Music Data Rankings: Most Original & Biggest Rip-Off Artists in the Charts Today

Is it deja vu or is it a cover song trying to pass as an original? According to Spotify data, there are (at least) 83 million songs in the world. 83 million. With so much “noise” in the industry, is it any wonder that some artists get a bad rap for ripping off another singer? Ahem, Olivia Rodrigo in her very original, never been done before “Good 4 U.”  

With millions of songs out there in the ether, we wanted to know: what artists are producing the most original music? Which artists are “rip-offs” of others?  

We started by gathering top chart data from Billboard and Rolling Stone divided by genres in the US and Canada: top charts, pop, hip-hop/rap, country, rock, greatest of all time, and TikTok top charts. We then web-scraped all 800 million videos on YouTube using music plagiarism AI (MIPP). Following a number of other “uniqueness” factors like the Shazam fingerprint, artists royalties, and more we were able to index artists and songs from unique to rip-off

Key Highlights:  

  • Zach Bryan was named the “most original artist” with a score of 73/100 
  • The Black Keys were deemed the “biggest rip-off artist” with a score of 10/100 
  • Beyonce’s “Texas Hold ‘Em” was awarded the “most original song” on the top charts 
  • Rap is crowned the most original music genre thanks to unique rhyme scheme and a high percentage of unique lyrics 
  • Electronic and Top Charts music fall into the bottom, named the “most unoriginal music genres” 

Most original music artist award goes to…

So, who is spitting bars and rocking new riffs? Swifties, you’re going to want to sit down for this. It’s not Taylor Swift. In fact, it’s not any artist from the Top Pop charts at all. The most original artist was Zach Bryan with an originality score of 73.4, the highest rating of all artists. Whether it was his spoken word poem “Fear and Fridays” or his ability to navigate cross-genre melody like it’s his job. Not only did he have one of the lowest plagiarism scores, all 197 songs returned had some of the highest percentages of lyric-uniqueness. Bryan’s lyrical uniqueness and raw voice offer a breath of fresh air in a busy industry thus earning him the number one place.  

Jumping across genres, the 2nd place spotlight falls on hip-hop genius J. Cole. With an originality score of 64.5 out of 100, J. Cole claims silver. Known for his “clever storytelling techniques” he brings an edge to the hip-hop scene. Data takes this a step further by proving his low plagiarism score and having some of the most unique “song fingerprints” in the Shazam library. It’s Cole’s World and we’re just living in it! 

From J. Cole’s North Carolina stomping grounds, we’re heading to Canada to hand over the Bronze medal. Perhaps the most unique in nicknames too, Drizzy, Champaign Papi, or, most famously, Drake takes 3rd place for most unique musical artist. With over 300 charted songs, it’s a miracle that he continuously releases one-of-a-kind hits. The sheer volume of released music Drake has works as a factor against him, with the chance of repetition high, but, in the most Drake fashion, he slides past the competition for some of the most original lyrics and musical patterns. In the words of Drizzy himself, “When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” 

Biggest rip-off artists in the industry 

There are the Grammy nominees and then there are the wannabees. On the other end of the Top 20 artists, we’re throwing shade (respectfully) to some artists taking more than just a page out of their fellow musicians’ books.  

Apologies in advance, Daniel Auerbach, as The Black Keys was labeled the biggest rip-off artist/band in the charts right now with only a score of 10/100 for originality. Not all that long ago, Jack White, lead singer of The White Stripes, slammed the band for ripping off all their music and, well, the data doesn’t lie. Averaging a 32% infringement for all their songs and a high riff match to other songs, we understand why Reddit user [deleted] said, “The Black Keys use the same exact riff and don’t even try to bend it.” Ouch. 

Dua Lipa comes into the bottom 2, earning her the title of “rip-off artist” at only 11.1/100 originality. Funnily enough, Dua Lipa is her own worst enemy. The majority of the songs that were flagged for copy were her songs vs. her other songs. For example, Lipa’s song “Illusion” was a 44.56% match with her other hit “Houdini.” If ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?  

The bottom three seem more like sinking than swimming with Teddy Swims named third biggest rip-off artists in the charts with an originality score of 14.2/100. Swims started his musical career doing cover songs, but, according to the data, he didn’t venture too far from that with one of the highest co-written songs and royalties paid to other artists. He might be doing more than a bit of peaking on the music originality exam, but his vocals still remain unmatched. Just keep swimming, Teddy! 

The most original music genre 

Get the creative juices flowing, it’s time to spit the beat! Songs dedicated to zero repetition, complex rhyme schemes, and having freshly emerged in around the 1970’s…hip hop shines as the most original music genre at 100/100. Putting the Top 40 rap songs into the infringement check and you’ll find that, compared to other genres, they had the lowest plagiarism scores.  

The runner-up for rarity goes to rock! Don’t let The Black Keys scoring fool you: the genre at large has plenty to offer. Whether you’re being “Welcomed to the jungle” or to the “Black Parade” there’s depth in rock and the score proves this. Thanks to its structural variety and unique Shazam fingerprints, rock earned an originality score of 86.7

The music genre playing copycat 

When Skrillex said, “Yes, Oh my god!” in 2011, it felt revolutionary. The Tumblr Era rejoiced, but EDM hasn’t exactly stood the test of time. Electronic music was deemed the #1 most unoriginal genre out of all music. The data doesn’t have to say much for it to make sense: looped beats, sampled songs, and more of the same don’t give way to originality. Scoring 0/100 for originality, the electronic music genre has taken a beating, but one Quora user chalked it up to, “Because to music normies EDM refers to big room house, perhaps one of the lamest and most unoriginal genres out there.” Is house music to blame for such low scores? 

The #2 most unoriginal genre goes to the Top 20. The top charts are known for riling a crowd, but not necessarily changing the world. Even with the Top 20 charts ranging in style, it wasn’t enough to give it the gold. Songs that will eventually end up on Spotify’s famed “Songs White Girls Get Excited About” playlist earned an originality score of only 15.6/100. 

Cover or creative? Top songs that are anything but original 

Let’s not fault Jojo Siwa for thinking she single-handedly created gay pop – she did, after all, create her own version of post-Disney, bubblegum gay pop. Point being, sometimes artists are only as known (or roasted) as their most famed songs. So here are the songs, and not the musicians, that took a little bit more than artistic liberty on these songs and ended up with a high rip-off score.  

Beyonce didn’t do so hot on the originality score as an artist (17.8/100 originality), but her new hit “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” was swizzling with uniqueness. Receiving the highest score of 100/100, the data adds a layer of proof to the headlines: Beyonce is reinventing country music. How many other songs start spouting off “this ain’t Texas”? Nine! 9 out of around 83 million! 

It’s Stick Season, baby! Noah Kahan scored well on artist originality at #5, but his hit song “Stick Season” especially stands out. At a uniqueness score of 86.1, Kahan paints an unmatched image of Vermont in only 3 minutes and 17 seconds rightfully putting “Stick Season” in 2nd place for most original song on the charts

As the title implies, “Beautiful Things” by Benson Boone is musical magic. A TikTok top hit, Beautiful Things knows variety like no other with the melody patterns and its “pop ballad” style. The lyrics wouldn’t win a Pulitzer, but its sound brings a uniqueness to its otherwise reproduced category of TikTok songs earning it 3rd place. 


Originality is music to our ears. Whether we’re throwing it back to Fall Out Boy or letting Beyonce “yeehaw” us through her unparalleled take on country, there are so many unique melodies to delight in (despite the inevitable junk within an 83 million-song selection). And if anyone tells you your music taste in bland, remember that Taylor said, “haters gonna hate” and all we have to do is shake it off! 

*Music fades out*  


Using quantitative metrics, we evaluated relevant factors to create a weighted score to determine the originality of songs, artists, and labels. The mentioned factors were: 

  • Lyrical match: taking a sample of the lyrics in a song and putting it against the music library to determine the % of repetition in words, phrases, and rhyme structure 
  • Shazam fingerprint: using the logic of Shazam’s song identification process, we timed how long it took the software to identify the song concluding that the faster it took to identify the song, the more unique it was 
  • AI music plagiarism: by using the AI tool called MIPP we were able to have each song scraped against the entire YouTube database to determine the % of similarity to other songs 
  • Royalties: we took historical data to determine what artists had to pay other artists royalties for using the intellectual property (their songs)  


There is no commercial association between and the artists/labels/songs/trademarks listed. Trademarks and copyrights to named artists, songs, and otherwise belong to their respective owner(s) which are not associated or affiliated with and did not license rights, authorize, or sponsor these findings or study. 

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