Jay Z To Pay: Are Album Songs Worth Stealing?

Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, after denying the initial allegation of ripping off music for his Magna Carter album, admitted he’s guilty and agreed to pay a nice sum.

Jay Z is no stranger to defending against people in opposition. However, this time, Carter was found in the wrong. In his song “Versus,” he did rip unauthorized, uncleared music from Bruno Spoerri, an accomplished jazz musician.

If you listen to “Versus,” you’ll hear how Jay Z’s whole minute-long song is essentially comprised of a line in Spoerri’s song “On the Way.” Though Shawn’s sample is simple, it seems to be more complex than is warranted. Or is it?

Are album songs worth stealing?

Not to condone such activity at all, however, it can be noted that Jay Z sold well over 500,000 Magna Carter: Holy Grail albums within the first week of release. As mentioned, this is the album in which the stolen sample is heard.

Shawn Jay Z Carter Has Agreed To Pay Bruno Spoerri For Uncleared Music Sample In 'Magna Carter' Album II
Credits: Andrew D. Bernstein | Getty Images

While Carter has agreed to pay Bruno 50 percent of royalties, Jay Z seems to still come out “on top.” Whether this is backpay, future residual payments, or both has not been reported. However, 50 percent from any Jay Z album or song is a lot. Accordingly, Shawn Carter’s net worth is approximately $510 million, reports CNN Money.

“The 19 Grammy-Award winning rapper is involved in many business ventures and is the founder of entertainment company Roc Nation and the majority owner of 40/40 clubs.”

Such a percentage from one song isn’t crippling Jay and can be afforded.

If Jay Z wanted to use the song, all he had to do was ask, as Spoerri tells Swiss Info, a Swiss news outlet.


“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.

“On the other hand I’m furious because it would have been so simple to clear the sample. All it would have needed was a call or an email to the company and I think it would have been relatively cheap.

“I would like them to acknowledge what happened and say sorry. And then I think it would be fine if they would put my name on the piece and in the end I want to have a part of the money that comes in.”

This is totally understandable, yes? Shawn Carter knows the value of the work that goes into musical creation. And from Jay Z’s financial stance, this lawsuit and rightful payment request isn’t hurting his books one way or the other, especially accompanied by Beyonce’s net worth, which isn’t far behind his own.

What are your thoughts on Jay Z’s song issue? Do you think it was worth it to steal the sample rather than ask from the beginning? Share your thoughts with Inquisitr’s music community.

Have you heard about the recent Empire scandal potentially involving Jay Z?

[Feature Image via Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images]