A few people have asked me recently if it’s legally OK to use Apple Loops in Logic or Garageband in their music.
The easy answer is “yes, you can legally do it!” But that brings up another discussion – should you use them to create your music?
It’s a similar question (though ultimately quite different) from sampling other people’s music. So, the question now is, should you use Apple Loops in your music?
There are two ways to answer this questions. Let’s start with “no.”
If you immediately said no to the question above, it’s probably because you take a great amount of pride in your creative work and writing. You might have a hard time imagining making anything original or creative when you’re using clips you didn’t make.
That all makes sense, but the fact is that you can be very creative and original using clips or sounds that you didn’t make. A couple of quick case studies could prove that.
Hip-Hop productions rely on finding great samples and blending them together with original drums, bass, and other elements. This may seem like stealing to some, but it’s actually an impressive skill in itself.
Franz Liszt, one of the greatest composers and pianists of all time, “sampled” the gypsies that he would hear in order to write his many Hungarian Rhapsodies. He allegedly heard them on the streets and turned them into his wonderful piano arrangements. Some of his best work is arrangement work – transcribing the operas of the day into piano arrangements. He is no less of an artist for doing so.
Ultimately, it’s not a bad thing to use loops like this. You can still be creative and original, so experiment and don’t limit yourself. Can you imagine if copyright laws would have prevented Liszt?
If you immediately said yes to the question above, it doesn’t mean you’re correct either. There can in fact be a non-creative way to use Apple Loops (or other loop libraries, for that matter.)
A non-creative way might look like this. Sit down to write a pop track. Drag over “Pop synth 1”, “Pop beat 1”, and “Pop piano 1”. Use the loop tool to stretch it out. Done.
That is a non-creative way to compose a song because you haven’t actually written anything or made a musical contribution to the song. Here is a better way to do it:
Start by listening to a few loops and find one that you’d like to start with. Drag it over. Write other parts to make it fit and work well. Arrange the other parts to build throughout the track. Drag a drum loop over. Use a distortion effect and EQ to completely change the sound of it.
Now, that’s not the only way to be creative with loops, but do you see the difference between the two? If you’re just dragging over loops and not making musical decisions, you’re doing it wrong.
Try this out the next time you find a loop useful – you’ll be surprised at how original you can be!