Sampling the Obscure: The Recontextualization and Increased Value of Library Music

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on the increased sampling of library music and the reissuing of archival library music, which has led to certain library tracks and composers gaining a cult status. I trace a particular interest in library music back to the early 1990s, when unofficial networks of musicians – most prominently within hip hop and electronic music – began to find and use library tracks, which intertwined with a notable interest in easy listening music. The library music which became admired and prized within such circles was largely produced in the 1960s and 1970s. I will reflect on some of the factors that led to the appeal of music produced in this era, noting the main styles of music that became sampled frequently, drawing on research into cultural value to illuminate how such music has moved from worthless and transient, to valued and durable. I argue that sampling library music and reissuing such music can be considered a mode of informal heritage, whether this was an intention or not.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnonymous Sounds
Subtitle of host publicationLibrary Music and Screen Culturesv in the 1960s and 1970s
EditorsNessa Johnston, Jamie Sexton, Elodie A. Roy
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9798765109854, 9798765109878
ISBN (Print)9798765109861
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Jun 2024

Publication series

NameNew Approaches to Sound, Music, and Media

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