Yeezy! also known as Kanye West or Kim K’s baby daddy is a well known American hip hop artist. In 2006 he released ‘Touch The Sky’ a single featured on his album ‘Late Registration’. This song featured Lupe Fiasco another Chi Town boy and was produced by Just Blaze.
Sounds familiar? Let’s rewind back to 1970 the release of Curtis Mayfields ‘Move On Up‘ a song that spent 9 weeks in the UK’s hottest charts.But what exactly do these two songs have in common? West’s Touch The Sky samples a slowed horn section of Mayfields move on up, thus we have two songs with a common riff.
In contemporary society the line between an acceptable remix and copyright infringement is vague. The beauty of the internet is that it has now allowed for consumers to utilize their creative side and access all genres of music and actively participate by taking the elements of a song and editing them in numerous ways to create something new and exciting.
But it doesn’t just stop there! This concept also extends to films. Quentin Tarantino, American director, producer, actor and screenwriter. An individual who bases his films on non-linear story lines, satirical subject matter and is an example of a director who rewinds back in time and creates something using both past and present. Tarantino is recognised as a “director DJ,” comparing his stylistic use of mix-and-match genre and music infusion to the use of sampling in DJ exhibits, morphing a variety of old works to create a new one. This is remix culture!
This participatory culture frustrates the establishment (the record companies, labels) as the content they produce, in accordance with copyright laws has supposedly been stolen and abused. As Lessig suggests, the establishment has the power to penalise anyone who uploads their content, all in the name of copyright. What the establishment fails to recognise is that user participation can provide an authentic insight into the elements that appeal to consumers and those that do not. By accepting the remix culture, the establishment can recognise the creativity rather than the criminality of prosumers.