By Todd Brabec, ASCAP Executive VP of Membership and Jeff Brabec
"Sampling" is when a songwriter, recording artist or record producer takes a portion of an existing song, existing recording, or both and puts them into a new song, recording or both.
It can take a number of different forms with the most common being:
- The Song Itself. The recording artist or record producer uses a portion of an existing song as a bridge, insert, or portion of a new song.
- The Master Recording. The recording artist or producer uses an instrumental portion of an existing master recording and inserts it into a newly recorded master.
- The Master Recording and the Song. The recording artist or producer transfers an existing master recording and vocal performance of the song directly into the newly recorded master.
If the recording is released without the sample being approved (the pre-existing song or record) the publisher and record company will contact the recording artist or record company that released the unauthorized sampled performance and let them know that such a use constitutes an infringement of copyright. Litigation could be next but if the sample can be deleted from the record before it is released, no harm would occur.
If the sample is approved by the music publisher or the record company of the pre-existing song and record, the matter is then handled in a number of different ways including a one-time "buy-out of all rights" fee; the payment of a percentage of income received from either the new recording or the new song; or the transfer of a portion of the copyright of the new composition as well as the income generated from the new song.
© 2007 Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec
For more information, check out the book Music, Money and Success: The Insider's Guide To Making Money In The Music Business (Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales/502 pages) available for sale at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Music Sales Group and www.musicandmoney.com.