White Cube Remix Project at ccMixter

There’s a very intriguing new remix project called The White Cube at ccMixter.org. Please note that remixes have to be licensed with the popular Creative Commons CC-BY license in order to be considered for use during the exhibition. So no remixing Cream or some band from Liverpool’s double album or some song about nights on bed sheets! 🙂

This all is in support of an upcoming exhibition in the RAM Galleri on Oslo which is celebrating it’s 20 year anniversary and wants to explore “How to explode the white Cube”.

Deadline for remix submissions is on the 7th of December 2009, just 3 days before an unrelated small party in that very city of Oslo. Hopefully our friends in the black limousines doubtlessly all over Oslo right around that time will not misunderstand the context and confiscate all the remixes!

The remix project is organized and the two source audio packages are provided by Gurdonark (whom I’ve had the privilege to interview last year and the ever lovely and talented (I’ve always wanted to say that!) SackJo22, whom I’ve had the honor and pleasure to work with on one of her many projects.

Given that the very first LP (yes, it was vinyl!) I ever bought was ELP’s “Pictures of an Exhibition”, this kind of thematic project holds deep intrigue and I may just have to fire up my trusty DAW software and mess around a little. mmmhhh let’s start with a little extra compression here and maybe some reverb there …

RemixComps.com tracks remix contests

I just found out about RemixComps.com, who’s 20 second pitch looks like this: “Are you a musician, DJ, music producer that enjoys taking sound samples and loops of other musician’s pieces of music, loading them into your favorite music production software and remixing them into your own track. Remix Comps lists remix contests found on the internet so that audio DJs and musicians can quickly and easily find a great music track to remix.”

From my brief look at the site, this sure looks like the best effort to track remix competitions I’ve seen. For each contest it lists not only the place to download the stems (parts), but also the prizes, the deadlines, noteworthy rules and notes including IP issues like a contest, where remixes become the property of the contest holder. There’s even a page for listing the winners of the various contests.

If you sign up, you can even rate the contests, and participate in forum discussions. There’s a blog and they’ve just added the capability to run a remix contest through the site.

For the contest junkies in the remixing world, this looks like a great site and I can only congratulate Edward Cufaude, the man behind RemixComps.com and he also releases is own music under a Creative Commons license and finally, he also has an interesting site containing tips for audio production called RhythmCreation.com.

I don’t think, that at this time he has a thriving business model, just a few of the links (not all) appear to maybe get him a little commission. So this looks like a labor of love, and I hope he’ll enjoy doing it for a long time and/or maybe figure out how to make it economically self-sustaining over the longer haul.

Do NOT Remix this Interview (wink, wink)

Professor Lawrence Lessig is the founder of the Creative Commons, which has created the possibility of a creative sharing environment amongst music makers and other creators of art, content, or whatever you want to call people who write, paint, draw, play music, sing, compose etc. (note: I publish my writings, music, images under creative commons licenses.)

And since the Creative Commons is the creator and sponsor of my favorite remixing community ccMixter, it was with great excitement, that I watched Prof. Lessig appear on the Colbert Report, one of the popular and valuable voices of reason (all packaged into blazing satire) in an often depressing mainstream media scape.

The segment was about Prof. Lessig’s book called REMIX, a quintessential work in making the case for copyright reform. Actually, the absence of such reforms is one of the great indictments of the current generation of politicians in the western style democracies. It’s downright depressing how special interest group money rules.

While Prof. Lessig has a great sense of humor, he’s not necessarily to be confused with being a professional comedian. (Sorry Professor!) So he plays it rather straight in making the case for Copyright Reform to the fake belligerent Colbert persona, which is a parody of Bill O’Reilly’s tv program:

UPDATE (2009-01-14): As if to make Prof. Lessig’s point for him, Viacom has forced youtube to pull this video off their site from Prof. Lessig’s account. How magically insane! Fortunately I have met some incredibly smart and insightful lawyers, and obviously Prof. Lessig is one. None of them works for Viacom.

UPDATE (2009-01-19): But it’s still there in other youtube acounts. Thanks to MC Jack in the Box for finding it.

The interview closes with an “argument” between Lessig and Colbert. Lessig says “remix this interview” and Colbert says “do NOT remix this interview”.

So the fun has begun. ccMixter features the audio source of the Stephen Colbert interview with Lawrence Lessig. For those more famliar with indiba music, there’s also a session in progress there.

In the past Colbert has featured little snippets of his favorite remixes in a future episode. Assuming that he’ll do that in this case, it will be a nice feather in the cap for a few remixers.

UPDATE: Good eMXR friend essesq, in the comments pointed out a more in-depth interview of Prof. Lessig on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross.

Shannon Hurley Interview

Shannon HurleyRecently I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Shannon Hurley on behalf of ccMixter. Shannon has been featured on Rolling Stone Magazine’s declaration of who they consider to be the 25 best bands on MySpace. Recently she has called for remixes of several songs from her first full length album “Ready to Wake Up” to be used in an album of remixes of her songs and in that context has uploaded a number of remix packs from her first album to ccMixter under the moniker of shannonsongs.

One of her songs is also featured in a remix contest on ACIDplanet. However, it should be noted that there’s a significantly different set of terms and conditions on ACIDplanet than on ccMixter around ownership of posted and/or winning remixes. While ACIDplanet offers prizes to the winning remix, it also stipulates transfer of ownership of the winning remix, while remixes on ccMixter remain the co-property of the submitting remixer under creative commons licensing. Personally, I’ve never felt much like submitting remixes to sites which make me give up all ownership of my remixes, but other remixers may feel differently, and I wholeheartedly respect their choice, if it is made knowingly.

Bottom line: Shannon is a wonderful songwriter and singer, was smart and funny, yet modest during the interview and I really hope she’ll have success navigating the largely uncharted waters of the music business as it unfolds in front of our eyes and ears.

Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Scrollwerks Remix contest

Just got a note from Jeane Goforth from Scrollworks (a non-profit organization aiming to offer quality music education for children in the local community regardless of their ability to pay, with a focus on minorities and the under-served areas of Greater Birmingham, Alabama), They are holding a remix contest featuring a recording of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra in concert performing Paganini’s “Moses Variations”.

“We’ve finally got it up. I know it’s short notice, but, having worked now 17 (or 18) days straight and with a to-do list covering multiple tablets, it’s the best we could do. The growing pains of a new organization! (0 to 135 students in 2 months!!) Info here: http://metroyo.blogspot.com/2008/04/250-prize-for-remix-contest.html
or under ‘What’s New’ at scrollworks.org “

Very cool, Jean – and may the contest be a big success!

Reeemix.com tracks remix contests

Here’s a site specializing in listing remix contests. “Reeemix.com provides you with a continuously updated link list to remix contests worldwide.” Looks like an excellent resource.

Thanks to Laurent for this tip. He also says: “I’m looking for fellow producers to work with.”

If you are looking for other producers, many of whom have been known to collaborate with others, I can highly recommend ccmixter.org. Or if you want to get in touch with Laurent directly, you can do so via his myspace space referenced in the link above.

Glen Phillips / Kompoz Remix Contest

just got this note from Raf Fiol over at Kompoz.com:

Glen Phillips / Kompoz Remix Contest!
Tune your guitar. Adjust your drum kit. Fire up your mixer. Today we are thrilled to announce our second Kompoz celebrity remix contest, this one featuring Glen Phillips, singer, songwriter, and the voice of Toad The Wet Sprocket!
From April 1st through May 30th, Kompoz members can download the original studio tracks for the song “The Spirit of Shackleton” from Glen’s new solo album titled “Secrets of the New Explorers”. Rock it up, funk it up, jazz it up. Add a solo, sing with Glen, bang your drums. Post your entry before May 30th for your chance to win a Fender Squire Stratocaster autographed by Glen Phillips!
Prizes
Five winners will be selected. The best new individual track or original remix will win a Fender Squire Stratocaster autographed by Glen Phillips. The second-place winner will receive a one-year premium membership to TrueFire.com. The third-place winner will receive a StealthPlug USB audio interface from IK Multimedia. The top five winners will all receive a “Secrets of the New Explorers” CD autographed by Glen Phillips, and a cool t-shirt from INDISTR.COM.
Judging
Finalists will be selected during the last week of May by Glen Phillips and Kompoz staff members. Those tracks will then be posted on a special Kompoz channel on OurStage.com, where during the month of June, the fans will decide the winners, using OurStage’s unique “battle of the bands” voting format. Kompoz members that register on OurStage will of course be able to vote, and will receive 12 free MP3s!
Did I mention that we’re giving away a Fender guitar autographed by Glen Phillips? We’re giving away a Fender guitar autographed by Glen Phillips!
For official rules and details, visit the contest landing page at http://www.kompoz.com/glenphillips. To get started now, visit the contest project page.

Radiohead disappoints remixers

I just received the following email from fellow remixer DJ_Rkod:

Radiohead have invited fans to remix their recent single, “Nude,” and have created a site to host said creations. It is easily navigable, the remixes are easy to listen to and many of them are pretty good.

It’s also one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen when it comes to remixing.

The first problem is immediately apparent on the front page of the site, which states:

“Nude by Radiohead is out now. You can buy bits of it here and upload your remix here.”

Buy? Really? On further investigation, I found that yes, the British band expects you to shell out your funds in order to have the privilege of mixing them. It’s what I like to call a Very Bad Thing. But it gets better! A look at the terms and conditions reveals that this is in fact even worse than it appears to be. I’d like to deconstruct some of the terms below.

“…

1. all rights in and to any remixed versions (“Remixes”) of the song “Nude” (“the Song”) created by the Entrant shall be owned by Warner/Chappell Music Ltd (“WCM”) and to the extent necessary the Entrant hereby assigns all rights in the Remixes of the Song to WCM throughout the World for the full life of copyright and any and all extensions and renewals thereof. If requested by WCM, the Entrant shall complete and sign a formal assignment of copyright to give effect to the foregoing;

2. all rights in and to any Remixes of the original sound recording of the Song (“the Master”) created by the Entrant shall be owned by _Xurbia _Xendless Ltd (“Xurbia”) and to the extent necessary the Entrant hereby assigns all rights in the Remixes of the Master to Xurbia throughout the World for the full life of copyright and any and all extensions and renewals there. If requested by Xurbia, the Entrant shall complete and sign a formal assignment of copyright to give effect to the foregoing;

…”

This essentially removes all of your rights to anything you do with the song. You do not control what Warner or Xurbia do with whatever you create. You do not own any part of it. You are essentially paying them so you can work for them, a complete and utter reversal of the way things should be.

“…

3. Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway will be registered and credited as the sole writers and WCM the publishers of the Remixes of the Song created by the Entrant;

4. the Entrant will not acquire a copyright interest in the Song by virtue of creating Remixes of the Song;

…”

4 is essentially a restatement of the above. But 3 is something else entirely. When combined with the rest of the contract, it means that, with or without your permission, Warner or Xurbia can sell your mix, without paying you a cent and without even giving you credit for it.

“Xurbia shall not commercially exploit the Remixes of the Song created by the Entrant without consulting with the Entrant prior to such commercial exploitation.”

This is a laughable assurance, because the remixer owns no part of his own work, and can do absolutely nothing to prevent such commercial exploitation. A consultation of this type would only serve to fulfill the terms of the contract.

I do not recommend using this site (obviously) and hope that in the future remixing is thought of in terms other than monetary ones.

–DJ

editor’s notes:
* The above obviously isn’t intended as legal advice, but an opinion of the author.
* While I may be able to tolerate somebody charging for their remixing stems (although in this case it appears to be strangely inconsistent with the “pay what you like” approach previously taken by Radiohead), I am as deeply disappointed as DJ_Rkod about what to me appears to be an plain and simple grab of IP (intellectual property) rights. I do support the notion that the original artist and their publisher shouldn’t loose the rights to their work because of remixing activities. However as remixes add new IP, just grabbing that new IP without compensation seems very unfair to me. I agree with DJ Rkod that “consultation” would appear to be a bit of a weak (if any) protection for the IP of the remixer. I Count me amongst those, that refuse to remix under such terms and conditions.

I think Radiohead could learn a thing or two about creating friendly remixer relations from Nine Inch Nails.

mi7 hosts remix contest featuring DJ Rkod

mi7.com, which earlier this summer hosted the “Dream in Blue” remix contest, has announced another remix contest – this time featuring original materials from DJ Rkod, a long time friend of this site and “a minor theory”. Submissions are accepted until October 05, 2007. The prizes are vouchers for samples from mi7.com’s library.

I find this remix contest especially interesting, since the original material consists of instrumental songs, rather than songs with vocal melodies or rapping, which are more typically featured in the remixing scene. Will we hear any attempts at melodies or rapping? Or will the remixes all be instrumentals? We’ll stay tuned to this fascinating experiment.

Jamglue – T-Pain Remix Contest

This is interesting in several ways: Jamglue is hosting a Remix Contest for “Bartender”, a track by Jive Records recording artists T-Pain. The tracks are creative commons licensed, and the winner will have their remix turned into a ringtone by Jive Records. However there is no indication, that the ringtone would be distributed commercially – so the prize may be more about fame than fortune 🙂

However, Jamglue is a “remixing for the masses” site, with a browser based mixer right on their site. It is thus a pretty neat way to try our remixing without having any of one’s own audio software.

The tracks can be downloaded as well for remixing in one’s own audio software. The link for the download is towards the lower left hand side of the page for each published track.

Related: Splice is another site where beginning remixers can remix online.