(skipping to the tl;dr at the end after reading the first paragraph is highly recommended, but if you feel like you need more clarification on some things feel free to read paragraphs 2-5. this post is a follow-up to my previous post titled "i don't think i'll ever have my songs allowed for use in gd".)
ever since i started making music back in late of last year, my biggest goal was to get my music allowed for use in geometry dash, so i could make levels that use them as creative inspiration. exactly a year later, i think i found out why i haven't been whitelisted yet. a while ago, i sent a whitelist request to sirhadoken, the only geometry dash mod i know with the power to whitelist newgrounds artists directly. shortly after, i got a reply mentioning that my songs contain sounds that are probably not allowed for royalty-free usage. considering i've had another case in the past where i was rejected from a contest due to vg soundfont usage (more on that later), this reply was to be expected.
something i find very interesting is that in the replies of my previous post about this, not a single one of the replies went to assume that i wasn't whitelisted because of said samples being used in my music, which brings me to my next point of question: i think that if i never chose to put source lists in my descriptions, people wouldn't notice that i was using instrument samples from various nintendo ds and wii games and whatnot. now, the reason why i initially considered that it would be safer to list all the sample sources is probably pretty obvious. i am aware that some of the stuff i put into my songs aren't exactly original, but if a random person was given one of my songs to listen to, one of their first thoughts definitely wouldn't be "oh is that a piano sample from wii music???".
what i'm trying to say is, i like to try with most of my songs to make sure that the usage of video game instruments samples isn't entirely obvious, and most of the time when i decide to put certain samples from certain games into my music, i usually think something along the lines of "hm, that's a nice melody i've got there, i think that using sounds from a starfy game would fit the aesthetics and tone of it nicely". a good portion of my songs are ones that i would say are mostly pretty original. i think of the drum patterns, the melodies, the chord progressions, and the overall structure of the song and what sort of aesthetics and general vibe i want it to have. now, i'm not saying that's all you need to make an original song, but to the average music critique, they would probably look past the samples themselves and focus more on what ways that they're being used.
this brings us to my last subject, the rejected contest entry i mentioned earlier. whoever initially sent me the invite to the contest clearly either didn't think much of the samples being used, found me through one of the few songs i've made that don't use any vg samples, or just straight up didn't read the description on whatever song they were looking at. anyways, after i got the invite i decided that the song i would make for the contest would be the most high-effort and creative song i've ever made. so, i set to work making it but made the crucial mistake of deciding that it should also have the most sources out of any of the songs i've ever made up to that point.
as you know, despite making what i think is the best song i've ever made to date, it was rejected, for obvious reasons. the pm i got stating its rejection listed a few things that i would have to change in order for me to get a song into the contest, the main one stating "you should probably submit something to the contest that doesn't use the samples you're talking about". this reply could imply a lot of different things, but after some more pm converse later, i decided that i would make a separate song specifically for the contest that didn't use any potentially non-royalty-free samples, which i now consider to be the most mediocre song i've ever made, and also the song's rating was 2 stars, compared to the 3.7 stars + a favorite that the other one had.
the tl;dr of this whole post is: originality guidelines on this site can be very confusing sometimes. some sources i've heard say "make sure about 60% of your song is original", while others advise you not to use any potentially copyrighted samples in your music at all. most of my songs are made purely for fun, with no intentions of financial gains or publicity, and most of the samples i use in my songs are for aesthetic purposes rather than as a cop-out for the purpose of having to put less effort into my music. with that considered, obsoleting the originality in my songs over the usage of sounds from games i like takes away more than half of what makes making music fun for me. when i first started i thought that maybe if i put creative efforts into making music, it'll help me get out of the repeating cycle of making creatively bankrupt unfinished geometry dash levels that i feel no reason to finish, but now i feel like i might get sent into that same cycle as an artist rather than as a geometry dash level creator.