TrackLib’s 2019 sampling report says that drum breaks are out but The Sound Of Music is in

Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande, whose hit 7 Rings interpolates My Favourite Things from The Sound Of Music. (Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AG)

Given its business - letting you legally use loops from commercially released songs - it’s no surprise that TrackLib takes a keen interest in the current state of the sampling industry, and it’s just published a report that focuses on this very subject.

Based on analysis of the Billboard Top 100 end-of-year charts for 2019, this tells us that 15% of the year’s biggest songs contained samples. One of these was the biggest song of the year, Lil’ Nas X’s Old Town Road, which samples Nine Inch Nails’ 34 Ghosts IV.

As you might expect, hip-hop was the genre that drew on samples the most (32% of all songs) followed by R&B (24%). Furthermore, 83% of today’s top 30 producers are said to have used samples this year.

Dominant decade

What might surprise you is that the most popular decade to sample from right now is the 2010s, suggesting that some of today’s producers might have quite short memories. The second most popular is the ‘70s, though, so crate-digging is still very much with us.

Surprisingly, only 3% of the samples on the top 100 albums were of drum breaks. The Amen break continues to thrive, though, having been used in more than 100 big songs this year.

As for what we are sampling, TrackLib says that gospel music and horns are hot right now, but among the biggest winners were the estates of Rodgers and Hammerstein, writers of The Sound Of Music. They took 90% of the royalties from Ariana Grande’s 7 Rings; this interpolates (rather than directly samples) My Favourite Things, a song taken from the aforementioned soundtrack.

For more analysis, head on over to the TrackLib website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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