Sampling, streaming brings unintentional rebirth to music classics

Latest formats lets listeners hear music from anywhere

Streaming sites such as Spotify and Apple Music bring ease and accessibility to music listeners (seekers) around the world, completely changing the way music is consumed, offering an unlimited collection of music to listeners with just a few swipes and taps of a smart device.

Gone are the days in which to listen to music outside of live venues and syndicated radio stations, a person had to put in effort to hear a specific artist or song.

For the most part, music had to be specifically sought out and purchased, usually as part of a larger album of work. A person would have to go to a store that sold music, hope it carried what they were looking for, or even had it in stock. To listen to something specific took time, money, and effort, thus limiting the collection of works available on demand to each listener.

“With the push of a button or a slide of a screen you can listen to music from anywhere in the world,” says music producer Motif, who has worked with artists such as Gloria Estefan and Pitbull.

Motif says access to steaming sites allows subscribers to ask, ‘what’s going on with Asia in music, in Australia with music, in Canada with music,’ and have their curiosity met with immediate access to music from all over the world.

“Before, it was waiting for an album to drop, now it’s like every week we have new music and new videos, and it’s all right there,” says Motif. It’s the immediacy of music streaming that allows a wide array of music to be consumed allowing consumers to explore a greater range of music, artists, and genres.

Streaming opens the floodgates, introducing listeners to new artists, and many of their new works include samples of classics from the past. This process known as “sampling” has unintentionally led to the resurrection of past hits and forgotten names.

A precise recipe of what makes a song a hit isn’t known, quite often tracks including samples bring listeners a sense of familiarity or nostalgia. It could be presumed that today’s creatives hope to fast-track their song to the top of the charts. While this may be true, users are being reminded of, and can now immediately listen to the original work.

The song “Maria Mari,” released by Santana in 1999, is an example of a chart topping song from the past that long ago dropped off the charts. It wasn’t until 2017 through the release of Rihanna’s “Wild Thoughts,” featuring a sample from “Maria Maria,” that the Santana original saw a rebirth in streams.

The familiar sample in “Wild Thoughts” sparked a note of nostalgia for listeners who, because of streaming, were able to search the original song in full, bringing a spike in plays to that specific Santana song, and in theory reminded listeners of Santana bolstering his entire catalog.

“When DJ Kahled sampled it, and Rhianna, and the whole crew, it was like ‘oh my God, the song revived,'” says “Maria Maria” producer Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis. “The song went number one, and then it went number one again.”

A review of the Nielson Music Connect data for airplay and on demand streaming reports shows that “Maria Maria” averaged approximately 450,000 radio airplays a week in the first quarter of 2017.

After the release of “Wild Thoughts” on June 16, 2017 the original track averaged over 900,000 radio airplays and 700,000 on demand streams per week in the fourth quarter of that same year.

Wanda says he credits the upswing in plays for “Maria Maria” directly to how easily listeners can search for other songs while streaming.

“Right away you have access to it,” he says.

“You know the great thing about it, not only do you have access to it, you have access to everybody that did a mix of it,” says Wonda.

This same pattern can be seen across the board for many newer songs featuring samples. The trend allows classic artists to be rewarded again for older works, while introducing a new generation to music of the past.

Gloria Ruth Finney
Gloria Ruth Finney

Gloria Ruth Finney is a Music Journalist based in Nashville, TN. She uses her experience as a multimedia journalist and on-air reporter to produce creative content by combining her passions for music and news.