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The following is an article from Britannica.com:



Music: This Free Sample Is Hard to Give Away
By Rachel Rinaldo
Oct 17, 2000

The latest prank on the music industry may already be at a record store near you. This summer a group of experimental musicians released a 30-song CD called the Droplift Project. Then they covertly slipped copies into the bins of chain music stores.

The tracks on the Droplift Project disk are more akin to social commentary than pop music, consisting of mixtures of sounds from songs, TV shows, and films. The audio collage artists initiated the covert sampling idea partly because it may be their only avenue to mass circulation and partly to protest against the commercial music industry.

Sound collage has been around for a while. John Cage began incorporating sounds from the radio into performances in the 1950s. Since then many musicians have experimented with remixing sounds into compositions.

In the 1980s hip-hop musicians began making extensive use of so-called "sampling" pieces from other songs. Because of copyright laws, many CD plants have refused to press CDs with unauthorized samples.

But sampling and making collage music is only getting easier. There are now software programs that allow anyone to make electronic music by cutting and pasting samples and sounds together. Some musicians perform using only a laptop computer with a library of sounds downloaded from the Internet.

Sound collage artists such as the Droplift Project say that chain stores will never stock their CDs and that distributors shy away from musicians whose work is so heavily sample-based. So they have audio files on their site, where people can make their own CDs.

What happens when you try to buy one of the smuggled-in CDs at a store? Most of the time, the group says, the disk isn't priced or in the computer system, so the store gives it away for free.