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Is Sampling The New Normal?


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It seems like every artist is getting in on the sampling game these days. Originality is so passé, after all. And why create something new when you can just copy someone else’s work and call it your own?

It’s no secret that samples have been used in music for decades, but lately it seems that they have become so commonplace as to be a crutch for many recording artists. Beyonce’s new album, Renaissance, is just the latest and best example of this. The album is chock full of samples from artists such as Prince, The Notorious B.I.G., and others, leaving fans with a feeling of déjà vu instead of the “fresh” sound that was promised. But what we got was anything but. Instead, we were served up a smorgasbord of samples, leaving fans everywhere wondering: Is sampling killing originality in music?

Enter Beyonce’s latest album, Rennaissance. The album is a mix of samples from a variety of sources, including the likes of Aretha Franklin, OutKast, and Tupac. It’s almost like a jukebox of the greatest hits of yesteryear, with a few extra sprinkles of Beyonce’s own vocals thrown in.

As pointed out in an article I read the other day. Beyonce has taken it to such extreme that the article’s author proclaimed that if she keeps it up, she’ll never win a Grammy for Album of the Year.

The problem with sampling is that it takes away from the originality of music. It’s hard not to feel like these artists are taking the easy way out by relying on the creativity of others. It’s one thing to pay homage to those who have come before you, but when it’s taken to an extreme, it can start to feel a bit like plagiarism.

On the one hand, sampling is a great way for an artist to pay homage to their influences, or to add an extra layer of complexity to a song. However, it can also be used as a way to create a song without much effort or originality. This has a negative effect on music as a whole, as it prevents artists from truly expressing themselves and creating something new.

It’s not all bad though. Sampling can add complexity and depth to a song. It allows an artist to pay tribute to their influences.and can create a more unified sound in some cases.

Let’s be honest, music sampling has been around for decades, and it’s an incredibly powerful tool for creating new music. But have you ever stopped to think about the potential drawbacks? Yeah, me neither… until now

Photo credit: Pete Sekesan from New York, USA, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


  • Wayne Rosso

    Wayne Rosso has worked in music and technology for decades. He has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Public Image LTD., Beach Boys, Phillip Glass, Fleetwood Mac, Rick James, New Kids on the Block, Slash, Evanescence and scores of others.


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