Respected Swiss musician gets ripped off by Jay Z

Respected Swiss musician gets ripped off by Jay Z


norman lebrecht

March 15, 2015

The American rapper Jay Z has agreed to pay half the royalties from his song ‘Versus’ to a veteran Swiss musician, Bruno Spoerri.

It appears that portions of a Spoerri sample track were mixed into the song.

When the incident was discovered 15 months ago, Spoerri said: ‘In a way I’m flattered that a relatively young rapper takes a sample from an old man, a sample that is about 35 years old.’

Spoerri, 78, is a founder of the Swiss Centre for Computer Music and its former co-director.

Here’s Spoerri’s track (which has gone modestly viral with 100,000 views):

And Jay Z’s take on it:



  • Pirkko says:

    I had never heard of this Jay Z.

    • V.Lind says:

      Oh, honestly — there is a world outside the concert hall. Have you ever heard of Madonna, or Kanye West? You don’t have to like this sort of music to be aware that it is out there and that Jay Z is a big enough figure in his world to make an impact on Spoerri’s “virality.”

      I had never heard of Spoerri. Rather more justifiable, I think.

      • musician says:

        Here’s a tip: sometimes people use sarcasm on the internet.

      • Pirkko says:

        Madonna, yes heard of a lot of her, and even heard some of her songs. Kanye West, yes, heard the name, but no idea how the music (I guess he/she is a pop singer?) sounds.
        But Jay Z, and rap? Yes, there’s definitely a world outside the concert hall, but is do I really HAVE to be interested in pop music if I’m not? I don’t think so. And btw, I had never heard of this guy Spoerri either.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      I wonder what the royalties will amount to for that and how he will ever get an accurate accounting of them.

  • DLowe says:

    What does one expect from someone who was deprived of a full surname?

  • PaulD says:

    That’s some serious lyric craftsmanship by Jay-Z. Good thing he settled, based on the recent success of the Marvin Gaye estate’s copyright lawsuit.