Sample clearing “limits creativity” of smaller artists, “but Dua Lipa is gonna use whatever she wants,” says Jaymie Silk

“If I want to use a sample, I can’t do it, because economically, legally, it’s complicated. But if you’re a big artist you can.”

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Akai 3000 MPC

Credit: Getty / Heritage Images

Jaymie Silk, a house music producer from Paris, has shared his thoughts on the issue of sample clearing.

Speaking to DJ Mag as part of a long-form op-ed feature called What is the future of sampling?, Silk expresses his concern in regard to the challenges faced by sample clearing, the process of obtaining legal permission and often paying fees to use copyrighted music or sound recordings in new works.

He highlights that, for smaller artists who might not have the financial means to embark on this process, creativity can be “limited” as a result.

“If I want to use a sample, I can’t do it, because economically, legally, it’s complicated,” he says. “But if you’re a big artist, you can. So, I’m limited in my creativity, but Dua Lipa is gonna use whatever she wants.”

Dua Lipa performing onstage
Credit: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images

Revered hip-hop journalist Dan Charnas also has his say on sample clearing: “I am not uncomfortable with copyright,” he says. “What I am uncomfortable with is when copyright gets in the way of artists’ right to version, and create.

“That’s part of what you are when you’re an author. As an author, you’re supposed to be quoted!”

While the piece marks sampling as “a central pillar of music production in the 30-odd years since MPCs hit the shelves”, not everyone in the music industry is a fan of the technique. Three-time Grammy-winning producer Tony Visconti recently slammed modern producers, saying, “They’re making bulls**t records with loops. Everything’s sampled. I think old-school production with a band is the only way to make great records.”

While the economic inequality in music production means it’s easier for some artists to make the music they want to and harder for others, there are tools out there that can provide a workaround solution. ThatTrack, an AI-powered tool, was launched in March, and offers 30,000 copyright-cleared tracks for various content, reducing the risk of copyright strikes on social media.

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