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Library of Congress creates royalty-free sampling tool for hip-hop artists

In an unprecedented move, the Library of Congress have opened up their vaults of audio collections for producers.

The recordings cover a wide array of material with some of the earliest offerings dating back more than a hundred years.

The Library of Congress’ decision to release thousands of recordings is in an effort to open up a new world of sampling for hip-hop producers.

Brian Foo, the “innovator in residence” at the Library of Congress, has designed the tool called Citizen DJ as a way for producers and artists to freely access a plethora of new sounds and samples. There will be three distinct ways of searching the material. One is through purchased sample packs, another being a hip hop app that creates the music from the samples, and the final one will be through searching the metadata for specific sounds.

The main aim of the project, according to Foo, is to take hip-hop back to the golden era of sampling. From the Beastie Boys Pauls Boutique through to Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet, sampling was the backbone of many hip-hop records before restrictions and lawsuits made sampling an expensive enterprise.

Foo went on to describe, “Today, collage-based hip hop as it existed in the golden age is largely a lost (or at best, a prohibitively expensive) artform.

“I believe if there was a simple way to discover, access, and use public domain audio and video material for music-making, a new generation of hip hop artists and producers can maximise their creativity, invent new sounds, and connect listeners to materials, cultures, and sonic history that might otherwise be hidden from public ears.”

Check out a preview for Citizen DJ here.

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