An example of why it’s so hard to sample anymore

vinyl-record-dj

So last week i turned in the CD master of the Columbus or Bust album to this pressing plant that we take a lot of CD duplication jobs too.  They start processing the order and then the sales rep calls me and is like “i have a question about this master”

I say “sure, what is it?”, and she says “are all the samples on this cleared and do you have permission to use everything on this record”.  I say “nah, not really, but what are you referring to”, and she says “i think i heard a vocal sample from an Officer and A Gentlemen on there”.  I’m kind of off guard but I’m like “hmmm, well there are samples but that’s not what its from”, and she says that she thinks there’s going to be a problem with their “licensing department” with the samples and they might not be able to press the record.  I basically say hey whatever y’all decide to do just let me know.  I didn’t tell her any of the samples because really its none of her business and also if somebody is gonna catch me then they’re gonna have to do their homework. I’m not gonna do their job for them and narc on myself.

So a day or two later, she forwards me an e-mail from their “licensing department” that basically identifies a couple vocal samples on there correctly and says i need permission to use them or they cant press it.  Wow.

This is just a very small example of everything that is wrong with the industry right now.  This is not a label, or an artist, or a publishing company doing this–this is a pressing plant; scared that they will get sued because they print a cd with an uncleared sample on it, when the truth is there is no precedent for it.  It makes me feel like everybody has been in the pocket of the record industry (that exploits every artists it has ever known) for far too long, to the point where they feel like they have to protect their interests. Its wild to think about, but its a very real situation.

But basically if you’ve ever wondered why you listen to the radio and there’s nothing but keyboard sounding beats there, or artists like DJ Shadow who pioneered sampling on their first album are all the sudden unable to sample anymore and their albums don’t sound the same.  Obviously I’m biased here but the sound of hip-hop as we know or have known it is largely based around sampling, but sometimes i feel like its demise (particularly of the east coast sound) is rooted in the inability of its artists to sample anymore.

And the truth is that as artists sell less and less records the sample police will become more and more diligent because major labels are badly in need of revenue.

And you would be surprised to know that even independent artists who sell a fraction of what major label artists sell are being sued right and left.  They’ll come and get you for something you sampled 10 years ago as if it was brand new.

Its cold out here.

Just thought I would share that with y’all.

Word is blog.

p.s. don’t worry I’m just gonna take the Columbus or Bust album to a different pressing plant that doesn’t give a fuck.

    • HubertGAM

      It’s ironic that there is a little rumor regarding Shadow’s wife working as an attorney who hunts down sampling producers with the cease-and-desists.

      That said, I hear you. I agree. I hope that the Creative Commons movement can form a ripple within the hip hop space, seriously.

    • albinored

      On that subject, I always wanted to find out if the Bar Scene’s at the end of “It’s Only Life” and “Find Me At The Bar” were sampled from a movie or something created. They were funny as hell.

    • those are from an independent movie called Roger Dodger. the entire movie is kind of bizarre and funny like those quotes.

    • i think the next step might be artists getting back to sampling, but releasing their sample-heavy records for free. at least that way we could get back to hearing good music again, even if its not as widely available as it should be.

    • word to that print…keep the music the way it’s meant to be….ENTERTAINMENT!!!…Samples are what hip-hop was made from…1 love!!