How to Find Legal Samples
Sampling is an art form that we’ve all come to know and love thanks to the pioneers responsible for thinking a little differently about creativity in music.
You’re of course free to record and chop up your favorite vinyls, but if you ever want to commercially release your beats and songs without worrying about copyright infringement, here are 3 of the best resources out there:
Splice is a subscription based marketplace for royalty free samples you can use in your commercially released songs. There’s a HUGE library of samples (not to mention drum kits) for you to choose from and I’m a big fan of its search functionality for sample hunting. Once you’ve selected the samples you want to use, they seamlessly sync with your DAW via the Splice desktop app.
Sort by “layered” to replicate sampling a complete record. By default, it shows the most popular samples first, but I actually sort by least popular so that I can tap into all that underrated sample gold. Otherwise you use the same samples as most other people - we’re trying to keep the spirit of crate digging alive as best we can here.
If you want that warped chipmunk sound, try limiting the tempo range to something lower than you’ve set in your DAW.
On the other hand, if you want the low, slow-mo sound, try limiting the tempo range to something higher than what you’ve set
Tracklib is a subscription based platform that gives you a huge database of REAL songs to download that are pre-cleared for sampled use so you can sample without worry
These pre-cleared songs are organized into 3 categories, and you split revenue based on the length of the sample you used in your beat. They make the whole process really easy and it’s been a revelation for beat making culture since its inception - no more long, drawn out legal battles, just the freedom to create
I love the process of going through their library because it feels like sifting through vinyl in real time. The modern crate digging!
3. Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a non profit that provides a boiler plate license for others to build upon their pre-existing work, with as long as you credit the original creator.
There are a few different iterations of a CC license, so if you plan to make money with whatever you’re sampling, make sure it doesn’t say it’s for “non commercial” use
There are several places for you to find these:
1. Bandcamp (search for the tag “creative commons”)
4. Even NASA uploads sound libraries from various missions under creative commons
Head over to Creative Commons to learn more
Sampling is about creativity. There’s a lot you can learn about music from sampling your favorite records for your own purposes, but if you plan to share it or make money from it, these are some great resources to get you started.
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