JOHN Lewis has donated to charities chosen by Wells-based musicians who accused the department store of copying their version of a song used in its Christmas advert. 

The Portraits, a husband and wife alt-folk duo, said the version of Together In Electric Dreams used in this year’s John Lewis advert resembles the arrangement they released last year for charity.

John Lewis previously said, and maintains, there is “no substance” to the claims, pointing out that it is a famous song which has been covered many times.

The retailer said it supports “numerous” charities and has generated £8 million for community caused in the last year.

John Lewis said it was glad to donate to The Portraits' chosen charities, adding it "would never copy another cover version". 

The store said a report from a leading musicologist was "unable to identify any meaningful evidence of copying from The Portraits’ arrangement".

Proceeds from The Portraits' single went to two charities: Mind and Cruse Bereavement Support.

The version of Together In Electric Dreams featured in the John Lewis advert, 'Unexpected Guest', is performed by 20-year-old London singer-songwriter Lola Young.

Read more: Wells musical duo urge John Lewis to donate to charities after song copy claim

A spokesman for John Lewis said: "We share common interests with The Portraits in the love of the song and our commitment to charities.

"We’re glad to donate to The Portraits’ chosen charities and proud that our Give A Little Love campaign has generated £8m for good causes in the last year, including donations to Mind and Cruse.

"Our version of Electric Dreams is an original cover that was properly authorised by our advertising agency, who secured copyright licences from the original publishers of the track on our behalf.

"We’re well-known for stripped-back, slower covers in our Christmas campaigns and this version is consistent with our style.

"A brand like ours would never copy another cover version."

Earlier this month, Ms Millington, who is originally from Loughrea in County Galway, Ireland, said she would like John Lewis to "do the honourable thing" and donate to both Mind and Cruse Bereavement Care "in the spirit of Christmas". 

On Monday, she told the PA News Agency: "We are not sure what the amount of the donation will be, as they asked us to trust them on this and did not want to disclose the sum in question.

"We have been in close contact with Cruse Bereavement Support who are very much in need of the funding at the moment and, of course, we are happy that they will benefit from this outcome, especially if the amount is substantial as John Lewis have assured us it will be.

"Meanwhile, we are very excited to be able to re-release a version of Together In Electric Dreams alongside a new cover version of Ed Sheeran’s song Photograph with all proceeds going to the charity Cruse Bereavement Support, and to yet again mark all those lost lives in the last two years and the people supporting them."

In a statement posted on Facebook on November 28, the musical duo added: "The Portraits are relieved to learn that John Lewis and their advertising agency Adam & Eve will both be making donations to the two charities which received all the proceeds from our version of ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ in 2020: Cruse Bereavement Support and Mind.

"We made our unique arrangement and recording of the song in honour of the thousands of grandparents, parents, partners, siblings, cousins, children and friends lost during the pandemic and the organisations working so hard to support them.

"It feels right that the publicity associated with this story now should be directed back to those people, ensuring we all leave consumerism to one side and remember those who’ve lived through unimaginable sadness in recent times." 

The Portraits previously said they contacted the head of marketing at John Lewis in March to offer their version of the song, but John Lewis said the person contacted by email "left at the start of the summer and had no involvement in this year’s Christmas ad".

The department store said Together In Electric Dreams was not considered as an option for the advert until October, and even then it was one of a number of songs considered.

John Lewis also pointed out there are many covers of the original version of the song in the public domain and said they pay royalties to use it.