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Kevin Saunderson Gets Revenge on Producers Who Sampled His Music Without Permission

by Max Willens on February 22, 2011 · 9 comments

An original copy of the Kevin Saunderson-produced single, "The Sound"

If your music gets ripped off by another artist, there are a lot of ways to handle it. Detroit techno icon Kevin Saunderson does not believe that staying silent is one of them.

So when the acclaimed producer and DJ found out that Giacomo Godi and Emiliano Nencioni, a pair of Italian producers who record under the name Supernova, sampled his 1987 hit, “The Sound,” without permission, he did something about it.

In a statement posted on his website over the weekend, Saunderson put Godi and Nencioni on blast, describing their track, “Beat Me Back,” as nothing more than a continuous loop of the main hook from ‘The Sound.’”

“This is completely unacceptable,” the statement continued, “and we cannot continue to let this kind of wholesale rip off go unchallenged and tolerate ‘artists’ who completely sample recordings, add nothing of their own and then release the results as their own work.”

A listen to both tracks makes it hard to dispute Saunderson’s claim. Everything, from the melody to the texture and timbre of the synth, is the same in both.

But Saunderson didn’t confine his response to words. He went further, offering downloads of both “The Sound,” which had previously been unavailable digitally, and “Beat Me Back.”

“These producers and their record label should not be profiting from my back catalogue,” Saunderson’s statement concludes. “This is not their track to sell.”

It’s a great revenge tale, but the details of Saunderson’s actions make them even sweeter. The MP3 version of “The Sound” that Saunderson gave away wasn’t quite the genuine article – at 192 kpbs, it’s better suited for home appreciation than a DJ set, and it’s basically a token, given to long-time fans to rekindle their love of his music.

By contrast, the 87MB WAV of “Beat Me Back” Saunderson uploaded to Soundcloud effectively destroys the prospect of any future sales.

Because “The Sound” is still only available on vinyl (only $37 on eBay!), Saunderson’s still got the option of reissuing it in the standard 320 kpbs or WAV formats preferred by digital DJs.

And judging by the 100+ comments and thousands of streams he’s recorded since Monday, that might not be such a bad idea.

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