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A person is playing an electronic keyboard in a recording studio. A person is playing an electronic keyboard in a recording studio.


2 min read

What is sampling?

Sampling uses sounds or parts of a pre-existing sound recording in a new sound recording.

What is sampling?

Sampling is when a , often a or re-uses part of an existing in a new recording. It can be any length and any type of sound.

Sampling may also be when a creator samples sounds in everyday life, for example, the ocean, birds, or a beeping sound of a pedestrian crossing signal.

Sampling is common in modern music and can be used in many different ways, but there are rules that need to be followed when sampling pre-existing sound recordings.

What rights are involved in using a sample?

Whenever a sample is taken from a pre-existing sound recording, the in the sound recording, the performance of the sound recording, and the underlying are all involved. Therefore, the and of the , , and owners of the sound recording of the sampled are applicable. You must get permission from all these to use a sample of a song in a new song.

If the request to use a sample is approved, a fee will typically be paid to the music publisher and to remunerate rights holders of the sampled musical work and sound recording.

There are also commercial sound banks compiling large amounts of sounds, which music creators can use for a fee to create new sound recordings.

Learn more about the different types of rights in the Music Creators’ Rights topic.

Who owns the rights in a sample and in a new song using that sample?

When you sample an original song, the of that song usually own the samples. You own the rights to any new and original contributions you made to the new song that is using the sample. Therefore, both you and the rights holders of the sample will share ownership of the new song. Rights holders of the sample must be and will receive a share of any income when the new song is used.

Image credit: Jakob Johansson, Parapix