Sample CDs - The Facts
I hope you find this guide helpful.
I see many sellers selling sample CDs everyday and i feel buyers need to know this important information.
If you are a serious musician attempting to get that all important record deal, or to release your music independently, this is very important!
What is a sample CD:
Firstly a quick explanation of what a sample CD is.
Sample CDs are CDs that contain sound bites ranging the complete musical spectrum (vocals, drums, synths ...)
The samples can range in length.
You can expect to pay around £30 or more, for a new sample CD!
Unlike a CD of your favourite band, when you buy a sample CD brand new, you are licensed to use the sounds on the CD within your own musical compositions.
This is why, in comparison, sample CDs are far more expensive then say your favourite bands album.
If you are granted a license for a sample CD you are granted permission to use the sounds on it, this does not mean you are the owner of the sounds.
Copied Sample CDs:
It should be obvious that copying a CD of any kind is illegal.
This also applies with sample CDs. if you plan to use the samples for commercial use think again!
If you do, you WILL have to pay royalties to the copyright owners as you will not be licensed to use the samples.
You will probably be prosecuted by the original owners of the samples for a number of breaches in copyright.
If you are signed to a label and your music is released containing these samples then you are in big trouble! not only will you be dropped by your label,
you can expect the label to prosecute you for copyright infringement, not good!
Original Branded Sample CDs:
These are original sample CDs with their original artwork including a license for the original purchaser only.
It is VERY important that you keep your receipt in a safe place in order to prove that you have purchased the product and have a license to use the sample CD.
By being the original purchaser of a sample CD, you can use sounds from it to create a composition for commercial use because you already purchased a private license for the use, as long as you do not use the sounds on it to create another sample CD.
What this means is that you & you alone, as the original purchaser, are licensed to use these samples.
You CAN NOT sell or give the sounds to anyone else. If you do, and they use the sounds within a commercial release, they will have to pay royalties to the copyright owners for using the sounds & you would be breaking the law.
Second Hand Branded Sample CDs:
These are original sample cds with their original artwork but do not include a license.
If you purchase a branded sample CD second hand you CAN NOT use the samples for commercial use!
This is very important specially if you see a sample CD here on ebay or even on a car boot.
Just because you have purchased an original copy of the sample CD does not mean you are licensed to use the sounds on it!
Remember, Only the original purchaser has a license to use the sounds so again think twice before signing a record deal using such samples as proof of purchase may be needed.
Unbranded Sample CDs:
These are more then likely bootlegs / copies or not meant for commercial use.
Using samples from such would be extremely risky and would end your music career before you even get it going, leave them alone.
Royalty Free Sample CDs:
If a sample CD says its 'Royalty Free' this means that you do not have to obtain permission to use the samples contained on it as clearance has already been granted. You or who ever has the CD owns the license for the use of the sounds on it.
The company 'Time + Space' are the worlds leaders in sample CDs.
Most of the sample CDs around today are distributed by these guys.
visit them and read more on the licensing of samples.
if in dout, leave it out!
Just for the record:
For those many people that are selling sample CDs which feature uncleared sounds from say an MC 303 i wrote to Roland direct asking them what they thought....
"Recording sounds off the MC-303 or any Roland product that have been provided with the factory sound set and then selling them as a sample CD would be copyright infringement - Roland"