The beat goes on (a laptop)
R&B and urban club beats are what sells pop these days. So the producers who come up with them must be proper Quincy Jones style geniuses, surely? Well, maybe.
Both of Apple’s most widely used music-making programs (Garageband and Logic) contain a huge catalogue of free-to-use loops, including a number of simple beats, for budding music producers to play with on their laptops.
Take this one, it’s called Vintage Funk 03:
And now listen to the beats in Rihanna’s huge hit, Umbrella:
Startlingly similar, huh?
It’s all entirely legal, of course, but no-one seems to be particularly quick to own up to using them. If the song’s producers – Terius “the Dream” Nash and Christopher “Tricky” Stewart – were going to hold their hands up and come clean, this article would have been the perfect opportunity to do so. Instead, we get this:
“That day in January, though, it was a beat that first caught the attention of Nash. He strolled into the studio and heard Stewart messing around with a walloping hi-hat sound. “I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, what is that beat?’” Nash recalls. “Then Tricky starts putting some chords over it, and immediately the word popped into my head: umbrella. I ran over to the vocal booth and started singing.”
It’s not an isolated incident either. Producer Polow Da Don used some synthesizer backdrops on Usher’s Love In This Club that sound somewhat like a very particular loop – Euro Hero Synth, to be precise – though he denies this.
Look, some helpful young soul on the internet will show you exactly how the track was achieved.
Those hundred grand production fees well spent, then…
Know any other famous loops? Email firstname.lastname@example.org