Music Sampling: Interactive Guide to the History of Music Sampling

In light of recent coverage on Tracy Chapman suing Nicki Minaj over an unauthorised sample it has got more people thinking about sampling in general.

The practice of sampling in the music industry, or using soundbites of other tracks in your own song, really took off in the 1980’s with the popularisation of hip-hop, rap & R&B – but it’s been around for many years previous, and also continues to evolve in the present day.

A recent study by music experts Bose into the last 100 years of sampling history discovered that:

  • Reggae was the first genre to use widespread, self-referential sampling in the 1970s, using over 800 snippets from other tracks in songs produced this decade.
  • Jazz arguably ‘invented’ sampling as we know it today in the 1930s, with Fletcher Henderson and Benny Goodman sampling from Billie Holliday’s ‘Yankee Doodle’ and each other.
  • Tracks from 1973 are the most sampled in history, with over 12,000 song snippets taken by later artists, 5% more than in the second most sampled year (1972).
  • You can check out the full research here

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