An interesting article, though hardly surprising. It
proves once and for all that "music is not art".
However farcical it may seem, there is a line drawn
between the Artist, their Art and the financial
mechanism behind it. This is sadly missing in music,
where it is considered to be product first, artistic
second. Were it somehow possible to "elevate" music
to the level of Art, then such clearing houses of
samples would either not exist or at least exisist in
greatly reduced form. But for right now the
fundamental difference is still there. Any sound
creator, no matter how avant garde, is a "musician",
who, even if they don't produce what seem to be
"songs", have "albums", and if they collaborate with
other like minds, are in a "band". If they have no
support for their art, they are "independent", which
hands them an automatic anti-establishment agenda
before a single note is played. [see also "folk songs
of protest"] I see that in my own band [yes, I fall
into that trap as well]. Were the Freer in DC filled
with tape machines and headphones that plugged into
the wall, we wouldn't even have this discussion. Now
might be a good time to catch a couple art critcs in a
net and brainwash them into thinking that music is
art, before this situation gets too far out of hand.
--- Carrie McLaren <carrieATstayfreemagazine.org>
> "Setting the new market in sampling"
> Sellers are looking to make a deal, but buyers are
> Boston Globe
> By Steve Morse, Globe Staff, 3/3/2002
> The full-page ad appeared innocently enough in a
> recent issue
> of Billboard magazine. The family of Curtis Mayfield
> - the pioneering
> R&B singer who died two years ago - wanted to thank
> the many rap
> artists, including Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z, who have
> sampled his songs.
> Thanks, yes, but also a request for more business.
> The ad
> included the phone number for Mayfield's manager,
> and encouraged any
> artist interested in making use of the singer's
> music to put in a
> Sampling - the practice of taking parts of
> preexisting songs
> and building new music and lyrics around them - has
> a controversial
> history. Not that long ago, musicians fought
> bitterly against what
> they deemed artistic piracy. After much legal
> wrangling and debates
> over intellectual property, this ripoff-prone sector
> of the industry
> became carefully regulated.
> And lucrative. Now more than ever, it's the sellers
> - like
> Mayfield's estate - who are actively trying to get
> established and
> up-and-coming musicians interested in picking up a
> beat, a musical
> fragment, or a snippet of lyrics.
> Yet the selling price of samples has some artists
> they're not in the market to buy anymore. ''It's
> costing too much to
> get clearances, and sometimes it's easier to just do
> your own
> music,'' says Gail Mitchell, the rap/R&B editor at
> There's no debate that sampling has become an
> practice in hip-hop, and, increasingly, in rock.
> Rare is the argument
> that it's not an artistic thing to do - not when the
> profits are
> astronomical; a single Mayfield sample on a
> high-profile record can
> fetch his estate as much as an estimated $350,000.
> It's fair to say
> that the samples used by Eminem and Snoop Dogg had
> price tags in that
> For R&B forefathers such as Mayfield, James Brown,
> and the
> Isley Brothers, sampling represents a
> multimilion-dollar windfall.
> In addition, sampling an R&B pioneer like Mayfield
> can keep
> his music alive and introduce him to a new
> generation of fans who
> weren't even born when his ''Superfly'' album was
> the most
> talked-about record in the nation.
> ''I probably get about five sample requests a
> month,'' says
> Marv Heiman, who managed the Chicago-bred Mayfield
> for 30 years and
> is the executor of his estate. ''Sampling means an
> ongoing stream of
> revenue for the family,'' he adds, referring to
> Mayfield's 10
> children and widow, Altheida. ''But it's not even
> the financial
> thing. More important to me is that his name doesn't
> die out.''
> The spinoff is more sales of Mayfield's albums.
> ''Maybe a lot
> of kids don't read credits on an album,'' says
> Heiman. ''But the ones
> who do say, `Hey, Snoop Dogg sampled Curtis
> Mayfield. I like that
> cut. And oh, Tupac sampled Curtis Mayfield. Who the
> hell is Curtis
> Mayfield? Maybe I ought to go into a record shop and
> see if I can buy
> something on him.'''
> That was then ...
> Sampling is a much more respected, better-organized
> than in the '80s when many rap groups began lifting
> bits of songs and
> not paying for them. This was eventually squelched
> by the threat of
> legal action that followed the 1990 Vanilla Ice hit
> ''Ice Ice Baby,''
> which sampled the Queen/David Bowie song ''Under
> Reportedly, a six-figure settlement was made to
> avoid litigation.
> Today record companies have sampling departments
> that oversee
> the process. Rap producers must fill out sheets
> telling the companies
> what songs they are sampling so that licensing fees
> can be pursued.
> And more companies like New York's Sample Clearance
> Limited are
> hired, sometimes by the labels and sometimes by the
> artists, to
> strike the best deals possible.
> It's still a maverick field in that there are no
> set fees
> (everything is negotiable), but the money has become
> so big that most
> samples are tracked like smart bombs.
> ''If you're pro-money, you're pro-sampling. This
> represents a
> second career for a lot of these guys,'' says Daniel
> Rubin, a lawyer
> who runs Sample Clearance Limited and works not just
> for some labels
> (EMI and Capitol, in particular) but clears samples
> for individual
> artists, including Kid Rock, Jay-Z, and Will Smith.
> He's also working
> on an online program to provide music producers and
> studios a list of
> available samples, with licensing information
> attached. It's
> ''one-stop shopping for samples,'' says Rubin, who
> hopes to debut the
> program this year.
> The money involved is almost unfathomable by
> standards. Sampling fees vary depending on how much
> of the song is
> sampled - is it a four-second bass line or a
> four-minute loop of that
> bass line?
> The original artist can potentially get two
> royalties - one
> from use of the master tape (Warner Bros. Special
> Products owns
> Mayfield's masters of his recordings in the United
> States, but the
> estate owns them in the rest of the world), and one
> for 50 percent of
> the publisher/songwriter copyright (Warner-Chappelle
> is Mayfield's
> publisher, so that company gets the other half).
> Mayfield's estate might get only 3 to 4 cents per
> album for
> the songwriter copyright, but if the sample appears
> on a rap CD that
> sells 5 million copies (not unusual for Eminem),
> that's a windfall of
> more than $200,000 right there.
> But there's more. If the sample is part of a hit
> single, then
> radio stations have to pay performance royalties to
> agencies, mainly ASCAP and BMI, which relay more
> money to the estate.
> Thus, a sample can be even more lucrative than if an
> artist does a
> cover version of a Mayfield song (as En Vogue did
> with a remake of
> ''Giving Him Something He Can Feel'' that went to
> No. 6 in 1992). In
> that case, the estate would receive only songwriting
> royalties, not
> performance royalties.
> Security in sampling
> Mayfield's most popular songs include ''People Get
> (redone by Rod Stewart), ''Freddie's Dead,''
> ''Pusherman,'' and
> ''Superfly,'' the title hit from a 1972 film about
> an urban hustler.
> In all, he wrote more than 400 songs and roughly 100
> landed on
> various charts. And after a devastating injury in
> 1990 when a
> lighting truss fell on him at a Brooklyn concert and
> rendered him
> quadriplegic, Mayfield had further reason to embrace
> the sampling
> ''Sampling allowed him to keep his dignity and
> self-respect,'' says Heiman. ''He had health
=== message truncated ===
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