Over To You: Where Can I Legally Post My Sampled-Based Music?

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
advanced digital dj tips
Last updated 26 November, 2017

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earworm
Earworm has some amazingly popular mashups on YouTube, but doesn’t make any money from them – he makes his money with DJ sets, bookings that are made off the back of them.

Digital DJ Tips reader Aaron G (Aka AGB) writes: “My question refers to the legal issues and guidelines necessary for remixing and track producing in electronic music or any music for that matter. Does one need permission to release a track merely for their own amusement or hobby if sampling of other artists were involved? What about the release of a full fledged EP?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

The short answer is: If you stand to gain financially from it, yes. If not, in some cases/territories you can get away with posting it to, say, YouTube. It’s a minefield because obviously it depends on where you are in the world as to what laws actually exist and are enforced, but if you put it on YouTube (for instance) what usually happens is the record company identifies it, puts adverts on your video or video page, and lets you “get away with it”.

But in this instance you’re not actually making money from it, which is why it’s OK (the record company is, because it gets the revenue from those ads). If the tune blows up, the record company or companies may talk to you about releasing it, but rest assured they’ll get the lion’s share of any profits. Plus they’re getting revenue from the clickthroughs on those ads plastered over your upload, too. So anecdotally you won’t get in trouble for doing this type of thing, but I don’t live where you are and I’m no lawyer, so do anything you choose to at your own risk!

By the way, try and put a mashup on SoundCloud, and if you get spotted by a record company that wants to take action, it’ll just get removed (or they won’t let you upload in the first place).

What’s your experience with doing this type of thing? Have you ever got in hot water putting sample-based remixes or mashups on YouTube, SoundCloud or anywhere else? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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