Sampling 2005

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Anybody who has ever listened to early Pizzicato Five records will know that sampling law was essentially non-existent in Japan for a good part of the 1990s. Now, however, things are getting much stricter. For example, I just got the new Oricon numbers for 2005, and the songwriting credits for Orange Range’s lackluster hit “Locolotion” are attributed to Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Yes, the song does rip off sections of the ’60s classic “Locomotion,” but I would hardly call it a “cover.”

I gather that the Japanese recording/publishing industry is now forcing songs with obvious samples to be handled as cover versions as a way to appease the “samplee.” Supposedly, the same thing happened with the last m-flo single, and I assume that this will now be standard industry practice. I’ve always hated Orange Range, but knowing that a portion of their earnings is going to Goffin/King — writers of The Monkees’ “As We Go Along” and other amazing songs — I may just become a fan.

In related news, I just got the new Go! Team CD single “Bottle Rocket” from Vroom Records, and they have apparently had to clean up their sample usage for a U.S. release. (Although using “Soul Time” by Shirley Ellis seems to be strangely decriminalized.) The new versions still retain the same flavor, but a lot of the old incidental samples are gone and were not replaced with soundalikes.

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

6 Responses

  1. Jon Says:

    Interesting…I bought the Vroom Sound release of Thunder, Lighning, Strike (for the bonus tracks and the fact it ended up being cheaper for me than the U.K. import at the time) but I haven’t listened to any other releases of the album. Now I’m wondering if the Japanese release of the album was “cleaned up” as well. The “Soul Time” sample is very obvious though, so I never second guessed that there could be any difference with the other release(s).

  2. marxy Says:

    I think the original Vroom release has the full samples. I don’t think they removed anything until recently.

  3. trevor Says:

    i love it when band/people get hit for sampling..
    but i’m sure they never expected the record to be as big as it is.
    free press is free press though. im sure people now try to find the unedited version. and pay more for it too..

  4. jariten Says:

    I wonder what will become of kiiiiiii’s ‘The World According to Carp and Sheep’?

  5. marxy Says:

    Why? There’s no sampling in that song. If you are referring to the “Tide is High” part, the lyrics have been changed and the melody is post-copyright. Kiiiiiii have had to look up a lot of copyright issues, and they now own the publishing to “Allouette” in Japan.

  6. jens Says:

    i’m a bit late on this one, but…

    as for the go! team, i don’t think they’re done with the re-editing and clearing-process yet. when i interviewed ian a couple of weeks ago he was a little worried about that several samples seemed to be very hard to get cleared..

    clearly, some j-indie bands are already facing the copyright problem, but marxy, how long do you think it’ll take before it becomes a custom for indie labels, such as vroom sound, to go through the same procedure as orange range’s label?