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Sampling as Political Practice

Gilberto Gil’s Cultural Policy in Brazil and the Right to Culture in the Digital Age
Le sampling comme pratique politique : la politique culturelle de Gilberto Gil au Brésil et le droit à la culture à l’ère numérique
Hélène Garcia-Solek
p. 51-63


Dans cet article, l’auteure présente une mise en perspective de la politique culturelle menée par Gilberto Gil entre 2003 et 2008 au Brésil, de manière à identifier par le biais d’une méthode multidisciplinaire – sociomusicologie, ethnomusicologie, études culturelles, droit, politiques culturelles et étude de l’industrie musicale – les aspects pionniers de cette tentative de légitimer institutionnellement des pratiques musicales impliquant l’échantillonnage et le remix. Les mutations engendrées par l’ère numérique exigent des réflexions de fond concernant l’avenir de la « culture numérique », incarnée de manière particulièrement instructive dans le laboratoire de production et de diffusion musicale « glocale » que constituent les musiques urbaines au Brésil. Cette étude permet de clarifier la redéfinition de l’« auteurité » musicale et de la propriété intellectuelle à l’œuvre dans la culture numérique et identifie quelques défis pour les chercheurs et les acteurs du milieu musical pour les années à venir.

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I here want to warmly thank Giancarlo Siciliano, for his tremendous work of proofreading done on this article.

1The following article aims towards putting into perspective Gilberto Gil’s cultural policy set in Brazil from 2003 to 2008 in order to illustrate some of the ways in which sampling and its digital turn to “remix” call for new insights on musical production/diffusion and on the future of digital culture within today’s globalized cultural milieu.

  • 1 BPM stands for “Brazilian Popular Music” (cf. Napolitano, 2001).

Beginning with a few general remarks on the methodological use of the words “sampling” and “remix”, I will be drawing historical connections between the two concepts, with special emphasis on the impact of the digital age, thus outlining some of the key aesthetic aspects of sampling/remix practices and their implications for overtly politicized meaning. I will also be providing ethnographic indications upon a choice of Brazilian sampling-based musical practices so as to illustrate to what extent Brazilian popular music constitutes a privileged site the aesthetics of sampling/remix and political issues centred on legitimating these musical communities intersect. BPM1 likewise offers an intriguing history continually reconfiguring traditional relationships between music industry agents, institutions, and communities. Finally, through an outline of Gil’s policy projects, accomplishments and discourses evaluating it (though I have yet to undertake ethnographic research on its tangible effects), I will be defining the extent to which Brazilian cultural policy was successful in conceptualizing innovative ways of legitimating new paradigms of music production, diffusion and consumption resulting from the aesthetics of sampling/remix.

A Few Remarks on Sampling, “Remix” and Politics

  • 2 See Jamaican dub sound systems, disco and hip-hop in Masson (2008: 72-81) and Katz (2004: 114-136).
  • 3 Needless to say, readers are free to explore further work on the history of political and above all (...)

2Let me begin by clarifying the notions of sampling and “remix”. As historical process, sampling has not at first implied computers or politics: at first a useful tool for avoiding the costs of recording real instruments (i.e. the mellotron), with studios increasingly turning into a “compositional tool” (Eno, 2004), sampling offered the possibility to bring a whole world of musical or non-musical sounds within a composer’s toolbox, thus inflecting the very definition of music-making. At specific historical junctures and within different musical genres, however, sampling was used by communities struggling over visibility and against discrimination for musically expressing hybrid identities:2 by making musical crossover and encounters much easier both in time (with respect to tradition/modernity) and in space (with respect to Western/non-Western music), sampling lets political overtones resonate.3 The term “remix” used in the expression “remix culture” likewise implies manipulating and reconfiguring music with computers instead of turntables and tape: for the purposes of this article, “remix” is therefore defined as sampling’s digital extension. As A. Lemos suggests (Costa, 2011: 123), “We understand remix as the possibilities of appropriation, diversion and free creation from other formats, modalities or technologies offered by digital tools’ features and by contemporary society dynamic.”

  • 4 See Katz (2004: 137-187): the emergence of the “listener-composer”. Also, Manovitch (1999), about t (...)
  • 5 Such genres as Techno or EDM rely on less overtly political issues.

3My methodological choice is to describe sampling/remix, from sound systems to mash-ups, as a synecdoche for transversal cultural movements involving global conceptions of culture as potential material for re-creating and the need for its reconfiguration to be democratically accessible.4 However, such ideological positioning is not intrinsic to every musical genre involving sampling/remix.5 Yet, on the basis of the following examples, I wish to demonstrate the political significance of processes involving sampling/remix and the way they can legitimately call for legal and policy-oriented measures, just as Brazilian cultural policy intended to. For the purposes of this article, I will be drawing a distinction within the aesthetic threads of sampling/remix with political significance according to the following criteria:

  • appropriation and transformation of existing material calling for “commons archives”;

  • alternative conceptions of music authorship, performance, consumption and diffusion;

  • mixing of musical genres from postmodernist crossover to engaged reconfigurations of musical—and therefore socio-political identities—along with alternative conceptions of cultural citizenship.

Tropicália, Brazilian Cultural Cannibalism and Mangue Beat

4The Brazilian incarnation of the political weight at stake in “sample-based music” communities is rooted in the Tropicália movement Gilberto Gil himself was involved in back in the late 1960s. Still, one ought to bear in mind that such a movement highlights an ongoing tradition of cultural miscegenation working within Brazil for centuries. Rather than a musical genre, Tropicália constitutes a significant upheaval of interconnections between government, the consolidating BPM market and conflicting musical movements (Napolitano, 2001: 183-226; Dunn, 2001). Indeed, its critique was aimed at nationalist, idealized, and institutionalized representations of Brazilian culture refusing miscegenation with Western genres, but also at the predominance of imported music over Brazilian music within Brazilian music market—60% of sales in 1959 (Napolitano, 2001: 247)—followed by the emergence of a “world music” impoverishing and standardizing musical traditions (Taylor, 2007). Claiming the heritage of Andrade’s 1928 Manifesto Antropofago, Tropicália proposed musical collage and “creative assimilation”, seeking empowerment through incorporation of Western musical characteristics with the already hybrid Brazilian musical heritage and through creative appropriation of the history/ies of Brazilian culture/s (Costa, 2011: 59). Hence a political willingness characteristic of the Tropicália movement “to change the location of cultural action, for rebellion purpose, into localized intervention, politics conceived as day-to-day problematic, life, body and desire, that is culture in its broader meaning” (Costa, 2011: 29).

5In the 1990s, Mangue Beat sought to incorporate the heritage of Tropicália into “remix” culture. Brazilian music industry has consolidated over the end of the twentieth century into ten major labels, five among which are multinational,6 with exclusive media coverage of a small number of Brazilian and international artists,7 generally neglecting urban musical trends. Mangue Beat is such a movement, born in the suburbs of Recife where the highest rates of criminality are registered. Its aesthetics relies on sample-based and instrumental miscegenation of Brazilian classical genres also featuring ironic appropriation of colonial genres, references to African and Indigenous musical traits, not to mention the use of Western musical features such as electronic sounds, distorted guitars or even hardcore (Santiago, 2010: 227; 234-236). By way of illustration, Nação Zumbi’s song “Maracatu Atômico”—a cover of a Gilberto Gil’s song—is presented as a remix under the different guises of ragga, trip-hop and atomic genres in the album Afrociberdelia (1996). Inasmuch as they have rekindled interest within the music industry, mediation processes of this musical local culture are still unclear (Santiago, 2010: 227). They have nonetheless reached national recognition, mostly within other “periferias”. In addition, Mangue Beat illustrates the possibilities offered by the digital era to transnationalize marginalized musical cultures, with support from Internet propagation and international co-operation with NGOs (Santiago, 2012: 236-240), in order to foster spontaneous miscegenation with other musical and social communities outside of Brazil and, whenever possible, outside of mass music industry, and transpose into digital culture the Tropicália heritage of local cultural trends aiming towards transnational levels.

Exploring Tecnobrega and Brazilian Hip Hop, I will be exposing, through the following paragraphs, further characteristics of BPM involving sampling as a privileged site of the political tenor of the sampling/remix synecdoche.

A Nation of Pirates? Tecnobrega and Ghost Music Industries in Brazil

  • 8 There is no space here to mention Funk Carioca, another sample-based movement (hip-hop) based in th (...)

6The music industry in Brazil is involved in quite a struggle over musical scenes whose development lies outside of its circuits, officially described as “pirate”. Tecnobrega8 is significant for having developed a “ghost”, and yet powerful, music industry (Howardspink, 2006; Santos, 2013: 603-613; Costa, 2011: 133). Although extensively using sampling/remix in composition and performance processes, Tecnobrega’s musical content is far from being overtly political. As the word “brega” suggests through its connotations of “cheesyness” and “kitsch”, this music is meant for such festive events as the “aparelhagens” (sound systems). There is, however, political significance in the very model of the genre’s distribution: the Tecnobrega scene is known to “deliberately challenge traditional IP wisdom” (Santos, 2013: 602) as it relies on a system of low-cost record sales containing from 100 to 300 unlicensed tracks in the streets, or live recorded shows at the event’s exit, as “advertising” for live events making up the principal source of income for those involved in these scenes (Santos, 2013: 603-604)—nearly 3,000 parties per month and between $345 and $1,086 of income per DJ (Santos, 2013: 605). Audiences appreciate the CDs low prices or the songs’ availability at no cost on the Internet, because the money being saved can be used for attending concerts and parties, preferring such an alternative distribution model instead of the market. It is also worth noting that Tecnobrega artists do not want to rely on copyright because they consider it to be economically less rewarding and therefore they do not see it as the “incentive for creation” it is meant to be (Santos, 2013: 610). Laxism within Brazilian legal structures partly accounts for the Tecnobrega scene’s unconcern for Copyright enforcement. Although strictly illegal, the genre’s economic success and sustainability is politically significant: as Santos suggests, “Tecnobrega is increasingly alluded to as an example of a viable alternative model of cultural production and dissemination” (Santos, 2013: 612) while advocacy of institutional legitimating of such “pirate” models is constantly underscored within Gilberto Gil’s cultural policy. It is worth noting here that those examples also illustrate the way aesthetic visions of music production and consumption conveyed by alternative business models pervasively contribute to, whenever successful or impossible to absorb, much-needed dialogue with institutions and the market, in the context of Brazil at least, to the extent that lawyers have wondered whether “this artist protection model [based on traditional IP logics] is adequate to our contemporary times”. (R. Lemos, quoted in Santos, 2013: 611).

Pirates with a Heart: Political Engagement in Local Brazilian Hip-hop Communities

  • 9 Brazilian Ministry of Culture

7Drawing from Ailane’s (2011, 2013) major ethnographic research, I shall now enter Fortaleza’s “periferias”. Brazilian hip-hop emerged within “periferias” as a mode of differentiating mass media importation of US hip-hop culture into Brazil from locally engaged Brazilian hip-hop communities. Brazilian hip-hop’s specificity embeds Afro-American roots of Brazilian music through sampling as much as through lyrics evocative of the history of migrations and slavery, avoiding mass media simplifications of Brazilian music’s “black” roots. Structures elaborated in communities by local engaged hip-hoppers themselves, “Posses”, although prefiguring MinC’s9 Pontos de Cultura, can hardly be said to owe their emergence to institutions: they come out of local initiatives, through political commitment of young hip-hop artists, who define themselves as “arte-educadores” or “articuladores” (a word also used for workers involved in Pontos de Cultura). Through teaching the practices of hip-hop, they seek to bring young people in situations of poverty, drug abuse, and prostitution to self-empowerment through creative music-making building a sense of community helping them convey tangible social concerns such as street refection, the cleaning of spaces, etc. These young hip-hoppers assert the emancipative character of their practice and of pedagogically effective ways of sharing it so as to foster “self esteem and the fight against territorial, social and mass media stigmatization” (Ailane, 2013). In spite of their apparent “marginality”, these communities are in touch with municipal, state and federal institutions; through “organized hip-hop”, not only by means of concrete economic and financial measures, but also through communal existence calling for a “process of revision and definition of a space of citizenship” and alternative discourses to authoritarian governmental or media discourses. The Pontos de Cultura initiative perhaps derives from a political willingness to legitimate and acknowledge community-based autonomous and/or marginal organizations such as the Fortaleza Posses, thus reinforcing the specifically Brazilian “cultural citizenship” involved in mixing artistic practice with localized social action.


8The Brazilian cultural policy embodied, throughout its own development, advocacy for digital culture (see Costa, 2011; Carvalho & Cabral, 2011): it involved national and international academics, researchers and “free culture” activists, as well as the implementation of networks and free software at a governmental level; the model of digital democratic consultation was used for the IP Law reform project (Costa, 2011: 188) and the Marco Civil da Internet, adopted in 2014 with assistance from the Digital Culture Forum (, in opposition to authoritarian traditional modes of governance enforced in Brazil throughout most of the twentieth century. Two major points to be emphasized in Gil’s cultural policy for the purposes of this article are:

  1. the questioning of the role of the music industry in social inclusion and sustainable development, and the attempt to legitimate alternative modes of music production and distribution;

  2. the Pontos de Cultura, enhancing fruitful cooperation between the local and the global, both by fostering strategies involving federal, state and city governments and by helping local subcultures gain trans-national visibility.

Typhoon in the Museum: the Challenge of Integrating “Remix Culture” into Governmental Definitions of Culture throughout Gilberto Gil’s Mandate

9One of MinC’s first statements was an argument in favor of changes in hierarchy as far as the vision of sustainable development goes: cultural and humane development is considered a condition for economic development (Gil, 2005: 104). Breaking away from trends in prior policy-making, it advocated stronger governmental intervention in order to implement the “right to culture” as a fundamental orientation of cultural policy. Also, the centrality of digital culture and the need for cultural policy to shape its orientations was clearly asserted: “Digital Culture is a new concept. It comes from the idea that the digital revolution of technologies is cultural in its essence.” (Costa, 2011: 204)

10To this vision of culture as a primary means of national development, one must add Gil’s keen awareness of the specificity of Brazilian culture, which he embodied within the production of his own music. “The process of formation of Brazil and of its culture has for principal characteristic cultural mixing, that is a mixture or a permanent recycling of values, references, sentiments, signs and races”. (Gil, 2005: 104)

11The assumptions behind this claim led to strong debates on Gilberto Gil’s implication in Tropicália: indeed, former opponents to Tropicália (among whom Augusto Boal) took this opportunity to express criticism of what may be qualified as a stylistically-oriented view of culture and politics, thus renewing former opposition to Tropicália (Costa, 2011: 28-29; 44). However, as we have seen, there are strong reasons to believe that Tropicália’s historical legacy did inform alternative musical trends such as Mangue Beat, inducing re-enactments of its creative processes within sampling/remix aesthetics. Given that Gil, asserting his sense of belonging to Tropicália, considers digital culture to be an opportunity for re-enacting the constant miscegenation at work within Brazilian culture, the aborted Creative Commons project illustrates tensions generated by the alleged primacy of “remix culture” as the only future of culture in the digital age.

12Brazilian cultural policy intended to implement the Creative Commons within IP reform in order to facilitate the adoption of alternative modes of legal recognition of authorship claimed by musical cultures involving sampling/remix, which could legitimate standpoints such as Mangue Beat’s and Tecnobrega’s. According to Perry Barlow, legitimating what he calls “relational economy”, based upon the reward which free access brings to music as advertising for shows and concerts, thus considered to be the principal income, could lead to “stimulate new forms of remuneration and negotiation” (Costa, 2011: 150).

  • 10 Short for Creative Commons.

13Such audacious promotion of CC10 proved to be enticing to quite a number of Brazilian alternative artists (Costa, 2011: 196-197)—around 150 million of works licensed under CC—, and providing further space for legitimating so-called “pirate” modes of music distribution: indeed, CC empowered and brought more knowledge about authors’ rights control in the context of permission for re-use, transformation and profit. MinC emphasized the obsolescence of current Brazilian IP law dating from 1998, and advocated CC as a way to provide artists with access to a more diversified range of licensing possibilities and “challenge traditional licenses which have presented themselves as the only possibility”.

14Another project, which never came to be, was the “Canto Livre”, led by R. Lemos, aimed at digitizing Brazilian public domain works along with more recent creations (with creators’ acceptance, needless to say), in order to democratize access to it and its re-use for creative purposesthe idea being to reinforce cultural and musical creation in the form of “remix” and arguing for a large public domain as an incentive for creation stronger than copyright monopoly (Costa, 2011: 194, Lemos, 2006). The CC project and “Canto Livre”, however, were both removed from the MinC agenda by 2011 (Santos, 2013: 625); and so was the IP reform project as a result of strong opposition (Costa, 2011: 189-201) from Brazilian cultural industries and ECAD (Central Office for the Collection and Distribution of Rights). Despite the failure to reconcile arguments in favour of the extension and democratization of the public domain and legitimating “remix” as creation, and those in favour of authorship and economic reward for artists claimed by advocate of traditional copyright, the CC project was successful in providing visibility to alternative models of licensing for otherwise marginal artists. Also, according to Costa (Costa, 2011: 195), Brazil was been the only country where debates between copyright and “copyleft” (free software, CC, etc.) were held within the government.

Remixing the “Glocal” Nature of Brazilian Music Production: Pontos de Cultura

15Historically, the absorption of subcultural musical movements by the industry leads to a loss or at least a “representational shift” of their socio-political identity and message: numerous historical examples provide evidence that subcultural scenes (Liverpool, South Bronx hip-hop, disco) go through intense and collective creativity realm at the time of their emergence and embracing by an audience attached to it through conceptions of community and identity. Frith would call it the “folk” moment. Once into the music industry (The Beatles, Abba, Eminem), initial effervescence gradually fades away, giving in to commercialized existence, eclipsing the rest of those scenes whose dynamic was once grounded in common creativity. As a matter of fact, the idea of individual authorship that goes along with the entry in the music industry implies fostering individual over collective creation. The hip-hop movement was based on emulation, competition, and sharing techniques which ultimately led turntables to gain the status of musical instruments just as DJ-ing turned into a craft. Back in the time of Afrika Bambaataa, mixing was the DJs’ collective approach to creation as performance. The process of industrialization eclipsed not only collective values of creation but also its grounding in socio-political discourse—fighting against social inequalities within the social “ecosystem” of the musical scene.

16Within the context of Brazil, the Pontos de Cultura initiative constitutes an attempt to acknowledge the difference of representations of the role of music conveyed by alternative music communities and by the music industry. Avoiding the political assertion of a clash between industrial methods and so-called “pirate” methods, Gil seeks to give “sample-based” practices and, by synecdoche, musical practices involving technological hybrids of cultural identities (both in creation and diffusion of music), a possibility to acknowledge their specific cultural value and access to trans-nationalization with no loss of political substance.

17As previously shown, democratization of technology “depends [...] on a political involvement on implementing technological infrastructure and regulatory frameworks that will allow and support this production and circulation” (Carvalho & Cabral, 2011). Along with government funds allocated for the fight against digital exclusion—which contributed to the population’s access to computers/Internet increasing from 14.1% in 2005 up to nearly 50% in 2013 (Santos, 2013: 626) —MinC gathered activists and software developers around the design of digital units designed to provide greater access to digital production tools to poorer regions in Brazil. Pontos de Cultura are both physical set-ups involving low-cost “audiovisual studios with Internet connection and using free software” (Costa, 2011: 180) and cultural subsidies to be shared between governments (federal, state, municipal) and agents of civil society (thus described as both “governmental and non-governmental structures” in Costa, 2011: 176) fostering all kinds of cultural projects autonomously defined by the communities, ranging from CD production to public libraries, with financial help over a three-year period. “In 2010, there were 2,500 Pontos in 1,122 cities”, involving “nearly 8,4 millions of people in all of Brazil.” (Costa, 2011: 77)

18Pontos de Cultura enact Gil’s priorities defined in his cultural policy in 2003 (Costa, 2011: 75): providing access to the means of cultural production and materializing the “right to culture”; diversifying cultural production and empowerment of marginalized communities with the means of diffusion through websites presenting productions of the Pontos (see, for instance, Also, along with the fight against the “cultural standardization” of symbolic goods due to the cultural industries’ concentration (Costa, 2011: 80), Pontos de Cultura’s initiative succeeded in gaining institutional recognition of diversified cultural practices of already-existing “peripheral communities” such as the Fortaleza “Posses” mentioned earlier, and doing so without dispossessing them of their socio-political involvement while fostering their “responsabilization” (Costa, 2011: 76). Indeed, Pontos de Cultura are not meant to be perceived as “services”, “products” or “equipment”, but rather as “culture in process, developed autonomously by social protagonists” (Turino, major contributor to the “Cultura Viva” program, quoted in Costa, 2011: 78).

19One of Pontos de Cultura’s major contributions is the attempt to provide “periferias” with digital empowerment and decentralization. Recent research, however, indicates that Brazilian media deliberately ignore much of Pontos de Cultura’s cultural activity and productions (Szaniecki & Silva, 2010: 76), although it tends to gain international visibility: thanks to the Web, people have learned that Pontos de Cultura do exist. A hope for this “silent revolution” to increase visibility is the growing significance of the Internet over TV as a channel of information, in Brazil or anywhere else in the world. Though deliberately ignored by the media, Pontos de Cultura tend to succeed in trans-nationalizing Brazilian alternative musical trends through Internet access.

20Given traditional media and cultural industries’ deliberate ignorance of Pontos de Cultura’s productions, it is worth asking what Pontos de Cultura musical productions could possibly gain through incorporation in the music industry. As previously suggested, however, the Pontos de Culturas acknowledged local cultural movements concerning ways of enhancing sustainability, while maintaining control over their aesthetic and socio-political identity. The digital era thus allows local cultural communities to remain committed to the local while also gaining opportunities for international visibility without necessarily relinquishing their specificity. In attempting to reach both visibility and sustainability of alternative musical cultures, Gil’s cultural policy was ultimately successful.

By Way of Conclusion: Gil’s Pioneer Governmental Attempt to Sustain “Remix Culture” and Remaining Challenges in Institutionalizing “Digital Culture”

21National cultural policies deserve scholars’ attention inasmuch as they concretise aesthetic concepts at work in political measures seeking normative inclusion of new forms of creation into a political vision of society and culture. In this sense, it is important to address those recent cultural policies projects using concepts other than those provided by traditional Marxian/Bourdieusian approaches. Namely, exploring the political or ideological charge at work in what we think to be pure aesthetic concepts, within their cultural, social, political and ethical inscription. Exposing the concrete realization of aesthetic principles born through new creative practices, cultural policies take responsibility on the shaping of the role of music and the arts in society. We have seen that the Brazilian cultural policy attempted to help independent and community-based musical culture preserve their already existent engagement into “cultural citizenship” without needing to comply with traditional models of market distribution in intending to avoid oblivion or ephemerality. According to Frith, the value of “folk” music resides in its integration into local culture and communities rather than in its incorporation into market models. Brazilian alternative music movements show that the need for trans-nationalization conveyed by their embracing of digital culture must be addressed by cultural policy shaping the ethics of use of technology and Internet, so that Frith’s dichotomy be outreached within digital culture framework.

  • 11 “Manifesto of the Association of the Pontos de Cultura” (May 2011): (...)

22However, in spite of insisting reminders from civil society11 and Gil’s insistence over cultural policy not being subjected to political changes, it seems that Brazilian political instability, climate of corruption, and inherent socio-political inequalities might lead to decay of the positive effects of this cultural policy: the IP Law reform ongoing project makes no mention of Creative Commons; strong pressures by major labels have led to implementation of advantageous restrictive IP protection measures for the market; rather than continuing the financing of Pontos de Cultura the current ministry of culture privileges the financing of sports, due to emphasis on international events; social movements of 2013 express the population dissatisfaction concerning budget allocations. However, movements advocating for faster solving of inequities, along with international pressure demanding sustained economic growth, may perhaps contribute in the government coming back to short-term and economic-centered policies, thus undermining Gil’s innovative logic of “culture above economy”. Still, the experience of deliberative democracy applied to federal policy provided space to acknowledge civil society and strengthened already existing, local “cultural citizenship”.

23It is likewise impossible to determine the extent to which already existent social and political inequities, along with international and market pressure, contributed to the failure of some of the cultural policy’s aspects. To be sure, assessing cultural policy by its results, as much as blind optimism conveyed in most “digital culture” literature, may be reductive, given that cultural policies do not generally reach their goals as a result of a challenge posed to paradigms, the traditional market and IP models at an international level: “[McGuigan (1996)] argues that a public cultural policy may not only involve concrete actions, but also ‘the clash of ideas, institutional struggles and power relations in the production and circulation of symbolic meanings’.” (Costa, 2011: 142)

24Given the strong international interest of this cultural policy and various attempts to export the Pontos de Cultura model within other countries, SMEs (Santos, 2013: 626-627), and other similarly oriented project such as Digital Ecosystems or Fab labs, it stays legitimate to say that Gil’s policy has reached its goal to some extent: showing that alternative models of cultural production, circulation and citizenship brought about by the digital age are no more to be considered marginal and that they irrepressibly call for a dialogue involving not only governments, experts/scholars and cultural industries, but also interlocutors from civil society.

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Turino Célio (2013), Puntos de cultura: cultura viva en movimiento, Caseros, RGC Libros.

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1 BPM stands for “Brazilian Popular Music” (cf. Napolitano, 2001).

2 See Jamaican dub sound systems, disco and hip-hop in Masson (2008: 72-81) and Katz (2004: 114-136).

3 Needless to say, readers are free to explore further work on the history of political and above all legal struggles around sampling and remix: McLeod & Dicola (2011), Katz (2004), Masson (2008) and Lessig (2008) provide an extensive overview.

4 See Katz (2004: 137-187): the emergence of the “listener-composer”. Also, Manovitch (1999), about the digital reconfiguring of culture as “database”, involving composition and data manipulation, instead of “narratives” —and thus the advocacy of democratized accessibility to “commons archive” (Lessig, 2008).

5 Such genres as Techno or EDM rely on less overtly political issues.

6 List of ABPD’s (Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos) associates:

7 2012 ABPD statistics report:

8 There is no space here to mention Funk Carioca, another sample-based movement (hip-hop) based in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, which has also developed, given its apology of mere violence hinders it from entering the music industry, an alternative distribution system. See Ailane (2012).

9 Brazilian Ministry of Culture

10 Short for Creative Commons.

11 “Manifesto of the Association of the Pontos de Cultura” (May 2011): and “Open Letter by the Brazilian civil society to President-elect Roussef and Minister of Culture Ana Buarque de Hollanda” (December 28th, 2010):

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Référence papier

Hélène Garcia-Solek, « Sampling as Political Practice  », Volume !, 11 : 2 | 2015, 51-63.

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Hélène Garcia-Solek, « Sampling as Political Practice  », Volume ! [En ligne], 11 : 2 | 2015, mis en ligne le 15 juin 2017, consulté le 13 août 2020. URL : ; DOI :

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Hélène Garcia-Solek

Compositrice (musique mixte et électroacoustique), technicienne de son, enseignante, chercheuse, membre de IASPM-Canada, Helene Garcia-Solek s'intéresse à la culture numérique et à ses enjeux sur la définition actuelle des droits d'auteur. Lors de ses études doctorales à l'Université de Montréal, sous la supervision de Caroline Traube et Michel Duchesneau, elle a posé les jalons méthodologiques d'une approche combinant la sociomusicologie, les technologies musicales ainsi que l'étude du droit concernant l'emprunt musical à l'ère numérique. Elle aspire à participer aux discussions émergentes concernant les aspects politiques, sociaux et éthiques de la "culture libre" en musique, ainsi que l'impact sur les réformes du droit d'auteur et des politiques culturelles impliqué par la redéfinition de l'authorship, de la liberté artistique/d'expression et des identités culturelles. Outre ses recherches, elle est actuellement présidente de la Société de concerts de Montréal, qui cherche à démocratiser l'accès à la musique classique dans les quartiers socialement et culturellement défavorisés de Montréal.

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Droits d'auteur

L'auteur & les Éd. Mélanie Seteun

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