Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shades of Grey

Having never heard of, or listened to The Grey Album, I was completely unaware of the major copyright issues that surrounded the tracks distribution.  That being said, it is quite incredible that a DJ who produced just 300 CD's for family and friends was able to stir up a ferocious debate on piracy laws within a matter of weeks.
Looking through a broad lens, the computer itself represented the major technology that took the album from obscurity to center stage.  Danger Mouse was able to mix and match these two albums using some sort of computer program.  The mixes, samplings, and mash-ups that Danger Mouse chose were all executed through a variety of music programs on the computer.
However, the major technology that created this phenomenon was the Internet, and the availability to find and share music for free.  Once a few people appreciated the album enough to share it online, the album exploded into the limelight.  The Internet was essential in the popularity growth of The Grey Album, especially in the staged stand against EMI from over 400 different websites/blogs.  The Grey Album demonstrates how the Internet has evolved into a massive entity free to upload content, and obviously download as well.
In my opinion, there should be no real issue regarding the popularity of the album.  It seems to be, as the article mentions, a case where EMI wants to profit off the success, while Danger Mouse just wanted to share his art.  Danger Mouse didn't charge anything for the initial 300 CD's, and made no attempt to profit when the album blew-up on the Internet.  Instead, much like Downhill Battle and other blog sites stated, it was purely an attempt to share his form of art.  I have a hard time believing that the work of Danger Mouse or Girl Talk should be a violation of copyright laws.  Even when they profit from these mixes, the songs are always a different form of artistic expression.  They have taken an existing work, altered it or mashed-it, and made it their very own.
What's more, the music industry should be thankful in a sense that the artist has sampled their particular clients work.  By listening to a song from Girl Talk, you hear the original song that was sampled.  Thus, it draws attention to that particular artist and his work.  Obviously, the viewer won't immediately go buy that song, but the connection is drawn nonetheless.  I can certainly see the other side of the argument, but I believe the mash-ups that these artists create take so much talent and work, it's hard to not view them as their own.  Many times these new mash-ups sound so different from the original version that it may be difficult to recognize.  In addition, the buzz that these songs generate for the original artist certainly grab the attention of the listener as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment