When sampling music, the most crucial step is crate digging. Crate digging is the process of searching for records that can be sampled or mixed into a new composition.
But before we begin, be sure to check this free training on sample selection. It reveals a simple test that identifies the perfect samples in 30 seconds or less (ignoring this lesson could ruin your beats).
Now, let’s get started.
E-digging and crate digging are different
The goal of e-digging is the same as crate digging, but the methods are different. You can think of e-digging as online crate digging. Instead of physically searching through crates of old records like producers did in the past, you can now use the internet to find digitized records. That’s why it’s called “e-digging” – the “e” stands for electronic, like in “email.”
With crate digging, you’d probably visit a record shop, spend the day digging through vinyl records, and maybe even listen to a few on the store’s record player. E-digging, on the other hand, takes place entirely online. You can search through digital databases of songs and sounds, like on websites or in software.
E-digging is also much more accessible. It lets you find rare and unique sounds without becoming a record collector. As long as you have internet access, you can find those cool snippets of music in digital format. This could be anything, like a jazzy piano riff, a funky drum beat, or even a voice clip.
Use e-digging to enhance your workflow
E-digging has some big upsides for your workflow. First off, you can do it from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. No more long trips to record stores or dusty basements. You can dig for samples from anywhere. Any time, day or night.
Plus, you have tools like ‘search’ and ‘filters’ that can help you zero in on what you’re looking for much faster.
And best of all, there’s no limit to how many records you can find online. A physical store can only carry a limited amount of inventory. But availability on the Internet is almost limitless. As long as you know where to look, you’re almost certain to find something.
But e-digging is not just about convenience and quantity. It’s also about discovery. The internet puts the music of the world at your fingertips, which means you’re not limited by regions or eras. You can stumble upon a folk song from Africa, a Gregorian chant from the Middle Ages, or a Bollywood track from the 70s. This kind of diversity and surprise is the biggest advantage of e-digging.
Browse music blogs for obscure samples
When digging for records online, the richest source of obscure material are music blogs. Bloggers with a refined taste in music share stuff you may not stumble across anywhere else. These blogs can range in scope from specific genres, like jazz or folk, to more wide-ranging collections.
On top of that, blogs often include links to playlists or individual songs, making it quicker and easier for you to preview a track. You can even find blogs that include reviews or music uploads. It’s like having an expert guide you through new and obscure music.
When digging for records on blogs, be sure to find one with the type of music you’re looking for. Crate Stash can help you narrow your search to find relevant sources. It features a range of blogs with different genres of music that you can filter. Once you’ve found a quality music blog, don’t forget to revisit it to keep up with the new material.
Search YouTube for lesser known channels
YouTube is also a gold mine for e-diggers. Not only is it easy to use, it’s free. You can find almost any kind of music on YouTube, from billion-view pop songs to obscure tracks with just a handful of listens.
A common technique when digging for samples on YouTube is to look for ‘related videos’ or ‘recommended videos’. This feature can lead you down a rabbit hole of increasingly rare and obscure tunes. For example, you might start with a popular 80s funk song, but end up sampling a forgotten garage band from Nebraska.
Another strategy is to search for playlists. Just type in your keyword into the search bar, and include the word “playlist” to narrow your results. This technique will help you find playlists that have been curated by other e-diggers and curators.
Use Spotify playlists to discover new genres
Spotify is another useful place to dig for records online, but for different reasons. It allows you to easily browse and discover tracks from all sorts of genres and types of music.
But Spotify has some limitations for e-diggers. First, you can’t download tracks directly from Spotify for use in your production. This means you’d have to find another way to get the music into your software – a step you might not have to worry about with music blogs. Plus, the music on Spotify leans towards the more popular and current, so it could take more time and effort to find those truly unique samples.
If you want to use Spotify to dig for samples, it’s best to use it as a starting point. Find new genres and artists that match your criteria, and dig deeper to find the best material.
Always dig for samples with a plan
If you don’t want to waste time with e-digging, it’s important to have a clear plan before you start. For example, if you’re making a moody, suspenseful song or playlist, you probably don’t want to use a peppy, bright rock ‘n roll guitar track.
So, set the mood, style, and vibe of the sound you want to find before you start your search. That way, you can start digging in the places that are most likely to suit your needs. This will save you a lot of time and keep you on the right track.
Use the right platform for your needs
Again, it’s important to understand what to expect from each of the music platforms. The internet is filled with all kinds of music, so you want to dig in the right places.
Most online music platforms, like SoundCloud, YouTube, or Spotify, have search filters, which are tools that help you narrow down your search. You can use these filters to search for specific genres, moods, instruments, or time periods that match your plan.
Keep in mind, however, that you won’t get the same search functionality when digging through blogs. Instead, you’ll need to use a tool like Crate Stash to help you navigate these scattered digging spots.
Keep your record collection organized
Also, remember that organization is key in e-digging. You’ll probably come across hundreds of records that you like, so devising a method to categorize and store them will save you a lot of trouble in the future.
Some producers like to create folders on their computer and sort them by genre, mood, instrument, or any criteria that makes sense to them. For example, if you found a cool guitar riff, you could save it in a folder named ‘Guitars’ or ‘Rock’, depending on which makes more sense to you.
Organization is also important when it comes to publishing. You’ll want to ensure you take note of the source of each record so you can reference it later when you’re ready to publish your work.
Avoid overused sample sources
Finally, don’t use the ease of the internet as an excuse to take shortcuts. You might be tempted to look in the most popular places, but if you want your music to stand out, you have to dig deeper.
Digging deeper gives you a chance to use sounds that other people might not be using. This will make your music more unique and exclusive. Try searching for lesser known blogs, live performances recorded by fans, or even old radio broadcasts. These are just examples. You need to be creative and a little adventurous in your search.
Whether you’re digging through crates or digging online, it’s important to spend enough quality time searching. Crate Stash can help you narrow your search so you can get results faster. But whether you’re just getting started or you’re a veteran crate digger, I strongly suggest you give e-digging a try. It can open up a whole new world of musical possibilities that you never knew existed.
Avoid This Common Mistake…
The last thing to remember is this:
You can learn all the skills, tactics, and tools in the world…
But nothing will save your beats if you choose the wrong samples.
Too many producers struggle because they try to make beats with limited inspiration. This causes them to force sounds that don’t belong.
That’s why it’s crucial to dig for the right samples.
This training shows you a simple test you can use to uncover the perfect samples in 30 seconds or less.
It’s perfect for sample-based producers of all experience levels.
Don’t miss your chance to overcome this common mistake.