music, sampling, de minimis, copyright, blockchain, fair use, sound recording, VMG v. Salsoul, market harm, Beyonce, Drake, compulsory license, Bridgeport v. Dimension Films, ringtones, Music Modernization Act, performing rights organization, independent artist, major label, Chance the Rapper, independent music, musical composition, interpolation, Kanye West, Imogen Heap, Creative Commons, intellectual property, digital, streaming, hip hop, R&B, market benefit, transaction costs, mainstream, unified, locating copyrights, technology


Thanks, in part, to social media and the digital streaming age of music, independent artists have seen a rise in popularity and many musicians have achieved mainstream success without the affiliation of a major record label. Alongside the growth of independent music has come the widespread use of music sampling. Sampling, which was once depicted as a crime perpetrated by hip-hop artists, is now prevalent across charttopping hits from all genres. Artists have used sampling as a tool to integrate cultures, eras, and styles of music while experimenting with the bounds of musical creativity. Artists whose works are sampled have profited from royalties and the exposure of their original work in modern art. However, the laws that shaped the sample licensing system helped solidify financial and political obstacles that prevent independent artists from sampling. Therefore, while major label-affiliated artists can use their status and financial capital to bypass the obstacles, it is practically impossible for independent artists to afford sampling and participate in modern music’s sonic creativity.