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Music sampling: The future of hit songs?

In a couple more years, every form of beat, rhythm and bass-line variations imaginable will be explored and heard by mankind.

There won't be a new sound left to be discovered or created from scratch derived from pure original inspiration or experience. Like Nine Inch Nail's front man and Oscar winning composer, Trent Reznor puts it best; we'll all just be 'a copy of a copy of a copy'.

Ronson on his insightful TED talk where he talks about music sampling.

So if there are no virgin territories left to be explored in the musical realm, what does this mean for the future of music?

Producer Mark Ronson in his insightful TED talk delivered last year, shares his ‘prophecy’ based on his utmost faith in sampling music (he is THE 'sampling' King after all). But what exactly is this 'sampling' you may ask? It is when an existing piece of music, score or sound is taken in a portion or parts and embellished or reworked over with new sounds or mixes to create a new 'original' piece of music.

One might argue the use of samples in music, but not Ronson who puts up a pretty strong debate. Just look at how well his current hit song "Uptown Funk" featuring Bruno Mars is doing; raking in a cool USD100,000 per week from streaming on Spotify alone, which according to Music Business Worldwide, is a result of over 15 million news streams per week. But hey, the track itself is hardly revolutionary, borrowing elements of 70's funk which is made more prominent by sampling Trinidad James' "All Gold Everything".

"Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars.

Of course, the art of sampling has existed long before it officially got its self-protecting defensive title, and Mark Ronson took full advantage of it to layer the foundation of his career. But there is also a very fine line when it comes to blatant plagiarism and sampling the work of other artistes (without proper crediting), like say, Robin Thicke, Pharrell William and T.I.’s 2013 hit song “Blurred Lines” which is currently battling it in court to maintain the honour of its creative integrity against Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give it Up”.

From The Beatles to Nirvana, you can check out the videos below on how these artistes included samples in their songs for their very own hit. And, if you have any doubts left that music sampling won’t be the primary mode of creating new music in the future, then as Bruno Mars belts in “Uptown Funk”, “don’t believe me, just watch.”.

Vanilla Ice, “Ice Ice Baby” (1990)
from Queen and David Bowie, “Under Pressure” (1981)

Coolio, "Gangster Paradise" (1995)

from Stevie Wonder, "Pastime Paradise" (1976)

Lady Gaga, "Poker Face" (2008)

from Boney M., "Ma Baker" (1977)

Justin Timberlake feat. Jay Z, "Suit & Tie" (2013)

from Sly, Slick and Wicked, "Sho' Nuff" (1973)

Eminem, "Sing for the Moment" (2002)

from Aerosmith, "Dream On" (1973)

Black Eyed Peas, "Don't Phunk With My Heart" (2005)

from Asha Bhosle, "Aye Naujawan Hai Sab Kuchch Yahan" (1972)

Rihanna, "Cheers (Drink to That)" (2010)

from Avril Lavigne, "I'm With You" (2002)

Nirvana, "Come As You Are" (1991)

from Killing Joke, "Eighties" (1984)

The Beatles, "Come Together" (1969)

from Chuck Berry, "You Can't Catch Me" (1956) 

Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx, "Gold Digger" (2005)

from Ray Charles, "I Got a Woman" (1954)

Beyonce feat, Jay Z "Crazy in Love" (2003)

from Chi-Lites, "Are You My Woman?" (1970)

The Verve, "Bitter Sweet Symphony"  (1997)

from The Rolling Stones, "The Last Time" (1965)

Coldplay, "Viva La Vida" (2008)

from Joe Satriani, "If I Could Fly" (2004)

Britney Spears, "Toxic" (2003)

from Lata Mangeshkar, "Tere Mere Beech Mein" (1981)

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