Do you need sample clearance for a mixtape or can you use famous beats on a mixtape are both questions that every rapper should know the answer too. You certainly do need clearance and no you can not use famous beats without clearance.
Even if you think the sample is too small to deal with or you will be giving away the music, you need permission.
If you are an upcoming artist and need to know how to get clearance on your mix tapes samples, this article is for you.
When making a mix tape you mix different types of songs or sounds to make something special.
If you don’t get permission or the copyright of the song cleared, you could end up on the other end of a costly lawsuit.
To avoid this you need to get the music copyright cleared for the song. Not all songs need to be cleared but to be on the safe side you should still check to at least make sure. To do this you must find the true author of the song.
Make sure that you find the right artist; sometimes multiple artists and producers have a copyright claim on one particular song. Do research. I know this could be boring but it must be done.
To use recent recordings you do, have to clear samples for mix tapes and you need to get clearance from two different sources. The writer of the song and the recording company that released the song must both clear it for use as a sample. To find these people you may have to go through the publisher.
There are three ways to find the publisher.
First, you can use the internet to look for the information on the song. This will help you find which organization actually owns the rights to the song.
The second way is use the BMI’s (Broadcast Music Inc.) searchable database.
Third, if neither of these methods work, try calling the performance arts organization and ask to speak with someone in their song indexing department.
Sometimes you may need to pay money up front for the clearance. Other situations may require you to pay the copyright owner royalties on a predetermined date. So make sure you ask these questions when asking for the clearance on the music.
Try and have a backup plan. Some artists really don’t want other people to use their music so make sure you have replacement samples if this issue comes up.
If you don’t want to do this work, find someone who does it for a living such as a music attorney or patent and copyright lawyer. They do charge by the hour. What they will do is determine all of the clearances you need for the sampled music, do the research and then provide the clearances for you. That way you are free to continue working on your album while waiting for the sampled music to be cleared.
If none of these tips work try looking up sample friendly copyright owners. These artists are more willing to let other artists use their music than anyone else. You could also try contacting the artist or the songwriter personally; social media gives you that ability today.
Sometimes companies can be rude and too busy to deal with small time artists, but the songwriter knows how it feels trying to make it big. They are more opt to let you use their music.
In the end the original question, do you need sample clearance for a mixtape boils down to how you would feel if someone sampled your music and sold a million copies of the song yet you never received a dime of the money.
We hope this helps you in clearing your sampled music. For more facts, call the copyright office or a copyright lawyer in your area.