Sampling Rules


I have a question about the following sampling situations and what is allowed in general by the commercial music industry. I understand you cannot speak for every jurisdiction or store, but let’s take into consideration Beatport.

  1. If you go ahead and sample a disco loop from a disco track and use it in your own track. What are the usual procedures, is it ok to do? How does Olav Basoski do it? It is pretty clear where the samples in his tracks come from.

  2. What if you take a Disco Loop from let’s say a Vengeance library you own, can you use it in a track for sale? According to Vengeance licences agreement, they are not for commercial releases. (I find it ironic as Vengeance was found to be taking samples from big artist tracks and putting them in their libraries along with renaming other company samples).

  3. If you take an old song (let’s say 1995) and take the main riff from it and then remake it, no vocals. Call it Your Name - Original Track name, put it up for sale. Example:

We all know the original is by Robert Miles.


Technically there are 2 parts to a track.

  1. the song
  2. the recording

    If you use someones melody or song you have to get it cleared by their publishing company.

    If you use their recording (samples) you have to clear it with the record company too.

    In practice this is really hard to do without having proper management or label behind you… they simply wont return your calls. Even if you get to speak to the right person they normally have to ask the original artist and the only way they generally agree is if they get most or all of the publishing and the track has serious momentum.

    In reality especially for underground tracks selling up to a couple of thousand units its not worth anyones time and effort to do anything about a sample. You hear it all the time…

    If your track becomes a monster you could lose most or all your royalties.

    and if they are really unhappy will file a cease an diciest order requiring you to stop all sales within a certain time or face potential criminal prosecution. Used to be a joke… “where theres a hit theres a writ”

    It is of course still copyright infringement and will have risks an consequences that should be looked in to and not something Sonic Academy would recommend.

So, the bottom line is that, it is unlikely something will go down, unless the track becomes huge. I just did a remix for a local label, good track, using a disco loop from a famous song, what would you say?

Unfortunately the only advice i can give as a representative of Sonic is play by the rules.

which might not be great advice.