Global Hit – DJ Bitman

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Sampling is when a musician takes a segment of a previously recorded song by someone else, and places it in a new composition.

Sampling came of age in the disco era.

It’s now very common.

Hip-hop artists rely heavily on samples of old-school soul and eclectic sounds from around the globe.

And cheaper and more widely available technology has made sampling easy.

But if you sample someone’s else song and paste it into your own work without permission from the original artist and composer, it’s an instant copyright violation.

That was the dilemma facing Chilean musician and producer Jose Antonio Bravo, age 32, better known on the airwaves in Santiago as DJ Bitman.

That’s DJ Bitman’s track, “My Computer Is Funk.”

Now if I had to guess, I’d say there are two samples in what we just heard.

It began with what sounded like a 1960s era synthesizer mixed with the voice of an announcer also from the 60s for some computer product demonstration.

In the past, DJ’s have gotten permission to use samples like these.

But times are different.

The music industry is in an economic slump partly over intellectual property issues.

Back now to DJ Bitman: here’s a musician in Santiago, Chile, who’s played in punk bands and is entirely self-taught, but has big chops.

Last year he sat down to make his album “Latin Bitman,” and he wanted to use some samples.

Bitman: Making this album from the start, I started with samples, and the record company told me man you can’t use samples, any samples, so I started a process to replace every sample with live recordings, live musicians.

Werman: So even like the airline announcement at the very top of the record, that’s a voice that you recorded.

Bitman: Yeah, that’s a voice, it’s a friend of mine, Anita Tijoux, she’s French. I wanted the textures and the colors of the music could be like a sample, but without it, you know. So I’ve been in a process to know how, how you can really to sound like a sample without using it.

Bitman: I wanted to open the space of latin music, I’ve been trying to use the funk, the soul, the jazz, the reggae, that are not precisely latin, you know, and I’ve been trying to mix it with latin music and hip hop, to make it like universal music.

Let’s put it this way: if there are other life forms out there in the universe and they heard this, they would dig it.

That’s how universal a sound DJ Bitman has created on his CD “Latin Bitman.”

We end today’s show with a track called “Refuse,” which sounds like Superfly goes to Jamaica.

I’m Marco Werman.

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