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How to get the rights to remix popular vocals

Sampling other songs isn't a new thing to do in the music industry. Records from decades ago are being revived into major dance hits. They work because they're nostalgic, familiar and they've proven to be timeless records over the last decades. However, you can't just use a sample that easily as you don't have the rights. Not a lot of people are talking about how to actually clear a sample and get permission to use it. In this blog you will learn how to do just that.

How to clear a sample.

Table of Contents:


1 - Copyrights

The first step is to connect with the label, the artist, the publisher, and the songwriter. To clear the sample, you need to clear two copyrights. The first one is the master recording, which is the copyright that is usually owned by the label. And the second one is the composition which is usually owned by the songwriter or artist.

How to get the rights to a vocal sample.

2 - The Sample

Before we start finding the copyright owners, you should make sure you write down all the pieces of information about the sample and how you want to use it. This is super important because if you send them the information right away, your chances might be higher to get approved. Make sure the sample you want to use is not just a cover from another song. So make sure you contact the original right holders of the sample. Here is the key information you should collect:

  • Sample Name, Artist, Release

  • How long the sample is and which part of it will be used

  • Where you will use the sample and maybe how often if it's repeated

How to remix a song legally.

3 - Contact Information

Figuring out who holds the rights is usually not that hard. For the label/master recording do this: Open Spotify and search for the song. Click on the song and scroll down. Down there you will find the label if the song is released on a label. If you click on the three dots and click "credits", you will find out who wrote and produced the song.

You can also search Wikipedia or google for the artist's name and label. For the artist/composition do this: Just go through the biggest publishing rights organizations like BMI and ASCAP in the US. Those websites will list who owns the composition. After that, you can simply google their name to contact them via mail or even their socials.

How to get the copyrights of a vocal sample.

4 - Deal

Now after you did all your research it's time to get in touch with the master owners and the composition owners. Simply open the e-mail software of your choice and send them a message. Make sure you include all the information you collected earlier. Also, don't forget to include your own song. Make sure you send a full version of your song. This will increase the chances that you get the allowance for using the sample. If you get the approval the label will usually get in touch with you and you will have to talk about a contract. This contract usually takes a percentage of the copyright of your song. The other offer will be usually just a huge advance payment. The deal they give you depends on the sampled song and your song.

Lastly, if you don't want to go through all of this trouble, there is now a service called Tracklib. On Tracklib you can browse through thousands of samples and purchase a license to use them.

How to get the rights of a vocal sample.

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