We’ve not heard much about the possible sample lawsuits that Baauer was facing over his monstrous viral hit, “Harlem Shake,” as both Hector El Father and Hennesey Youngman were seeking compensation for their vocals being used. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Diplo opened up about the situation behind these samples.
When Mad Decent signed the track for sale, Baauer had to sign an indemnity clause that held him responsible for any issues that could have arisen from the release; Diplo told the Huffington Post that Mad Decent “didn’t know there were any samples in the song to begin with. But when it came to clear the samples — because otherwise he would make negative money — we wanted to help him out.”
Helping Baauer out seems to have involved Diplo pulling out his hefty Rolodex and connecting the dots. With the “and do the Harlem Shake” sample, it just involved breaking Hennesey off with some money, as Diplo said “the album never got licensed or published.” Sorting out Hector El Father’s “con los terroristas” was a bit stickier (like we imagined), but Diplo makes it sound pretty easy: “The Puerto Rican guys, they kept calling me because I know everyone in Puerto Rico, so I just sorted that out. It wasn’t even them, it was Universal Publishing.”
The best part? Diplo said that Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” came at the right time: “Honestly, that record was the thing that saved the label, because a year ago we were going to fold because we couldn’t figure out how to make money. Then we just started giving music out for free and it worked out.”
(h/t Your EDM)