M. I. Franklin, "Sampling Politics: Music and the Geocultural" (Oxford UP, 2021)


Music sampling has become a predominantly digitalized practice. It was popularized with the rise of Rap and Hip-Hop, as well as ambient music scenes, but it has a history stretching back to the earliest days of sound recording and experimental music making from around the world. Digital tools and networks allow artists to sample music across national borders and from diverse cultural traditions with relative ease, prompting questions around not only fair use, copyright, and freedom of expression, but also cultural appropriation and "copywrongs." For example, non-commercial forms of sharing that are now commonplace on the web bring musicians and their audiences into closer contact with emerging regimes of commercial web-tracking and state-sponsored online surveillance. Moreover, when musicians actively engage in political or social causes through their music, they are liable to both commercial and state forces of control. Shifts back to corporate ownership and control of the global music business—online and offline—highlight competing claims for commercial and cultural ownership and control of sampled music from local communities, music labels, and artists.

Each case study is based on archival research, close listening, and musical analysis, alongside conversations and public reflections from artists such as David Byrne, Annirudha Das, Asian Dub Foundation, John Cage, Brian Eno, Sarah Jones, Gil Scott-Heron, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Dunya Yunis, and Sonia Mehta. 

Sampling Politics: Music and the Geocultural (Oxford UP, 2021) provides ways to listen and hear (again) how sampling practices and music making work, on its own terms and in context. In so doing, M.I. Franklin corrects some errors in the public record, addressing some longstanding misperceptions over the creative, legal, and cultural legacy of music sampling in some cases of rich, and complex practices that have also been called musical "borrowing," "cultural appropriation," or "theft." This book considers the musicalities and musicianship at stake in each case, as well as the respective creative practices and performance cultures underscoring the ethics of attribution and collaboration when sampling artists make music.

Marianne Franklin is Professor of Global Media and Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London

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Gummo Clare

Gummo Clare is a PhD researcher in the School of Media and Communications, University of Leeds.
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