Thursday, April 7, 2011


"When you mix two things that haven't been mixed before, that's the future of music." 

     The Remix Manifesto was fantastic. But it also blew my mind. Just a couple weeks ago we were learning about fair use and copyright laws. Based on the articles and rules that we read, I'm sure we all found dozens of ways to support certain remixed and mash-up videos and say that they use fair use. In my second  research project, I went on the defense for Evolution of Dance, which is a mash-up of popular songs with very recognizable dance moves. The 'star' of the video doesn't change the songs in any way and he uses lengthier clips of music to demonstrate his point, quite the opposite of Girl Talk, the 'star' of the Remix Manifesto.
     What got me the most was hearing the lawyer say that everything Girl Talk did was illegal. HOW?!? He uses samples of music that are fractions of a second, mixes them with other fractions from other songs (that haven't already been mixed) and creates something fun and new to listen to. Yet that's somehow still illegal, when other people have clearly ripped of entire melodies from other songs?
     The lawyer also goes on to say that it really just depends on how upset the original artist and/or their record companies are. In some of the cases (like a mother being sued for infringement because she downloaded 24 songs), I think they take it way too far. I'm sure that mom isn't making any money off of those songs!
     That being said, I could understand why they would be upset if Girl Talk were to suddenly (and inevitably) make millions off of his remixes. But this whole situation is parallel to many others. People are just reluctant to change. They don't want to give up their safety net, being able to control the music industry and who can use what. They think that because they created it, it's theirs and no one can use it. What many don't realize, however, is that they "stole" the idea from someone else, as is clearly demonstrated in the video.
     I like the four rules laid out in the video, about being able to learn from the past, be influenced by the past, but not being controlled by the past. I think that at this point, a large majority of brand new ideas are gone. But we can take what's already been created, remix it with something else, and have an entirely new work of art that celebrates where it originally came from.


  1. You bring up an interesting point about Girl Talk's "originality." After all, a lot of pop music is based on very similar musical structures. This live comedy mashup illustrates my point pretty well:

    To me, recycling and reuse are natural and undeniable parts of creativity. In that respect, denying musicians like Girl Talk of their freedoms is senseless.

  2. What bothers me about when individual people get sued for downloading music is why them? Why now? There seems to be little rhyme or reason, it is just completely random. Like you mentioned, the mom who downloaded 24 songs. Not that what she did is right, but plenty of people have downloaded more songs than her (as well as UPLOADED songs, which is typically deemed worse). Why sue that particular person?