Sampling in music: Is it stealing or creation of its own?

Sampling has always been a big controversy in the music industry, especially since the emergence of hip-hop and electronic music. Numerous legal actions by the original artists have been taken over the music where their music is sampled. Is it a legitimate technique in creating music, or is it ripping off another artist’s composition?

  • It might be worth mentioning the length of the sample. To my understanding when copyright comes into play the amount of the music sampled is important. This is an interesting topic. I would update the title so the first letter of words is capitalized. – Jordan 7 years ago
  • One weird instance of this I've found in a few rap songs are samples of a Japanese Jazz artist named Yuji Ohno, who's written and composed music for a popular anime series since the late 1970s. I've found 3 distinct rap songs that use samples of his music as the base track and part of the percussion. And I'm assuming these artists used his music perhaps because their usage of it would not easily get back to Mr. Ohno's record label in reference to the unlicensed use of the songs. I'm also not sure how these rap artists even got a hold of Yuji Ohno's music in the first place, since I had to know about the guy before I could find out how to buy his music, and then I had to import it all directly from Japan on either CD's or Vinyl. So it's not really all that easy to find or hear his music, and especially not in the late 90s or early 2000s when these rap songs were made. Jazz from the 70s also seems to be the big thing to use in a lot of rap if samples are involved, at least if you want to hide your samples as much as possible. Many of those songs can be really indistinguishable from each other. – Jonathan Leiter 7 years ago
  • Tough one. I believe basically almost everything is creation. But it would be hard for me to say the original artist shouldn't have rights to their original work. But at a basic level, I think that breathing new life into an old sound or idea is art in and of itself. – Tatijana 7 years ago
  • I think that sampling music can add interesting nuances to a song, and I'm actually a fan of it in hip hop and rap, which constitute the basis of my familiarity with sampling. In addition to contributing to the creation of a multi-faceted and nuanced work, I think sampling also has the potential to breath new life into songs that have transitioned out of contemporary culture as products of a different social milieu. As a result of looking into songs that are sampled in the work of Kanye West (to name one artist in particular), I feel like I've been able to rediscover songs that otherwise would have been lost to me. I also feel that sampling can add complexity to the song if we think of it as an influence upon the work of the artist who incorporated the sample. – csheehan 7 years ago

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