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What is a sample?

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What is a sample?

Postby lothario » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:42 am

Since some of the tracks in this competition rely heavily on samples, some even using long unaltered ones, I would like to ask what you find reasonable sample usage, and what is just ripping off. Is a mashup f.ex. just a sample-heavy track, or is it too unoriginal/easy to be allowed as a competition track? Or does it rely on how creative the mashup is? (DJ Shadow only uses samples AFAIK)

I'd like, for the next competition, to have at least some basic guidelines as to what we mean by 'samples allowed', so we can avoid artists who submit Block Rockin' Beats with a new hihat added. A remix could in theory be defined as a very sample-heavy track. Where do you think the limit should be?
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Re: What is a sample?

Postby Agent Orange » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:16 am

In the case of my own track - Riot - I used a big sample in terms of 'everyone knows this sample'. To me, it was kind of a challenge to make it sound like a big part of my track, but also not entirely ripping it off and appear lazy. I took some time to chop it up, rearrange some of it, and playing around with the scream sample. In this way, I think I can justify the fact that I used this sample.

In the case of, say, Bass Fucker's Sexy Boy - taking 90 seconds of an existing track - and just put it unaltered in the track, is somewhat lazy to me. Ofcourse, maybe the sample was intended for a live dj set, but it's in the competition! I think there needs to me something to justify the use of the sample. Taking half a track of someone, and just using it like it were your own track, leads to shit like what happened to the Brainkiller Competition: Someone 'stole' an entire track, renamed it and sent it in as his own. Afterwards, he could've said; I sampled the entire track, and added a different name to it. The rules made it possible. :lol: This shouldn't be allowed.

Let's say you make these rules, and allow sampling;

- sample length to maximum of 90 seconds,
- sample can not be unaltered - find a way to add some instruments, effects, chop it up or add something to it to make it sound different than the original source,
- if the sample is a really big part of your track and/or it's over 90 seconds in length (and the sample is practically the main source for your track) you're required to call your track a 'mix' or 'remix'.

What do you guys think?
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Re: What is a sample?

Postby Grant Lloyd » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:38 am

i think if a well known sample is used in such a way that is considered lazy it would probably count against it when it comes to the vote. so nothing really needs to be done. at least in this competition. i have faith in the community
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Re: What is a sample?

Postby Agent Orange » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:02 am

stormyca wrote:i think if a well known sample is used in such a way that is considered lazy it would probably count against it when it comes to the vote. so nothing really needs to be done. at least in this competition. i have faith in the community


Unless the people are not familiar with the sample and think the artist actually wrote it, and praise it for the work. Then you got a winner that basically is the original writer, and not the contestant. :lol:
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Re: What is a sample?

Postby Highvoltage » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:02 pm

well, if you remove the (preset!!) synth from Smack my bitch up, its 98% other people's track

how unoriginal of him thihiih
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Re: What is a sample?

Postby Mo » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:01 pm

The Good Girl is one big sample. Quite literally, all I added was drums and vocals, and re-played the bass line. Yet I released it under the Grinny Grandad name as an original track, not a remix, all done legally.

Just something to think about, adding my two pence or whatever. My brain hurts to add anything else right now.
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Re: What is a sample?

Postby lothario » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:22 pm

Highvoltage wrote:well, if you remove the (preset!!) synth from Smack my bitch up, its 98% other people's track

how unoriginal of him thihiih


I wouldn't call it unaltered samples though.
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Re: What is a sample?

Postby Laurie » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:29 pm

Agent Orange wrote:Let's say you make these rules, and allow sampling;

- sample length to maximum of 90 seconds,
- sample can not be unaltered - find a way to add some instruments, effects, chop it up or add something to it to make it sound different than the original source,
- if the sample is a really big part of your track and/or it's over 90 seconds in length (and the sample is practically the main source for your track) you're required to call your track a 'mix' or 'remix'.

What do you guys think?


Not too sure about that one haha. Sometimes samples used in tracks sound best when nothing more than a tempo change is done to them, like the use of an amen break in Chase & Status' In Love, an atmospheric FX sample from a sample CD, or a sample of some spoken dialogue.

And the first part of your last point is quite hard to judge, too. A lot of Dr Dre's productions, and Grinny Grandad's, as Chris mentioned, are based around a sample, and vocals are placed on top. You might say that a track doesn't need to be called a remix if it's a song with vocals, but then where do you draw the line for what a song is? Does it still count if it's just got vocals in the chorus?
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Re: What is a sample?

Postby Agent Orange » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:52 pm

I'm glad I started up the discussion. I threw the bone, and now you guys can sort it out and update those rules. :P Ofcourse there's a lot of unaltered samples, then draw the line differently. :)
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Re: What is a sample?

Postby Darkwave » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:36 pm

I'm not sure if setting time limitations or other rules would work...for example someone could claim that he triggers parts of a huge loop with 5ms time difference :lol: or things like that.

If someone follows the existing rules and mentions the samples that he used is just fine...i think the voters can keep that in mind and vote in a fair way.

The best thing to do is to keep things simple.
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