Music is basically a combination of different notes played at different rhythms. This means that there is only a finite number of possible combinations, which means from time to time, lawsuits appear where one musician/band will sue another claiming that they have stolen a melody they have written and used it in their song.
How legit these claims are depends as it can be rather subjective, and it can also be rather intimidating for upcoming musicians who might be worried about stepping on toes. To help solve this problem, two musicians Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin had decided that in order to combat this issue, what if they created every single possible melody and put it in public domain?
And that’s exactly what they did where they used an algorithm to record every possible 8-note, 12-beat melody. The algorithm then went through every possible combination of notes until none remained, which worked out to be about 300,000 melodies per second.
According to Riehl, “Under copyright law, numbers are facts, and under copyright law, facts either have thin copyright, almost no copyright, or no copyright at all. So maybe if these numbers have existed since the beginning of time and we’re just plucking them out, maybe melodies are just math, which is just facts, which is not copyrightable.”
We’re not sure if their tactic will work and help musicians, but it is an interesting approach and you can hear more about it in their TEDx Talks in the video above.