Is sampling a beat illegal?

Tracklib: Sampling could finally become completely legal

Tracklib from Sweden is a new online service that wants to enable musicians to legally use samples from other artists and to license them if necessary. The original artists should be paid fairly and the licensed artists should be allowed to creatively use their works.

Pär Almqvist, CEO and Co-Founder of Tracklib says: “Tracklib is a new license and sales model that benefits everyone. We believe it will completely revolutionize the music industry. What iTunes is to downloads and Spotify to streaming, Tracklib will be to sampling. "

Many musicians sample songs from other musicians. Hip Hop and Drum'n'Bass would have been unthinkable without drum breaks and sounds from funk and soul. The famous amen break and the funky drummer alone were sampled a thousand times.

The edit scene on Soundcloud has now probably straightened out every reasonably usable dance track of the 70s and 80s in Ableton and underlayed it with a fatter beat. Sampling is often castigated as the illegal appropriation of someone else's creative property.

But the sampling of well-known music passages is also the positioning in a musical environment and the citing of artistic role models, as is currently celebrated by The XX on their album "I See You", for example. On “On Hold” they prominently incorporate a sample from Hall & Oate's “I Can't Go For That”, but not the empty intro groove, which is also often used, but a short vocal passage from the verse that is in the chorus of The XX takes on a completely new meaning. In 2005 Madonna achieved a worldwide mega hit with “Hung Up”. her producer Stewart Price composed the piece on the loop of ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme".

Now Madonna as well as The XX or other successful musicians have an armada of lawyers on hand who take care of such licensing deals. Most of the time, it's all about who has to pay how much to use a sample. Because a current hit with a sample of a possibly forgotten record pays off for both licensees and licensors. Less well-known musicians always move in a legal gray area when sampling other artists. Without clear license deals, they run the risk of being sued, crushing their song, or at least having to surrender all royalties.

Sample and license online immediately? (Image: YouTube / Tracklib)