22 February 2011

Kevin Saunderson says 'no' to sampling his music

Interesting news for the month sees Detroit legend Kevin Saunderson taking issue with people sampling his older works.

Kevin Saunderson, sample, Supernova
Back in December Carl Craig took issue with some enthusiastic sampling of one of his iconic productions by Italian duo Alex Kenji & Federico Scavo on 'Gimmie Five' and posted about it on twitter etc. This time it's gone one step further with Saunderson offering the offending track as a HQ download on his soundcloud page in an attempt to deny them earnings and no doubt to bait them into legal action they can't win. The artists in mention, Italian duo Supernova, sampled Saunderson's 1987 classic Reece & Santonio 'The Sound' - the main hook at least - and turned it into the basis for their track.

To see pretty much the same thing happen again, to an even more blatant level, should be a surprise. Or should it?

Even moreso than in the Carl Craig example, attempting to put out a sample-based record which has such a tiny original composition component to it is really just asking for trouble when you're dealing with dance music old-schoolers. Whereas many younger producers consider their output a way to get famous, laid and some DJing gigs out of it, producers like Saunderson come from an era and mindset which regards their music as a lifetime labour of love. 'The Sound' literally was one of Saunderson's early masterpieces and no surprises he hasn't taken kindly to such liberal borrowing of his work.

Some say Saunderson is just miffed his idea has been made relevant to a new generation by someone else (who will earn the credit), but sampling of this sort is on the rise and it is hard to see it stopping any time soon. Which 20 year old is going to care that an artist/label is threatening to sue them from the other side of the world? Raising the issue usually just helps their profile and it'll generally just result in making them famous.

The again, do details like this even matter anymore? The 1987 Kevin Saunderson might even be appalled at the 2011 version of himself using software which makes production so easy. Is this really a case of trying to stop the wind with your hands? It's not going to stop anytime soon. Should we just accept it?

As it stands Saunderson's free spoiler download has almost reached 2000 downloads and 12,000 listens - in only one week. His efforts have given Supernova more free promo than they could ever get from a label or myspace page. So, is he in the right? For sure. Is it worthwhile getting annoyed about it? Nowdays, probably not. Unless it escalates to an old school beat-down they should probably be writing him a thank-you note for all the gigs they will be getting from this.

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