How to legally use samples in your music

The specifics on how and where you can use samples you’ve found online can be murky. Make sure you’re clued up on how to use copyright samples in your commercial music before publishing.

Make sure you trust where you’re obtaining your samples from. If they say ‘royalty-free’ but the site’s not legit, that claim means nothing. Please note you cannot use samples from your favourite songs or films without permission from the copyright holder, regardless of fair-use or the length of sample.

Royalty-Free

If a sample is listed as royalty-free, it can be used in your music for profit anywhere, including RouteNote.

Licenses

If you’ve purchased a license from an artist, ensure you’re clued up on where and how you can use it. Most will allow for a number or unlimited streams and purchases on stores. If you are limited by how many copies and streams you can legally obtain, you must keep an eye on your stats and upgrade your license when necessary.

Tagged/Watermarked

If the sample you use has a watermark in it, it is likely a free version of an otherwise licensed sample. This usually means you cannot use it for profit, or you can, but the tag will mention the sample/beat maker as a form of advertising. As with all samples, you must check this on a sample-by-sample basis.

RouteNote’s Policy

When using samples in your music and uploading to RouteNote, it is your responsibility to know the legality surrounding them before submitting to us.

If you use samples of any kind (royalty free or not), you cannot distribute to YouTube or Facebook Content ID.

If you’ve purchased a license, be sure to keep hold of the receipt/proof of purchase. We may ask for this before your release can be approved.

If you use copyright samples without the correct permissions before sending to RouteNote, your release will be disapproved and may incur a strike on your account.

Find our list of all of our top recommendations for samples here.

Once you’ve sorted out any licenses, head over to RouteNote to send over your music for free publishing on top stores such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and more.

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