity to the news breaker, all to get the article up ASAP before the East Coast finishes the work day. And so it goes …

Here’s hoping Tame Impala arrive in November at the Fox Theater in Oakland ready to road test some new material.



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