Viewing: sampling - View all posts

Fugees The Score - One of Greatest Hip Hop Albums Ever 

Fugees Album titled “The Score” is one of the best hip hop albums of all time.  I know – this review is coming late – 2017 to be exact – but I’d like to start writing more and reviewing my favorite albums.  The mid 1990’s had a sound and energy that seems hard to duplicate – I’m happy I was a teenager in the late 1990’s because it seems to be the “golden age” of hip hop – an obviously highly contested statement in its own right. 

On to the Fugees – from the moment the album starts you can hear the crispy high end and smooth bass of the Intro track.  I think it does “set the stage” so to speak because many other tracks include similar elements. 

The 2nd track, “How Many Mics” starts out with what sounds like an Elephant or an Ocean, or some strange industrial noise.  Lauryn Hill kills the beat and lets you know this is the type of flow you can expect on the entire album.  When the album first dropped, the “in your face” type of flow she has & the skilled delivery was definitely one of a kind.  You can’t fake talent – you either have it or you don’t.  I believe there is a story behind that – one of the behind the scenes types of stories – but the short story is basically Wyclef heard Lauryn’s voice and flat out knew she was a star after one second.  Wyclef has a happy go lucky/Cynic/Good Vibes/Freestyle sort of vibe on this track and throughout the whole album.  Pras seems to connect it all with a straight up hip hop flow filled with metaphors and similes.  The snare is so crispy on this track, along with the Kick Drum and bass.  Simple elements that are mixed so well are incredibly pleasing to my ears. 

The 3rd track, “Ready or Not” is one of their commercial successes, with a full scale and expensive music video.  The song actually samples Enya – which is the haunting background harmony – but Holy Moses it fits so well.  There is an art to sampling.  This track gets it right. 

The 4th track, “Zealots” samples The Flamingos and captures that 1959 sound.  Of course, this is sampling done right, as the beat is awesome 

The 5th track, “The Beast,” has an interesting mix of percussion, bongos, and funny hook.  It simply has a different vibe than most hip hop tracks you’ll hear – maybe mostly due to the well placed kicks and bongos. 

The 6th track, Fu-Gee-La is what put the Fugees on the map due to the amazingly grimy beat, hip hop vibe, and sick flows.  The guitar noise that slides down and up is truly an ear pleaser.  This is a song you bump when you have a great car system. 

The 7th track has a vinyl type of vibe because of the “scratchy” record sound – but this is mixed with what sounds like a Mexican guitar and hip hop beat.  This is an aggressive hook with Lauryn Hill nicely mixed in; I like how they made use of her voice on the hook. 

“Killing me Softly” is track 8 and is basically an instant classic.  There’s not much else you need to know here; Lauryn Hill completely murders the entire song. 

“The Score” is track 9 and has all the hip hop elements a hip hop head would expect.  The elements combine nicely and they skillfully resample some of their own verses.  It also sounds like someone is humming. 

Track 10, “The Mask,” feels like a nice house party or conversation with all 3 artists.  There’s some funny story telling here about Burger King and what not.  They seem to be in full swag mode here. 

Track 11, “Cowboys,” is a lot of fun as you can tell by the hook.  They take an angle of Cowboys and Desperados on this one and it feels like an awesome smoke session.  You’ve got that interesting guitar/Sitar noise here again, with what sounds like trumpets during parts of the song.  The open hi hat and snare rolls keep everything glued together nicely. 

Track 12 pays homage to Bob Marley and “No Woman No Cry.”  I can actually remember hearing this as a teenager – I didn’t know what to make of it at first.  The acoustic guitar is the bright shining star here because it’s a new spin on the old tune and keeps things moving happily along. 

Track 13, “Manifest/Outro” uses the same guitar you heard in the Intro Track – it’s more sped up here in Track 13.  Fans of Lauryn Hill will point out she murders this beat. 

Track 14 remixes “Fu-Gee-La” as does Track 15.  Track 14 has more of a laid back, chill vibe and track 15 has Reggae roots. 

I am not sure what the final track represents.

How Ad Rev and YouTube Content ID work  

The Hows and Whys of Ad Rev and YouTube Content ID
With notes and new opportunities w/ Google "Hosted" Ad Sense because they are all interrelated.

Mass Confusion.  Irate Musicians.  Angry YouTube Channel Owners.  Copyright.  Infringement.  Monetization.  Content. Welcome to the internet in the year 2015.  This doesn't exactly sound like a fun party, but for good reason.  Your ideas are at stake.  Your recognition is at stake.  Perhaps most importantly, revenue owed to you is at stake.  

Personally, I am on the front lines of all of the above, because I have my own YouTube Channel named ShaunFriedman, in addition to having a website that offers beats for downloads, and in addition to having other publishers peddle my instrumental music across the globe.  I have seen various claims on some of the videos I upload which include Sound Recording claims and Visual Content claims.  YouTube Content ID claims are not just specific to Ad Rev; they are specific to any business or corporation or entity that partners with YouTube Content ID, and generally speaking, can claim copyright on Images, Movie Clips (Audio in the actual movie or the background music in the movie), TV shows, and of course, sound recordings.

This article will focus on the partnership of Ad RevYouTube Content ID, and YouTube channel owners/uploaders, though the concepts may be congruent with any entity that works with YouTube Content ID.  I'll go through each topic in numbers, covering questions and concerns of music creators and YouTube creators, which often times are the same person, like myself :)  YouTube channel owners are also a very important piece of the equation here, because when approved, they can monetize their own videos directly though YouTube Hosted AdSense, not to be confused with YouTube Content ID, but of course.

"Can't I just apply to YouTube's Content ID Directly?"  If you ever thought this, congratulations!  Way to go directly to the source.  After all, why would you need a middle man between yourself and YouTube Content ID?  Unfortunately, I have heard rumors that YouTube's Content ID application process has gone dormant and is basically unattainable.

However, this didn't stop me from trying back in August of 2014.  My information was successfully submitted directly to YouTube, and they closed their notification by saying "this is a beta program, and we're in an ongoing process of refining, improving, and scaling the system up to meet everyone's needs."  All in all, it's probably a long shot to get approved directly, because YouTube works with major players like Warner Bros, Ad Rev, Audiam, CD Baby, Universal Music Group (UMG), Warner Music Group (WMG), and Sony Music Entertainment. (SME)  These type of Behemoth companies have the rights to thousands upon thousands of sound recordings and media.

How does Ad Rev work exactly?  Ad Rev allows publishers and composers to upload music (music that you are the original owner/publisher/composer/rights holder of)  into the Ad Rev system.  Then, Ad Rev works directly with YouTube Content ID to find instances where your content is used on YouTube.  Ad Rev is strictly a YouTube admin.  It's a pretty robust system that will catch you if you use copyrighted material.  As a member of Ad Rev, you can also submit DIRECT URLs of YouTube videos that use your music.  Once a match is found, the YouTube channel uploader of said video will receive a notice that there is a copyright claim.  Refer to below for what happens once there is a claim on your video.

"Why are there claims on my Video?!?  Now what!?"  It's important to understand why there are claims in the first place.  There would be a Content ID match or claim on one of your videos if you used copyrighted material from someone else.  As mentioned above, this relates to all media including Images/Visual content, sound recordings, Audio Content (this type of claim happens with major movie publishers/studios), and more.
To avoid having a claim in the first place, you all have to do is make sure every single piece of anything used in your video is an original creation.
When you receive a claim, YouTube sometimes uses threatening language about losing your channel and so on.

You have a couple of choices at this point:
a.) Remove your video
b.) Accept the claim.  Accepting the claim means that you NO LONGER can monetize your own video with Google Hosted Ad Sense.  The little green money sign that usually is available for you to monetize with Ad Sense will disappear, and the advertising earnings made by your video will go directly to the Claimant.  In the below example, Warner Music Group is now monetizing my Under the Bridge Hip Hop Remix.  I have no qualms or anger to this because I clearly used audio from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  My YouTube account is still in good standing, and I have over 30 videos that are claimed by other entities.  Accepting the claim means are you are Acknowledging third party content.  Personally, in relation to the Under the Bridge video, I still list my website link in the description of the video, so at least I'm gaining something from the video.  There are many different circumstances and scenarios relating to Copyright Claims and your YouTube channel, and when a particular video has gone "Viral," the ins and outs of all this hold a much greater stake.

Maybe, as an actual YouTube channel uploader, you have a video of your Cat making scrambled eggs that has over 2 million views, but if your video uses a song from Elton John, you are now making Universal Music Group money, if you accept the claim and you don't delete your video.

In the Cat making scrambled eggs example, if you used background music from YouTube's Audio Library, you would have still been able to monetize your video directly with Google Hosted Ad Sense.  This is clearly something all YouTube channel owners should be conscious of, because by the time it's potentially viral, it may be too late to go back and make changes.  *However*, some songs affect your own advertising and monetization in various ways, so be sure to read carefully before using a music track. Also, terms can "automatically" change, muddying up the waters further.

Another option is to have an agreement with a song publisher or composer that implicitly states they CANNOT administer or claim the sound recording through YouTube Content ID, because IF they WERE ALLOWED, it would render your own monetization null and void (With Ad Sense) and the composer would be the only person making revenue off your video. 
If there ever is a case where you know you agreed (in writing) to use a track without worrying about Content ID, you can provide the written specifics to YouTube, Ad Rev, or any company you are working with, and they can remove the Content ID claim for you.  

Generally speaking, when issues arise over Content ID and Ad Rev, Ad Rev can remove claims or a composer or publisher can remove claims for you (by informing Ad Rev), once everyone is in agreement that the claim should truly be removed. This is also referred to as "White Listing" certain videos.  You can also dispute claims directly through YouTube.

Ad Rev can also reassign ownership of music tracks.  This can only happen if you have a written legal agreement that states why the ownership should change.

4.) Licensing and Distribution deals as a composer.  When you sign (as a musician/composer) a distribution, licensing, publishing, or Record deal with a 3rd party, make sure you are the only Admin of your content on YouTube.  In most contracts, you are granting them administration rights to all media available now or in the future.  This means they are going to upload your songs to Ad Rev or Audiam directly!!! (unless they are a Behemoth that works with YouTube Content ID directly)

If they upload directly, you will receive your small cut (if that) after they receive their share directly from Ad Rev.  This is true for indie bands, rap, and all genres of music.  They might not even tell you about it at all.  However, maybe this WAS part of your deal with them and you are comfortable with them collecting from ALL sources.  Either way, make sure you are knowledgeable about YouTube Content ID.  In a perfect world, you would negotiate terms in a licensing or distribution deal that states YOU ARE THE ONLY ADMIN of YOUR CONTENT ON YouTube.  If that isn't an option, make sure you know what percentage you are getting through Content ID proceeds, if the entity you signed with actually tells you they are administering Content ID. 

Who pays more for administrating Content ID? Ad Rev or CD Baby?  
Administering Content ID:
CD Baby pays out 50% as opposed to the 80% Ad Rev pays out.
CD Baby also offers a total distribution deal where they make your song or album available in a wide range of media, so it's important to weigh the pros and cons of each.
In a perfect world, you would be able to sign CD Baby's distribution deal where they do all the things they already do, with an addendum that states you are the only admin of your content on YouTube.  

What pays more?  Ad Rev or Google Hosted Ad Sense?

What pays more on a YouTube video? Ad Rev or Google Hosted Ad Sense?  If you are a composer, YouTube channel creator, and Ad Rev member all at the same time, this question is pretty important to you.

Fundamentally, this is a question of what generates more: an Audio/Visual (standard Hosted AdSense) or a Sound Recording?  (remember, accepting a sound recording claim makes you unable to monetize through Ad Sense, but what if the sound recording claim is your own self !?!?)

For example, let's say I post a tutorial about music production on my own YouTube channel that gets relatively popular.  At that point, I could monetize directly through YouTube Hosted Ad Sense Monetization. (not to be confused with Content ID)

On the flip side, I could upload a new, original song I made to Ad Rev, embed the song in my tutorial video, and then have Ad Rev claim my own video and earn revenue from the sound recording.

YouTube Hosted Ad Sense is referred to as an Audio/Visual asset, and has demonstrated to earn 15% more than a sound recording (Ad Rev or any entity using Content ID) claim.

Per 1000 views on YouTube, a sound recording (Content ID) may generate $1.00
Per 1000 views on YouTube, your standard Google Hosted Ad Sense may generate $1.15

However, Ad Rev and other entities that work with Google have their own Ad Sense account, and there are sometimes higher quality ads through their network.  So, it's not totally clear at this juncture.  It is possible that a sound recording claim can earn more than a standard Audio Visual (hosted Ad Sense) and vice versa.

7.) Multiple songs in a video vs. One Song in Video: YouTube Content ID
If there is simply 1 song in a video, whoever you gave the admin rights to YouTube will be collecting off that song. (with an accepted copyright claim).  
If, for example, there are 5 songs in a single video, it potentially could be the same entity collecting, but it could very well be 5 different entities, which in turn will split the ad share from the video.

New opportunities [Remixes & Covers!!!] through standard Google Hosted Ad Sense and YouTube Content ID!

While Hosted Ad Sense (YouTube monetization settings as a YouTube Channel uploader/owner) usually claims sampled & found material [Found with YouTube CONTENT ID], leaving you with no revenue stake, in some cases, you can actually SHARE revenue with Warner Chappell, Sony ATV, and any large company who partnerships with YouTube Content ID!!

In the picture [clickable] below, my Carry On remix with a Nate Ruess sample [subsequently matched and claimed by YouTube Content ID) has enabled me to Share with claimants below.

Monetization info: "You're sharing money generated from ads with the relevant artist or copyright owner."

I don't know why they accepted me to share with them, but as a composer that's pretty damn cool how the internet enabled revenue sharing with major players, and I never asked for permission in the first place.  Maybe they're happy that my remix was decent and making them money so  they wanted to give me a nod and include me on the action?  On the not so glorious flip side, maybe it's just a google controlled ad network revenue setting.  It is the use of copyrighted material, so I like to think the behemoths made the decision.

Another shared revenue example can be found here, which is an Alanis Morissette remix:

New Opportunities for COVERS on YouTube!!

Recently, a Parody I made with my buddy Travis was accepted to Share revenue through Google monetization.
As a YouTube channel owner, I was looking over the copyright claims, and I found a notification that said:
"Monetize my video. This is my cover of a song written by somebody else. Learn more."
So, it's definitely a cover of Nelly's Just a Dream, which we re-wrote to be "Just to Pee."
Just to Pee:

9.) Types of Copyright Claims and examples in Content ID as YouTube channel owner.

Example 1: Claimant was Warner Bros for a beat I made with an Austin Powers sample.
The content claim was "Visual" as my thumbnail and image throughout the entire video is an Austin Powers picture. - 
So, I have successfully made "MC for Warner Bros" money, though I did get to use the sample, direct visitors to my website, gain subscribers, and remain in "good standing" with YouTube.  
All in all, content ID really does protect creators.  Nothing bad happened to be nor my channel.   

Example 2: A Biggie and 2pac Remix I composed and uploaded on my channel was Claimed by UMG [Universal Music Group], and was Blocked in Some Countries, the "some" which was only 1 country; Germany.

I am unsure of what is actually claimed as I used verses from Biggie and Pac in "Runnin' (Dying to Live)" yet used a different instrumental.

Example 3: 2pac and Eminem Remix: - The Copyright claimant is "UMG" [Universal Music Group] 
who matched with "Only Fear of Death - 2pac" - sound recording.  This happened to be blocked only in Germany.  In this example, the Content ID system identified 2pac, which has an acapella I used.
It does not appear as though the Content ID System caught my use of the instrumental "I'm not Afraid" by Eminem.

As you can see, there are many pieces and parts of the Google Content ID System.  Each case is different because there many varying terms of agreements, many copyright owners, many YouTube channel uploaders, and many creative photographers and composers.  Though people are frustrated about copyright claims, at its heart the system is truly trying to protect rights holders. 

Hans Zimmer time and Inception Remix  

I recently finished a Hans Zimmer remix.  The track is titled "time" from the Inception Soundtrack starring Leonardo Dicaprio.  The piano from Hans and the Christopher Nolan movie made for a great film, and this remix could be viewed as a tribute to that.  It also explores the realm of dreams, inception, extraction, feelings, and the like.

What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere.

Colbie Caillat, P!nk and Nate Ruess, Billy Joel Remixes  

I recently made 3 sampled instrumentals as well as a lyrical cover for all 3.  These include Billy Joel's Uptown Girl located here:, Colbie Caillat's Realize located here:, and P!nk and Nate Ruess's Just Give me a Reason located here:  I got the main melody from Billy Joel's tune and it was a little tough to work with at first.  The high end was pushing through the mix to hard, so I used a high pass filter to turn the sample into something more workable.  I also included sub bass from FL Studio and the plugin called 3XOSC.  The drum fill has a couple samples at the end of the final bar, and it definitely has a hyped feel.  I was always inspired by Realize by Colbie Caillat, and I loved the line, "Didn't I, Didn't I tell you?" when the guitar plucks along.  I got that sample along with chopping the end of the outro into 4 pieces.  The P!nk and Nate Ruess song came out pretty cool because of the clear piano sound mixed with sub bass from Reason.  The drum kit is part of and was an MPC kit.  There is a interesting hi hat pattern, snare hit, and open hi hat included in the drum pattern.  In addition to these remixed instrumentals, I put lyrics to every one of them.  I used the lyrics "uptown girl" a lot in the Billy Joel Lyrical version here:  The Colbie Caillat lyrical version is here:, and the P!nk and Nate Ruess lyrical version is here:  The P!nk song was particularly fun to write lyrics to and the hook was fun to work with as well.

How to Edison, sample, sequence, mix, record, & Master in FL Studio  

I recently recorded a 57 minute screenshot tutorial covering the many aspects of music production.  In this particular YouTube video, I go deep "behind the scenes" of my Alanis "Hand in my Pocket" remix and demonstrate how to use Edison, which is the main editor I use during sampling.  This entails getting a seamless loop, finding the tempo, embedding the tempo information in the sample, and saving it on your computer or dragging it into your project.  I also review many aspects of mixing, mostly demonstrating the importance of cutting low frequencies and boosting your high frequencies on vocals, hi hats, and other instruments.  I review how to set up a reverb send as well as work with delay.  I show how to manipulate a sample on the piano roll and how to set up the sample to be "useable" in music production.  I also review what automation means and how to use it.  The video concludes showing the master track effect chain consisting of the TLS Maximizer and the BBE D82 Sonic Maximizer.  In short, the video reviews tips and tricks in the FL Studio music production environment.  The video would be handy for any type of music genre, but certainly focuses on electronic and hip hop production.  

Alanis Morissette: Hand in my Pocket Lyrical Remix interpretation  

 The song, "Hand in my Pocket," by Alanis Morissette is definitely a classic written by one of the most talented songwriters to grace god's green earth.  I started off by taking the intro sample in addition to the outro harmonica samples.  I wrote my entire verse and recorded it, along with sequencing and sampling the entire instrumental mix.  After listening in the car, I knew I had to deliver a better product.  I spent an additional 2 or 3 hours at the coffee shop, sampling vocals from Alanis and more harmonica sections.  I came home and re-did the vocals.  I don't actually have an interface right now- this song was recorded with a Rode Condenser NT1A into a behringer mixer XENYX802.  The main outs of the mixer go into the stereo mini input jack of my dell laptop computer, and I use ASIO4all as the audio "soundcard" if you will.  The vocals sound pretty crisp and there was definitely some latency while recording, but that could have helped the vocals to "sit" more in the "groove" of the mix.  I worked pretty hard on the overall final product and hope listeners enjoy.

Instruments vs. Electronic vs. Learning vs. Producing in digital age 

There is a huge ongoing battle concerning the methods of learning to produce music.  I've seen it in the forums and it's very prevalent on YouTube. The argument is about the benefits of learning music on a guitar, piano, flute, drum set, etc (anything in the physical world where you are reading music and playing an actual instrument) vs. the new method of learning music mostly with a computer. The computer has virtual instruments inside of it, as well as a piano, so you are able to make electronic music easily while including the aforementioned Virtual flutes, pianos, drums, strings, and as many synths as you want. I think as long as you are able to blend notes, sounds, rhythms, and harmonics, the method of producing doesn't benefit one or the other, and there are many ways to get to a final good mix. It seems like the older generation or people that actually learned a "real" instrument have beef with the teenagers and D.J.'s on YouTube that are merely "pushing buttons" on an MPC, drum machine, ableton controller, or using any DAW without "learning music" the proper way. And within that statement lies my beef. There is no "proper" way to learn music. Every journey will be different and the way in which you learn will be different. I did learn the piano by ear as well as the drums, and now I mostly use FL Studio and Reason on my computer to produce music. I don't read music all too well. I just use my ears and blend the notes and textures as I see fit. While it's nice to strum or play a real instrument, the sound is still heard and the inspiration is still there. As far as live playing, yes, there is a certain magic that happens as a band comes together or while jamming on open mic night. I do see the purity of music in that regard. That is the human aspect coming into play. I have made hundreds of hip hop beats while sitting alone with a computer and headphones. It simply isn't in the same ballpark as jamming with other musicians. As far as sequencing, I can play a live drum set and I have also programmed hundreds of beats in FL Studio by using the step sequencer and clicking with my mouse. With FL Studio, I can actually do more complex patterns and pick from thousands of .WAV samples to fill in my kicks, hi hats, snares, and all percussion. In the electronic world, I add my own baselines, pick out my own instruments, and mix the entire song on the computer. As long as you can ignore some of the digital and robotic aspects of using a computer to program and sequence drum sounds, the inspiration is still there. This is why when I actually burn a song onto a C.D. and play the finished song in my car, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world. That's why I believe it is not important how you "learn" music. As long as you understand the underlying principles, a new age digital producer learning on an MPC or pads and triggers of some sort isn't any less worthy than a guitar player. It doesn't really matter if you can read music, and this fact has been proven for a while now. What matters is the final result and how it makes you feel. The computer is the vessel to get to the final moment of a finished song. Music is an art of expression. I think anyone on YouTube is a musician no matter how they learned. Now, if they never ever pick up an instrument, yes that is bad! But there is no side that is "evil." Perhaps it's best to have a nice balance of both worlds. Learn the real instruments and learn the digital computers as well. Then you can mix both of them regardless. Every single computer program has the ability to record outside audio. This means you can record your guitar, drums, vocals, or any instrument you want, and have other sounds be electronic if you desire.

Alicia Keys Superbowl hip hop Remix: National Anthem - 3/4 Time  

I was looking for a moment of goosebumps before the superbowl and Alicia Keys delivered.  She played a beautiful white Yamaha piano and sang the national anthem before the Ravens and 49ers kicked off.  Towards the end of the song, she went into a nice little 3/4 time on the piano which really added some originality to the piece.  I took it step further and made a hip hop remix out of it.  I used the korg 05r/w for a flute sound and added a bunch of percussion and fx in FL Studio.  I also added a couple pianos to excentuate the pattern she came up with.  I recorded Alicia from the audio output of my Samsung T.V. 

The Piano Hyphy Smoke Beat - Non Malicious Water Pipe  

 This beat has a sampled loop from a vinyl record that is sped up and hard to hear.   I was dealing with pre-done wave chords and other effects, so it was almost a miracle that they came out in key.  I added my favorite piano from Reason - the NNXT piano that loads as soon as you load up NNXT.  The hyphy trumpets and violins give it another crazy feel...but I love anything with piano.

Lisa Loeb Remix - "Stay"  

 If the beginning guitar in the song "Stay" by Lisa Loeb doesn't give you chills, then you just aren't human.  Well, maybe not so extreme, but the beginning of the song and the whole song in general is definitely a classic.  Her lyrics also fit amazingly into the structure of the song.  To make a long story short - this song is fantastic.  I wanted to sample some of the guitar here, and try one of my lyrical interpretations.  This is when I draw on the main theme or message of the song, and then put my own spin on it.  This case was a little different.  I took the position as her boyfriend that wanted her back.  There are many interpretations of her original lyrics, mostly that she is somewhat scared or unsure and wants to leave her boyfriend.  She discovers she made the wrong choice because as she says, "I missed you."   She thought she could leave but she missed him.  My job here is to tell her that I still want her, while using her original lyrics in my own point of view.