Thursday, May 28, 2009

Question of the Day - May 28, 2009


elib-g asks:

Remixes seems to be the big trend now. People are taking songs and changing little parts of them or completely restructuring the entire song. What do you think about that?

Hartmann responds:

Beauty is in the ear of the listener. There is a long tradition of amateur and professional record producers manipulating the works of others for their own amusement. This is not unlike a mechanic adding accessories to an automobile or a hipster cutting the sleeves off his shirt. If you own the music and the technology gives you the ability to make adjustments to the original work, it is your right to do so. It is all part of the the digital convergence. It is fair to say that some of the changes may have been for the better and their is a cult interest in the variations produced. In most cases the originators probably got it right and the remixes don't add much improvement. Most of these alterations are designed to enhance the dance factor.

Some might see the practice as desecration of the original artist's intellectual property Certainly, the owners of the copyright and the master recordings do not surrender any of their entitlements. If unauthorized remixes are offered for sale through any venue, on line or through brick and mortar sales all royalties and mechanical fees are due the songwriters and artists who created the original works. However, since most of the usage is perpetuated by DJs at live events, and peer-to-peer file sharing, there is probably not a lot of money changing hands.

First and foremost music is about fun and entertainment and if somebody wants to strip his car down and remove all the extra hardware or add four barrel carburetors to turn an old Ford into a hot rod, why not. There is no harm done when a recording engineer does the same thing to a record. When he tries to put some miles on that speedster by turning it into an income stream for himself, he's asking for a ticket. Stealing is made easy in the digital age, but there are honesty and integrity issues that every individual has to face. Traditional values are not always honored in a culture where animosity toward corporate excess runs very high. There is an entrenched perception that stealing music doesn't harm the little guy, but that is not true. Music piracy effects everybody in the food chain and in the end, the artist has the most to lose.

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