A songwriter is suing the YouTube comedy duo Handsome Dancer, claiming they haven’t properly credited, or paid him, for his contributions to their viral song, “Coincidance.”
The lawsuit was filed by Giacomo Lamparelli, who’s seeking damages for unpaid royalties related to the song, according to the court documents obtained by Rolling Stone. Lamparelli claims he provided significant contributions to the original demo made by Handsome Dancer’s James Manzello and Matt Pavich, but in the wake of the song’s success, the pair “have ceased providing Mr. Lamparelli credit for his work, refused to recognize him as a co-author, refused to provide an accounting and refused to pay any compensation for Mr. Lamparelli’s production services or his work” on the track.
Handsome Dancer did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
“Coincidence” was first released in 2015 and steadily became a viral success over the years. As noted in Lamparelli’s lawsuit, the song has racked up millions of plays on YouTube and Spotify, and gotten plenty of attention on TikTok (the lawsuit erroneously refers to the platform as “TikToc.com” throughout). Additionally, “Coincidance” was featured on The Ellen Show, a trailer for Netflix’s animated movie Back to the Outback, and in a Volkswagen commercial that aired in Taiwan.
According to Lamparelli, Handsome Dancer “created, wrote and developed the lyrics and some of the instrumental portion” of “Coincidance,” but that the song “required significant musical and production additions” to be “a commercially viable work” when they enlisted his help. Lamparelli claims Handsome Dancer asked him to “add significant musical elements” and produce the song, and claims he was promised payment, credit, and royalties for his contributions. But the lawsuit does admit: “[T]he parties never memorized the terms of their agreement into a written contract.”
The lawsuit outlines Lamparelli’s alleged contributions to the song, which spanned everything from instrumental work to shaping the “entire climax, ‘the drop,’ and ending, essentially the whole final section of the song… ‘Coincidance’ contains all of Mr. Lamparelli’s contributions including the last and most powerful impression of the song retained by the listener.”
Despite the lack of a contract between Handsome Dancer and Lamparelli, the latter’s lawsuit claims that Manzello “admitted to Mr. Lamparelli that he was a producer/independent contractor without a written contract and that Mr. Lamparelli’s Work significantly contributed to Defendants’ Work to create ‘Coincidance.’” The lawsuit also claims that Manzello wrote Lamparelli in Aug. 2017 that he “is entitled to compensation… and continued future royalties.” Furthermore, Manzello allegedly “indicated” that Lamparelli was entitled to “at least one-third of the revenue generated by ‘Coincidance.’”
Per the lawsuit, Manzello again “confirmed” Lamparelli was entitled to compensation for “Coincidance” in May 2021, but not long after that, Manzello allegedly “refused to provide any additional accounting of any royalties or other profits earned from ‘Coincidance.’” Lamparelli said his attempts to get this information have been ignored, and that when he submitted another request through his lawyer, an attorney for Manzello declined to provide an accounting, as well.
Lastly, the lawsuit claims, “Upon review of the current publications of ‘Coincidance,’ it appears that Defendants have removed all mention of Mr. Lamparelli from the credits.” It also claims that Manzello has “contested the existence of a contract and contested, for the first time, that Mr. Lamparelli was a co-author of ‘Coincidance.’”
Lamparelli is seeking monetary damages to be proven at trial in excess of $2 million, as well as non-monetary damages.
Additional reporting by Seamus Hughes.