The mission of Derivative Netlabel is to release free, new, sample-based music – specifically that which pulls its sources from the vast pool of sound that is licensed so as to permit adaptation or derivative work, (known colloquially in the netlabel community as “derivs”).* This mission is intended to serve as a support for artists and labels currently working with permissive licensing, and to raise awareness of the benefits of allowing work to be freely remixed by anyone.
As a listener and as an artist with a practice of working with sound, I’ve long been very interested in appropriative works – sound used as material. In some ways this is an approach unique to our time. Also unique to our time, sadly, is the active suppression of adaptive/transformative work by ‘the powers that be’ using over-enforcement and unjust extension of copyright law to extract royalties which are burdensome to the free exchange of information, and to the blossoming of creativity, and do not even, in general, benefit the artists or the art being ‘protected’. I am of the view that one ought to be able to sample freely from any and all materials, copyrighted or not, as long as one gives proper credit, but this is not a strategy that is easily possible without risk in the current legal climate. As it stands, you can’t make a mixtape and share it without at least a thought cast to the threat of legal action, of someone busting down the door and taking all your hard-drives. I resent these restrictions, deeply. With this in mind, I find it refreshing and heartening that there is an upswell of artists releasing their work with licenses that explicitly allow unsolicited remixing and repurposing. I want to celebrate these artists with this netlabel. Derivatives-allowing net music has a growing presence online, it’s a smörgåsbord of usable material, and Derivative Netlabel signals that some of us are ready to dig in!
You will find every release on Derivative Netlabel is free to listen to, and free to own, free to share and free to adapt or remix.** Every work here will be based primarily on work sampled from other releases that are also free to share and free to remix. Each release will give special attention to crediting the samples, with links back to the sampled work where possible, so listeners can, and hopefully will, check out the original when they enjoy the derivative work. This, to me, is the way things ought to be, so in my own little way, I feel like I’m making things right in the world!
A final important note to listeners: I have structured this netlabel with the hope that you will use these two key features: 1) Links back to the original works, each release might be viewed as a valuable resource in your discovery of new music if you just click those links! 2) Feedback to the artists. This is a tremendously important thing that you can do as a listener to support the artist. Each release has a comments page, please, please leave comments for the artists, it’s so important from the artist’s perspective not to feel like she is working in a vacuum, with no listeners at all. Our releases are free, the payment we want is your feedback.
I very strongly recommend reading this essay by Rick Prelinger: “On the Virtues of Preëxisting Material”
* Included in this would be Creative Commons licenses such as CC BY, CC BY SA and CC BY NC SA, and also including works in the public domain. This excludes Creative Commons licenses using the restrictive -ND (No Derivatives) qualifier, as well as Copyrighted works, and unlicensed works, which are assumed to be restrictively copyrighted.
** Certain restrictions on commercial use may apply, please check the license on each individual release.