Did Meghan Trainor Plagiarize ‘All About That Bass’?

Meghan Trainor’s No. 2 (as of this post) single ‘All About That Bass’ sounds suspiciously like a 2006 K-Pop song, and the Korean song’s writer is considering taking legal action, Buzzfeed is reporting.

Here’s Meghan’s song ‘All About That Bass’ (prepare to have it stuck in your head all day).

This song was “co-written” by Trainor and Kevin Kadish, according to the credits. It could very well be that Kadish wrote all of the song (or at least the music- see the next paragraph), but shared co-writing credit with Meghan in order to cut her in on the royalties. It’s not unusual for performers to receive co-writing credits on songs they had nothing to do with, as part of their contracts; that’s how Elvis Presley was able to afford Graceland. According to his bio, Kevin was touring with Hall & Oates before Meghan Trainor was born.

Lyrically, this song is about women having a positive body image. Meghan, being a “full-figured woman” herself, clearly has an interest in the subject, so it’s possible that she wrote the words and Kevin wrote the music. And here’s something else to consider: before ”All About That Bass’ hit it big, Meghan was a folk/country musician; here is a song (‘Take Care Of Our Soldiers’) that you may have heard on your local country station four years ago.

Moving on, here’s the K-Pop song that Meghan/Kevin allegedly plagiarized. It’s called “Happy Mode” or “Joy Mode,” depending on which Korean translation you prefer, by Korean pop band Koyote from 2006. (The similarities begin at about :36, after the hype man finishes his intro).

According to Korean website Naver, this song was written by Joo Young Hoon.

Joo Young Hoon

While there are definitely similarities musically, the lyrics are far apart. For one, “Happy Mode” is in Korean. But never mind that. It’s about keeping positive through difficult times. Sample lyrics, courtesy of Buzzfeed:

“Even though love left, don’t be sad and cry / New love will find its way / Sadness is only resting before it leaves.”

Hoon tweeted about the alleged plagiarism, and included a link to the Naver article about the issue:


Translation: “I am consulting a special lawyer.”

Hoon may not want to be so fast with a potential lawsuit, however. “Happy Mode” sounds quite a bit like “Contact,” by Phish, which goes back to 1989, when the members of Koyote were in elementary school.

Whether anyone is going to make any money from a lawsuit is difficult to say. Plagiarism allegations happen all the time in the music industry (see this Inquisitr article). But humans have been composing and performing music for tens of thousands of years, and melodies are likely to be repeated in different songs across different genres and different languages, even unintentionally.

Do you think Meghan Trainor plagiarized “Happy Mode”? Let us know what you think below.

Image courtesy of: Hancinema