Minnesota Musician Sued By ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ Singer Rick Astley
A Rochester, Minnesota rapper is being sued for impersonating Rick Astley's voice in the 2022 song "Betty."
The Mayo High grad's song recreates the sound of Astley's 1988 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" which reached number 1 on the Billboard charts and became popular again in the social media age as people "Rick-Rolled" each other. Yung Gravy's "Betty" was a massive viral video on Tik Tok and peaked at number 30 on the charts.
Astley's legal team filed a lawsuit on Thursday. They are suing for millions of dollars.
TMZ says, Gravy did license the instrumental but "Astley says he never gave Gravy, or anyone involved in "Betty", permission to use or impersonate his voice -- and because Gravy did so, he's spoiled any future chance for Rick to collaborate with another artist in the future."
Rolling Stone published a statement from Astley's attorney, "In an effort to capitalize off of the immense popularity and goodwill of Mr. Astley, defendants … conspired to include a deliberate and nearly indistinguishable imitation of Mr. Astley’s voice throughout the song. The public could not tell the difference. The imitation of Mr. Astley’s voice was so successful the public believed it was actually Mr. Astley singing.”
Apparently, Gravy had permission to recreate the music and lyrics. Billboard explains this is different from sampling because artists that sample have the right to use the actual sound recordings from the original track.
Billboard says, "When they created “Betty,” Gravy and his team allegedly cleared the underlying musical composition to “Give You Up.” That gave them the legal right to recreate music and lyrics from the original in their new track — a process known as “interpolating.”
We posted both songs below. What do you think? Is Gravy guilty or is Astley looking for some quick cash?