A complaint was reportedly filed in a California federal court on Friday (September 17), alleging The Weeknd, Nicolas Jaar and Frank Dukes plagiarised Epikker’s 2015 track “Vibeking” with the My Dear Melancholy song. Claimed to be “strikingly and/or substantially similar, if not identical,” the lawsuit points out musical similarities and says “Call Out My Name” was created “without a license, authorization or consent from plaintiffs.”
“Both works are in a minor key,” the suit reads. “Both works are in a 6/8 meter that is less common in popular music. Both works are played at a similar tempo. And both works use features of electronica, ambience, pop, Hip Hop, rock and R&B to achieve a particular atmospheric and melancholic sound.”
Attorney Stephen M. Doniger added, “The Weeknd is no stranger to accusations of infringement, and this one is probably the most egregious claim against him and his team to date. Epikker (Suniel and Henry) works with many artists in the industry, and was profoundly disappointed to discover the liberal copying of ‘Vibeking,’ an original Epikker song that was shared with The Weeknd years ago in good faith, in ‘Call Out My Name.’ We look forward to bringing these facts to light and securing reasonable compensation and credit for Epikker.”
Epikker claim to have evidence of them emailing “Vibeking” to The Weeknd’s DJ and playback engineer, PNDA, according to Law360. They say PNDA told them The Weeknd said it was “fire,” but the DJ also suggested he wasn’t going to credit them for their work.
“Just gonna tell [The Weeknd] that our production team wrote the track. Cool?” PNDA allegedly wrote. “Or u have another idea? Just don’t wanna say, ‘Hey, [Strange] wrote this,’ when he doesn’t know u.”
Strange claims he responded, “[The Weeknd] knows me. Say both. [Strange] with Ponytail you met on Drake tour. Who is part of our production team.”
“Call Out My Name” peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has over 836 million Spotify streams, with the music video also racking up over 701 million YouTube views. The EP, My Dear Melancholy, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with roughly 169,000 total album-equivalent units.