In a post excellently titled “homage or fromage” (all lower-case because the band is nearly moby-like in their fear of capital letters), camp Sigur Rós give some valuable, free exposure to a string of commercials with music that sounds an awful lot like their own. It’s all phrased carefully to avoid legal liability (which is, as they point out, an ironic fear under the circumstances), but since we don’t have to worry about that in this case: These are commercials that straight rip-off some of Sigur Rós’s best known soaring eye-watery epics.

The post makes clear the band has lent their songs to film, TV, and charity, but have never allowed their music to “sell” anything, despite being asked quite often. Included therein is a redacted letter which is offered to illustrate a well-tread pattern in these instances: company solicits Sigur Rós’s sounds, company is denied, company makes commercial with sounds suspiciously like Sigur Rós’s. Because proving music plagiarism under present IP law is tricky at best (“change a note here, swap things around a bit there and, hey presto, it’s an original composition. Inspiration moves in mysterious ways”), they haven’t initiated legal action against these companies. But the companies’ commercials are posted, so you can decide for yourself. Sigur Rós are far from the first to suffer from this phenomenon — it tends to happen every time a sound or song sinks into the public’s consciousness at large, companies hopign to piggyback on those tracks’ popularity to suggest the comfort of their own products (there were so many “Clocks” legal rip-offs after A Rush Of Blood for instance) — but Jónsi’s crew are probably the most frequently offended in proportion to their relatively small record sales.

Here are a few they posted up, to help you relive their misery. You be the judge. (SPOILER ALERT they’re all guilty.)


Ripping “olsen olsen”:

Ripping “hoppípolla”:

Ripping “svefn-g-englar”:

There are more embedded at sigur-ros.co.uk, and if you have more — which surely there are — they kindly request you send ’em over.

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Comments (8)
  1. Wow that’s actually so ridiculous. These are so blatant.

  2. “The post makes clear the band has lent their songs to film, TV, and charity, but have never allowed their music to “sell” anything, despite being asked quite often.”

    So wait… does this mean the Jonsi song in the new Social Network trailer that doesn’t actually sound like one specific Jonsi song is actually just a rip-off of a Jonsi song?

    That makes a lot of sense, actually.

  3. El destino es inevitable.

  4. Legal matters aside, what is most troubling about this (and full disclosure I haven’t Sigur Ros’s blog post) is that the commercial big wigs copying the songs they were denied access to lowers the particularity of the original songs. They are reducing what was once a unique composition down to the essentials, and creating that vile and faceless “background music,” like when the 10-day weather forecast comes on and you hear the watered down funk in the background as you grab your umbrella for the day. Once upon a time that spineless jelly bass line was once someone’s song, it was once something urgent and a little bit frightening, but now it serves only to accompany an infinitely raining cloud graphic for 30 seconds. Does it need to happen? Jesus, I don’t know, pop culture devours everything it can, but I’m certainly not happy that it is happening to Sigur Ros now, a band whose music I still want to feel is unique and worthwhile.

    And damn the advertising industry. They must be staffed by a fleet of intelligent and feeling people who want to say something big and meaningful about life, which is fine, but to tie it all back to a fucking car…grumble grumble grumble. I blame Mad Men for making people want to infuse ads with some sort of pathos.

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  6. Nice post! They are really very blatant and I don’ t think it actually impotant, cos they have their money. Anyway, i don’ t like them at all!
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  7. This needs a special mention:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7LJEHzPseo

    Ripping off Hopipolla and Glosoli both in one song.

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