Originally Posted by drBill
Soundalikes? Talk to a musicologist. There is no set number of notes you can copy, no set amount of time, no magic numbers, no easy answers except one :
All the original music owner has to do is prove your INTENT. Although "soundalikes" are very common, they are often licensed up front or settled quietly without public knowledge. There are also a ton of them that somehow seem to skate under the radar. But all they have to do is prove "intent" and there's a very methodical way they do that. Via musicologists.
But in your case the intent at this point is pretty obvious. There is ALWAYS a push for the score to "be like the temp", but that is not a soundalike in my book.
A "soundalike" is a piece of music where you KNOW what the composer was trying to cop just by hearing it. Do that and you're in very dangerous waters. If they just want something that sounds and grows and has the emotion of the originals, then do that and you will probably be OK. But if they truly want soundalikes....
I say RUN.....
If your clients client wants THAT music, tell them to license it.
Actually, "soundalikes" is sooo 80's! Back in that time frame, there were more than a few lawsuits pressed (no pun!) against those who tried to skirt around the law by hiring singers who SOUNDED like the bonafide article. However, since their intent was always crystal clear, they were ordered to cease and desist.......or *else*....
The term and method to use today is "style-alike". That is to say, you write with the intent of capturing a genre, but in the end it's still 100% YOU.
Here's one of my "style-alikes" for a cue from "Star Wars".
It's the part where Threepio grudgingly steps into the escape pod with R2 in order to get away from the Imperial Troops. Cue starts with the pod blasting away from Rebel Blockade Runner and ends with the space shot of the escape pod spinning towards Tatooine. https://soundcloud.com/skyy38/launch-capsule-final
I basically followed the orchestration, keeping in mind that I was still my own man, and did what comes naturally. Compare this with the original cue and not a court in the land would or COULD convict me.
So, toss away "soundalike" and think "style-alike".