Know Your Sample

Know Your Sample

by Mikey Lavery
04.10.2014

In today's cut throat environment of being a DJ and producer, sampling sounds from an existing piece of music and giving it your own take is becoming more and more popular with in the scene.

When it comes to producing tracks to keep your name out there, sometimes quantity outweighs quality, and with more and more tracks sounding the same, the question of originality has become a hot debate within the scene. This is especially the case when it comes to sampling and, while some artists can make the original track sound completely different, there are others who have no shame in not changing it at all, and even less shame in crediting it's rightful owner

Although sampling has been part of the music industry for decades, in the age of new technology, what was once seen as a work of art by DJs, is now as easy as clicking a few buttons. To produce the perfect sampled track, all it takes  is to find an existing piece of music, have the ability to turn that loop around, speed up the riff, add a little bit of your own style and before you know it, you’ve got yourself a new track ready for release under your name. 

That is, course, once you’ve asked permission to use the sample from it's rightful owner and it's all done legally. This is when the act of sampling can be a profitable business for all parties involved and, depending on the deal put in place, and if the track does well, it can be seen as quite the pay day for everyone involved. However, this means making sure that there is no stone left unturned in knowing the tracks true origins. This ultimately avoids any surprise lawsuits from a disgruntled singer/producer who just happened to hear a tune on the radio that sounds very much like a song they released decades ago. And if that happens then the original artist has a golden opportunity to see a piece of music that they'd long forgotten about get a new lease of life, not to mention their bank account see the rewards of royalties checks.

One of the most famous cases for this is when P.Diddy decided to sample Every Breath You Take by The Police for his career defining release, I'll Be Missing You--his tribute to  Biggie Smalls--and never asked Sting for permission. Due to copyright law, rather than the up to 25% publishing royalties he SHOULD have received, Sting now gets 100%. The track went on to sell seven million copies and won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and it's estimated that Sting will make $2,000 a day for the rest of his life from that single. Yes, you read that correctly, $2,000....A DAY! And that's not including what he makes from his original version. And Diddy, albeit we assure you is not down to his last $1m, makes nothing from it. It should be noted that Sting's fellow The Police member, Andy Summers, got nothing due to the fact that, although he created the actual sample guitar riff used, he was not credited as co-writer. Summers has gone on record in saying that it was, "the major music rip off of all time."

In the line of being fair, we have to stress that it’s not a regular occurrence where one artist will rip off another artist and not give them any credit. Aside from being a huge no-no in the scene, in the age of social media, you risk public damnation if you’re caught. Worst still, you could be on the receiving end of a shaming campaign on Twitter from the artist who's tune you "unsuspectingly" just ripped a sample from. You only have to ask Wildstylez, the Dutch hardstyle act, who recently posted a new track he was working on to his Twitter account. Unfortunately for him, it sounded like a sped up version of deadmau5Some Chords, and by sounds, we mean it could have been the same track. The result was the outspoken mouse-eared superstar making sure he wasted no time in calling Wildstylez out in front of 2.5 million of his loyal Twitter followers. Trust us, it was not pretty.

So there you have it. Sampling, regardless of people claiming it shows a lack of originality, can help put an artist on the map and do wonders of their career. And who knows, you may just strike gold and, in the case of one very lucky young DJ, it may turn into the biggest track of 2013 and forge a career out your only one and only hit you ever made that came from an idea that you didn’t even come up with yourself. We’re looking at you Martin Garrix.

And on that note, please enjoy our top ten list of the most obvious--and not so obvious--tracks where a sample has been used. Or, in the case of Daft Punk, almost their whole Discovery album. (But that album rocked so they get a pass.)

ClubPlanet's Know Your Sample Top Ten:-

Number 10:

Bingo Players - Cry (Just A Little)




Sampled Piano In The Dark - Brenda Russell



Number 9:

Fatboy Slim - Praise You




Sampled Disney's Micky Mouse Disco - It's a Small World



Number 8:

deadmau5 - Moar Ghosts In Stuff




Sampled - Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 35 by Frederic Chopin



Number 7:

Starburst (AKA Thomas Baltanger from Daft Punk) - Music Sounds better With You




Sampled - Chaka Kahn - Fate



Number 6:

Deep Dish - Flashdance



Sampled Shandi Sinnamon - He's A Dream



Number 5:

The Source ft Candi Staton - You've Got The Love




Sampled: Frankie Knuckles - Your Love



Number 4:

Tiesto - Traffic




Sampled - Psykofuk - Psykofuk



Number 3:

Daft Punk - Too many to mention so enjoy this little collaboration we found
of all the samples on their Discovery album.



Number 2:

David Guetta - Play Hard ft Ne-Yo and Akon




Sampled - Alice Dee Jay - Better Off Alone



And our number 1 track that uses a sample is...

Marin Garrix - Animals




Sampled - Busta Rhymes - What Is Right Is Now




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