December 31, 2009

Something You Should Know

Good information, i.e. knowledge, makes life more pleasurable. Bad information makes life painful. A lack of good information hurts your chances to succeed. Bad information destroys your chances to succeed. Whatever you do, get the right knowledge.


Knowledge is not only power, it's the single greatest equalizer within society. In fact, more often than not, knowledge trumps talent and cash combined. This is the reason why higher educated people consistently hold an advantage in society; it's also the reason why some recording artists and music executives succeed and maintain longevity while others struggle and see their careers come to a halt. The more knowledge that you have of any given craft or field, the more likely you will be successful in that craft or field. Likewise, the less knowledge that you have of a given craft or field, the less likely you will be successful in that craft or field.


Still, who you know will always play some role in your ability to advance and succeed. However, if your goal is to earn a reasonable living as a beatmaker (music producer) in today's music scene, you should be aware that the "it's who you know" factor doesn't matter nearly as much as it might have several decades ago. The music industry, once a mighty sector of the entertainment branch of the American economy, has been on a steady decline since the late 1990s. A new generation of music makers, an explosion of inexpensive production tools, and dubious decisions made by major label executives and well-known recording artists over the past decade have combined to make the music scene wide open today — anyone can compete. Seriously. Anyone with a morsel of talent, the right know-how, guts, and drive to succeed can make it in the current environment, where new audiences are more willing than ever to give new talent a listen, and where the major label system (and the music industry in general) is still in a dramatic transition. So if you're going to enter into such a climate, it's better to maneuver into the scene equipped with the most useful knowledge than it is to dive in head first without it.


Furthermore, consider this: The new economics of the entertainment and media industries demand that players of the game know their field. This is exactly why music education books and autodidactic resources like The BeatTips Manual and The Art of Sampling are even more necessary now than in any other time in the history of the music industry. In a world where millions of people now have the capacity to make beats and fashion an album, rare and useful knowledge about the art, history and craft of beatmaking and hip hop production is a difference-making commodity that allows beatmakers (producers) to distinguish their music from others. The democratization of production tools means that everybody, not just a chosen few, has access to the same sort of tools commonly used to make beats. But it's the knowledge and understanding of the art form (along with talent, a serious drive, and determination) that separates one beatmaker from the next.


Finally, today the world of music is like a crowded highway. The number of new albums released in 2004 were 44,000; in 2006 the number jumped to 60,000. That's a whopping 36 percent increase each year—and that's not even counting the 10s of thousands of mixtapes put out every year. By 2014, that number ballooned to roughly 400,000 albums released each year. Now, consider the number of tracks uploaded to Soundcloud everyday. As more people make music, this dramatically increases the number of available music goods manifold. Within this climate, the highway of beatmaking gets increasingly crowded. Thus, the key to getting off of this crowded highway and driving in your own lane is through a unique talent and, of course, the possession of rare knowledge and information.

name
The BeatTips Manual
The Art of Beatmaking, the Hip Hop/Rap Music Tradition, and the Common Composer
6th Edition

by Amir Said

Beatmaking is a rich and very meticulous art-craft. It contains a number of unique methods and practices, each potentially more complex and challenging than the other. The BeatTips Manual breaks down the complexity of beatmaking and hip hop/rap production, and erases all of the myth and mystery.

The BeatTips Manual is brilliantly divided into five primary parts—an absolutely stunning History part; an extensively detailed and robust Instruction part, which covers everything about making beats from drum programming to composition and arrangement; a Music Theory part; a Business part; and an explosive Interviews part, which includes exclusive interviews with DJ Premier, DJ Toomp, 9th Wonder, Marley Marl and more. A groundbreaking study of hip hop/rap music's chief compositional process and its tradition and culture, The BeatTips Manual is the definitive book on beatmaking and hip hop production.

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name
The Art of Sampling
The Sampling Tradition of Hip Hop/Rap Music and Copyright Law
by Amir Said

The art of sampling — one of the most innovative music processes to emerge in the late-twentieth century — stands today as both a celebrated art form and a cultural activity within the hip hop/rap music tradition and beyond. The Art of Sampling by Amir Said (author of The BeatTips Manual), examines this complex and controversial music process, and brings forth a study that illuminates its history, creative mechanics, and philosophy, while also exploring the implications that it holds for copyright law.

The Art of Sampling, which contains everything found in the "Art of Sampling" chapter of The BeatTips Manual, 6th Edition, plus additional information and a crucial Copyright Law Part, is divided into three primary parts, including an in-depth History part, a robust Instruction ("how-to") part, and a highly comprehensive and accessible Copyright Law part. Truly the most comprehensive exploration of sampling in the hip hop/rap music tradition and copyright law ever written, and one of the most striking and poignant music studies to come along in years.

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  • Top 5 Myths About Sampling and Copyright Law


    "Sampling is piracy."
    WRONG! Piracy describes the wholesale, verbatim copying and distribution of copyrighted works. That is not sampling; that's something entirely different.
    Read more

    "You can legally sample and use any recording up to 1, 2, 3, or 4 seconds."
    WRONG! Under existing copyright law, there is no clear, predetermined length (amount in seconds) that is “legally” permissible to sample.
    Read more

    "If you use samples on a free mixtape, it’s perfectly O.K."
    WRONG! A free mixtape does NOT permit you to use samples from copyrighted recordings without the permission of the copyright holders.
    Read more

    "Sampling is easy; there’s nothing to it. Anyone can do it well."
    WRONG! Sampling is an art form that requires technical skill, imagination, and artistic understanding.
    Read more

    "Sampling involves the use of pre-recorded songs only."
    WRONG! While the art of sampling is most commonly understood to include the use of pre-recorded songs (traditionally from vinyl records), source material for sampling includes any recorded sound or sound that can be recorded.
    Read more



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