Everything is a Remix

Posted on October 27, 2010 by


So, I just found this really cool project, Everything is a Remix. This is the first part of a 4 part installment by Kirby Ferguson on the history of remixes. While it doesn’t talk exclusively about Hip Hop (the first part has mostly to do with Led Zeppelin), I thought it was a pretty cool look into the world of remixing. As a genre that relies almost exclusively on sampling and remixing, it’s pretty interesting for us to think about this stuff. (Oh, also, whether or not you hit the jump or watch the video, I recommend you watch the very end of the video at least, starting from 7:06).

Ferguson lays out two criteria for “acceptable” forms of remixing. The artist must make sure to give full credit to the original creators, and the artist must modify the art enough that it constitutes an “original”. What do you guys think of these two criteria? Are they reasonable? Are they enough? Does most Hip Hop follow these rules?

It seems to me that Hip Hop artists don’t always follow those rules. I mean, we probably wouldn’t have a section of our blog dedicated to calling out samples (Da Beat Detective) if artists were giving full credit to the original. But then again, maybe that’s because the “full credit” usually comes in legal form, in the notes of a hard copy of an album. These days, when most music is obtained electronically (both illegally and legally) how often do people see those notes? Even when you did used to buy jewel cases, how many of you really read the album notes? Cover to cover? So, in the world of electronic music and free downloads, what is an appropriate form of attribution? How does Hip Hop as a genre give credit where credit is due?