What’s up, guys? Justin here.
In this video, I’m going to share some advice on how you can legally sample music the easy way.
Technology has reached a point where almost anyone can have access to recording and mixing software.
Combined with the ease of access to a seemingly infinite number of recorded music.
It’s no wonder that sampling has become common practice for so many musicians.
On top of that, digital and physical distribution are now so easily accessible for any artist, it’s become virtually impossible for publishers and labels to monitor what’s actually being released.
As a result, there are countless songs being released containing samples that haven’t been legally cleared.
So what happens if your song blows up and you haven’t properly cleared your samples?
Best case scenario, your music simply gets removed from any and all platforms where someone could download or stream it.
But more likely, you’re also going to get sued for infringement, pay huge fines and be forced to stop all distribution.
So how can you legally clear your sample so you don’t have to worry about having your music taken down or getting sued?
Well, that’s what I’m gon na cover in this video.
So let’s go ahead and get started.
Before we get started, I feel like this is probably a good time to make the disclaimer that I am not an attorney.
So this should not be taken as legal advice.
That said, you do need to be aware that if you use samples in your music, you need to get them cleared. There are a few things you should understand about legally licensing samples for your music.
Firstly, you absolutely must clear your samples period. You have to have permission to use a sample in your music.
And it doesn’t matter how long the sample is, even if it’s less than a second, you technically need to clear it with the copyright owners.
And that’s right, owners plural. There are two copyrights involved with any recorded song.
First, there’s a copyright to the actual master recording.
This is typically owned by a record label, so you need to get permission to use the sample from the label or whoever owns the master recording.
Next, you have to get permission to use the underlying work. There’s a separate copyright that protects the owner of the song itself. That’s typically going to be either the songwriter or the publisher.
Now, normally, if you were just to do a cover song, you wouldn’t have to ask for permission. You simply record your version of the song and pay a royalty to the owner of the song’s copyright.
That’s not the case for samples.
However, if you want to sample a portion of a recording for your song, you’re going to need to get permission to use both the master recording and the underlying work.
This can, of course, be a huge pain in the butt for most independent artists.
Actually tracking down the copyright owners will be your first challenge.
Labels, publishers, and catalogs are bought and sold all the time.
And once you find the copyright owner, there’s no guarantee that they’re going to even want to talk to you.
If Ed Sheeran wants you to sample in his next big single, he’s certainly going to get a return phone call.
But if you’re a small independent artist, you’re likely not bringing enough to the table for labels and publishers to want to take the time to actually negotiate a license with you.
Which brings me to your next hurdle.
Even if you do get your foot in the door with the copyright owners and they agree to let you use the sample, you still have to negotiate a fee. They typically have to pay a fee upfront, because, let’s be honest, if you’re a small independent artist, the label or publisher probably won’t expect you to sell a lot of downloads or get a ton of streams.
And on top of the upfront fee, you’ll negotiate a royalty.
That means you’ll pay a percentage of whatever revenue is generated by the song to both the label and the publisher. It’s probably going to be a pretty high percentage, mostly because if you’re a small independent artist, you don’t really have a lot of leverage in the negotiation.
An artist like Ed Sheeran would be able to negotiate the royalty down quite a bit.
Because the label and publisher both know that he’s going to generate hundreds of millions of streams and potentially millions of sales.
Small independent artists, on the other hand, have very little leverage when it comes to that type of negotiation, because there’s no reason to expect that the song will get very many sales or streams.
So it was too much of a pain to get samples cleared.
What can you do about it?
Well, I would strongly advise against releasing your music without clearing the samples because that could result in a lawsuit that could end your career before it even begins.
But there’s actually a very simple alternative. You could use precleared samples from a site like track lib.
With track live, you simply choose the sample that you want to use and agree to pay a certain percentage of the revenue generated by the song.
And that percentage will vary based on how much of the song you actually use.
It’s a really simple way to use quality samples in your mixes without jumping through all the hoops of trying to clear a sample on your own.
Now if you’re just dead set on using a specific sample in your mix, that’s not precleared on a site like track lib. That’s okay, just be aware that you need to get permission from both the owner of the master recording and the owner of the underlying work, and neither one of them really has to give you permission, so that could prevent you from releasing your music legally.
In most cases, it’s probably best to use pre-cleared samples so you can get your tracks finished quickly and easily and release them without any hassles.
And once you are ready to promote that music to new audiences and grow your fan base, you want to have a proven step by step promotion system that you can follow to get your music out to the right people, get more exposure, more fans, more streams, and sell your music and merge online.
If you want to learn more about how you can promote your new releases effectively, go to music promotion machine comm to learn more directly about this video.
I hope you find it helpful.
If you have, please let me know in the comments and give it a thumbs up.
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Thanks for watching.
I’ll see you next time.