I tuned in to an older episode of the public radio show “Song Travels” on a drive the other featuring performances and a discussion with Valerie Simpson. Simpson is a musician and with her husband made up the legendary married Ashford & Simpson songwriting duo, behind “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and a million other tunes.
I thought her comments on other artists sampling her recordings was interesting. Here’s a clip from the show, and a partial transcription:
I always think of it as a separate entity. I don’t, you know, I don’t get hung up on it. I’m glad that these young performers, you know, hear something and want to create another piece of music. I call it another piece, because usually they use so little of whatever was yours in their new thing, and then you claim a sizeable portion of it, so you have two things now in existence. And so, I’m cool with that.
…like I say, it’s another baby born.
She also talks in the clip about how different record deals throughout her career means she some sampling deals can be done without her input, but that artists often seek it anyway.
Of course it helps that Simpson gets paid for samples. But it strikes me as really cool that she sees artistic creativity as a positive sum effort, and that other people sampling her work doesn’t diminish that work at all.