Gotye meets Sting in a great music mashup

Alex Fox over at Google+ made me aware of the following mashup he has made of Gotye and the Police.

He wrote a comment to my Google+ post on Gotye as the new Sting.

This is a perfect blend of two related artists, if you ask me.

I continue to be amazed of all the creativity that goes into music mashups online, and how the new computer technology makes it possible to mix and reshape existing music in new and exciting forms.

The music industry is definitely not able to keep up with this, nor is the global intellectual property regime, which has a hard time defining what is fair use based on the creating of something new out of the old, and what is a copyright infringment.

It seems clear to me that the record companies and the artist benefit from this kind of creative publicity, although I am not sure all of them will agree.

By the way, one of my favorite mashup artists are actually from my home county Møre og Romsdal in Norway who names himself Norwegian Recycling.

Here is one mix that even has its own mash-up video:

See also:
Mashups and the future of music creation
Mark Vidler’s collection of mashup songs
Supreme Evil

Supreme Evil

Mark Vidler, the mashup artist of Go Home Productions, has made his first mashup video.

Given that he has included my all time favorite band, the Electric Light Orchestra, I just have to include it.

And yes, it is Evil Woman mixed with Diana Ross and the Supremes plus a dash of Michael Jackson.

Some music and jazz resources on the net

If you are into jazz, you might want to take a look at a collection of online resources gathered by my friend Johan Hauknes and his colleagues in the Behind the Music - Profiting from Sound project, a Nordic study from 2003 of the music industry.

It is presented as a gateway to information with links to institutions and resources on the Nordic and global music industry and to a range of online jazz resources.

Go to Some music and jazz resources on the net .

Mark Vidler’s collection of mashup songs

You know I told you about music mashups, DJs mixing different songs into one coherent whole?
Go Home Production’s mashup album No. 3
Well, one of the masters of the game, Britain’s Mark Vidler, is releasing his whole collection of “bastard pop” remixes making them available for download.

Mark is better known as the man behind Go Home Productions.

There are no less than 16 albums of mashups, remixes, rarities, MTV jingles and radio snippets, the mashup albums being in majority.

Some of the tracks are just brilliant, and I am amazed to see how he is able to make jointless seams between artists from totally different traditions. He can mix Eminem with Paul McCartney, 10cc with Marvin Gaye, Disney’s Pinnocchio with the Beatles, the Beastie Boys with Las Ketchup and ABBA with Echo and the Bunnymen.

All right, some of these tracks are mostly for fun, but most of them stand solidly on their own two tracks!

Moreover, I enjoy his ability to use material from the last four decades. This is like a revisit to my own record collection. Hm, I must be getting old…

Here is one of my favorites: A mix of Blondie and the Doors courtesy of Mark Vidler. The video — which is edited by a fan — features the Gorillaz, but that band has absolutely nothing to do with the soundtrack.

And here’s one mixing Disney’s I’ve Got No Strings (yepp, the one with Pinochio), Radiohead’s Creep and The Beatles’ Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, called — of course — Pinocchiohead On LSD.

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Mashups and the future of music creation

Flyer for Parisian mashup club party.DJs and producers are mixing different songs together into new works of art called mashups, blends or cutups. But what does this mean for the record industry and the idea of intellectual property rights?

The history of innovation clearly proves that new technologies can have very disruptive effects on social and economic systems. Just think about how the advent of aviation changed the world into a truly global arena — now for most of us.

Information technology is revolutionizing the way we think about music creation and distribution. The music industry is always ten steps behind the development, and seems totally incapable of understanding that the old world based on record sales and radio play only is gone for good.

Apple’s Steve Jobs forced them to accept online music downloads as the business model of the future, but this is only the beginning.

Many artists are now bypassing the record companies altogether, producing and distributing their music themselves. Many of them realize that the real money lies in concerts, given all the illegal downloading, and is giving away much of their music for free.

Merging songs

I have recently been studying a new trend that have reached the Web, that can be equally disrupting, namely music mashups.

Disk jockeys have for a long time remixed tracks in the discos and clubs, slightly altering the pitch and tempo to make one song glide seamlessly into the other etc. No record company has found this to be an infringement of their copyright.

Nor did they, as far as I know, protest when some DJs started to merge song, normally putting the vocal track of one song over the instrumentation and rhythm track of another.

However, they did wake up, when some of them recorded these “bastard pop” tracks and put them up online or on bootleg albums. And a large number of record company representatives are now hunting them down online, arguing (probably correctly) that this is a copyright infringement.

The fact is, however, that given the nature of the Web, it has proved impossible to stop these mixes for resurfacing. As soon as one source disappears, another one pops up.

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The Kate Bush Spot

Kate BushOver at Pandia my wife and I try to keep track of the latest development in the social web scene.

One service we are particularly fond of is Fanpop. It is not as popular as MySpace and Facebook, and for a while we actually believed it would die from lack of oxygen.

Now, a year since we covered Fanpop the last time, it seems that it has reached the critical mass needed to deliver thriving online communities.

So, I spent some time yesterday catching up with the site, and Susanne helped me set up my first Fanpop spot.

A spot is a kind of mini web site or portal focusing on a particular topic.

You may include videos (often fetched from YouTube), add links to online resources, put up comments, start a discussion forum and add pictures. So it is both a directory containing relevant resources and an online community.

I found to my surprise that there was no spot for one of my favorite pop artists Kate Bush. She definitely deserves one, so Susanne and I found some illustrations, added some videos (including the brilliant Cloudbusting video with Donald Sutherland) and put up some links to Kate Bush sites.

If you are into her music, do take a look at the Kate Bush spot. And please add some comments! I gain “points” that way.

Double the value of your iPod

First of all, buy a decent set of earphones!

Black video iPodAs a young student in the early 1980s I bought my first proper NAD stereo paid financed with my summer job salary. The sound from the Boston loudspeakers was amazing compared to my old portable cassette radio, and I learned to appreciate the importance of a good receiver.

Fast forward to 2007: The old NAD LP turntable is now in the basement, and we haven’t used the living room CD player for over a year.

We are still buying CDs, but now we rip them in iTunes and put them up on the shelf, never to touch them again. Our primary mode of listening to music has become our iPods.

Here comes the paradox: The sound quality of a regular iPod setup is lower than my old cassette radio’s! So although a iTunes/iPod setup is a huge step forward as regards practical management of a music collection, it seems to represent a sad step back as regards sound quality.

It doesn’t have to be this way, and I am going to present a few steps that may give you back that great feeling of finally being able to listen to the music in the way it was supposed to be enjoyed.

1. Buy some great loudspeakers to your PC/Mac
Harman Kardon Soundsticks II 2.1 speakers
We have come to the point that we listen more to music when working on the Mac than in the living room. Adding a decent set of loudspeakers and a sub woofer to your computer setup, will improve the listening experience significantly.

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An experiment in online pop music marketing

For several years my wife Susanne and I was part of a project aimed at producing pop music albums. During the final phases of its last incarnation — called Sandstone — we developed a strategy for promoting the music online. The ultimate object: to create enough buzz online to make the record companies interested.

The strategy had four parts:

1. “Seed” the web with a few MP3 files containing the music.
2. Develop a web site.
3. Establish a presence at MySpace and make use of relevant forums and social networks to make the music known.
4. Start pushing creative merchandise, videos and other “viral” ideas.

We got as far as number 2 before some of the participants decided to give the word “partnership” until then new and unknown meanings. It went downhill from there, and in October last year the project was cancelled.

We did obviously not follow up on our strategy, and it is therefore hard to determine if it could have succeeded or not. This year, however, we did at least see results from phase 1 of the strategy.

On the 17th of May 2006 we published an article in our site Pandia about the Russian online MP3 store AllofMP3. This is where we decided to sow the first “seed”. At the end of the article we put in the following text:

Free MP3 file from Pandia

Given that you have read through the whole article, we think you deserve a reward.

Click on the link below to download a brand new MP3 file by the Norwegian pop/electronica project Sandstone.

And yes, it is definitely legal, as we own the copyright.

Listen to Sandstone: The City that Never Was (Free MP3 file, 3 MB, right click to download)

There were a few hundred downloads, but nothing much happened after that, and given that the project was canceled we did not give it much thought.

During a review of our Pandia web statistics in April this year, however, we discovered that there had been more than 12000 downloads since January, and that there were several thousands downloads every week!

After half a year the tactic started to pay off! There are now thousands of Sandstone files out there, listened to by a large number of people. God knows what we could have managed to do if we could have followed up on our plan.

Alas, that is not to be. As soon as we discovered what was happening we had to remove the file from our server, as the copyright to the music does not belong to us.

The lyrics are available, however, and I am now starting a new campaign trying to identify composers looking for lyrics. Click here for the lyrics to The City that Never Was.

See also Wired on the use of MySpace in music promotion.