The story of Trefuego’s 90mh – and Sony’s attempt to scrub it off the web

“Anyone know why this song is banned on Spotify?”


why 90 hrs be removed spotify”

All the comments posted on Twitter and YouTube at various times by fans of a viral TikTok hit in late 2022.

Said hit, originally released in September 2019, is 90 hrs by Arizona independent rapper Trefuego.

Each of these three comments lures with the same explanation: Because Sony Music issued one strictly Disable Notice for Copyright Infringement 90 hrs to Spotify and other major platforms on August 9, 2022.

That Appear is revealed in a lawsuit filed by Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Publishing against Trefuego in the District of Arizona in December and obtained by MBW.

“Trefuego… simply stole Hinata’s musical composition and sound recording and used it without asking and without permission.”

Sony Music lawsuit

In Sony Music’s lawsuit (read in full here), Trefuego is being charged 90 hrsthe “apparent and willful infringement” of both the audio recording and the underlying composition in the 1986 track reflectionspublished by Japanese composer Toshifumi Hinata (Hinata).

Reads Sony’s lawsuit, “Trefuego … simply stole Hinata’s musical composition and sound recording and used them without demand and without permission, all in flagrant violation of United States copyright laws.”

It adds, “Trefuego’s infringing behavior has and will continue to seriously damage and diminish the market for Hinata’s work by falsely inferring that he endorses and/or supports Trefuego’s use.” reflections in 90 hrs.”

If Trefuego (real name unknown) didn’t have a pre-approved copyright release for example reflectionsSony has a strong argument here: it’s hard to confuse a accelerated key violin motif from Hinata’s trail to appearlooped repeatedly, in 90 hrs.

Sony Music is looking payment for Damages from the alleged copyright infringement by Trefuego six separate counts – which include both music recordings and music publishing rights – plus “all profits, gains and benefits made through [Trefuego] as a result of his infringing actions”.

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But that’s not where this story ends.

Credit: Shutterstock/Diego Thomazini

90MHz on Spotify

In Sony’s legal complaint filed Dec. 22, the company notes, “Despite having been notified since at least early 2021, Trefuego continued to make the infringing works available until SME issued a takedown request to digital service providers (“DSPs”) on August 9, 2022. “

At first glance, this deactivation request seems to have been successful: search for ‘Trefuego – 90mh’ on Spotify and the artist’s title is not displayed.

It also doesn’t appear on Trefuego’s official Spotify profile page, which mentions his greatest track Beni Ozlewith 1.2 million plays so far.

Trefuegos 90mh does not appear on his Spotify profile page after Sony Music requested a deactivation in August 2022

But if you have it direct URL link for Trefuego’s 90 hrs You can still find the track on Spotify, which is easy to find via Google search – both on Spotify’s web player and on the desktop app.

According to this still available Spotify front page, 90 hrs was more than played 172 million times about the previous service.

This is where things start to get a little weird.

Trefuego’s front page for 90 MHZ clearly shows that it has accumulated over 172 million plays to date

Trefuego’s recording of 90 hrs it seems to have been newly uploaded to Spotify last Thursday (January 5, 2023), five months after Sony’s takedown request in August.

Curiously, this re-upload came from a different “artist” on Spotify: BurakXD. This BurakXD ‘version’ of 90 hrs is searchable in Spotify.

On the BurakXD page 90 hrs will be credited as both (p) and (c)ie copyrights attributed to the artist himself Urelia Records.

Oddly enough, the 90MHz track uploaded by BurakXD has exactly the same number of streams credited as that one not searchable Version of the song on Trefuego’s artist page – suggesting a metadata link between the BurakXD upload and the “official” Trefuego version.

Mainly as a result of 90MH Popularity BurakXD currently has over 226,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

On additionally Version of Trefuego 90 hrs – audibly identical to the BurakXD release – was also recently uploaded to Spotify by another “artist”.

Reno’s upload of the track is also searchable on Spotify and currently has over 371,000 plays on the platform.

This time, Reno claims the copyright to the song — via a (c) 417349 records DK Credit on Spotify.

The 90MHz Reno ‘version’ was uploaded in December and has over 371,000 plays to date

So, what’s up?

Could we look at the same thing? “Lax metadata protection” on Spotify, which MBW pointed out in investigative analysis last summer — via which enterprising “artists” appear to be reaping royalties from other people’s popularity on the service?

Verdict: Don’t expect Sony Music to be pleased with Trefuego’s continued easy availability five months after it issued a legal takedown request for copyright infringement 90 hrs on Spotify, complete with his insulting (alleged) Hinata sample.

The top two results for “90mh” on Spotify are attributed to BurakXD and Reno. They appear to be replications of the Trefuego recording. Trefuego’s artist page is also linked to the search, despite Sony Music’s takedown request in August 2022.

TikTok logo

90MHz on TikTok and YouTube

It’s not just Spotify that continues to host Trefuegos 90 hrseither.

In its December lawsuit against Trefuego, Sony Music wrote: “Since its release [90mh’s recording and underlying composition] have been featured in over 155,000 videos on TikTok alone, have received over 100 million streams on Spotify and have nearly 10 million views on YouTube.”

But despite Sony’s attempt to comprehensively copyright-eliminate the title, it’s still widely available on TikTok today.

According to ChartMetric data analyzed by MBW, only the top 1,000 TikTok videos feature Trefuegos 90 hrs were more than played together 354 million times on the ByteDance platform.

This includes videos still available with millions of views, including this one (37 million views so far), this one (29 million), and this one (17 million).

The most popular TikTok video using Trefuegos 90mh has over 37 million plays and over 2 million likes

Finally over on YouTube – just like Spotify – 90 hrs does not appear on the official Trefuego site.

However, the track is discoverable: a user-uploaded YouTube video featuring the song has garnered more than 8 million views; another has 6.3 million views.

To be clear, these still-available recordings of Trefuego’s track are not showing up because Sony Music’s legal case is nearing completion: Trefuego has yet to respond to the lawsuit, either directly or through its attorneys.

In fact, in late December, the Arizona District Court issued a subpoena against Trefuego at his Arizona home. It read: “If you do not respond, you will be entered into a default judgment on the remedy requested [Sony’s] Complaint.”

Disputes with other rights holders about illegal use of samples has long been an ugly but necessary task for the legal departments of large record labels – who, after all, exist to protect the value of their own copyrights and their own artists.

However, the story of Trefuego and 90 hrs may point to a particularly ominous sign for record companies in modern business.

It’s been almost two decades since the music industry had to figure out how to deal with widespread music copyright infringement by consumers. For the labels, this struggle preceded a lucrative streaming era in which 99.99% their music is legally monetized for them by licensed digital partners.

But what happens if one or some of the millions of every independent artist alive today uploads a track that infringes valuable copyrights – and music rightsholders rely on the same licensed digital partners to clean up the mess?

On the evidence of Trefuego 90 hrsit’s a messier process than labels would hope.

As the old adage goes, once something is on the internet – no matter how hard you want to remove it from existence – it is there business worldwide