Did anyone payed rights to all musicians recorded by Alan Lomax? I dont think so honestly without detracting from Lomax’s great musicologist work.
Danish group Djuma Soundsystem was sued for the guitar sample in Les Djinns.
The rights owner won 100.000 Euros, far more than the 20.000 euros the track made.
The judge had no idea what a sample was, which illustrate the challenge when handling cases like this.
They ended up paying nothing the right owner died short time after he “won”
From 4:41 on shows how (arguably) absurd its gotten.
On the other hand, I can appreciate artists hoping to protect themselves from the lack of recognition for “inspiring” artists that went on during the 50s and 60s.
Here are my thoughts.
If you are just starting out, and you won’t release tracks - sample anything and everything, because it is easy and it helps you learn. But make detailed notes about where all the samples come from in case you want to secure rights later for release.
As you progress and start to release music, try to recreate the samples on your own. Replace them with similar recordings that you create from scratch. But if you have the money to pay for the actual sample and you really want to use it, ask for permission.
Also consider sampling yourself. Anyone who goes through the creative process will usually have lots of leftover ideas, things that you have thrown away. Try building up those ideas into something you can sample a small portion from and turn it into a gem.
This is a rather common technique when there is trouble getting sample rights. . There is even a specific term used when doing this but it escapes me at the moment
Where would music be without the funky drummer or the amen break?
There’s entire genres of music based around one sampled break.
What about Endtroducing by DJ Shadow? Every second of that album is taken from someone else’s records. Records that DJ Shadow spent years digging for, picking out and arranging into something many people feel is a masterpiece.
Sampling, if done by talented, patient artists is, for me at least, as rewarding to listen to as any other medium of music creation and takes as much skill, practice and dedication as mastering any form of performance or production.
The problem is with all the lazy producers who sample half a song because they can’t be bothered to come up with a melody for their track.
Unfortunately, those being penalised for sampling aren’t necessarily the lazy ones. As has been pointed out, it’s the one’s making the big money that find themselves getting sued.
I guess the secret is either to never make money or to sample records so obscure no-one gives a shit.
It’s called interpolation. A good example is the chorus sample in Power by Kanye West. He couldn’t get the original sample cleared so he and a team recreated or “interpolated” the original track to then sample it.
This is a common technique used because even though it can still technically violate copy rights, it was not sampled from the Master recordings i.e the actual song itself. Usually the fines for these type violations are much, much cheaper as well.
I think this has never been disputed. There are also a couple of cover songs, which have been much better and much more successful than the originals.
IMO the problem is only that some producers think everything has to be free of permission or free of charge and they are allowed to make profits from the work of others as they like.
…a good day.