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Over 40 crowd finds today's pop music enjoyable...and familiar

The music of Robin Thicke and other current pop artists may remind you of favorite songs from the 1970s and 1980s.
The music of Robin Thicke and other current pop artists may remind you of favorite songs from the 1970s and 1980s.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS

Children of the 1970's and '80's who dare to give today's popular music a listen may find themselves actually - gasp! - enjoying it.

Songwriters have always sampled the work of others or at least looked at the works of others for some form of artistic inspiration. In some instances, the artist willfully acknowledges that they're 'sampling' from another, usually someone they have great respect for, and prior to a song's release work out an arrangement that allows the sampling artist to use the sampled material. In recent decades and particularly in the past several years however, this had led to numerous court cases, most of which are usually resolved with out-of-court settlements between the squabbling artists, or, more likely, the squabbling rights holders to the artists' works.

But a new wrinkle is emerging, in that this sampling is leading to another, unintended consequence: an unexpected level of popularity among listeners in the 34+ age demographic, a group traditionally written off by music labels when it comes to new artist exposure. Simply put, parents in their mid-30's, 40's and even 50's are gaining exposure to the music via their kids, and because there's a measure of familiarity associated with some songs due to the sampling, they like what they hear.

Recent examples where sampling has been in the news, and may have had significant roles in popularity in older age groups include "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, who went so far as to pre-emptively sue the estate of Marvin Gaye over use of Gaye's melody from his 1977 smash "Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)," and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," which faced criticism for its sound, which bore some resemblance to "Eye In The Sky," a 1982 hit by the Alan Parsons Project.