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How do you approach remixing a song? (vocals, instrumentals)

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I've heard remixes where they take vocals from a song with a different beat or just change it into a completely different song.


Do you guys chop samples with the vocals or do you directly contact the artist of the original song to get the vocals and instruments on separate tracks? Or you just filter out the other instruments?





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or do you directly contact the artist of the original song to get the vocals and instruments on separate tracks?




You're asking a question that requires quite a lengthy answer as there are so many variables involved. You're basically dealing with two separate copyrights here, one in the recording and one that belongs to the songwriter. In all likelihood, they are one and the same person, but you need to find out. The best person to ask is the artists' management. But tread carefully and remain polite even when the manager screams down the phone at you!


If you are known to them by your previous work then you can offer your CV and tell them you'd like access to the master tapes to do a remix. If you are not known to them send some of your other work and a workup of the the track you're interested in remixing using methods that others on this forum will suggest. Be prepared for a "no" and a demand that you wipe the work you've done. If you get an ok from the artist/management you will then have to deal with the record company and publishing company to clear the various rights. If you approach them all the right way, you may get the go ahead. But, speaking as an ex-manager, my default setting was "no".


In your case, it sounds like you want to use vocals & instruments from several different songs - it'll be a nightmare untangling all of the rights.


You could, of course, just do a cover of the track. After its' first release you can do a cover without permission as long as you don't change the lyrics.


Hope that helps.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A remix is usually commissioned by the original artists record label, for people who´s productions they like.

The youtube-link you are referring to is not a remix, it is a bootleg or mashup of songs.


If you just want to use other peoples work without there blessing there is basically only one way to go about it. Get the tune into Logic, bring out an eq and see what you can filter in and out, and how it can match or blend with the other elements you are planning to use.


With that said, unless someone have asked you or given you their permission to remix or in other ways alter their song, you should not do it, since it just is plain wrong. But send me your name and your work adress and I´ll make sure to stop by and pick up some of your companys stuff that I would like to use in any way I wish...

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But tread carefully and remain polite even when the manager screams down the phone at you!


Chances are that even in the OP were to get through, he'd never get past the manager's assistant. Now...


In the privacy of one's home you can do almost anything you want without anyone else knowing about it. So if you can manage to strip out the vocals and experiment with stuff, who's to stop you?


But in reality, remixing a song without permission of the owner of the song's masters can take several routes. If an established, famous DJ or remixer takes it upon his/herself to remix a track and thinks it might be of interest to the artist and/or the record company, the fact that they're "somebody" will enable them to get through to people at the artist's management, etc. Indeed, sometimes that leads to an "authorized" remix. However, if you're a "nobody", you have to learn the fact that most management will not accept unsolicited material. That's not to say that they don't receive plenty of it though. And it's a pain in the ass to deal with. So most unsolicited material received by a manager, artist, etc. (whether it's in an email or a physical CD) gets deleted or throw into the trash. Period. But in the off chance that someone decides to randomly check out something they've received, it had better be really freekin' good or it'll just go in the trash.


And posting your creation on YouTube is not a workaround for trying to get noticed, and would represent a direct violation of copyright.


Occasionally, established artists will post an acapella online and actually invite people to remix their track. So maybe your best bet would be to look for something like that and start to experiment. But other than that, as was mentioned by another poster, artists and/or management will seek out established remixers if they want a track to enter the dance market. You can't just call them up and say, "hey, can I have the vocal tracks?"

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