If you thought that the song Dark Horse by Katy Perry was old news, you’re not wrong.
The 2013 hit song long since faded from radio stations and even some people’s memory, but one LA courtroom recently spent a week learning about how it was made. They had to listen intently to the track – which also features rapper Juicy J. – after Christian rapper Flame, whose real name is Marcus Tyrone Gray, accused the pop superstar of using parts of his song Joyful Noise in it.
The 9 person jury came to a unanimous decision after the trial, which lasted a full week. They determined that the song did, in fact, infringe on Flame’s work.
Joyful Noise was released in 2008, 5 years before Dark Horse hit the radio.
There will be an upcoming hearing in the next few weeks to determine what damages Katy and the team of writers for Dark Horse will have to pay Flame, but you have to imagine it will be a lot. Dark Horse has over 2.6 billion views on YouTube.
Joyful Noise has only 2.9 million, though that number has increased a lot since the trial began. Everyone wants to hear what beat Katy reportedly stole from the rapper.
The issue is more complicated because Katy has an extensive past with Christian music and the Christian music scene in general.
Katy Perry was born “Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson’, and her first CD was a Christian album titled Katy Hudson in 2001. When she was just 15 Katy left high school after taking her GED to pursue music, apparently never even considering colleges online or other options for furthering her education.
The record label that produced Katy Hudson, Red Hill Records, went out of business soon after it was released, so the album received almost zero marketing and promotion. It sold poorly (Only about 200 CD’s!) and had mixed reviews.
After her flop, she turned to more secular music. She expanded her team of writers, took on some nonreligious work, and eventually changed her image entirely. Looking at her now, you would never know she started as a hardcore Christian singer.
But that sets the precedence for why she’d be aware of Flame and his work, as well as how she’d have possibly heard the song before.
Katy claims that before the lawsuit she had never heard Joyful Noise.
In court, Katy says that if the track was stolen (which she swears it isn’t), it wasn’t her anyway. The song is credited as written by her, as well as Lukasz Gottwald (better known as Dr. Luke, who has seen a lot of time inside the courtroom lately thanks to Kesha), producer Max Martin, and Henry Walter (who goes by Cirkut), songwriter Sarah Hudson and Jordan Michael Houston (known as Juicy J, who also raps on the track).
Katy says that the song was provided to her by Cirkut and Dr. Luke and that she had no involvement in the music itself, but only had input on lyrics. Dr. Luke testified that he had never heard Joyful Noise before this as well, but Flame’s lawyers say that it was available on many streaming platforms and that it’s absolutely reasonable that they would have heard it before now.
Katy spent time in the courtroom this week testifying, and she even offered to sing for the jury when lawyers couldn’t get the playback of her song to work, but she was not there when the jury returned their verdict. Her rep has not made any additional comments.