One of the most groundbreaking albums of the last couple of decades was Paul’s Boutique, the 1989 release from the Beastie Boys. What makes this album so important to music was its innovative use of samples.
Up until Paul’s Boutique came along, no one had used samples with this level of creativity and complexity. Sadly, we’re never going to see anyone make this kind of album again. Why? The cost of clearing samples.
Back when the Beastie Boys made Paul’s Boutique, it cost them about $300,000 to get permission to use all the bits that went into making up the album. These days–after all the court cases regarding what you can and cannot sample and how much you need to pay–clearing those same samples would cost at least ten times as much. Who has $3 million to spend just on samples for an album these days?