Looking for the next great sample for your beat?
In this post I’ll share some tips for how to find samples.
You’ll also learn how to find obscure artists for sampling.
Here we go…
The first – and most obvious – place to find samples is YouTube.
YouTube has a bunch of great music and playlists that you can sample for your own beats.
All you need to do is search for keywords of your preferred style or genre, and the word “playlist”.
Then you can browse through the results until you find something interesting.
Sometimes you’ll stumble across channels devoted to collecting samples.
This makes it easy for you because somebody else has already gone through the trouble of finding and digitizing the music.
Need some ideas for what to search?
Here are a few search terms that you can start with:
- Soul samples
- Lo-fi samples
- Guitar samples
- Blues samples
This alone will supply you with hundreds of tracks to choose from.
But there’s just one tiny problem…
Since anybody can upload music to YouTube, the results can sometimes be too random.
Which leads us to the next choice…
Next up is Spotify.
Spotify is the biggest streaming service for music.
It’s a great way to discover new artists that you might sample.
Once you’ve found something good, you can explore other related artists.
This will lead you down the rabbit hole of similar artists that are in the same category.
The only problem with Spotify is that you can’t download music straight from the platform.
Rather than trying to hack the service by recording your monitor internally, it’s better to use Spotify as a tool for music you want to sample later.
So if you find something on Spotify that you like, you can save it to a playlist.
Then you can go back to YouTube and search the song for an uploaded version.
This method works because Spotify is ideal for finding new music, while YouTube is better for sampling it.
Take some time exploring the playlists and you’re guaranteed to find some new artists that would be great for sampling.
Our next source for samples is Looperman.
Looperman is a website for simple loops.
Here’s how it works:
A community of producers create and upload loops that others can download for free.
All you have to do is credit whoever’s sample you’re using, and it’s all good.
Thousands of producers download new loops from Looperman every day from its huge library.
What’s nice about Looperman is that all of the loops are royalty free.
That means that you can use the loops in any of your beats, even the ones you sell, and all you have to do is credit the author.
The site makes it very easy to search the catalog, allowing you to sort loops by styles and categories, instruments, key and BPM.
Another crowd-sourced place to find samples is Reddit.
Reddit has plenty of communities who share obscure music and samples.
You can start by searching Google using the following query:
keyword + samples + reddit
You’ll find threads of people sharing sample packs and YouTube playlists.
Then you can sort through the results and communities to find the hidden gems.
There are even a few subreddits devoted to hunting samples!
Be sure to upvote the members who help you find samples.
The next source for samples is record stores and thrift stores.
If you don’t have a record player, you might be tempted to skip this section.
But you shouldn’t…
Most of the samples you find online will have already been used by someone.
Even if it’s a beat you’ve never heard, once it hits the Internet you can pretty much bank on it being sampled.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sample music you find online, but you should definitely incorporate finding your own samples into your process.
This method will definitely take more time.
You’ll need to actually leave your studio to find samples.
Then you’ll need to get a record player and record the music into your DAW.
But still – it’s a great way to find rare samples.
Once you start digging for samples offline, you’ll have an advantage over everybody looking for samples on YouTube or Spotify.
How amazing would it feel to have access to a record that hasn’t been sampled before?
And if you want to double check if it’s been used yet, then read on to the next tip…
The next place to find samples is WhoSampled.
WhoSampled is a website that reveals the samples used in popular songs.
You can search for artists or producers, and you’ll be able to see all the original samples that a song uses.
It’s sort of like a family tree for sample-based music!
Since this site is for finding samples from music that’s already used the sample, this method isn’t ideal for finding rare music to sample.
But you can still use the samples you find to create your own beats, and challenge yourself to sample the music in a new way.
This is especially helpful if you’re still learning.
You can recreate beats from the same samples and use the original song for reference.
WhoSampled is also a great place to discover new artists.
Once you find a sample you like, you can use the upcoming resource to dig deeper into the artist’s catalog.
The artist will usually have other music that you can try sampling.
When you discover an artist from any of the previous resources, a good place to continue digging is on Discogs.
Discogs is a directory for music releases.
You can use Discogs to find similar artists in the same sub-genre, or find related musicians or sound engineers that worked on the projects you like.
This will help you find other similar projects, which will sometimes lead you to finding some great obscure artists.
Sometimes you’ll find music will video previews from YouTube, so you can avoid searching for the samples later.
If you prefer to sample from vinyl, you can even find links to the records on eBay and Amazon.
Out of all the places to find samples, the most effective – by far – is from sample libraries.
Sample libraries are collections of music and sounds that are intended for sampling.
And unlike many other options on this list, sample libraries grant you legal permission to sample their music.
This means that you can publish and sell your beats without worrying about breaking the law.
Also, when you buy music from a sample library, a lot of the times they’ll have the tempo and key of the song labeled.
This makes it easier for you to work with the sample when making your beat.
Sometimes the sample will come as a WAV file with stems or MIDI for extra manipulation.
Overall, sample libraries are the best choice for finding samples because they offer you the most flexibility, along with the highest sound quality.
You now have all the information you need to start hunting for samples.
Start with sites like WhoSampled and Spotify to find artists that you want to learn more about.
Then use Discogs to dive deeper into their catalogs for the less common songs.
Use YouTube to find uploaded versions of the songs you find, and browse those playlists for more samples.
For even more inspiration, browse the online communities and actual record stores for especially unique music sample.
And when you’re ready to invest some money into better quality samples, consider using a sample library for your professional beats.
Over to you:
Do you know a place to find samples that I missed?
Let me know in the comments.