Samples, when done right can take a track to a whole other world. Some of the greatest classic songs in Hip Hop and R&B music like Biggie’s “Juicy” and Aaliyah’s Are You That Somebody” prominently samples. Sampling is an art form that has shown no signs of fading however as an artist buying beats containing samples there are some things you should be aware of.
This is by far the most important point to drive home at all times. Most if not all producers who sample are not clearing samples before selling beats containing samples online and if you read your license agreements carefully you will see that artists are stuck holding the bag when it comes to clearing samples. Releasing records with uncleared samples can get you into a world of trouble. The violation of a copyright can stall a career before it even starts. If you are going to purchase beats with samples please make sure the samples have been cleared prior to purchase and request proof of clearance. If a producer cannot provide that keep it moving.
Picture this. You buy a beat containing an uncleared sample thinking you can get away with it but you run into a few issues. Number one if you plan on pressing any cds the cd pressing plants like Oasis and CdBaby will require proof of your sample clearances because pressing cds with uncleared samples could make them liable for copyright infringement as well and they definitely don’t want that.
Keep in mind sample clearance can be expensive and in some cases the owners of the copyrights of that sample the producer used don’t have to agree to allow you to sample or can require that they be paid all royalties on your song, it is definitely not worth the headache and the financial costs at the end of day.
There is a slew of artists who don’t clear samples
The most important reason not to use beats with uncleared samples is more for moral reasons than anything else. Lets say you put your heart and soul into a piece of art only to find out someone stole your work , rearranged it and sold it as their own not even acknowledging your existence? You probably wouldn’t be too happy about that right? The bad thing about producers selling beats with uncleared samples is not only are they profiting off of the uncleared music but then should the proverbial shit hit the fan they are leaving you the artist holding the bag to pay for sample clearances that even if you do have the money may still materialize because there is a slew of artists who do NOT okay sampling of their music no matter what.
Most producers who are sampling are not knowledgeable on copyright law
In conclusion unless you want to deal with the possibility of investing money into a beat that you cannot use the way you want anyway then I suggest selecting beats without samples or moving on to a new producer all together. However if you are hell bent on using beats with samples do yourself a favor and make sure the producer has cleared the samples and can provide you proof of sample clearance. If they refuse to provide proof they have not cleared the samples and you should run for the hills.
I wouldn’t hold my breath though. Most producers who are sampling are not knowledgeable on copyright law and do not bother to clear samples and in fact believe it is the job of the artists to clear samples so please be aware of what you are getting into when purchasing these sample beats. Take care guys and remember to CREATE AND INSPIRE!