How to Remix a Song in 12 Easy Steps

Learn how to remix a song in this 12 step guide. We have included tools and tips for finding and creating vocal acapellas to remix.

What is a Remix?

A remix is when you take an original song and recreate it in your own style.

How to Remix a Song

This can be adding a new background instrumental, rearranging the song, adding extra vocals or effects, and more.

Remixing is most common with electronic dance music.

A music producer will take a song in a different music genre and recreate it into an uptempo dance track.

Music DJs also remix songs blending different instrumentals, vocals, and effects.

Here is a song remix example of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” remix with over 20 different music genres.


How to Remix A Song in 12 Steps

1. Pick a Song to Remix

Billboard Hot 100
Use the Billboard Hot 100 to Find Trending Music

The first step is you need to find a song to remix. Pick a song that you like and feel you can make better.

It’s great to pick popular songs from trending music artists to get more people to listen to your remix.

You can use the popularity of popular music artists get more people to listen.

We suggest you pick a song with wiggle room and more space to be creative.


2. Find the Acapella

Find a Clean Acapella to Remix
Find a Clean Acapella to Remix – Photo by Audio Microphone

To remix a song you want to find an acapella, which is the song’s vocals without the background music.

This will make it easier to lay the vocals over your new beat if you can get a clean vocal track.

Related: Best Websites for Free Acapellas

If you aren’t able to find an acapella you want online, you can always try to create an acapella yourself.

Create an Acapella Online

  1. Acapella Extractor
  2. Vocal Remover and Isolation
  3. Acapella Generator
  4. Extract Voice & Instruments
  5. Separate Vocals & Music From Any Song

You will need an MP3 of the song you want to remix.

You will need to upload the MP3 file. These websites will process the audio to remove the background instrumental.

Additional Tutorials


3. Find the Tempo / BPM

Find the Song BPM with Online Tools
Find the Song BPM with Online Tools

With some acapellas, it is important to find the tempo of the original song so you can match the tempo to fit with the vocals.

Some music producers also will speed up or slow down the vocals of the original vocals to change up the remix more.

Related: BPM Finder Tools


4. Decide the Direction of the Remix

Decide the Direction of the Remix
Photo by Hanny Naibaho

What type of feeling and vibe are you going for?

Is it a dance song? Is it a smooth Hip Hop feel?

You need to decide the direction so you can come up with the right plan.


5. Create a Melody

MIDI Keyboard & Music Software
Photo by Soundtrap

Create a simple melody to create a basic foundation for your remix.

You can create your own melody, or recreate the melody from the original song.

Many DJs and producers will take the original melody of a song and use that as a base to create their own.


6. Lay Down the Drums

MIDI Drum Machine
Add Drum Pattern – Photo by Tamas Pap

The drums are where you can get the most creative.

Since the melody and the acapella are doing their job in connecting your remix to the original song.

Create a drum pattern that unique, but doesn’t overpower the vocals and melody.

In a lot of cases, simple is the best approach.

Related: Free Drum Kits


7. Add More Instruments

Guitar, Laptop, Keyboard, Music Software
Photo by Soundtrap

Add more instruments to fill in the song.

The drums and the melody are the foundation for the remix.

Add additional melodies and instruments to make the remix unique.

Related: Free VST Plugins & Free Music Samples


8. Don’t Over Think It

Music Quote
Photo by Mohammad Metri

Let your ears guide you in the remixing process.

Have fun and get creative when remixing other music artist’s songs.

Remixes don’t have to be super complex.

You can strive to create a remix that is better than the original or just add your own style on top of the original.

There are no set rules.

Have fun and get creative.

Do what feels right. Some of the greatest songs are simple.


Additional Song Remix Tips

These are more advanced suggestions to make your remixes sound more unique.

9. Take Audio Snippets From Other Songs

Create a Sample Pack Audio Preview

When remixing a song from a specific music artist, you can get creative and take vocal snippets from other songs from that music artist.

You can add a mix of different song vocals to your remix to make the song more unique.


10. Rearrange the Song

One way to make your song remix unique is to rearrange the song structure.

You can change the order of the verses, hook, or bridge.

Some DJs and producers will create a brand new hook or bridge for a remix to make it feel different.

So don’t feel restrictive that you have to stick to the original song structure.


11. Speed Up or Slow Down Vocals

Adjusting the vocals to the tempo of your remix is crucial.

But you can take it a step further in the creative process by speeding the vocals up or slowing them down.

A good example of slowing down vocals is the Chopped & Screwed music genre.

With Chopped and screwed the vocals are slowed down to 60 to 70 BPM.


12. Apply Audio Effects to Vocals

Add Audio Effects to Vocals.

One of our last tips for remixing songs is to add audio effects to the vocals.

Adding audio effects is sometimes necessary to make the instrumental and vocals blend in together.

This may need compression, delay, or some other effect.

But you can also get creative and play with the vocals by adding autotune, a stutter, or a phaser effect.

You can get creative and have fun by cutting up Audio vocals and applying effects to the vocals.

So don’t feel like the song vocals need to remain the same.


How to Get Permission to Publish Your Remix

Upload Song Remixes to Streaming Services
Upload Song Remixes to Streaming Services – Photo by Heidi Fin

If you want to publish your remix to streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify and profit from it.

Related: Music Streaming Royalty Calculators

You may need permission from the original publisher of the song.

The way it usually goes is that the copyright owners will keep some percentage of the profits from your remix, usually 50%.

It is best to have multiple options of songs to remix so in case one permission gets denied, you will still have other options.

1. Find the Record Label and Publishing Company of the Song

They are usually the ones responsible for taking care of this matter and will connect you with the copyright owners.

It shouldn’t be hard to find them, a Google search will usually do it. It is also listed on the credit section of songs on platforms such as Spotify.

If the artist you’re willing to remix is independent, you will most likely need to get directly in touch with them.

2. Write Them a Professional Email

Find the A&R or label manager contact. This information is usually found on the record label’s website.

Email them and make it clear to the copyright holders what are your intentions are:

  • How you plan to release and distribute your remix (physically, digitally, streaming)
  • Remember to ask them about the profit percentage agreement right on.

3. Hiring a Service to Make it Easier

Alternatively, you can hire a music licensing service to contact the copyright owners and do all the paperwork.

The companies usually charge a not-so-expensive fee so it’s something to think about even if you’re on a budget or just starting out.

While some of them only work with cover songs, they will often be willing to clear your remix for you if you contact them to explain the situation.

Two companies that do music licensing are Easy Song Licensing and TuneCore.


How to Remix a Song Tutorials

Here are a couple of tutorials on how to remix a song.

These tutorials provide examples of how to remix in different music software and different music genres.

How to Remix in FL Studio

How to Remix in Ableton Live

How to Remix in Logic Pro

Remixing Tips and Techniques


Remixing Common Questions

Here are a few common questions you may have when it comes to remixing music.

What Are the Different Types of Remixes?

Remixes can go by a lot of names. The remix itself is the most common but there are the ones such as edits and bootlegs. Edits are usually simpler remixes that intend to sound close to the original as possible, bearing only small edits.

Bootlegs are unofficial and/or unauthorized remixes.


Remixing a song itself is legal. But profiting from it or releasing it without permission is not. If you want to publish your song, you need to get permission from the copyright holder.

You will need to sign an agreement stating you have permission to use the content and a profit-sharing agreement.


How to Find a Song’s Tempo?

There are a lot of websites that can help you find the tempo of a song. Here are two of them:


Where Can I Find Acapellas to Remix?

You can find 7 Websites for Free Acapellas. Here are 5 websites you can use to create acapellas online for free.

  1. Acapella Extractor
  2. Vocal Remover and Isolation
  3. Acapella Generator
  4. Extract Voice & Instruments
  5. Separate Vocals & Music From Any Song

What Software is Used to Remix songs?

You can use any music software program to remix songs. You need a program that allows you to edit audio and apply instruments around the vocals.

Related: FREE Music Production Software Apps


Can I Publish and Profit from a Remixed Song?

You should get the permission of the copyright holder first if you want to publish and profit from your remix. Selling music with someone else’s vocals can lead to legal issues. So it is best to get permission first.


Where can I Promote my Remix?

After having your remix and your permission document ready. You can send your work to YouTube channels and curators who promote this kind of music.

The Nations, for example, is a good hub for remix promotion.

They have different Youtube channels covering all kinds of genres such as trap, house, and chill.


Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned the steps for remixing a song and how to get permission to publish your remix.

Remixing a song is a great exercise for music producers & DJs to boost creativity.

Creating remixes can also help with promotion by remixing popular songs by trending music artists.

Good luck at remixing your first song.

Do you have tips on how to remix a song?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Mark V. at Hip Hop Makers

Written By Mark V.

Hip Hop Makers is a music production website that launched in 2008 to teach music lovers how to make music, sell beats, and make money from music.

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