How to Find Samples on Youtube: 5 Tips for Online Crate Diggers


YouTube is the biggest video search engine in the world. It has the largest catalog of music videos on the internet, and is an infinite feed of inspiration for e-diggers. Let’s take a look at how you can make the most of it to uncover amazing samples.

Why you should use YouTube for music discovery

YouTube hosts a huge library of music from all genres and eras. Whether you’re searching for classic funk or jazz samples, chances are you’ll find a wealth of options on YouTube. This diversity opens up endless possibilities for creative sample selection and gives you the opportunity to explore genres outside of your usual comfort zone.

One unique aspect of YouTube is that it provides visual context alongside the audio content. This added dimension can spark inspiration and help guide your creative process when selecting samples. For example, if you’re looking for samples with a certain vibe or aesthetic, watching music videos or live performance footage on YouTube can give you a better understanding of the overall atmosphere that accompanies the sounds you are interested in.

And unlike popular streaming platforms that are biased towards certain regions or genres of music, YouTube allows anyone to upload, which means you can find hidden music and lesser-known artists. This can help add a unique spin to your music that sets you apart from the crowd.

1. Use playlists to find samples on YouTube

Playlists are curated collections of videos that users create and organize based on a specific theme or subject. These playlists can range from general categories like “Hip Hop Samples” or “Royalty-Free Samples” to more specialized topics like “Boom Bap Drum Loops” or “Jazz Guitar Solos.” By tapping into these playlists, you can quickly access and explore a wealth of samples that fit your needs.

To find the right playlists, start by searching for keywords related to the type of music you’re looking for using the search bar on YouTube. Include the word “playlist” in your search. For example, if you’re interested in finding piano samples, try searching for terms such as “beautiful piano melodies playlist” or “piano loops playlist.” This will generate results containing both individual videos and playlists related to your search.

YouTube often ranks playlists based on popularity and engagement. Look out for playlists with a significant number of views, likes, and positive comments as this indicates that they contain high-quality content that others have found valuable.

YouTube’s recommendation system is designed to suggest videos that are similar or related to what you have watched previously. This can be a goldmine for finding samples because these recommendations are based on algorithms that analyze your viewing history and preferences.

Start by searching for a song or artist that you know has been used in other sample-based music. This song could be a sample from your favorite song or producer, or something you think would make a good sample. Once you are watching the video of the original song, take note of the sidebar on the right-hand side of the screen. Here you will find a list of video recommendations based on what other people have watched after viewing the same video as you.

Once you find a sample that you like, dive deeper into the rabbit hole by using YouTube’s autoplay feature. Simply let the videos play one after another, and before you know it, you’ll stumble upon even more samples that fit your style and preferences.

3. Search with keywords on YouTube

Keywords are specific words or phrases that relate to the type of sound you’re looking for. By searching for keywords on YouTube, you can narrow down your options and quickly find samples that align with your musical vision. But before diving into keyword searches, take some time to reflect on the style and genre of music you want to create. Are you aiming for a funky hip-hop beat, a soulful R&B track, or perhaps an upbeat electronic dance tune? Knowing your musical direction will greatly help in selecting appropriate keywords.

To start, brainstorm a list of key terms that best represent the kind of sounds you’re after. For example, if you’re searching for samples with a vintage vibe, common keywords might include “retro,” “vinyl,” “old-school,” or even specific genres like “Motown” or “disco.” If one keyword isn’t yielding the results you want, try combining multiple keywords to refine your search further. Experiment with different combinations until you find the perfect match โ€“ these subtle variations could lead you to unique and unexpected results.

When using keywords, don’t limit yourself only to exact terms. Think outside the box and consider synonyms or related terms that could lead to interesting results. For instance, if you’re searching for atmospheric samples but not getting what you’re looking for with that term alone, try variations such as “ethereal,” “ambient,” or even “spacey.”

4. Filter your searches to find samples

Combining descriptive keywords with search filters can help narrow down your results even further. These filters allow you to refine your search results based on specific criteria like duration, upload date, Creative Commons usage, and more.

The duration filters relate to the length of the video you’re looking for. For instance, if you’re looking for short vocal chops or drum hits, filtering for shorter videos may be helpful. On the other hand, if you’re looking for longer loops or ambient sounds to build upon, focusing on longer videos will increase your chances of finding what you need.

Sometimes freshness matters when it comes to discovering samples. Filtering search results by upload date allows you to find recently uploaded content that may not have been discovered by others yet. This can give your music a unique edge by using fresh and lesser-known tracks instead of overused ones.

One filter that is particularly useful in the search for samples is the Creative Commons option. This feature allows you to filter videos that have a Creative Commons license, which means that the content creator has given permission for their work to be used by others in their own creations, as long as proper attribution is given.

5. Use niche YouTube channels

One of the best ways to spot unique and interesting samples on YouTube is to uncover channels that specialize in certain types of music. These channels are created and maintained by passionate individuals with particular music tastes, and a deep knowledge for a certain genre, style, or era of music. They dedicate themselves to curating and sharing rare and under-appreciated tracks that can be perfect for sampling.

To find these channels, dig a little deeper on the videos you encounter. Visit the channel page to check out the types of content they post. Are the videos random or are they based on a particular theme? Is the channel organized and up to date?

You can easily find specialty YouTube channels with Crate Stash. Just search the library for sources that fit your criteria, and you’ll get a complete list of up-to-date YouTube channels. By scoping out these niche music-oriented YouTube channels, you’ll expose yourself to an incredible wealth of unique material that might not be available anywhere else.

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