The “Music, Money, and Sampling” chapter (6) of the book Music, Money, and Success (by Jeffrey Brabec) offers a thorough overview of how sampling works within the music business. It provides an all-encompassing layout of how deals usually go down between copyright holders of a song—artists, record labels, or music publishing companies—and someone who wants to take a portion of that existing song and integrate it into a newly recorded performance—songwriter, recording artist, or record producer. It serves as a tutorial for someone interested in the standard operating procedures of procuring clearances. It can also serve as a source of knowledge to someone curious about how music companies and artists are compensated for allowing samples from their catalog. It ranges from what happens when sampled songs are released without permission to the in-depth negotiating options that exist between the sampling party and the sampled party when clearance is approved.
The options mentioned are one-time “buy-out” fees, the payment of a percentage of income received from the new song, and the transfer of a portion of the copyright of the new composition with the income that this would generate. Also mentioned are the criteria that copyright holders use in analyzing the new song to help determine types of deals. This type of analysis takes into account: duration of sample, nature of the sample, sales of the new song if it has been released, and whether the sample was a key element or recognizable piece of the original composition. Although there is nothing exact, as it comes down to negotiating, the specific percentages that copyright holders usually bargain are covered.
The information in this chapter is relevant to my creative project because all of it would be applicable if I were to try and clear the songs I produced by integrating copyrighted work. Here I can see how companies would analyze my music and the type of deal I could expect. It really covers just what people have to go through to clear their samples and how much money they forgive in doing so—paying for the sample and then losing out on publishing percentages. On top of all of this, the chapter helped give me a greater perspective on why so many artists were outraged over court decisions regarding sampling…it cost them a lot of money, and some probably couldn’t afford to keep sampling at all!
Music, Money, and Success
Schirmer Books; 2nd edition (October 15, 2000)