“XO”? Try “Ex NO”

“XO” is one of the most loved tracks and videos from Beyoncé’s self-titled, smash hit, top-secret album of 2013, and via reports over the last week, has planted the artist in the centre of a $7 million copyright lawsuit.

Ex back up singer Ahmad Lane claims that while working for Beyoncé Knowles, he shared his track “XOXO” with another back up singer, which she then allegedly passed on to Beyoncé directly. Lane claims that Knowles stole pieces of his track, precisely “the first four bars of an eight bar melody”. Information from the court proceedings, however, acquired through Radar dictate that Beyoncé is putting up a very convincing fight.

A huge argument for the Knowles defence is that of the thematic concerns of the two songs. Lane’s song is of a sexual nature, and exhibits only the subject of a “lovers body”, where as Beyoncé’s is a “celebration of love and life, emphasizing the importance of living in the present”, Beyoncé’s team supplying evidence to their argument of how it is her own, original creation.


Beyoncé at the 2015 Grammy Awards
Beyoncé at the 2015 Grammy Awards


The multi platinum singer also seems to be reiterating sentiments from her 2008 hit single “Diva”, with a “you act like I just got up in it” style argument, explicitly stating that her wealth of experience and “17 Grammy awards and 118 million records sold” give her approximately zero reason to ever steal anything from anyone. Knowles’ attorney asked the court to listen to both Lane’s song and Knowles’ comparatively, stipulating that upon comparison one would find that the two works are

“Entirely different songs that share no lyrical or musical similarity, other than perhaps the letters ‘X’ and ‘O’.”

 The two tracks sound different, have different melodic structure, different thematic concerns, and would generally be consumed by different audiences. The musical theory, production, and instrumentation are of no similarity to Lane’s track, Beyoncé’s team argues. They have asked for the case to be dismissed.