3 Sites To Study The Roots Of Your Favorite Artists & Songs

Craig Snyder 01-04-2012

artist backgroundsLife without music is a life that would be much less enjoyable for most of us. Even before smartphones and iPods, we were finding ways to listen to our favorite songs everywhere we go through classics like the Walkman. Some people just can’t be pulled off of their headphones or earbuds.


As we grow older, our musical tastes begin to transform and branch out a little more. At 22, I’m going through that phase. Once a fan of nothing but hip-hop, I’ve used the wonders of the Internet to find artists I appreciate in genres like jazz and electronic. One of the easiest ways to look into new music that may be down your alley is to do a little research and look through artists that you already like. To help out, I’ve got a few for you that might do the trick.


WhoSampled is a website that specializes in verifying and indexing user submissions revealing songs that have sampled others. Samples are most prevalent in the hip-hop genre, but they’re common elsewhere.

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I’ve gone on WhoSampled looking through songs while bored and I’ve left having new favorite songs and an interest in new types of music. When you hear the original piece of a sample from a song that you’re already in love with, there’s an instant connection. It feels good to know where your music is coming from.

WhoSampled covers not only samples, but remixes and covers as well.


Second Hand Songs

If WhoSampled tweaked your interest, Second Hand Songs goes by the same tune but more narrowly for cover songs. You’d actually be surprised how many hit songs weren’t pushed mainstream by the original artist. SHS will help you find the original cover song artist or covers of original songs.

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A huge portion of the covers here have YouTube videos associated directly with them, for us visual people. You can also browse by new content or specific artists.

As we speak, the SHS database is sitting at 39,896 works, 188,787 performances, 2,459 samples and 50,255 artists. That’s a huge collection!



AllMusic (part of a network that also caters to movies and games) is a deep and complete website that gives the user a full experience on music news and information, and offers a multitude of ways to find brand new artists you may have never heard about.

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AllMusic does a fantastic job of breaking down musical genres into subgenres that really let you isolate and pinpoint a particular area of interest. From there, there’s hundreds of new and unfound artists you may stumble upon.

One of their coolest features, in my opinion, is the way they associate music with moods. Through that page, you’re able to pair up music with the way you’re feeling, which completely changes the listening experience. It’s a really great idea.


Check out these other articles:

Samples, remixes, covers! I’ve tried to cover it all for you and I really suggest that any honest music fan check these websites out. You don’t know what you’re missing. and Pandora do a great job of calibrating your music for the ears, but sometimes hard, manual research is the best way to go.

Share more sites like these in the comments if you have any – I’d love to see.

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