Sampling: The growing artform that’s making the ‘ever-changing music industry more fascinating’

Woman listening to music with headphones.

Woman listening to music with headphones.

Photo: Pexels by Jorge Fakhouri Filho

  • Billboard Hot 100 hits that contain samples have become more common.
  • Almost 1 in 5 Billboard Hot 100 hits in 2022 include samples.
  • The most sampled genre for Billboard Hot 100 hits is R&B.

Sampling, which involves taking a segment of a recording and reusing it in a song, is becoming more common in music that appears on the Billboard Hot 100, according to a report recently released by Tracklib. Tracklib is a Swedish music service that lets music producers clear samples for legal use, according to their website. They released an annual report titled The State of Sampling, which looks at music sampling trends in the Billboard Hot 100 list, says the report.

1 in 5 songs contains samples

17% of Billboard’s hits contained samples this year, whereas last year, 14% of Billboard hits contained samples, says the report. According to the report, there has been a 31% increase in sample use compared to the three previous years.

The most sampled decade is the 2000s, says the report. The report attributes this to a younger generation of producers who are starting to gain popularity.

The most sampled genre is R&B, according to the report. Last year, R&B was behind Hip Hop as the most sampled genre.

First sample-based world cup song

2022 also marked the first year that an official World Cup song was sample-based, says the report. The World Is Yours to Take by Lil Baby samples Everybody Wants to Rule the World by the pop band Tears for Fears.

However, the 2010 World Cup anthem Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) by Shakira and Freshly Ground contains an interpolation of Zamina Mina (Zangalewa) by Golden Sounds. An interpolation is when a portion of a song is used in another song, but instead of directly using the original recording, the portion is re-recorded.

Other hits that also used samples in 2022 include Wait for You by Future, which samples Higher (Live) by Tems. Die Hard by Kendrick Lamar samples Remember the Rain by Kadhja Bonet. Doja by Central Cee also samples Let Me Blow Ya Mind by Eve and Gwen Stefani.

A true art form

“The ever-changing music industry gets more fascinating by the day, and so does the world of sampling. For the last three years, sampling has increasingly become more popular,” says the Tracklib report. “Ever since changing the face of genres like hip-hop and house music, the impact of sampling is present in many genres,” the report says.

“Sampling has definitely played a very important part in the evolution of music and given birth to many new genres through the years,” says Pär Almqvist, co-founder & CCO of Tracklib.

“Taking elements of an existing recording and crafting it into something new is a beautiful art form that needs to be highlighted and celebrated,” Almqvist tells News24. “Some believe that sampling is exclusive to hip-hop and used to be much more common in the past. But our report shows that almost a fifth of today’s hits contains samples, so it’s beyond doubt alive and kicking,” Almqvist says.

“…There are definitely some people that still don’t take sample-based producers seriously, thinking they are not ‘real’ musicians and should ‘learn how to play an instrument’,” Almqvist adds. “Sampling is a true art form, and to claim that musical geniuses such as J. Dilla, Madlib or Daft Punk are not real musicians is nonsensical.”

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