Legally Obtaining Sample Clearances & Why It's So Important - Viral Media Boost

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    Legally Obtaining Sample Clearances & Why It's So Important

    • 2 min read

    Legally Obtaining Sample Clearances & Why It's So Important

    In today's music industry, everyone utilizes samples in their music. However, many people do not go about acquiring the sample legally. This is usually not due to ill-intent. Many musicians simply do not know how to go about this process. 

    While Viral Media Boost does not offer clearance services, we will go over the steps creators can take to use other artists' music in their work legally.  

    What is Sampling?

    For those who are complete rookies to the game, a sample is a piece of music borrowed from one song and used in another. If you're familiar with Drake's hit single, "Nice For What," then you've heard multiple samples, including a snippet from Lauryn Hill's 1998 classic, "Ex-Factor." Records such as these will need clearance for the sampled tunes in order to be released. Many indie artists skip this critical step, likely due to the belief that no one will find out. However, whether or not the owner of the song finds out, the practice is still illegal and could result in hefty fines.  

    How to Gain Copyright Clearance

    To gain copyright clearance for a master recording sample, you must first obtain authorization from the copyright proprietor, publisher, and/or master recording owner. In most cases, this will be the record label. However, if unsure, you can search websites of performing rights organizations such as the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) or Broadcast Music, Inc.  

    After determining who owns the copyright, artists must then pitch the record. This is not an easy process and can become quite costly. There are several companies that act as a middleman between the artist and the copyright owner. However, some of them induct admin costs, which means the requester can be charged just for the agency to inform them of the record label's charges. Artists will then be responsible for any other clearance fees in addition. 

    Streamlining the Copyright Clearance Process

    Now, for an easier solution to sampling a record, has you covered. The website is filled with samples that any artist can use. Artists are charged based on how much of the pieces they'll be using, the popularity of the sample, and the musician who wrote it. Tracklib is an excellent tool because it eliminates the entire pitch process. 


    Many artists will feel that this process is too much work and take their chances with illegally sampling. Always remember that the owners of the sample have a claim to any profits being made and will file lawsuits if necessary to obtain the money owed to them.