Lead Composer of Goblin’s Soundtrack Defends Drama Against Plagiarism Accusations

The main composer for tvN‘s Goblin has stepped up to clear up plagiarism accusations surrounding the drama’s OST.

The popularity of tvN’s Goblin seems is at fever pitch, even after the show’s finale has aired. Goblin’s soundtrack is now sitting high on music charts and but some have are accusing the drama of plagiarizing the OST.

One of the main composers of the hit show’s soundtrack, Lee Seung Joo, has now written a lengthy post on his Facebook in an attempt to clear up all suspicions. Lee Seung Joo revealed that he initially thought the plagiarism accusations would be cleared up but as they are continuing to be made, he wanted to completely clear up any doubts.

Below is a direct translation of the Facebook Post, by Koreaboo. The following is written by Lee Seung Joo and will read in his voice.

1. CrushBeautiful


It was mentioned that the song is very similar to Enrique Iglesias‘ “Quizas” due to the song’s parts with the ‘A’ chord and ‘C’ chord.

Enrique Iglesias’s “Quizas” is a song that plays at around 62 beats per minute (bpm). It’s a slow-tempo, ballad song and it is in the key of B♭.

Crush’s “Beautiful” is a song that plays at 110bpm and is a mid-tempo, R&B song. It also is in the key of B♭.

The only similar thing between these two songs is the fact that they operate in the same key. This key is very prevalent in male singers and the progression, along with the melody, is different.

2. Chanyeol, PunchStay With Me

There are a lot of songs people said were similar to this song so I researched each song for the sake of argument. To properly analyze each song, we will transpose each of those songs to the C key and then use the 4-bar, chord progression in the main theme part.

Chanyeol, Punch – Stay with me -Am- F- C -G/B

Alan WalkerFaded – Am- F- C -G

John LegendAll of me – Am- F- C -G

Red Hot Chili PeppersOtherside – Am- F- C -G

Kelly ClarksonStronger -Am- F- C -G/B

Boulevard des airsBruxelles – Am- F- C -G

These songs, for example, have almost the same chord progression or only the last chord is similar when transposed. The top notes of the chords that make up the songs are similar to my song, but that’s the only thing that’s similar. If you use the top notes as an argument, we would have to listen to hundreds of songs more for the sake of argument. There are hundreds of songs like these.

Let’s forget about the genre and focus on the chord progression. To go from a 3-chord, 4-chord progression is so often seen in music these days that if this was such a hot topic, all these songs along with future songs would be embroiled in plagiarism controversies.

In the past, plagiarism was considered to be 8 bars that are identical or similar in nature. In the present, because of subjective standards, the standards of plagiarism are lost.

When the original author of a song sues for copyright infringement, plagiarism’s original meaning is bound to be obscured. In the past, it was based on the number of bars, but nowadays, the rhythm of chords and rhythms are judged by the melody rather than the number of similar bars.

Among the mentioned songs, there is not a single part where the vocal melody is similar or identical.

I understand that people will feel that my songs are similar to the songs that are listed. That, however, is a common mistake because people are not empirically analyzing these songs. People are accusing me of plagiarizing for having songs that are similar in ‘mood’. The melodies, as mentioned above, are completely different.

To better illustrate this, I’ll use the guitar as an example. The guitar we will use in our argument is the Clinton electric guitar. We will play a melody in staccato and also add reverb plus delay effects to give it some depth. This type of sound engineering is usually seen in pop, indie rock, brit-pop, and more. You can see this in songs that use the guitar as the main instrument of rhythm. Below are some songs that fit the criteria.

The XXAngels – F-C-G-F

KodalineBig Bad World -Am- C -F -C- G- Am-F- G

One DirectionRight Now – Am- F- C -Dm

The ChainsmokersDon’t Let Me Down -F-C-G-Am

The songs above are not exclusive to one genre, there are songs that are pop, indie rock, brit-pop, and even electronic. These songs are not exclusively rock but they borrow elements from that genre. Many artists choose to adopt elements from rock because it has an ambiance that’s dreamy and is so adaptable to other genres. This is why the chord progressions can stay simple yet carry such depth in songs that use this method even if they are all different songs.

3. Also, there have been questions regarding the version of “Beautiful” that was heard in the first few episodes of Goblin. I was the one that sang that song and made a short demo version that was subsequently aired in the early episodes of the drama. Later on, the great Crush re-recorded over my guide and made the song even better. I am glad we released Crush’s version as the official “Beautiful” for the original soundtrack.

4. I’ve had so much happiness and pride while working with this great drama that I didn’t realize how tired I was working for the many days and nights, producing the songs. The public has shown so much love and appreciation for the drama and my creations, I am forever thankful. There are, however, some people that choose to spread false accusations and rumors regarding my work. These people spread unsubstantiated rumors regarding my works all because of a “similar” tone to other songs. These accusations hinder creative culture for Korean music as a whole including myself. This is a serious crime and qualifies as defamation so I will take legal action against any further malicious accusations.

Source: 10 Asia