p2pnet.net Issues:- DJ Danger Mouse’s hip-hop Grey Album is a limited edition production with only 3,000 copies in circulation.
Rolling Stone called it “the ultimate remix record”. The New Yorker said it’s, “an ingenious hip-hop record that sounds oddly ahead of its time”. And The Boston Globe described it as the, “most creatively captivating” album of the year.
It’s an art project/experiment that uses the full vocal content of Jay-Z’s Black Album recorded over new beats and production, with the Beatles White Album as the sole source material, says the Danger Mouse site here, going on:
“Danger Mouse insists he can explain and prove that all the music on the Grey Album can be traced back to the White Album and its musical content via sampling. Every kick, snare, and chord is taken from the Beatles White Album and is in their original recording somewhere,” it states.
Cool. And speaking of The Beatles, weren’t they themselves partial to a bit of unattributed lifting and remixing, and wasn’t John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, into audio art experiments?
So why did EMI yesterday demand that the handful of stores that were selling the album destroy it, and send Cease and Desist letters to Danger Mouse?
Why indeed? – asks Nicholas Reville, co-founder of the online activist site DownhillBattle.
The answer is simple.
EMI rigidly controls all Beatles sound recordings for Capitol Records. Sony Music/ATV Publishing controls the publishing side. And both are, of course, founding members of Big Music whose avowed purpose in life is to make sure all music ‘products’ are the sole property of its members.
Be that as it may, although there are, relatively speaking, only a handful of copies out there, the Grey Album is widely available on p2p filesharing networks – which is how many of its reviews came about.
“If music reviewers have to break the law to hear new, innovative music, then something has gone wrong with the law,” says DHB’s Rebecca Laurie.
And, “There’s no legitimate artistic or economic reason to ban this record – this is just arbitrary exertion of control,” says Reville, going on:
“The framers of the constitution created copyright to promote innovation and creativity. A handful of corporations have radically perverted that purpose for their own narrow self interest. Remixes and pastiche are a defining aesthetic of our era.
“How will artists continue to work if corporations can outlaw what they do. Artists and musicians have always borrowed and built upon each others work now they have to answer to corporate interests.