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February 1, 2010
Mashup As New Music
If you don't like modern music you're probably going to hate a good chunk of what I blog about this year. I may create a new category tag so people can find or skip these as they wish. However, I think that modern dance music, particularly the mash-up, is one of the most Copyfight-challenging and lively art forms out there. And since it has hit the mainstream media, finally, I expect to see more public culture clashes over it this year.
Today I'd like to introduce you to DJ Earworm
, one of the less prolific and most brilliant mash-up artists I've found. He's worked with some original artists, taking tracks directly from their studio masters and creating new pieces from them.
For the past few years he has created a year-end "top of the pops" mix using the Billboard Magazine list of top 25 songs. This past year's "United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It On The Pop)" has gone seriously viral on YouTube, with over 10 million hits last time I checked. That kind of popular spread gets you noticed, and got DJ Earworm a story on CNN, who seem to think that mash-ups are fair use. I highly doubt EMI or any other record label would agree.
That all aside, and even if you don't like pop music or mash-ups, I highly recommend viewing the color-coded lyrics sheet that Earworm has posted on his site to accompany the mix. In this post he shows exactly which songs he snipped lyrics from, down to the level of the individual word. I particularly love his use of five different sources for "...you're tumbling down down down (down down)".
The notion that DJ/remixers are just blindly copying or reusing without innovation is just flat-out wrong. Apprentices may copy without much added skill, much as apprentice painters sit and copy masterwork paintings for hours on end to learn their craft. But as they learn they also learn to add their own creative elements and styles, producing new works that are based on the source material in the way so many art forms of past decades have done.
And what the heck, go ahead and push the play button. It's an AWESOME mix.
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