value of samples

An insight on the economics of remixes from the Creative Commons blog:

On a music remix site such as ccMixter, the best fully mixed tracks are most enjoyable to listen to, but the best a cappellas and samples are probably the most valuable content in the sense that the former build upon and require the latter.

So the value of a sample in isolation is low, but when it is used in mixes the value grows. Over time the growth compounds as use of the sample gives it more exposure and increases the likelihood of being used in yet more mixes. The most popular sample sources are exponentially more valuable than the least.