Don’t want to spend hours digging for samples?
That’s where library music comes in.
It’s the richest source of sampling material for crate diggers.
So, what is library music?
It’s non-commercial music that’s used as soundtracks for TV, radio, and film.
This means it has plenty of open space, which is perfect for sampling.
And lucky for us, there are plenty of online sources we can use to find library music.
But before you continue…
Now, let’s get started.
The Top Choices
Bandcamp is my favorite place to hunt library music. It’s a marketplace of independent music labels and publishers.
It’s not the first place producers search for library music — but that’s what makes it a goldmine.
There are indie labels that republish library music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. And there are publishers who create new compilations of music from working artists.
Bandcamp gives you the most flexibility for collecting music in your preferred format. Besides digital audio, some publishers offer vinyl, CD, and cassette. So if you prefer to sample directly from analog sources, then Bandcamp is the standout choice.
But there’s one caveat to sampling library music on Bandcamp:
The licensing terms are unclear.
You’ll need to figure out the sampling rights for each publisher. The content on Bandcamp isn’t promoted as sample material, so be careful how you publish the work you create when using it.
Tracklib is a popular music library for sample-based producers. It’s a subscription service that allows you to browse for samples as easily as you would use a music streaming service.
The main advantage of Tracklib is its transparency with sample licensing. By purchasing the track, you’ll know how much it will cost to clear, and what the royalty fees will look like should you publish your work with a major label.
If you’re looking for a great user experience and clear licensing terms, then Tracklib is the perfect resource for sampling library music.
The Drum Broker
The Drum Broker is an eCommerce store for music libraries and sample packs.
Unlike the previous options, the music libraries they offer are strictly for sampling. This means you can get access to full mixes and separated track stems. Each track includes information such as its key and BPM.
There are plenty of mainstream creators that use The Drum Broker to distribute their content, such as Frank Dukes and Soul Surplus. Many of their tracks are available with guaranteed sample clearance. But the terms may not disclose the royalty fees, which would be determined at the time of publishing.
Choosing a Music Library
If you want an easy way to sample music, you can’t go wrong with any of the choices above.
However, depending on your usage, there are a few things you’ll need to consider.
If you want access to the best possible music in the widest formats available, then you should use Bandcamp. If you need clear publishing terms, with a library that offers robust search options, then you should go with Tracklib. And if you’re looking for the easiest music to sample, then you should choose The Drum Broker.
Of course, there are plenty of other places to find library music to sample. These options are to help you get started.
Samples don’t make the music. You do.
The battle for superior beats begins before you ever hunt samples.