Can I Use Sample Packs for Songs on Spotify?

Can I Use Sample Packs for Songs on Spotify?

Sample Packs - Can I use them in commercial releases? It's a common question most of us music producers have, but there really aren't too many resources covering this topic in detail. Not to worry, I promise you that you'll be a sample licensing expert by the end of this article.

Anyway, back to the question - are we allowed to use sample packs in our music, and post it on Spotify without copyright problems?

The answer is... drum roll please... it depends. Luckily it's not super complicated. Let's get into how you can ensure the samples you are using in your music are not copyrighted, so you can protect your hard earned music royalties from other rights holders.

(Good) Sample Packs Come With Licensing.

If you've paid for a sample pack, it has most likely come with a license. Check the Sample Pack folder, and there should be one in there. Make sure to read through and check the license before committing to using the samples, because it's not guaranteed that you have the right to use the samples on a 100% royalty free basis. Sometimes a license may include a clause that requires you to hand over a percentage of your income from your music featuring their samples. Avoid this if you want to retain ownership of your music.

Pro Tip - All of our sample packs (including free starter packs) are 100% royalty free and come with a license, so you can profit as much as you want from using our samples, whether you've a major label artist or an independent producer just getting established.

The issue of not having 100% royalty free usage rights typically comes from free Sample Packs as opposed to professional, premium ones - this is because a majority of free sample packs available on the market consist of recycled sounds that the creator doesn't actually have the right to sell. Very risky indeed, especially if you're starting to gain an audience and are looking to meet with labels. 

Why Do I Need a License For Samples in My Music?

Besides making sure that right holders are paid their fair share, the main reason to make sure you can provide the appropriate licensing is to ensure that your music is released without any issues.

Depending on the song and digital distributor you use, it's very common that before your music is sent out to streaming platforms to go live, you are asked to provide licenses proving you have the right to use the samples in your music. Don't get caught empty handed, especially if you've spent ages on your release.

This is the main reason to pay for samples and ensure you are using 100% royalty free resources. It's so common that an artist will suddenly explode in popularity, beyond their expectations and then be forced to remove their old catalogue because it turns out they weren't playing by the rules. 

What About Samples I've Found Myself, That Weren't in a Pack?

This question really depends on what the sound is, and whether it's worth it. Yes, some of the greatest Hip Hop of all time have used samples from other famous songs, but these samples need to be cleared and come at great expense, often more than musicians are willing to hand over. And that's why sample kits are so popular these days - it's the easiest way to avoid all of the hassle that comes with the legality of sourcing samples from old Records or wherever else.

What Happens If I Use Samples I Don't Own The Rights To?

Fundamentally, this issue is a bit like speeding. Just like how a lot of people speed and get away with it, a huge number of producers will happily jack samples without ever thinking about copyright and not get caught, but there's always that risk you are going to take. The risk of legal action, a song takedown or even worse - downright deletion of music are all very real risks that can happen if you aren't careful with where your samples are being sourced from.

One of the most common examples of taking a pretty serious L from using another musician's work is Sting and Juice Wrld's Lucid Dreams. The song features and interpolation from Sting's "Shape of My Heart", which reportedly ended in 85% of the song being owned by Sting. I can understand a smaller cut going to Sting, but how on earth he managed to wiggle his way up to owning a vast majority I'm not entirely sure. Anyway, that story serves as a great cautionary tale to musicians out there, so be warned.

Where Can I Get Sample Packs Which Are Royalty Free?

That's where we come in. Symitone Audio only sells samples our team have made ourselves, from scratch, so we can absolutely guarantee that our samples are 100% royalty free, including for commercial use. Once you own a Symitone sample pack, you own it - we don't take a cut of your music royalties at all.

So there you have it, hopefully this has helped if you have been wondering what samples you can and can't use legally in your music without giving up the lion's share of your music royalties.



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