5 Tips for Digging Samples online
What to expect?
Finding the right samples for your Songs can be pretty hard. The key to a great sample-based track is to find that one particular joint that catches not only you, but will also please the ear of the listener.
To stand out, you want to find some tracks that have not been overused. Because algorithms of platforms like YouTube and Spotify will always recommend you similar music based on what you have heard before, it can be also very annoying to come up with something new. You can always visit a recordstore and buy some vinyl, but that can be pretty expensive and time consuming… Long story short: THE CHALLENGE IS REAL! After 5 years of producing sample-based tracks I discovered some techniques to keep getting inspired and finding some gold in the mysterious depths of the internet.
I broke this down into 5 different topics I want to cover in this article:
- How to dig samples on YouTube
- How to dig and download samples from Spotify
- How to use discogs to discover new Artists and Labels
- How to use Who sampled to get inspired by some popular Producers
- A small introduction to sample-blogs and a small List of my favorite sample sources
Hope that I can help you with that – Have fun!
1. How to dig samples on YouTube
E-Digging on YouTube is a very common method for a lot of beatmakers. The thing about YouTube is, that it works with an algorithm that is more likely to recommend you videos that have high engagement and a lot of views. For example: if you are searching for „jazz samples“ it will always deliver you songs that have been played over and over and everybody knows about. Another point I want to mention here, is that YouTube is very smart at identifying which type of content you you like. So if you love to watch funny reaction videos or gaming content as well, YouTube is more likely to recommend you Videos like this instead of some dope, undiscovered samples. This is definitely not the goal when you are searching for some high quality material for your beats. In the past few years I have discovered some workarounds, that will help you dealing with these issues:
1. Create a separate Account just for digging Samples
My first advice for e-digging on YouTube is to create an account that you will use only for digging samples. The reason is that YouTube will track only your digging-activities and it will automatically recommend you music that is similar to what you have heard before. Try to identify some active channels that publish great material regularly and your feed will be filled with some smooth stuff that you can sample from.
2. Don‘t use YouTube as your only source of inspiration
When you are searching for some great YouTube Channels, getting inspired by some other Blogs or websites can be a pretty good reference. Try to search for a song or artist you discovered on Discogs (which I will cover later in this article) and klick on the channel. When you are searching long enough, you will definitely find some great people who share some high quality stuff. Subscribe to the channels you like and BOOM! You found another great source to work with.
3. Use the recommendations section
Like I have mentioned before, YouTube will show you recommendations based on your activities and similar videos. Once you have discovered some great sample-material, YouTube will sometimes recommend you some cool stuff in the recommendations section on the right side of your screen.
4. Have a look at the View-Count
Last but not least I want to answer the question about how you can identify some great material that has not been overused by others. The answer is simple: Have a look at the view count of the video. As long as it is below 1000 you discovered a great sample – Congratulations! If you like something with a higher view-count it’s cool as well. You should always keep in mind, that samples are just an element of a track. It’s really jst what you like and what you make out of it.
2. How to dig samples on Spotify
Spotify is a great place to discover some new music. Because there are a lot of playlists and recommendation features, it has a lot of potential to discover some new stuff to sample from. In this section of the article, I want to cover some techniques, that may help you with e-digging on spotify.
1. How to download samples on Spotify.
Before I will cover how you can discover new samples on spotify, we first need to understand how you can download songs from this platform. If you are using an MPC live it‘s simple, because this device has a Bluetooth-function where you can record samples from Spotify directly into your MPC. For all those who use a DAW like FlStudio, Ableton or Logic, you can use Recordify to record a song or even whole playlists.
1. Search for genre-specific playlists
This is great if you want to have a big collection of great samples. Just search for Playlists that contain only tracks of a specific genre that is great for sampling, start recordify and run it in the background while you are cleaning your room, reading something or anything else. This is a really cool way to expand your sample-library pretty fast and it will deliver you a lot of great material.
2. Start a Radio for a song that catches your ear
Starting a spotify-radio for a specific song that you like can also be a great way to discover some new music to sample from. You just do it by right-clicking on a song you have discovered and go to „start radio. Spotify will automatically recommend you some samples that are similar to the track you started the radio from. For this technique, I use the same approach as above: Start the radio, run recordify in the background and build yourself a collection that you can always use later on.
3. How to use discogs to discover new Artists and Labels
Discogs is a great place to discover some new music. Because it is such a huge database, you will definitely find some rare gold in it. Besides, it can be pretty boring because you will also hear a lot of stuff that you would never use. But that’s okay, because this will lead you to some stuff that you would have never discovered before. Over the past 5 years I came up with 2 approaches that turned out to be very effective. (At least for me)
1. Search for a specific genre
My main approach for e-digging on discogs is to search for a specific genre I know that is good to sample. Just type the name of a genre in the searchbar of the website and it will immediately show you a huge list of records. You just paste the name of the artists into spotify or youtube and you see what you will get. You safe what you in a playlist or by leaving a like on the video or track and after a while you will have a great collection of some cool stuff you can use lter in your productions. My favortie genres to sample from are:
- Library Music
2. Have a look at the labels
If you find an artist with lots of great sampling-material, chances are prett well, that the label released some great music that is similar to this. Just try it out, you will definitely find something that you will like.
4. Get inspired by popular Producers on Who Sampled
Who Sampled is a database that lists some popular songs and what people have used to make these songs. If you have ever wondered what kind of music producers like JDilla or Nujabes prefered to sample from, this website will give you a pretty good starting point. You won’t find every song on it, but it can be a cool place to get inspired.
5. Digging on Blogs
Digging on blogs used to be a great way to find some great samples. A lot of them are not active anymore, so you won’t find a lot of new stuff on them, but the samples they have already uploaded are pretty dope. You will definitely find something to expand your sample-collection. Because the use of these blogs is self-explaining, I will give you a short list of some dope sample-blogs:
Sampling is art! There are a lot of great ways to discover some great music for your productions. In this post, I mentioned just a few techniques, but there are a lot more. If you are new to sample-based beatmaking, it will definitely take a while to get a feeling for what is good to sample from. It’s a skill that you will develop over time, just enjoy the process and see yourself grow. You should also always keep in mind, that samples are just a tool and because of copyright you should always manipulate them as much as you can. Have fun, keep digging and enjoy the music!
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