Another 2019 wrap: The state of sampling in music

Tracklib, a company that offers legal clearance of samples for use in songs, has released its State of Sample 2019 report. They dug into the Billboard Top 100 to show exactly how pervasive sampling is when it comes to composing today’s music.

You can read the entire report here, but let me save you some time with some top-line results.

  • 15% of the songs on this year’s Billboard Hot 100 contained samples.
  • The most prominent? The banjo bit from Nine Inch Nails’ “34 Ghost IV” used as the basis of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.”
  • The number of songs using samples in the Hot 100 is continues to run in a narrow band of 15-25%.
  • 32% of hip-hop tracks featured samples, which is less than last year.
  • 24% of R&B songs featured samples
  • 12% of Latin songs featured samples
  • 10% of pop and dance songs featured samples
  • Rock? Um…

Going further:

  • 59% of the top 100 albums feature samples (total number: 321, working out to about 3 samples per album on average)
  • The artist using the most samples on an album in 2019: Tyler, The Creator’s IGOR with 13.
  • Billie Eilish is a superfan of the American version of The Office. She says she’s seen all 201 episodes at least a dozen times each–an “addiction,” as she sees it. That explains the sample on her song “My Strange Addiction.”
  • The year’s music that as sampled the most? 1998.
  • The samples of drum breaks are waaaaaaaaay down.

There’s much, much more here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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