“The remix is nothing less than a new way to communicate. It requires you to do nothing more than change the way you look at something” (Mason, 80-81).
As an aspiring DJ and music producer, the idea of remix culture is very prevalent. Personally, I think a good remix can only make something better. Surely, the entertainment corporations might disagree, but that’s more likely because they hadn’t been able to create successful, profitable remixes. Today’s blog entry will examine how remixing affects originality and how remixing has affected our culture.
In his book, The Pirates Dilemma, Matt Mason wrote, “the remix can and has devalued the idea of the original idea” (Mason, 84). When suggesting such, Mason was referring to entertainment corporations focusing less on original ideas and more so on remix ideas. In such context, the quote makes perfect sense. But, in many cases, a remix is just using a past product and applying a new original idea to it. For example, the song Good Feeling, by Flo-Rida is essentially a remix of a remix. The original song, Something’s Got a Hold on Me, by Etta James was remixed by Avicii in his club hit, Levels. Flo-Rida then built on the success of Avicii’s hit by remixing it into Good Feeling. With that being said, the final product of Good Feeling was still an original work. The definition of original can be thought of as: “new, fresh, inventive, novel” or “created, undertaken, or presented for the first time”. With that being said, it would appear that both Levels and Good Feeling are original. They both were new and fresh, also they both were the first presentation of a specific remix. In this case, the rights were acquired legally and the money is divided fairly. A powerful artist like Flo-Rida or Avicii have both the money and the power to acquire such rights and create an excellent remix. Many people can, and have remixed big songs like Levels, but the legality of doing so is the difference between Flo-Rida and the numerous YouTube users you who remixed the song.
A YouTube search of the word ‘remix’ returns an astounding 2,380,000 results. That just goes to show just how much the general public have become DJ’s, VJ’s and editors of media. There have been more remixed works recently due solely to one thing: technology. Without technology, the idea of a remix would require expensive equipment, a vast knowledge or the medium of which you are remixing and more. Thanks to technology like Virtual DJ and iMovie remixing music and video is simple enough that an everyday computer user can do it. With everybody remixing, one would think that the quality of available remixes wouldn’t be very good. Interestingly, this is not true. Even remixes found on YouTube, or music sharing sites like Beatport have brought forth some of dance music’s now biggest stars including Avicii, Nicky Romero and Hardwell. A remix is almost like a theory. In science, a theory is proposed and tested. If possible changes can be made to improve the original theory, they are implemented to make a new, better theory (Woodward and Goodstein). In some ways, remixing does just this. Takes an original product, and changes it with the intent of improving it, or showing it to a different audience. The fact that we have become a remix culture cannot be resisted, because even unknowingly, we are apart of it.
This remix culture shows no time of slowing down, but like many other technological dilemmas it raises the question; what’s next? At some point in time there will be a remix of everything, and you can only do so many parodies, remixes and edits before there is no original content remaining. If the entertainment industry continues to focus on remixing, like the public does, there will be no artists left to produce completely new content for people to remix. Some think the remix culture is a problem, others think it is excellent, the truth is the remix culture is a phase, no more than a paradigm, and we are just waiting for it to end so we can move to the next paradigm.
With that said, remixing certainly has, and will leave its mark on us. It might even make us ask ourselves…
What Have We Turned Into?
– Ian McDougald
Mason, Matt. The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture Reinvented Capitalism. New York: Free, 2008. Print.
Woodward, James, and David Goodstein. “Conduct, misconduct and the structure of science.” American Scientist 84.5 (1996): 479+. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.