Music Plagiarism & The Art Of Sound A-likes

“A good composer does not imitate: he steals.”

-Igor Stravinsky

Usually when someone like Stravinsky, a man of immense talent and knowledge in the field of music, gives you advice you want to take it and apply it to your own work. Unfortunately, in this case, stealing ideas from songs/compositions will get you into some serious legal trouble (especially today).

Take for example this recent event: Tom Petty has been awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s hit “Stay With Me.” Apparently people started to sing along to this song with lyrics from Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and realized they were eerily similar. It seems Tom Petty thought so too. Have a listen to this mash up and you’ll hear similarities in the chorus melody.

This isn’t nearly the first case of plagiarism in recent memory of popular hits. Remember the Coldplay song “Viva La Vida?” I’m sure Joe Satriani does…

What is the one common factor that has allowed these artists to have a case against another artist? The melody! Within music copyright laws you can not sue for someone using the same chord progression. If that were the case no one would be able to write a song destined for radio airplay (which is a whole other soapbox moment I may get into at a later date).

But what are you to do if you want something similar to your favorite song but can not pay to afford the fees to license that specific track? It’s obvious many people like specific genres for a reason. With the way the music business is working currently there is bound to be an attitude of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” There just may be a formula to produce an instant hit…

The reason I bring this up is because in the world of marketing it is understandable that people will want a big hit song for their video. They might even want a number one hit for their on hold messages! With the cost of licensing fees and the consequences of not paying those fees if you use the track what is a smart alternative? A sound alike!

Yes it is possible to have a song that sounds similar to the hit song you want but will avoid copyright infringements. Remember, the copying of melodic content is what will get you into hot water with copyright law. This does not apply to using similar instrumentation, gestures, tempo/song speed, or chords. The idea of a sound alike track isn’t new either. It has been used frequently in many mediums for quite a while. One of my personal favorite examples is the classic Animaniacs cartoon “West Side Pigeons.” Besides the title alluding to the great “West Side Story” you can hear how similar the music is to the work of Leonard Bernstein.


The same ideas can be applied to any genre of music: pop, rock, indie, hip hop, etc. I will always try to advocate for creating original content BUT if you are in desperate need of something that sounds like the latest radio hit, yet can’t afford the song itself, a sound alike could be the answer for you.

Do you prefer an original composition for your marketing content or do you think a sound alike track would bring in more attention and suit a production better? Let me know in the comments!

– Dustin



Atlantic OnHold is back!

Well…we never went anywhere, but we are reinvesting in the brand in an effort to serve our customers better! On hold marketing is the most cost effective way to be heard by your customers. When a customer is on hold this gives you, the seller, a 100% captive audience.thumbs up mature woman-resized-600

We’re even bigger and more creative than before. Customers don’t like being put on hold, and guess what? Neither do we. But who says you have to be bored when you’re on hold? Click here to preview the best message on hold in the world (at least we like to think so).

Are you ready to dazzle your customers’ ear drums? Then you should probably look into messaging on hold. Shoot us an email,, for more information.


Surprising Audio Production

Atlantic Creative started a long, long time ago as part of a recording studio known as on_hold_messaging_200x180Osceola. While Osceola is still around and churning out great work, we have veered into a number of different avenues of audio and video production. However, recently our newest audio producer has had the opportunity to work on jingles, soundtracks, and radio spots and remind us what great audio production is all about. We’re waiting for those works to air before we can debut them so in the meantime, here’s a little sample of what he can do with an on hold message. If he can do this to On Hold Marketing, imagine what he can do with everything else! If you’d like to hear more of his work with you on a national quality jingle or radio spot, just give us a call at (919) 832-2220. To learn more about Donald, check out our team!

The Truth About Auto Attendants and 7 Tips for Success

In the beginning (about 30 years ago) the auto attendant was created. Shortly after, we decided we didn’t need a real person answering the phone, and things started to get a little out of hand. Now the caller was responsible for getting to the right person or department based on the recorded information. In a society of instant gratification, wephone-operator didn’t want to listen to the list of options. But the auto attendant wasn’t going anywhere, and some were and still are downright confusing and painful to listen to. Some managers delegate the recording of the auto attendant to whoever draws the shortest straw. IS that the best solution? No! In fact, an Auto Attendant that drones on and on will probably lose customers or clients. What’s the old saying about not getting a second chance at a first impression? It’s true, the first impression will either open the door or close it.

Ok, so maybe all homemade auto attendants aren’t that bad, but we’ve suffered through a few that are darn close. It all boils down to how should a business phone be answered? For those that think the homemade auto attendant is fine, let us know “Laverne” is standing by. Oddly enough, we don’t get many requests for her. Hmmm…

Here are 7 tips about auto attendant systems:

  1. They are programmed by the company that provides the phone system; they must change the programming if you would like the director to be Option 1 instead of Option 2.
  2. Keep it simple – if you have more than 4 or 5 options, you’re going to lose folks or force them to “press 0.”
  3. Offer a “press 0” option – remember, the people calling you have or are trying to help you generate a business.
  4. Commit to the options and keep them.
  5. The voice should be clear and accent-free if possible – think mid-west accent.
  6. Professional voice artists are available to help you get a professional sound.
  7. Repeat the options twice or offer an option to replay the options! If you have more questions about auto attendants or how yours can be improved – just ask! We’ll be happy to help.