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There are other questions on this site regarding copyright and adhering to law, but I'm more asking where you'd go to find individual tracks to songs, free or paid; or if there's a typical or even standard process for requesting tracks from their holder(s).

I'm interested in remixing mostly vocal trance songs, and thus usually looking for the vocal track(s), as I can synthesize the instruments in my DAW for the most part.

To give a concrete example, let's say we wanted to find the vocals to Aly & Fila's "Paradise." Where would we start? (Or if it's easier to start with a more currently-mainstream example, take Zedd's "Clarity"—what would you do to obtain the vocals to that track?)

I know sometimes there are remix competitions for some songs—is there a site that maybe aggregates and stores the released tracks from these events? If someone here has experience explicitly requesting individual track(s), do you have any advice, or possibly an example email or letter you've sent to the holder(s)?

Thanks. I hope the scope of this question is focused enough despite the many sub-questions. I'm new to AVP.SE so please help me re-tag this question if you can— and seem too generic, but I don't see a tag; I don't think is the same as (which also doesn't exist); and I think and aren't really right either.

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This isn't really an answer to the question, so I'll throw it in a comment - often times, if you can't get original tracks or isolate the vocals - DJs will often simply re-record the vocals with an artist that sounds simliar. –  Don Nickel Sep 11 '13 at 12:10
    
As it happens, Zedd released a vocal only track for clarity. It's here: soundcloud.com/alberto-de-sanctis/zedd-clarity-only-vocal. Doesn't really answer your question, but perhaps some serious digging on Soundcloud can get you what you are looking for. –  JoshP Sep 11 '13 at 14:28
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Labels ask remixers for remixes as these serve as added content and added value to sellable products. In the professional industry the label typically initiate the process (that is, you are asked to remix something, you don't ask to remix something).

As you have mentioned, remixing competitions are common nowadays as they increase the artist reach, exposure and engagement with audiences. Notice, however, that typically the license you get for the material restrict commercial usage.

There are a few sites that specialise in these sort of things, like Indaba Music, but there isn't a central repository (for legal reasons) or even a directory to the best of my knowledge.

To see if a vocal track has been released in this form or another, I would suggest you simply put the track name in Google together with the word "Acapella". If anything is out there in any form, google is likely to find it.

The official procedure to get both the license and raw tracks would begin by contacting the publisher of the track (alternatively you may contact the artist management). However, the likelihood anyone will go through the legal procedure and the procedure of obtaining the raw track is slim, unless there is some viable financial prospect involved. But as in many things in the music industry - you can never tell; if you have 100,000 followers on facebook or soundcloud, or if the other party likes your showreel, it may well be considered a viable. The bigger the artist, the smaller your chances are though.

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While this is true, "bootlegs" are also available. These remixes start with the original mix, and use software to isolate irreproducible parts of the track such as the vocals, before rebuilding a new backing track. Other types of remixes, such as "vs" mixes or the more involved "mashups", simply use the original tracks (mostly) and edit them so they work well on top of each other. –  KeithS Sep 17 '13 at 0:50
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Start at Harry Fox. Some other organizations you might be interested in knowing about are BMI and ASCAP.

If it's not registered with any of those, ask the artist. You might want to ask the artist first. Also, search through soundcloud or other sites for some artists without as much notoriety, but who's music is still appealing to you, and ask them. It's good to help out those less fortunate as well.

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