Stats And Figures On 30 Years Of Sampling [INFOGRAPHIC]

Interview-With-WhoSampled.coms-FounderA new study published WhoSampled, a site that allows music fans to explore the “DNA” of their favorite songs, celebrates the artists and songs that helped define modern urban and electronic music. The London-based company has produced the study to celebrate thirty years of sample-based music, as well as the launch of its first smartphone app.

WhoSampled is a unique service that utilizes the world’s largest (and quite accurate) database of sampled music, cover songs and remixes to tell the user which samples were used or where that track has since been sampled, covered or remixed. Music fans can explore the roots and influences in their favorite songs by using steaming video from services such as YouTube and VEVO to compare works side by side.

Their new app scans your existing music collection, finds all the samples, covers and remixes, and compares those songs to the originals. It’s a fun way to discover new music by establishing unique musical connections to your favorite tracks and their influences, or as WhoSampled puts it, the “DNA” behind them. 

Screenshot from WhoSampled.com (click image to enlarge)

Screen shot 2012-06-19 at 11.23.09 PM

“In an age of almost limitless choice, exploring the DNA of your favorite songs through related samples, covers and remixes is a great new way to discover music,” said WhoSampled Founder & CEO Nadav Poraz. “Music fans of all genres are fascinated by the connections in their own collections, and with WhoSampled any track can start a musical journey through multiple genres and decades – helping you to discover great new music and share those finds with your friends.”

While it is certainly debatable how influential any one single artist or track is to music, the number of times a track or artist has been sampled is definitely a good measure. WhoSampled’s report reveals, for the first time, the most sampled artists and tracks in musical history and a whole lot more including:

  • The Biggest Sampling Artists of all time
  • Cross-Genres: The influence of classical & rock in sample-based music
  • Unsung Heros: Ten artists you’ve heard, but never heard of
  • How Sample-Based Music Dominates the Charts
  • WhoSampled’s Five samples that changed music forever
  • A spotlight on James Brown, the undisputed godfather of modern music
  • A spotlight on The Winstons, the six-second drum solo that changed the world

Below is an infographic based on the report's findings:


Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Hypebot.com. Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House, LLC and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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  1. If you broaden the scope of the question “who sampled?”, then there are literally millions of samples in today’s music … of nearly every and any genre.
    For example, great instrumentalists from the Vienna Philharmonic have been sampled and packaged into the millions of sound files offered as the “Vienna Symphonic Library” It’s been available for anyone to use in their music productions for over ten years now. And they certainly weren’t the first.
    Even the recording studio equipment and ambient sound of Abbey Road has been sampled and turned into an off-the-shelf product you can use in any song without reporting it to anyone else.
    Arenas, scoring stages, clubs like CBGB and concert halls and churches around the world have had their unique acoustic properties sampled so they can now be used in any musical production.
    There are countless billions of samples within the millions of recordings “out there.” There is simply no way to know the true number of recordings that use samples, because most of this type of sampling, which dwarfs the sampling of song snippets you’re reporting upon, does not have to be explicitly disclosed to anyone.
    The “who sampled” report wildly underestimates current reality. Who sampled, indeed? Anyone who used a computer to produce music … from Garage Band users to the Köln Children’s Opera. It might be drum kits (http://www.google.com/search?rls=en&q=drum+kit+sample&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) sounds of the Hollywood brass players from major movie scores, children’s choirs in horror movie trailers … the set of available samples to use and number that have actually been used is just incredibly gigantic and varied.
    So, when you think about sampling in this larger, more pervasive sense, the question “who sampled” becomes utterly banal. That’s the real story of sampling’s success. It is now completely pervasive and dominant in the world of music creation today. Asking it is almost like asking who uses electricity to make recordings.

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