"A friend of mine worked at a major record label, and his role there was to
license out the catalog for sampling..."
How arbitraryily based on one man's esthetic opinion (totally unjustifiable
in any other mind but his) can you get? I suspected there was no "method"
to this madness. So all these lawyers and execs get all these laws against
reuse made and then the actual gatekeeping comes down to one guy down in
the cassette room charging less for what he likes and more for what he
The only way to handle music sampling is to recognize it generically as a
valid, self-justifying form of creativity and put no restrictions on it
BECAUSE it is a valid form of creativity that should not be restricted, or
even slowed down by prohibitive tolls or refusals of permission from
sources. Notice how many cassettes he had to get to? It FUCKS UP all
release schedules involved and creates endless limbo for ALL these creative
Today, sampling fees are no different than forcing a prior toll and
permission on the use of pianos or guitars or paper or pencils would be,
all of which are also most often used to copy something that has influenced
the users of those tools in making new works. Remember Puffy saying,
"Hip-hoppers don't play instruments"? A still brave admission among all his
other cowering responses, and that is the crux of how art ALWAYS subverts
the common knowledge of it and goes on surprising everyone concerning what
art might be. Now that sampling has done that, we have dcecided to PUNISH
it for doing so. Copyright's influence on audio collage is a totally
anti-art influence, perpetrated by know-nothing philistines who don't give
a shit for whatever practice is going on beyond it's income potential.
Copyright puts THEM, not artists, in charge of deciding what new music is
going to consist of. No one pretends to routinely do this in painting or
sculpture or for any other form of singular, unique object. But for the
first time in art's history, in audio we have a contemporary collision
between the individual's art impulse and the mass marketing of mutiple
copies in which the singlular "original" master holds no public imperative
any longer. (why do you think audio artists don't think twice about "using"
this whole new environment of copies as raw material themselves?) However,
this presents a VERY BIG problem for the art side of this equation because
creative freedom is now subject to commercial business law that WAS NOT
designed to accomodate it, hardly even recognizes it as important, and
turns it all into an economic competition quite alien and irrelevant to
Of course, fragmentary reuse in the modern world should ALL be fair use as
long as what is used is less than the whole and/or transformed by the new
context. (just like the "rules" of copying with pianos and pencils adhere
to.) And these minimal legal parameters (purely to stop the blatant,
straight across counterfeiting of another's work) should be left for the
courts to decide whenever it's contested by a source. Fragmentary reuse
itself sould be automatically free, open to anything, and require no
notification of the source. Contesting a collage's presumption of fair use
under these guidelines must be done AFTER the work appears, not before. All
sampling is collage whether it's good collage or bad. I want fair use for
collage because no one should have the right to tell a collage maker what
they can and can't do before they do it, any more than they can tell a
painter or sculptor what they can and can't do before they do it. This
prior restraint is TERRIBLE for the impulse-based evolution of this audio
form, and it makes NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER TO ART MAKING that the work
becomes a mass marketed product.
Copyright's unbound proprietary controls are channeling collage into
corporately desired directions ONLY. (So thank God for art "outlaws" who
care about art enough to advance the form "illegally" regardless.)
Corporate controlers don't know NOTHING about making art! The people making
it DO! All these audio corporations made a fine living before sampling
technology ever came along and I have every confidence that they can go
back to surviving just fine without sampling fees and without the
prevention of collage and without the intimidation of collage artists. I
want the guy in the cassette room to lose his "job" and do something useful
for a living instead. And I want fair use expanded and copyright reformed
to get its cotten picking hands off modern creativity!
>DJ--would be interested to know wthat you think of the following:
>A friend of mine worked at a major record label, and his role there was to
>license out the catalog for sampling. The tapes with license requests
>flowed in like a river (just cant get enough mileage out of this analogy
>these days). He had a rack of casettes on his wall 1,000 deep. This
>label controlled some of the best deep catalog out there--jazz, blues,
>early folk recordings, etc. He was supposed to put on the head phones
>listen to the tapes, and then make the requesting licensee a quote, which
>was accpeted by a sample agent (I say accepted, because by the time the
>request came in and got processed, the record was out, and the leverage
>was not so good for the licensee).
>Anyway, here's how he approached his job:
>If the sample was the illest use of an Idris Muhammad track on the Beastie
>Boys's "Paul's Boutique", where the artist took the sample and
>"transformed it", and made something wholly wonderful out of it, then the
>quote would be moderate, both on an upfront basis and on a royalty basis.
>On the other hand, if the sample was Luther Vandrosses "All Night Long",
>taken lock, stock & barrel and looped into a Queen Pen track, with the
>dumbest of dumb rapping over it, then the licensee got stuck in a big way.
>Leaving aside for the moment (if you're capable :)) that a corporation
>benefits in both scenarios, what re: the approach?
>In a message dated Fri, 13 Jul 2001 10:29:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Don
>Joyce <djATwebbnet.com> writes:
>> It's a shame Puffy has been pushed into feeling a little ashamed if he
>> samples ANYTHING. Especially since his company can afford to pay for them
>> It makes absolutely no difference what one samples, it's all good.
>> > Lets try that again for those of you who aren't on AThome
>> >NEW YORK (AP) - When is a sample not a sample? According to Sean "Puffy"
>> >Combs, borrowing from other artists' work isn't really sampling if the
>> >original song isn't a hit.
>> >Sampling, a technique used in rap, R&B, pop and other genres, is when
>> >artists or producers incorporate another artist's song in their work. Some
>> >samples take just a tiny part of a song, while others use the entire
>> >Combs, whose production work has been criticized in the past for borrowing
>> >heavily from other people's hits, told The Associated Press recently that
>> >his new album, "P. Diddy & The Bad Boy Family ... The Saga Continues," was
>> >more creative than his previous work because he had not sampled other
>> >artists' songs.
>> >"I think this is a show of a progression, being that I didn't use any
>> >samples, even though it wasn't planned out," Combs said. "But I didn't
>> >really use any samples, and it progressed in a way that it went back to
>> >the basics."
>> >Publicity materials for the record also said it "is comprised of entirely
>> >original beats and music."
>> >But when the album was released Tuesday, production credits showed 12 of
>> >17 tracks borrowed from other recordings, from Al Green's "Love &
>> >Happiness" to the Alan Parsons Project's "Sirius."
>> >One Combs song, "Back for Good Now," cited four different songs.
>> >Asked about the discrepancy Wednesday, Combs told the AP there was a
>> >"miscommunication" and that when he said he didn't use samples he meant he
>> >didn't use samples that were major hits.
>> >"(When) anybody is talking about a sample, usually it's talking about a
>> >known sample," Combs said.
>> >"There is no Diana Ross sample there," he said, in reference to the hit
>> >"Mo' Money, Mo' Problems," in which he, the Notorious B.I.G. and Mase
>> >rapped to Ross' hit "I'm Coming Out."
>> >"People know me, and people always try and criticize me for using pop
>> >hits," he added. "We did not do that this time."
>> >Combs said rap songs frequently borrow instrumental elements from other
>> >songs bcause hip-hop artists "don't play live instruments."
>> >He apologized for any confusion, and said future press releases would be
>> >TooMuchPhoATaol.com wrote:
>> >Can you please repost this to pho? It didn't post properly and you have
>> >a member to view it on the site. Thanks.
>> >Mara Schwartz
>> >(323) 663-5578
>> >Too Much Pho ATaol.com
>> >"What a botched design-project people must be if these songs can make
>> >this way, yet leave you untouched. If we don't share redemption this
>> >fundamental, no wonder we fight over abstractions like religions and
>> >copyright law."
>> >-- The War Against Silence, on Big Country
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