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More Mashups: Girls Aloud Allowed, But EMI Goes GooGoo Over Gaga

[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 28, 2010 by admin in Music

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Will major labels ever figure out the equation of rights management versus free exposure?

We’ve touched on mashups before, but hadn’t realized how deeply they’d been cross-infected with mainstream pop culture, and hadn’t considered the daunting task they bring to record labels operating with a Jurassic attitude toward media distribution and rights management. First of all, let’s look at an example of how not to do a mashup, and then take a look at an example of why issuing takedowns to mashup artists is probably not all that productive. So how not to do a mashup? Fox TV’s Glee “got hip” and jumped on the mashup train by taking the Police song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and Gary Puckett’s “Young Girl”, and having one of the stars of the show sing them as a mashup. The result was predictably horrifying. The problem? The music was obviously licensed, played by studio session players, and badly dubbed over by the actor. The net result is comparable to watching your friend who majored in drama but ended up being an MBA singing “Halo” at karaoke night. If anyone should get sued in the world of mashups, it’s the producers of Glee. On the other end of the spectrum, we have situations where a label like EMI issues a takedown when the repurposing of their property would probably do them more benefit than harm. The piece just linked to explains why EMI issued a takedown for NirGaga, the Lady Gaga Vs. Nirvana mashup. What’s wrong with that scenario? For me, the mashup made me remember Nirvana, who I hadn’t thought of in ages, and exposed me to Lady Gaga, who I would otherwise not go out of my way to listen to. In either case, it’s doubtful that the free distribution of the mashup would dent EMI’s profits, and in spite of EMI’s takedown, the video and song remain “in the wild”, and fairly easy to find, as evident with the YouTube link above. Another example of reaching a new and unlikely end-user (i.e.: me) is a series of mashups of Girls Aloud, the British reality TV superstar girl band that’s made millions and that I’d bet a million that – like me – you’ve never heard of before. Below are examples of Girls Aloud and a few other mashups (Devo vs Souljaboy, Lady Gaga vs Eurythmics) that – at least to my ears – make the unlistenable fairly listenable. I doubt major media companies will ever get this property management vs exposure equation, and will continue throwing the baby out with the bath water until they’re bankrupt. If you want a quick roundup of some of last year’s best mashups, check out CultureBully’s list, or Best of Bootie 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

Oye To The World

[ 3 Comments ]Posted on December 8, 2009 by admin in Music

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

You may have heard dj BC’s Christmas mashups, but this year hebrews up a new mix that will help you feel like less of a menorah-ty. And to all you Christmas revelers who feel threatened: Chill. Your songs were all written by Jews anyway.

We’ve all gotten so used to the fact that the first songs you hear on the radio three minutes after midnight on Halloween are either “White Christmas” or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that we probably don’t even think about what it’s like to be Jewish around Christmas time. Sure, there’s Hanukkah, but it’s kind of a minor holiday, and historically didn’t have too many catchy pop tunes associated with it. Which frankly is a little odd, because a surprising number of songs that are considered Christmas classics were written by Jewish songwriters. Including the two just mentioned. Expanding on the list just linked to (and offering some free downloads), you might also check out Jewish You A Merry Christmas. But we’ve come a long way since the days when the only hip Jewish holiday songs out there were Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song and Sarah Silverman’s Give The Jew Girl Toys. We’ve mentioned dj BC’s Santastic Christmas mashups before, but this year hebrews up a new mix with Menorah Mashup, so if you are Jewish, maybe you won’t feel like such a menorah-ty this holiday season. And it has the added Jewish appeal that not only do you not pay retail, you pay nothing at all! It’s a free download. If this were a commercial release though, the obvious single would be “Challahback Girl”, a mashup of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” and Frank Yankovick doing “Hava Nagila”. So dj BC has graciously provided an additional remix collection that includes  both “Orthodox” and “Reform” mixes. That Menorah Mashup link above has the free download links, but if you want to preview the tunes, Exstatica.net has kindly provided the tunes as streams. Chappy Chanukah!

YouTube As A Musical Instrument

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on September 30, 2009 by admin in Music

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

My wikiphiliac ways lead to the strange discovery that not only is YouTube a musical instrument, but Ohio is a piano.

Although clearly not as epic a project as the incredible Kutiman – who remixed hundreds of YouTube music clips to create mindblowing mashups – Audiogravity is still pretty cool. It’s just a bunch of YouTube clips embedded in a single page, but you can start and stop any of them at the same time for some simple atmospheric “jazz”. Created by Darren Solomon of New York musical collaborative Science for Girls, Audiogravity is an extension of his Bb project, which (in a fashion similar to Jazzy Japanese Pop Band Sour’s fan-driven video) relies on user-submitted clips for the finished product. Solomon’s “band” Science for Girls is, in his words, “melodic electronica with roots in jazz and Brazillian music”, and their debut album features an eclectic group of guest vocalists from NYC’s indie music scene. Solomon’s blog is also pretty interesting; where else would I have learned about the Turkish instrument called a Cumbus? Which of course Solomon had to turn into a Cumbusfest. Which in turn led me in that Google-distracted, wikiphiliac fashion to discover today’s favorite waste of time: AudioPornCentral.com, where I learned that not only is YouTube a musical instrument as we’ve seen here, but Ohio is a piano. Read the rest of this entry »

Viva La Jaydiohead – Jay-Z Meets Radiohead

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on April 23, 2009 by admin in Music

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

DJ Minty Fresh Beats’ Amazingly Listenable Mashup of Jay-Z & Radiohead

What’s black and white and comes in rainbows? A pair of brilliant mashups of Jay Z’s Black Album. If you missed Danger Mouse’s 2004 Mashup The Grey Album, try to get a copy (Illegal-Art.org has a torrent link). It’s a masterful mashup of The Beatles’ White Album and Jay-Z’s Black Album. The legal fuss that EMI created  at the time probably only served to promote the release, as did the clever Grey Video that repurposed original black-and-white footage from a 60′s Beatles concert. Since then there have been a few other attempts at mashing up Jay-Z, like OJAYZIS (Jay-Z vs Oasis)  or Viva la Hova, a mash with Coldplay’s Viva la Vida. But none have been quite as listenable as this year’s Jaydiohead produced by NYC DJ Minty Fresh Beats (who’s apparently since re-branded himself as Max Tannone). Hail to the Thief!

Kutiman Remixes YouTube

[ 6 Comments ]Posted on March 13, 2009 by admin in Music

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Israeli remix artist Kutiman takes worst of YouTube and creates the best of mashups

I secretly hold dear a belief that there’s an incredible harmony at the core of the chaos that is contemporary user-generated media. Well, an Israeli artist named Kutiman proves it with his project ThruYOU. You know all those misanthropic, socially awkward musician types you might find playing music in videos on YouTube, as if they were stars in some imaginary band? Well, even they didn’t realize it, but they WERE. Kutiman did something absolutely INCREDIBLE – and I can only imagine to be mind-numbingly tedious – by sorting through an amazingly diverse collection of YouTube tutorial and demo clips, and then assembling them into mashups and grooves that are in my opinion imminently listenable. I hope this guy gets some kind of distribution deal or financial reward for this stuff. One of my faves, I M New, is featured here. The easiest way to watch them in order is at ThruYOU, but he also of course has a YouTube page. He seems like a very cool and mellow guy; just check out his version of an “about” page. He also apparently does original work; see his MySpace page. Kind of cool dubby jazzy funky grooves, but I personally think his gift is with the mashup. Read the rest of this entry »

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