Josh Stone, who performs as DOT, wrote and recorded “You Need I Got It” in 2017. He alleges that he took the song to music industry executives, including producer Tommy Brown, who has worked extensively with Grande.
The suit accuses Brown of lifting key elements of Stone’s song for Grande’s “7 Rings.” Grande’s song includes the repeating line: “I Want It, I Got It. I Want It, I Got It.” While Stone’s song has the refrain: “You Need It, I Got It. You Want It, I Got It.”
The suit, filed in New York federal court by attorney Tamir Young, alleges that two forensic musicologists have analyzed the choruses of each song and found the rhythm and notes to be substantially similar as well.
“Literally, every single one of the 39 respective notes of ‘7 Rings’ is identical with the 39 notes of ‘I Got It’ from a metrical placement perspective,” the suit alleges. “Said another way, the rhythm and placement of the notes and lyrics are identical.”
According to the suit, “7 Rings” has already netted more than $10 million in revenue. Grande is set to perform at the Grammy Awards next week, and is up for five awards, including two for “7 Rings.”
The suit names Universal Music Corp. along with many other defendants.
Grande’s label did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
Music copyright suits have become a hot-button issue in the industry since the 2015 “Blurred Lines” verdict. Last year, a jury found that Katy Perry had stolen a riff from Flame, a little-known Christian rapper.