Update 05/07/21: Vessels IX is now back on all platforms, minus the offending track. If you had the album saved it should reappear in your library, if not, you can find it here: futureastro.xyz/vessels-ix.

Over the past two weeks, you may have noticed that Vessels IX has been unavailable on most platforms. Odd right? Well, we’ve been involved in something that is every label’s worst nightmare; a copyright infringement claim.

On June 16th 2021, we received a notice from our distributor, informing us that a track included on the compilation (we’re not including the title, but it’s not too hard to figure out if you wish to do so. Referred to throughout as “the artist”.) was infringing on a track from Universal Music. At the time of the initial email, we were not informed on what the track was infringing.

Immediately we responded, asking what the track was infringing on and for more information. We emailed both our distributor and Universal Music, and the artist who created the infringing track.

Universal got back to us quickly, informing us that the track contained samples from Olafur Arnalds’ track “Flow 1”.

We heard back from the artist straight away, claiming that everything in the track was his own work.

Our first port of call was to get evidence from the artist. We asked for a screenshot of the project, as well as stems of each track in the song, which the artist provided.

We went through everything, and whilst the piano sounded similar to the track in question (which we could not find on any streaming services, for what it’s worth), we thought that due to the artist claiming to have used a Spitfire Audio library from Olafur himself, he was just heavily inspired by it. This was our first mistake.

The piano line is similar, but the key is different, the chord voicing sounds different, and with it being a piano recorded by Olafur for Spitfire Audio (and of course after the artist’s assurance), we figured everything was legit. We even used Shazam to see if it’d get flagged up; it didn’t.

So, we immediately passed on this information and evidence to our distributor and Universal Music, genuinely believing that it was a mistake in the algorithm.

We continued to talk to the artist through Instagram, as it was more convenient than email. He continued to assure us that the track was not sampled, and claimed he had never even heard the track he was alleged to have sampled.

On June 17th 2021, we heard back from our distributor, letting us know they had passed on the evidence to Spotify. We were anxious to get this sorted ASAP.

Fast forward a week or so (and a few emails back and forth with our distributor on how to proceed) to 24th June 2021, and we get another infringement notice, this time from Apple Music.

We truly believed this was all a mistake, and were getting frustrated that this was happening. We had provided evidence that we believed in good faith was genuine and would clarify the issue, but it continued.

We emailed back, asking what we needed to do to clarify this issue. At this point in time, we had still not received anything back from Universal Music after their initial reply to us asking what we had infringed upon… so we waited.

And we waited, until yesterday.

28th June 2021, we received an update from Universal Music. This time from their legal department. Disputing our claims that the track was not sampled and that the piano was from the Spitfire Audio library. We would soon come to learn that they were absolutely correct.

We immediately messaged the artist and presented him with the claim. We told him that he needed to be completely honest with us… fully expecting him to say that it was all a huge mistake. And there really was a mistake; the mistake was ours for trusting him and believing he was being honest from the start.

So here we are. Currently, Vessels IX is in the process of being removed from all streaming platforms. It is currently still available on Bandcamp (minus the infringing track of course), but this may change. We genuinely tried our best to clarify whether the track was sampled, and our contract absolutely prohibits this, but it slipped through. As many of you know, we’re small time. We don’t have the tools available to major labels and platforms to detect copyright infringement and we do our best to prevent these things from happening based on trust, honesty and the limited tools available to us. Evidently this was not enough.

We offer our sincere apologies to Olafur Arnalds, Decca, Universal Music, Dashgo and Downtown Music for all of this mess. Had we known what we know now, the track would never have been included. We acted in good faith to try and rectify this issue with what turned out to be false information.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with us. We are not trying to pass the buck here. We uploaded the track and we are responsible for what goes out on Vessels compilations. We just genuinely did not know that the track was sampled.

We’re unsure what’s going to happen next with Future Astronauts as a label, but we’ll be sure to be transparent and keep everybody updated. We just wanted to let everybody know what’s been happening, and how it played out.

Thank you to everybody who has supported Vessels IX, and from the bottom of our collective hearts, we’re genuinely sorry for this mess.


– The Future Astronauts Team.