Archive for October 18, 2011

Article: Can Twitter Beat Facebook and Google+? by Chris Crum

iOS 5 Twitter integration already a huge benefit for company

As you might imagine, there’s been a lot of talk about social networks at the Web 2.0 Summit, and particularly the escalating three-way battle among Facebook, Google and Twitter. While Google and Facebook have had their fair share of announcements recently, Twitter just added some major firepower to its arsenal, courtesy of Apple.

What do you think? Can Twitter win the social network market share war? . Find this topic interesting? Why not share it on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter or Google+?

One thing does seem clear. Deep Twitter integration with Apple’s iOS is huge for Twitter.

“The iOS integration is going to be absolutely huge for us, even better than we thought it was,” CEO Dick Costolo is as saying at the Summit. “I didn’t realize how frictionless this would be. It’s so native.”

As far as Costolo is concerned, it is Twitter’s simplicity that is its biggest weapon against Facebook and Google+ (although I’d say that iOS integration is a pretty helpful weapon). He says part of the reason that Twitter has become so popular is because of its simplicity, and the fact that they’ve refrained from adding too many features, implying that this will continue to separate them from the pack as competitors continue to add more and more features.

That’s an interesting point, because Facebook and Google are basically in a “feature race” as Google’s Bradley Horowitz recently . In fact, Google CEO Larry Page the fact in the company’s earnings call last week, that Google+ added 100 features in 90 days.

Facebook certainly .

Costolo’s comments are also interesting considering that this year, Twitter has perhaps added more features than any other time in Twitter’s history (since co-founder Jack Dorsey returned to the company). Dorsey, by the way, has recently even been called “the next Steve Jobs,” and . He does also run Square, which many see as a in the payments industry. It can’t hurt Twitter to have this kind of leadership at the core of its product development.

Perhaps the more important battle, however, is that for identity, rather than features, and that’s another area where that tight iOS integration might come in handy for Twitter. Apple announced that in its first 3 days of availability, it (which run iOS 5). iOS 5 is also available for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, iPod Touch 3rd generation, and iPod Touch 4th generation. Word is that a (which means potentially 2/3 more could still be upgraded), and Costolo says daily iOS Twitter sign-ups have already tripled due to the new iOS integration.

The description of the Twitter integration from Apple says: “iOS 5 makes it even easier to tweet from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Sign in once in Settings, and suddenly you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps. Want to mention or @reply to a friend? Contacts applies your friends’ Twitter usernames and profile pictures. So you can start typing a name and iOS 5 does the rest. You can even add a location to any tweet, no matter which app you’re tweeting from.”

Once iOS 5 was finally released last week, Twitter wrote a blog post about it saying: “Simply enter your Twitter login information into your device settings, and you’ll always be connected to your Twitter account. This means you can tweet directly from Apple apps like Camera, Maps, Photos, Safari and YouTube, along with third party apps, such as Chomp, Flipboard, LivingSocial, Instagram, MadPad, PopSugar, Showyou,SoundTracking and Zynga’s Words with Friends.”

And it’s not as if you have to use iOS to use Twitter.

“We think we can reach every person on the planet, we think the way to do that is to simplify it,” Costolo is as saying. “Over time, Google+ and Facebook will be more and more different than the experience we want to pass onto our users.”

On that note, the Telegraph has some from former Facebook President Sean Parker (who is still a shareholder), most notably, “The strategic threat to Facebook is that power users have gone to Twitter or to Google+.”

That doesn’t mean that all (or even the majority of) power users have abandoned Facebook entirely, but if a lot of them are using these competing services more, that means less time spent somewhere.

You know who else seems to be using Twitter more and more? .

Back to that topic of identity for a second. There is a lot of controversy about identity and the Internet. Facebook and Google+ both want your real identity as your identity with their respective services. I’m Chris Crum in real life, so they want me to be Chris Crum on Facebook and Google+ (Google is even stingy about what pics it lets authors use on their Google Profiles). On Twitter, however, I’m CCrum237. If I wanted, I could be anyone else I wanted to be (as long as the name wasn’t taken). There are valid points to both sides of the , but the reality is that our online identities are being tied much more to the real world. It’s not just about status updates and picture sharing anymore. It’s about (among other things). At least that’s the direction we’re headed in. But that’s a conversation for another article.

4Chan founder Christopher Poole is as saying at the summit that Facebook and Google approach to identity “degrades humanity,” and that “Facebook and Google do our identity wrong, Twitter does it better.” He’s just one man, but you better believe there are quite a few people who share similar views, and that is one clear differentiator of Twitter compared to its competitors. That’s one thing you can get with Twitter that you can’t get with Facebook or Google+. And that’s just another piece of the puzzle.

Twitter is currently worth $8 billion according Costolo, who is as saying, “Let’s just call it an even $8 billion.” I have a feeling that number is going to go up substantially.

According to Costolo, Twitter users are sending out about 250 tweets per day. I’d be surprised if that number hasn’t increased significantly in another month.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say Twitter will be dethroning Facebook as the most-used social network in the near future, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen one day. Remember when Myspace was on top? Either way, it’s going to be an interesting battle to watch, especially now that Twitter is heavily integrated with the ultra popular iPhones and iPads.



Music News: 50 Cent Puts His Money Where Your Mouth Is. Promises To Give Away Over a Million Meals.

50 cent and his Street King partners promise to give away over a million meals within a week.

It looks like 50 Cent is planning to expand to his plans to provide needy children with food. Now, Fif and his Street King partners are using Facebook to bring even up to a million meals to hungry children in one week.

According to a recent press release, Fiddy and Street King are launching a new initiative titled “One Like = One Meal.” For every Like that Street King gets on its Facebook page, the energy drink company promises to donate a meal to a hungry child. 50 also promises that if the company can achieve one million Likes within in seven days, he will match their donation and provid another million meals.

Fif and Street King’s recent “Hustle to One Million” efforts line-up with the United Nations’ World Food Day. Fans looking to get involved can hit up Street King’s website for more information.
source: hiphopdx.com

Industry Tips & Advice: Building a Successful Personal Brand: The 5 Strategies You Need to Know by Colin Wright

A personal brand can be your most valuable asset, whether you’re a freelancer looking for higher–paying gigs, or a corporate employee or C-level manager looking to get promoted or place more emphasis on the work that you do.

Personal branding makes who you are, what you do, and why you do it more clear to those around you, and that brings new opportunities your way and helps you achieve the goals you’ve already set for yourself.

It is the art of presenting your philosophy and message as clearly as possible using a variety of media.

For the past 5 years, I’ve been building brands for large corporations and tiny startups while at the same time consulting with individuals on what they can do to take ownership of their personal brand.

The impact that a successful brand can have on a business’ bottom line is incredible, and the rewards that stem from a strong personal brand are just as valuable.

Building your personal brand

If you’re ready to build your personal brand, you may have already noticed that it can be hard to get started. Should you go through and delete your embarrassing Facebook photos? Will that provide more brand value than updating your LinkedIn profile? Or how about Tweeting more often?

It could be argued that all aspects of a brand, even a personal one, are equally important, but I’m going to call false on that judgment and say that there are five core things you should focus on first, and if you do, the remaining details will fall into place.

It’s important to handle the smaller, Facebook-photo-related details, too, but without a strong personal brand foundation, any efforts you make might not turn out as well as they should, or worse, could take your brand in the wrong direction.

Keep in mind while going through these steps that successful personal branding is about focusing on who you are and communicating that message, not making something up and pretending to be someone you’re not.

No need to pretend: this is all about using the things that are uniquely you to your advantage.

1. Know Why

The absolute first thing you need to know before you start building and communicating your brand is ‘why?’

That is, why do you do what you do? Why do you do it the way you do it? Why do you get up in the morning? Why are you the way you are?

This is best done as a mental deep-dive, and will likely take a bit of time. We all have reflexive reasons that we give, partially because they are easy and don’t take much thought, and partially because we’ve been told over time that there are some good reasons to do things and bad reasons to do things (and who wants to do things the unacceptable way?).

The only way to break free from your cookie–cutter prison is to set aside at least a few hours to sit and think.

Jot down notes about your motivations behind past actions. Play the ‘why game’ and ask yourself why you get up in the morning. (Why? Because I have to go to work. Why? Because I need to earn money. Why? Because I want to be secure. Why? So I have the time to compete in roller derby. Why? Because it makes me happy. Bingo.)

Amber Rae is a great example of someone who has found her ‘why’ and run with it. She’s worked with Apple, Seth Godin, and Photojojo, in addition to starting up  , and co-founding . She wants to inspire people and then push them toward what makes them happy, because doing so makes her happy.

Adam Baker is another great example of a ‘why’ made practical. Sitting at the helm of  and his related ventures, he’s determined to help others squash their money issues, and in doing so create a better life for his family. It’s a simple concept, but he’s been smart about how he talks about it, and in doing so has created a debt-destroying movement.

‘Why?’ is a simple question that few people are able to answer. If you want to stand out from the pack, simply knowing why you do what you do will get you most of the way there, but the rest comes from what you do with this information.

For a great, in-depth explanation of the ‘why,’ check out Simon Sinek’s TED Talk below.

Once you know why you do something, it’s time to take a look around and see what other people in your field are doing, and why (and how) they are doing it.

Figuring out what makes you unique will help you establish yourself as an individual entity in an ocean of faces.

Standing out — and for the right reasons — can mean the difference between succeeding with the value you provide and racing to the bottom, competing only with lower and lower prices attached to your time and effort, and that’s no way to compete (or pay the rent).

So take the knowledge you now have about your motivations and look around to see how you’re doing things differently than your competition.

Note the things that they’re doing differently than you, but avoid thinking of their methods as ‘better’ or ‘worse,’ because those are totally subjective adjectives. Instead, make a mental note of what they do that’s more successful financially, or what they do that allows them to be more comfortable socially.

These are traits you can try on, but don’t force a fit if it isn’t there.

At the end of the day, positive change is good, but what you’re really going to benefit from are the things that you do differently, even if they don’t immediately seem to be huge advantages. By being yourself, you can remain true to your character. You can flesh out what you already have in a positive way, and won’t have to work so hard to seem like you’re legit, because you already will be.

 is a company that has taken this aspect of branding and run with it. They make shoes that look different, are built differently, and are made from different materials. They also give away a pair in the developing world for each pair you buy, which is a very different business model than most shoe companies have.

Rather than looking at Nike and saying ‘okay, they’re making more money than us, let’s outsource to China and make fancy sneakers,’ Tom’s decided to own their difference and make it a key part of their selling proposition.

The band  is another good example of differentiating yourself from the competition.

Nataly and Jack, the duo who make up the band, decided to largely remove the things they didn’t like about the music industry from their lives and focus on the things they enjoyed and thought they did well. As a result, they’ve carved out a huge niche and gained a massive fanbase online, on their terms.

Your individual quirks will be a huge part of what makes your brand successful, because it will be real, imperfections and all. Own those quirks and make them assets.

3. Find Your People

One oft–overlooked aspect of a personal brand is the associations one has with other people.

This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knows about traditional branding, as companies like Apple and music label creations like Lady Gaga have made an art from the science of how consumers blend traits when a company is associated with a certain style or culture. (Think of associating high–end, minimal design with Apple, or art–school–style, couture fashion with Lady Gaga.)

People have the same associative transference with individuals, and it’s not just your clothing or the music that you listen to that’s important, it’s also the people you surround yourself with.

If you want to be viewed as a straight–up, clean–cut, respectable business person, it’s best that you don’t spend too much time in public with drug dealers or pro-athletes. On the other hand, if you want to stand out as a business person, perhaps you can proudly wear your athletic side like a jersey, making the healthy, active, can–do–attitude–person a part of how you do business.

If there’s an aspect of your personality that hasn’t been clearly communicated, one way to show it is the company you keep.

If you’re looking to get some geek cred on your personal brand’s CV, start hanging out with more programmers and Comic Con attendees. If you want to be construed as a social butterfly, expand your social circle to include more people from all groups.

Again, this isn’t about lying or creating a persona from nothing, it’s about expanding upon and more publicly displaying what’s already there.

Plus, if you surround yourself with more (and different) people, you’re certain to pick up some new knowledge and perspectives along the way. Bonus.

4. Explain Your Orbits

As I mentioned before, branding is all about communicating clearly to an audience what a product is all about, why it’s different, and what it’s associated with.

Personal branding works the same way, though in this case, you’re communicating about yourself, not a company or product, which can make things a little tricky.

The biggest barrier you’re likely to come up against when branding yourself is the burden of knowledge: you know way too much about yourself, and it can be tricky to refine that jumble of information into something succinct, clear, and understandable.

What I usually recommend to deal with this problem is to see your personal brand as a series of orbits.

The outermost orbit is the first one people will see, and that contains a broad story that tells the basics of who you are and what you’re about. No need to tell too many details here, just tell people who you are and what you’re about in the simplest way possible, ideally summing it all up in a sentence or two.

For example, my outer orbit usually goes something like this: I’m an author, brand consultant and serial entrepreneur who moves to a new country every four months while pursuing new experiences and undertaking lifestyle experiments. That’s what people tend to get, whether I’m telling them in person, they’re reading my blog, or simply checking out photos. All aspects of my brand point in that direction from the get-go.

The next orbit is where you get into a bit of explanation about why you do what you do, and how. This isn’t where you’ll reveal your deepest, darkest secrets, but you will get into some specifics, especially stories and experiences that you’ve had in regards to the info you’ve given in the first orbit.

For me, this orbit usually involves telling some travel stories about adventures I’ve had in different countries, explaining about how my blog readers vote on where I move, detailing how I make money and can afford to travel full-time, and talking about what I did before I started living this kind of lifestyle.

The final, center-most orbit is one that most people will never see. It exists so that you still have some semblance of privacy, but also so that people who are truly interested in you have more to sink their teeth into if they keep digging and want to know more. This is where you’ll tell the detailed why’s, the more personal stories, and share things that wouldn’t necessarily be important to the casual passerby, but that might be interesting to someone who has been hooked by the previous two orbits.

This is the level that my die–hard readers usually get to, and it includes personal photos, very personal stories from the road that deal with relationships and failures, explanations as to what one must sacrifice in order to live a non-traditional lifestyle, and info about the connections I have with other bloggers, writers, celebrities and the like.

Some people choose to put those relationships on one of the other orbits, but I try to keep those associations closer to the core, so that I don’t dilute my own brand with theirs. The folks who make it here tend to be readers/customers/clients/friends for a long time.

What the orbiting system allows you to do is segment all that info you have about yourself, which is handy, because if you tell everyone your life story as soon as you meet them, not only will they probably not put all the pieces together into a coherent brand, but they’ll also be bored out of their minds.

Make sure that each orbit leads to the next one, and that each tells a similar story, but in a different way and with increasing depth of detail. That’s how you organize your positive and negative traits so that they pull people in, rather than pushing people away.

5. Rearrange, Don’t Rebuild

Finally, in building your personal brand, it’s important to remember that you’re trying to improve the clarity of your message, you’re not trying to create a new one out of thin air, or live someone else’s ideal life.

If the brand you want to have doesn’t fit with your lifestyle, personality or experiences, don’t force it. Doing so leads to a brand that’s transparently bad and false, and the power of a strong personal brand is that it allows people to get to know you, and as a result, the right type of people will stick around so you can develop a closer relationship with them.

Don’t force a rebuild of your life to fit an image that you like, either. It’s important to always be improving as a person, but that means refining who you already are, not replacing it with someone you’re not.

Build a brand that fits you; doing anything else would be like buying a suit that doesn’t fit and then gaining weight so that you can fill it out. It’s much easier to just tailor the thing so that it accentuates your life as it is, and you can always get it taken in or out as your life, your goals, and your motivations change.

Using Your Brand in Business

Based on the structure you now have in place, you can go out and do all those things that most articles on personal branding will tell you to do. Update your photos, share relevant content, and provide value in ways that tie in with your area of expertise.

Treat your personal brand like the enormous asset that it is. Leverage your stories and your experiences and your strangeness and your purpose. Build a business around yourself, or adapt your existing business so that your strengths are utilized to their fullest. Get a job that celebrates what you celebrate and that makes use of your quirks, or take on responsibilities and causes that help you reshape your existing job around them.

Accumulate an audience of like–minded people by creating a platform (like a blog or a newsletter). Become the face of a particular movement, and if you can’t find a movement that fits, start your own. Live your philosophy by aligning your actions with your ‘why,’ and refuse to accept anything less.

Be the best version of yourself you can possibly be and you’ll never face real competition. No one can be a better you than you can.



INDUSTRY TIPS & ADVICE: How to Submit Your Music to Music Business Radio (1/3)

This is information on how you can submit a musical tag for Music Business Radio and be played on our radio show, our podcast, and videos. Get more information at MusicBusinessRadio.com.

Music News: The Roots To Drop New Album In December

Everyone’s favorite live hip-hop band has taken things back to the recording studio, as it was announced today (October 16) that The Roots will be releasing a new album, undun on December 6.

This will be the first album of the year from the Philly-bred band, which released two last year (How I Got Over and Wake Up! with John Legend). Now known widely for their nightly appearances as the house band on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, the crew are back with a studio offering. Drummer ?uestlove had this to say about the project via his Web site, okayplayer.com:

“At this point in our career we’d like for our work to have a unifying theme, and an experiential quality. We’ve been intentionally making our albums shorter in length so that they can be experienced as a continuous work. The music is band-oriented with an eye on the moody cinematic. As a DJ, I am the King of playlists, but I don’t want our albums to feel like a playlist or a mixtape for that matter. We want to tell stories that work within the album format and we want the stories to be nuanced and useful to people. undun is the story of this kid who becomes criminal, but he wasn’t born criminal. He’s not the nouveau exotic primitive bug-eyed gunrunner like Tupac’s character Bishop in “Juice”… he’s actually thoughtful and is neither victim nor hero. Just some kid who begins to order his world in a way that makes the most sense to him at a given moment… At the end of the day… isn’t that what we all do?”

Earlier today, the lead single from the project, “Make My,” featuring Big K.R.I.T., hit the ‘net. You can listen here, and view a tracklist for the project below. —Adam Fleischer

01. Sleep
02. Make My
03. One Time
04. Kool On
05. The Jump
06. Stomp
07. Lighthouse
08. I Remember
09. Tip The Scale
10. Redford

Artist Revenue Streams: FMC seeks working musicians for research about changes in artist revenue streams

As one component of our Artists Revenue Streams project, FMC is conducting an online survey from Sept 6 – Oct 28, 2011 to gather crucial information about the ways that US-based musicians and composers are currently generating income from songs, recordings or performances, and how this has changed over the past five years.

FMC urges US-based musicians and composers who are 18 years of age or older to participate in this online survey. Your participation is both voluntary and anonymous. There are no questions that identify you as an individual, and your data will be aggregated with thousands of other musicians.

By participating in this survey, you are contributing to something much bigger than simply providing us with some information about your life and musical work; the results will provide a rich snapshot of the complex nature of being a musician in the 21st century.

We will be sharing the data with organizations, advocates and musicians nationwide in 2012, and it will help us to ensure that policymakers and consumers understand the financial realities of musicians today.

Questions? Technical issues with survey? Email survey@futureofmusic.org |



Article: “I’m Not Sure Why You Would Sign With A Record Label” [VIDEO]

At Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Sean Parker, venture capitalist and co-founder of Facebook and Napster and Spotify investor, sat down to talk about his take on the future of the music industry. “I’m not actually sure why you would sign with a record label,” quipped Parker. On Spotify, Parker says its “an attempt to finish what I started at Napster”.  WATCH THE VIDEO:

Most of the music discussion happens from 9-18 minutes, then the discussion turns to what’s wrong with Facebook and the glut of information.



Article: Sampling – a cautionary tale by Ian Clifford

I used to be a music lawyer and I was a bit of an authority (for a while) on sampling and in the early ‘90’s.

Then I ran a bunch of dance labels and worked with a lot of electronic artists.

I have cleared a lot of samples but I have released way more records with samples in them that we didn’t bother to clear.


Because we thought that no-one would notice that we’d used their music – these were generally small specialist underground records – and that if they did, we would be able to agree something after the event, if the need ever arose.

The reality is that it was too much bother and too expensive to try and clear a sample of an obscure and hard to find piece of music or of a snippet of a big successful tune when you knew that your record was going to sell just a few thousand copies – i.e. we felt at the time that the risk was well worth it. And hundreds of thousands of records have been released with uncleared samples in them.

Will I get sued for using a sample?

There are very, very few cases where someone who samples a record ends up in court – and there’s two reasons for that.

If your record containing an uncleared sample goes from being an underground momentary thing of interest to a limited audience to about to become a radio/commercial hit of any scale, you will quickly clear or remove/replace the offending sample(s). Well, you will, or the indie or major label that have come to sign your record will do it for you.

It’s when a record appears on everyone’s radar that it becomes time to clear it. At that point, if you don’t, you’re going to be in trouble. Remember the adage ‘“Where there’s a hit there’s a writ” – it is the absolute truth.

Secondly, if your record contains a sample and you didn’t clear it, you are infringing the original owner’s copyright – and they have you ‘bang to rights’. If they do discover your small scale release and if they care enough to contact you and point out your infringement, then in most cases they can see that going to court is pointless as you, the sampler, won’t have any money worth suing you for!

So, generally they approach the sampler and point this fact out and you work out a deal. Hence, court case avoided.

What is sample clearance?

When you sample another person’s music you are reproducing two different copyrights – the recording itself but also the underlying musical work (the song – that part which a music publisher deals with, rather than a record label).Leiber & Stoller go over a song with Elvis Presley

For those that find that a difficult distinction, think of the days when all pop stars sang songs written by songwriters. Think Elvis and Leiber & Stoller.

Leiber & Stoller create the copyright which is the song – it can be written on sheet music before it is ever performed and recorded. Then, when it is performed by Elvis, he (or his record company) have created another different copyright in that recording of that performance. Every new and different recording is a new copyright.

Hopefully you can see that these two copyrights give rise to two income streams – one for the song and one for the recording.

Leiber & Stoller get paid for every radio or live performance of the song (whether that is a spin of the recording or Elvis singing live) and they get paid for every record made (that’s called a mechanical royalty and is paid by the record company – more on that another day as that get’s confusing!). Elvis only gets paid for every record made and sold – that’s the record royalty. (Just to confuse you some more, many countries, but not the US, do have an airplay royalty for the recording as well).

So when you sample a piece of that recording, you are also sampling the underlying song and you need to get the permission (or ‘clearance’) of all the owners of the copyright in the recording and the song. That means contacting the record company that owns the recording you have sampled but also all the songwriters and/or their music publishers.

Generally the record company will take a fee (perhaps tens of thousands of dollars) and a per unit royalty for every record sold and they may well impose limitations on the use. The songwriters and music publishers will usually take a percentage share in your new song that has sampled theirs. The amounts being down to negotiation.

The thing is, they have you over a barrel.Bitter Sweet Symphony’ was one big sample Once you have sampled their work and told them, they can ask for whatever they want.

The Verve gave 100% of the song ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ to Jagger and Richards as it sampled a version of one of their songs. Interestingly the recording that they sampled wasn’t the Stones, but an orchestral version by someone else. .

Once you have the agreement of the copyright owners of the song and recording, you’re set.

This existence of two copyrights also explains the very common misconception amongst musicians that they do not need to worry about sample clearance if they ‘re-record’ a sample. True – if you re-record the sample that you lifted from someone else’s record, you don’t need to clear the recording, because you have made a new one and you own the copyright in that. But, your new recording still reproduces the underlying song and therefore still infringes that unless you clear it. Re-recording deals with half the issue, but don’t forget the other half.

How much is too much?

Usually, any little bit is too much.

In fact, the law and exactly how it is applied depends on where in the world you are. There are treaties between countries that aim to apply essentially the same copyright laws throughout the world but there are specific differences.

In very general terms you are infringing the rights of another person’s copyright if you ‘substantially reproduce’ their work. And the definition of what counts as being ‘substantial’ is usually not set out in a country’s relevant copyright law (the Acts or Statutes) but is based on interpretation by judges in cases that go to trial. Then future cases refer back to the decisions in prior trials – this is what is called ‘case law’.

However, since most cases don’t go to trial and get settled or negotiated long before a judge gets to deliberate, there are very few cases that a judge can refer to for guidance. Those few that have gone all the way in the UK and US have led lawyers to err very heavily on the side of caution and that is upheld by the way and the levels at which all involved negotiate clearances on a day to day basis.

In other words, the person being sampled whose permission you are seeking has all the cards.

If you have sampled a single recognisable note, this may well be seen to be ‘substantial’. If any reasonable person listening to your new record could tell that you have used a sample, then it is almost certainly a substantial use and legally requires clearing.

But you can take the drums only from a track and that’s fine, right? Err, no. Probably not.

If you have sampled a recording you fall at the first fence since you cannot deny that those drums (or whatever part you’ve taken) come from the other person’s recording. Given that admission, even the smallest section is probably enough to require permission. I can’t be sure, as it takes a final judgement in a court case to get the definitive view, but should you risk it?

In the real world, if you’re a small-time artist, you may well do just that. And I wouldn’t blame you.

As I said above, hundreds of thousands of records have been released without clearing samples and almost all ‘get away with it’ – particularly so if the release is small-scale and no significant money is made.

But, it is extremely important to note that if you get sued the amount of a claim by the person you have sampled, in most countries, need NOT be related to how much you made from releasing your infringing record.

The decision by a judge to award damages to the person you sampled is usually equated to the loss they have suffered rather than the money you made. And that loss can be based on anything that they can argue. Sure, often it does refer to the amount you made from releasing your infringing record, but not always.

The cautionary tale

So, this is where you get to see what happens when it all goes wong!

At the end of last week a Danish court case concluded that two musicians who had made a record in 2003 by using a sample had infringed the rights of a songwriter and a record company and ordered them to pay damages approaching $150,000 – way more than they ever made from the record.

This is enough to finish their careers and affect them for the rest of their lives. Read all about . This case could be reversed on appeal and, depending on where you live, it is unlikely to be used as ‘case law’ in your country and therefore it won’t lead to a swathe of sampling cases against the little guy.

But it is a reminder that any one of the hundreds of thousands of records that have been released (or are going to be released in the future) with uncleared samples and which the artists think are going to be small scale successes, could lead to you being sued.

Should you worry? No, I don’t think you should, but you should be aware.

I think the Danish case is unlikely to be upheld and the guys were very unlucky that it didn’t get negotiated to a settlement that they could afford before going to trial. In almost all cases this would have been resolved before going to court.

And, of course, if your release is likely to be a commercial success, do deal with any sample issues before release. Success brings attention and people will then sue and they will push hard for a very stiff deal if you ignored their samples! Just remember that if you sample a record then the basic position is that you are infringing the rights of two sets of people and that could come back and bite you in the ass.

Sample clearance is the answer but we all know that in the real world that’s not always going to happen.

Hopefully, forewarned is forearmed!



Quote Of The Day

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.
Abraham Lincoln


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