US producer, composer, and guitarist Nile Rodgers has condemned the use of a “soundalike” version of Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family’ by far-right populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP).
Rodgers has asked the SVP to cease and desist from using the soundalike track in its political campaigns, taking to social media on Tuesday (August 15) to condemn its use without permission from either Sister Sledge and the song’s writer, Nile Rodgers.
“I wrote ‘We Are Family’ to be the ultimate song about inclusion and diversity at all levels, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion or sexual orientation,” Rodgers said in a statement earlier this week.
“I condemn its use by the SVP (Swiss People’s Party) or anyone else not keeping with the values of the song and all decent people. The purpose of the song is to bring joy to all with no exclusions!”
“I wrote ‘We Are Family’ to be the ultimate song about inclusion and diversity at all… pic.twitter.com/Twz3sCllf8
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) August 15, 2023
Rodgers is now working together with Hipgnosis, Sony, and Warner to issue a cease and desist against the use of the 1979 hit track. The original campaign video now flags a warning reading: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright infringement complaint from Sony Music Publishing”.
An SVP delegate, Thomas Matter, who is credited under the soundalike version of ‘We Are Family’ as DJ Tommy and was listed as the second richest politician in Switzerland in 2017, told Swiss outlet Blick that only “a few notes” were similar, and that the track had not been directly copied.
He explained: “I know the song by Sister Sledge, that’s also a super song. But ‘Das Isch d’SVP’ was written especially for this project and has nothing to do with ‘We Are Family’.”
“Of course, in pop music there are a million songs that sound alike, there’s nothing surprising or new about that”, he said.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins