Diehard Ed Sheeran fans would pay good money to hear his unreleased material, but attendees at a high-profile copyright trial inadvertently heard a snippet for free on Tuesday.
“That’s a song I wrote last January,” a confused Sheeran told his lawyers as the clip of the hitherto unplayed song was heard in London’s High Court. “How have you got that?”
One of the lawyers said the incident happened “by mistake” through the use of an iTunes account on the computer of Steven McCutcheon, one of the co-writers of Sheeran’s 2017 hit “Shape of You”.
Two other composers, Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, allege that Sheeran’s global hit plagiarises their song “Oh Why” in particular lines and phrases.
Sheeran denies the allegation, insisting he had never heard “Oh Why” before the plaintiffs brought their case.
During the proceedings, Sheeran burst into song and hummed musical scales and melodies as he was questioned over how “Shape of You” was written.
He argued that the “pentatonic pattern” used in both songs was highly common in music, singing a snatch of the Nina Simone classic “Feeling Good” to illustrate his point.
The trial began last Friday and is expected to last three weeks.