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Remix or original?

permalink   Fri, May 29, 2009 @ 8:11 PM
(Not exactly a feature request, but not off-topic so I post here)

There are many remix uploads where the author writes something like “this is some existing original work of mine and I found this acappella/spoken word that fits nicely with it”…

Questions arise, like:
- Are those “remixes” or not?
- If not truly “remixes”, do they need to be flagged?
- Shouldn’t exist some special category to upload them? (like in Samples::Full mix, which have the “original” tag)
permalink   Fri, May 29, 2009 @ 9:02 PM
I think the short answer to your question is that if a remixer adds something that he or she created to a sample of any kind from this site or any of our sister sites like Magnatune, etc. the result has to be called a remix. The only difference between the way some think of a remix and what you describe is that all the work to create the backing has been done before the vocal was found.

I admit being a little perplexed when one or two words of something I have done is put at the beginning of an instrumental track and it appears as a “remix” which basically gives the instrumental a way higher profile than the instrumental would have gotten were it put up as a “sample.” I have let go of my feelings however because it really doesn’t matter.

A “full mix” as I understand it, is a piece of music or some other sound that contains only material from the artist contributing the work and nothing from anyone else who contributes to the site. Generally it is a whole song with vox and instrumentals. A “full mix” can’t really be remixed because it is complete in and of itself. That’s how you can recognize it.

If anyone disagrees, feel free to chime in :-).
MC Jack in the Box
permalink   Fri, May 29, 2009 @ 10:25 PM
Quote: s.c.mixer
- Are those “remixes” or not?

yes. they do not need to be flagged. they do not need a special category to upload.

if you take a previous piece of work and reappropriate it into something new, it’s considered a remix.

at least that’s lessig’s (and my) view.

the word itself can mean any number of things to any number of people so don’t get so stuck on the word itself. things get lost in translation enough already in our little global village.

permalink   fourstones Sat, May 30, 2009 @ 10:59 AM
Just to the split hairs (moi??) for everybody: MC Jack is right, technically, legally, these are “derived works” and fall under the very broad definition of “remix” - you have to honor attribution and all other licensed requirements/restrictions.

As I outline below however, people have used this legal technicality as a loophole to cut against the spirit of this particular site, which is to engage in an ongoing musical conversation, enabled by a sense of community and acts of sharing your work.
permalink   Sat, May 30, 2009 @ 8:06 AM
OK, so technically they are all remixes.
But there are a few tracks in this listing:
that use sampled material… I guess they should be also listed as remixes?

Besides, this VS comment:
was the trigger for these questions.
permalink   Sat, May 30, 2009 @ 10:22 AM
fwiw, the more egregious cases are flagged and often moderated. Intent has a lot to do with it - many have used this model for an excuse to upload fully mixed originals. If you have a question about a given upload, please feel free to flag it.

In general, fully mixed tracks and, for that matter, tracks that use nothing but the pell+100% original tracks are “conversation stoppers.” What I mean by that is that ccM is an ongoing musical conversation. It only works because we are all sharing everything we do. (This is why we stopped using the ‘original’ tag because over 93% of them were never re-used in another upload.) The only reason you get to remix a pell is because the singer shared their original material. The idea of “good citizenship” would indicate that you should share your recyclable material as well.
permalink   MC Jack in the Box Sat, May 30, 2009 @ 12:14 PM
actually, to just follow up on what fourstones said about “conversation stoppers”…this may be true if the remix artist doesn’t offer anything original back in terms of new source with the remix upload, but often times, the remix artist may take a pella, add 100% original new material to the pella, then provide the new material in addition to the remix in the upload. teru mentioned this scenario in another thread related to carryover licensing. this scenario is actually pretty common, with artists like admiral bob, colab, george ellinas to name a few off the top of my head who regularly do this.
permalink   fourstones Sat, May 30, 2009 @ 1:00 PM
exactly - that makes everything OK again ;) which is how I addressed it in the review linked to above (and many, many other places).
permalink   Sat, May 30, 2009 @ 5:28 PM
One of the things that used to put me off remix sites was the thought of the same samples being regurgitated in different formats but basically coming up with similar work. Now I will admit this was a pretty blinkered view and not a true representation of what was happening.

However since I have been coming to CCM I feel the more “original” work has benefited the site and introduced a wider feel to the music available here.

Victors point on uploading samples from this work is a good one and something I will try to do more of but it needs to be borne in mind that the sample must have some value.

Just to upload samples to justify the original mix should not be necessary and the mixer should apply a sharp knife to the samples to ensure some quality gets uploaded.

There is great satisfaction in taking good work and using 90% or more to produce a new mix and my last two mixes have given me personally a great deal of pleasure to produce. This only confirms what I said in my opening paragraphs. The attraction of this site compared to many others is that it has embraced the two views and the result I believe is a very rich bed of music and samples.
Ivan Chew
permalink   Sun, Aug 30, 2009 @ 9:19 PM
I’m reading s.c. mixer’s post today. Have to admit I’m one of those who go “this is an original work and I found this pell to go with it”. Like this one. Allow me to share my perspective :)

When I first discovered ccMixter, all I had were full instrumental mixes. The availability of pells appealed to me and that’s what made me explore ccMixter. I readily admit one reason for posting in ccMixter was to showcase my work. That was true then, and it’s still true now. But I’m mindful not to be seen as abusing the system. I wouldn’t just mix 3-secs of a pell to a 3min full-mix and call it a remix.

Like radiotimes, I will keep in mind the merits of including samples as part of a full mix. However, I kinda prefer uploading samples separately. There are a few reasons for that but I’ll just say ccMixter appears to be set up that way (when I look at the upload form).

I think the crux of s.c mixer’s question is really about the uploader’s intent. And intent can and should be judged over time. E.g. what’s the overall uploading behaviour of the user? Apart from a full mix, has the person shared samples, separately? Those might be better guidelines in deciding the fate of an upload/ uploader.

I understand what fourstones is saying about “tracks that use nothing but the pell+100% original tracks” being “musical conversation stoppers.” But I humbly disagree. Cos lately I’ve been able to re-use full-mixes as part of my remix, like this and this one. To me, those full mixes have added to the musical conversation I was trying to create. Btw those mixes were done before I read this thread so I’m not deliberately making this up.

Finally, I believe that ccMixter has a built-in fail-safe “conversation extender”: it’s the fact that all uploads have to adopt some form of Creative Commons license. A CC-license automatically allows the conversation to be continued, whether a fullmix or otherwise. Also, it’s more than just extending it musically. ccMixter allows non-musicians to use the stuff here in their videos or presentations etc. I see ccMixter as more than just a place for musicians. It’s ultimately about extending creative conversations.
permalink   fourstones Mon, Aug 31, 2009 @ 12:09 AM
You’re welcome to disagree with me, but you’d be disagreeing with the facts - not my opinion about how life should be, but how the site actually works.

The percentage of ‘pells that are remixed are currently running about 75% (down from over 90% at one point).

The percentage of samples remixed have held steady about 50% since site inception.

The percentage of remixes that have been used in a remix (where no stems are supplied) is less than 2%.

You guys can hem and haw about the utility of uploading stems to a remix, but it’s pretty clear to me that the community has spoken on the matter.

You are allowed to use the site as a producer’s showcase, but you will never be encouraged to do so and (here comes opinion:) it’s a shame when it happens because it means the remix conversation is effectively over. There are 1000’s of producer’s showcase sites out on the Web, but I don’t know of many (any?) other remix conversation sites where the point of the site is to remix each other and so, yes, I think it’s a shame when musicians upload in such a way as to limit the unique aspects of this site.

permalink   spinmeister Mon, Aug 31, 2009 @ 1:04 AM
eehhmm - now I have to confess, that your strong “conversation stopper” sentiment wasn’t obvious to me until that particular post.

Did I just sleep through that potentially rather significant social convention, or is it an under-publicized one?

Should we maybe have a campaign to encourage / celebrate stem uploads to past remixes, thus maybe giving that a good cultural boost?

p.s. One issue to be considered by uploaders arises from licensing issues around commercial sample libraries. The commercial libraries I use typically allow total freedom to incorporate their samples in mixed musical works to publish as one pleases. However re-publishing such a commercial loop in it’s raw form would likely be a license violation in letter and spirit. So there has to be some sensitivity to that. e.g. upload such samples only in the context of a submix stem and/or some other reasonably serious audio mangling. So that requires a bit of thought before uploading stems.
permalink   essesq Tue, Sep 1, 2009 @ 11:03 AM
Only with regard to Garageband’s loop library, my reading of the license is that you can do anything at all with the loops except publish them on their own as loops in the form they were supplied in. That’s my reading … as a consumer…not in any other capacity… :-). That would concur with your understanding of the licensing around your loop libraries.
permalink   Ivan Chew Tue, Sep 1, 2009 @ 8:05 AM
Thanks for clarifications, Victor. I hear you loud and clear. From now on, I’ll make it a point to upload stems as part of the full mix. Or as separate uploads, if I want to license it under a different CC license. Will let others decide if the samples are worth their time to continue the conversations. BTW, I second colab’s suggestion about making it clearer for people about uploading stems. Maybe a reminder at the upload page or after the successful upload for their remixed track. Cheers.
permalink   Tue, Sep 1, 2009 @ 10:56 AM
I was just reading this thread as it has developed and I feel the need to add one bit of further explanation. I have never uploaded a stem from a remix I did. For me, technically, it’s a pain in the butt, and the stuff I add to remixes is typically not mine or not that brilliant.

I guess VS’s point is that for this community to thrive it must have raw material on which to feed and those who come to snuffle at the trough must also throw in a pail full of slop for the others lest the trough run dry. I suspect a lot of people assume their stuff is not good or usable, and to them I reply you just never know. The last person who will appreciate the potential of your work is you.

Stems represent a pretty neat contribution because in addition to being musical snippets they also have been put forward in a context. If the whole song is represented in the stems then they also form a remix pack for people to rearrange without adding anything original which is a great starting point for fledgling remixers.

As has been said before, the beauty of this community is that it’s possibilities and opportunities are endless. All it takes is a bit of generosity and courage to nudge it further toward that limitless potential.
permalink   Ivan Chew Wed, Sep 2, 2009 @ 11:06 AM
Quote: essesqFor me, technically, it’s a pain in the butt…
Because it requires effort, it’ll be seen as a genuine act of reciprocity. :)
permalink   fourstones Wed, Sep 2, 2009 @ 12:16 PM
heh - there’s a world of philosophy to discuss between gifting and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, on the more practical side: I try think ahead when creating a remix so that as I’m creating the piece, I’m thinking about whether a given track will end up a stem or not - specifically in fx bus routing and bouncing tracks.

I haven’t used GarageBand enough, but most other tools I’ve used (FL studio and Ableton specifically) it is pretty easy to select a track and render it as long as I’ve taken the steps ahead of time to make sure it’s ready to go.

The tough part is listening to the stem isolated and realizing that it’s a sucky performance which, inevitably, leads me back to fixing it and making the overall remix all that much better - iow, a side benefit of exposing the stems forces me to make better remixes. This is not a problem for more disciplined musicians/producers.
permalink   essesq Wed, Sep 2, 2009 @ 1:46 PM
I haven’t used Garageband enough either. LOL :-). The only way I would know to render a stem would be to solo it and render the resulting “song”.

GB may be funny in that it seems to prefer you pile on midi (virtual instrument in GB language) tracks, to audio ones. This is the opposite of what my old version of Cubase used to do, granted it was entry level. It wouldn’t care how many audio tracks you bounced in so there was an opportunity to take the midi’s and bounce them back in (never did). GB has already told me I had too many audio tracks on a project, and I didn’t have that many.

Your points are well taken. My attitude may be part laziness and part lack of experience (which gets back to laziness… got me). I don’t rout my FX for instance, they go right on the track I’m working on. I have one piece of computing hardware, my Mac, and the only hardware I use is the midi controller and my mic. I’ve seen this word “bus”, but I’d be better using it to get around town than to produce music :-). At least when I am panning I don’t still look for nuggets of gold (except the audio kind).

I’ve been away from doing anything organized with music production for a long time, but your comments have made me think about my approach, and how much I miss it.

At this time of year when I am dishing out voluminous speeches about work ethic to my kids, it’s only fair it gets tossed back at me. Thanks Dad (no he’s not really my dad ….).
permalink   Tue, Oct 6, 2009 @ 3:32 PM
I have started lecturing at a drama school and one of the conversations we had was about odd film industry terms.

`Best Boy’ for instance. Its a term for the person responsible for moving a camera somehow i.e on a track ect.

The title is historical and bears no resemblance to the job.

The word Remix for me is the same. Its an historical summation of the process of reforming a single sound or collected sonic parts into a new work through, but not limited to, addition, manipulation, composition and re arrangement.

And for me those who only treat the site like Myface will only ever have a limited view of its true potential.