July 25, 2024
Join Union
Posted Date: May 20 2020
        As a working musician, sooner or later, you will be faced with this issue: Sampling. What is sampling? Glad you asked. UrbanDictionary.com defines sampling as “the process of taking brief segments of sound (from a song, movie or elsewhere) and using that sound to form another sound or musical piece.“ Unfortunately, sampling can happen, unbeknownst to you, when you perform at a recording studio. (..even one of your regular ones!) Seemingly random patterns that are recorded can sometimes be used later on a master recording and you will receive no payment or points on said project. I know: How is that possible?

        Let’s say you are in a recording session. The session ends, and you get this question: “what would you play over this beat?” You think about it and you unleash the funkiest Groove you've played all night. A few days later, you hear your funky groove on a track you didn't play on. Ladies and Gentlemen, you have just been sampled.

        Now it gets good. You start to hear other tracks with grooves that you created. This is more common than you might think, and again, you receive no payment and no points.

        Ok, now it's not funny, and you want answers. The first thing that comes to mind is, “did I have a Union contract?” Let's say you did. Now you're looking at the theft of intellectual property. You see, you can't copyright chord structures, but you definitely can copyright melodies and hooks. Now you can rest easy because of the full power of your union to settle or litigate this issue on your behalf.

        Ok, now let's say you didn't have a union contract. Well, good luck because you are basically on your own.   Even if you happen to be a lawyer, the union is clearly the way to go. So next time you hear that question, the answer is “NO, not until we have a union contract.”

        Remember, the union is for us by us. Be Union proud and Union strong!

By Vice President, Russell K Shores

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