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To Mix or not to Mix!

permalink   Thu, Nov 1, 2012 @ 9:12 PM
Following on from the comments made on Bocrews Sunbirds mix I think it’s fair to say that CCmixter has moved away from being a true remix site and more to a self promotional one.

Yes to submit a mix you need to include a CCM sample but even the smallest part seems to do the trick!

I’m as guilty of this as anyone. Look at my last remix. Lots of me and a bit of Javolenus. Albeit a lovely bit!!:o)

Maybe there should be two submission areas. One for those who like the challenge of taking a number of samples and moulding them into a remix - possibly with a minimum of say 3 samples to be used (snare,kick and highhat? Sorry just joking)and another for mixes that use anything just to get the music heard.

You could even start insisting each week that only certain samples can be used from a selection made by a different person each week and maybe… well you get the idea. As its voting time lets all have a vote to say do we like CCM as it is or do we want to go back to the drum and bass mode so popular with the real remix crowd.

Personally I think the music that can now be heard on CCM is fantastic. Great range of stuff with something for everyone.

What I think CCM gives me via the various people who so kindly upload samples is inspiration. Whether that comes from one small sample or several does not matter. So for that I am grateful to everyone who uploads.

I also think M & M’s should put more of the blue ones in the bag but that’s just getting too personal´╝ü
permalink   Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 4:29 AM
I think think there are two reasons people get involved in sites like ccM. One is to hear non-commercial music, the other is to get recognition for their own creative skills. The current guidelines for uploading allow people to get involved according to their talents and motives without being too ‘rule bound’.

Often samples are so altered as to be unrecognizable (re-pitched, beat shifted, vocodered, reversed), or mixed so low as to be inaudible. Sometimes they’re combined beautifully to make a new statement. And since creativity is in the ears of the beholder, it’s up to the people who listen to decide which uploads attract attention and which do not.

On any given music site there are always ways to dance on the edge of the rules, or beat the system, or manipulate your stats through political means. But in the end most tracks get ‘one listen’ (if that) and then we’re on to the next batch of uploads. Peace out.
permalink   Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 8:55 AM
Radiotimes and Panu, you both make some very good points.

I am of three minds on this issue. On the one hand, I do not favor those remixes that are simply someone putting a tiny bit of sample into their song to just showcase a song under the guise of a “remix”. Similarly, I run into too many “samples” which hover on the border of being fully mixed songs, on the edge of where they might be curated as outside the ToS. On the second hand, I really enjoy when people take samples and completely morph and change them, much more than I like where sample A is simply beat-matched to beat-track B and then tied to vocal ‘pella C. I personally see ccMixter as a sample resource rather than a place to simply do the (gurdonark mix) of someone’s song. In my third mind, though, I appreciate that people love to hear their samples in the remixes, not to hear foreign sounds derived from their samples. So I am not sure that I would have any of the various solutions that radiotimes mentions, but I do understand the issue. I favor creative use of samples, and not using samples as a tea bag to minimally comply with the terms of service so that one can merely showcase a fully mixed song + 1 or 2 samples.
Admiral Bob
permalink   Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 8:59 AM
Speaking only for me here.

Those of us who watch the site are certainly aware of the dilemma: content included to “barely qualify” a song for the site.

If you’ve ever read Victor’s biography of the site, you’ll find that one of the reasons he yanked the ability to post full mixes was because this sort of material didn’t get a lot of take up. People don’t listen to it, they don’t interact with it, they don’t remix it.

ccMixter is a music community. And by that, I mean an actual community. Not something like Reverbnation, etc. where people spam each other a lot in order to move up the charts. That isn’t community, that’s just the sound of self-promotion reverberating around an empty room.

People who do this “barely qualify” music just hurt themselves. Music of Sunbirds calibre would probably have twice that number of recs (sits at 14 right now) if it were truly participative.

I don’t think the site requires major changes. Maybe we admins need to get just a touch tougher on people who “barely qualify.” And I think the events help too. Secret mixters drown out this sort of stuff, and the theme periods we do (Emergence, etc.) tend to drown it out too.

Community is built on sharing. All we have to do is make sure the opportunities to share are plentiful, and that the avenues for solitary self promotion go as unrewarded as possible.

Just my $.02.
permalink   Snowflake Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 11:12 AM
Great points Admiral. I was writing mine at the same (but on a plane so took longer with the interruptions). I didn’t even see yours first! We seem aligned……? :)
permalink   SackJo22 Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 11:18 AM
Hear! Hear!
permalink   Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 11:10 AM
This is a great thread. As admins, we’ve been trying to keep an eye on the spirit of remixing here at ccM for a while now. I feel ccMixter works because of its original premise that emphasizes sharing, and Victor’s philosophy and creativity is something we’re committed to upholding.

What makes ccMixter unique is collaboration, not self-promoting. If you wan to self-promote, there are great sites that serve that purpose (Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Jamendo, etc.). ccMixter is all about creating, together. I’ve found nothing like ccM anywhere else on the web — the synergetic power of “us” vs. the singular force of “me”. I feel there is something very special that happens with the co-creation here at ccM — I never want to lose that. I’d rather stay small and different than become like everyone else.

We as admins don’t want to be a digital music police force — but the spirit of ccM requires you post your stems — ALWAYS. If you aren’t remixing someone else, technically your track is a sample pack — that should be uploaded using a sample submit form, with individual stems available for download. It is not a remix. You can post a preview of the track for folks to hear, but the STEMS are what makes ccM work.

If you’re a songwriter, it is likely you submit pells, sometimes with samples too. The best practice is to upload using the a cappella submit form, and include individual stems for vocal, backing vocals, drums, bass, other samples, etc. as additional files to download as part of the sample song.

A true remix is built upon the works of someone else here at ccM. And even in a true remix, you should include your stems as separate files available for download for the community to then remix too. Folks have not been doing such a great job with this these days :(

In summary, ccM is about collaboration — “us” not “me” . Always include your stems! And if you’re not remixing someone else here, upload as a pell or samples, not a remix.

Of course we all welcome everyone’s thoughts. The collective is what ccM is all about.

permalink   vo1k1 Sun, Nov 11, 2012 @ 4:45 PM
FWIW, I joined ccMixter after an extensive search for online music communities that supported rich interaction. At the time, I was surprised by how many online offerings were variations on mechanisms for promoting a a music product. It was exciting and refreshing to find ccMixter. My own contributions span from mixes that use a site acapella and original instrumental tracks (uploading the stems when time permits); remixes where all content is from another member; and points between. I’m relatively certain that there is no other site that both embraces that freedom of participation, as well as provides the practical features to enable with little restriction. Pretty unique and wonderful.
permalink   onlymeith Mon, Nov 12, 2012 @ 2:07 PM
I completely agree with you vo1k1.
I subscribe all your words.
permalink   Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 11:11 AM
Quote: radiotimes
You could even start insisting each week that only certain samples can be used from a selection made by a different person each week and maybe… well you get the idea.

I like the idea of having focus on samples on a regular basis. Let’s explore this more!
permalink   Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 11:14 AM
This is a pertinent and timely conversation. I truly appreciate what everyone has to say.

As Admiral Bob indicated, on the back end, we do try to keep an eye out for folks who appear to abuse the spirit of ccMixter. And it is unfortunate when such abuses do take place. However, in my experience, most community members value ccM for the creative opportunities and community support it makes possible more than as a venue for self-promotion.

The creative spirit of our community is clearly intact. I have observed changes in how community members interact with the site and source material, and it all seems to be in a state of ongoing evolution. When I first came along, there seemed to be more rap, more hip-hop than there seems to be these days. I have observed songwriters finding their voices in a new way and developing into producers as they garner inspiration from the wonderful source material made available on ccM. I have observed artists who used to upload remixes with no stems, uploading sample packs with their mixes. Artists began sharing more stems and source that tapped into classic “analog” sounds. And new sounds started emerging as exciting new styles to explore (for example, dubstep…) Even as stylistic trends come and go, ccMixter remains and continues to evolve as a vital creative center where we are afforded all types of inspiration and sonic possibilities witihin the broad mantle of sharing culture.

I believe as long as we maintain the spirit of sharing — our music and our care — that defines its philosophical core, ccM will continue to be a relevant, productive, inspiring, and supportive place to make and experience music.

And like Snowflake said — STEMS PLEASE!
permalink   Fri, Nov 2, 2012 @ 6:43 PM
Hmm, and just the other day I was saying to myself Am I the only one listening and saying to myself - that’s not a remix or that’s not a sample. On the few occasions I’ve written as much in a ‘review’ I’ve felt like an unauthorized sheriff. So it’s good to see other’s are also noticing. Maybe it would be good for admins to lodge a gentle reminder on uploads that are not ‘in keeping…’. After all, it says (in all caps) on the sample upload page FULLY MIXED TRACKS WILL BE DELETED. But are they?

In the end I think those who upload marginally qualifying mixes or mixed tracks as samples will not get very much encouragement and probably not stay long. Again, it would be good in those cases if an admin could leave a ‘review’ asking (or requiring) that they comply.

Anyway, my two cents - I’d like to see it remain a remix community. I think it’s a rare thing we have here and it may take active enforcement of a couple basic rules to keep it so.

A mixed track without stems is not a sample.
A track with less than ten percent(?) sampled is not a remix. (It is however a valid source for remixing if the original stems are included.)
permalink   Sat, Nov 3, 2012 @ 7:14 AM
While uploading samples for sharing is laudable and necessary to what we do at ccM, I can understand songwriters and/or remixers who don’t want to upload their best work using a creative commons license. Once you upload a sample or acapella to the net it is fair game for anyone to use. Using a CC BY NC ND license or even deleting the original upload is no guarantee that your work will be attributed correctly or used in a way you would approve of.

The words and music you crafted so carefully can easily wind up in a mix sliced, diced, chopped and completely out of context on the net or on the sound system of a club charging admission. This is the same risk you take playing live - someone may steal the best part of your lyric or your guitar solo and have a field day with it.

I agree sharing samples is important. I do think the contributor should have total control as to which and how much of their work is contributed to the sample pool.
permalink   Admiral Bob Sat, Nov 3, 2012 @ 9:04 AM
I agree with you. I for one don’t share stems for everything I do (most of it, but not all of it.) I have a few songs where I have it the way I want it, and kind of want to lock it in that way, for sentimental reasons.

There are lots of great places where you can share finished pieces in the format you want them out there… iTunes, Soundclick, etc. I have never seen ccMixter as the one and only place where I’m going to put music out. I suspect many of us may have that kind of split personality.

I would say I am about 90% a sharer, and the other 10% a “mine, keep out” kinda guy. ;-)

I tend not to worry too much about whether I’ve inspired someone to do something greater with a spark I gave them, though. Not only is it flattering when someone takes your stuff higher, but it is gratifying when art takes full flower in the hands of collaborators who can do more together than they can alone.
permalink   Sun, Nov 4, 2012 @ 3:47 PM
To be honest I can’t believe some of the statements made in this thread. Firstly if anyone has ever listened to Bocrews work over the 6 years and their 481 mixes submitted here you would know that most contain full rap pells. They have never uploaded seperated stems but then thousands of mixes and even the majority of ED Pics made and supported by Admins have not, yet no one has brought them to task. In fact while it would be nice, I have never seen a statement here to say separate stems must always be uploaded if the music is not created from the site as uploading the mix is `sharing’ is it not ? What’s more from what I can see is they posted just one link to their new web site in their remix notes , ( thats self promotion on one out of 481) and now seem to be tarred with hi jacking the site for personal gains and acting `not in the spirit of CC Mixter’ ???

Personally I am grateful for their work and those who seem to always require separate stems to work with I must deduce are only limited by their imagination.

As an example let’s take one of those ` barely qualifying remixes’ by Bocrew `Momentum,’ featuring a tiny sample of Sivia O.
Now here’s my mix , and note that the fully mixed material was also used in another two remixes
Here’s the acapella I gave back based on Bocrews music which in turn created 22 new mixes by other people. (24 including the use of the mixed track.)
and finally before you click the next link which is just one of those 22 mixes think about that `community’ statement and please note: I am not advocating , you should like, REC and comment on everyone but this was not a great welcome for someone who clearly was inspired by my work with Bocrews ` mixed’ track to upload here in 2009 for the first time ever , was clearly asking for support, didn’t get it and has never been seen or uploaded since. Thankfully at least one other contributor to this thread was there to at least Rec.

Besides the remixes here the `I Wonder’ remixes now command 10 Google pages of cross references to additional videos and external work and all because Bocrew uploaded and shared their work under Creative Commons for me in turn to work with.

I would say finally that `original tracks with fully sung vocals’ are I imagine the type that Victor Stone originally meant as `will be deleted on sight’ as they give no true access to others but even then they are placed into CC and often have something someone can use.
permalink   MC Jack in the Box Sun, Nov 4, 2012 @ 9:18 PM
I’ve gotta agree with pretty much all of your points. I’m not a fan of playing the system to get around the rules to have something uploaded, which I think happens on occasion. But having been around since the beginning, I think the rule about uploading instrumental mixes without stems or attribution is vague and ambiguous. But I don’t think Victor ever really wrote an original SOP on the matter either. Many of the original rules were meant to conform with CC standards and/or try to protect the submitting artists. I personally would favor instrumentals being allowed much like pellas are allowed. And while I love and appreciate all the hard work my fellow admins do with enforcing and policing the policies, I question how much time and effort is involved to enforce more rules. Especially vague and ambiguous ones.

Oh, and hi! Long time!
permalink   Snowflake Mon, Nov 5, 2012 @ 9:58 PM
uploading stems is cool, but tracks aren’t banned without them.

i’m drinking a bloody mary or two on a plane and i’ve enjoyed the conversation here. i do love the way we work together as a community to come to a great place of balance. when i’m a little more sober i may chime in again……

thanks to all of you for contributing — your music, your opinions, and your stems dammit — hahahah!!!

permalink   Snowflake Mon, Nov 5, 2012 @ 9:58 PM
uploading stems is cool, but tracks aren’t banned without them.

i’m drinking a bloody mary or two on a plane and i’ve enjoyed the conversation here. i do love the way we work together as a community to come to a great place of balance. when i’m a little more sober i may chime in again……

thanks to all of you for contributing — your music, your opinions, and your stems dammit — hahahah!!!

permalink   Loveshadow Tue, Nov 6, 2012 @ 11:14 AM
…so tipsy you posted it twice :-)
permalink   Snowflake Wed, Nov 7, 2012 @ 1:01 PM
hahaha! you caught me :)
permalink   radiotimes Mon, Nov 5, 2012 @ 4:37 AM
Just to clarify matters as I started the thread. My post was not intended to be a criticism of Bo Crews method of uploading mixes. As I mentioned in my first post I’m as guilty as anyone at times. All I was trying to do was highlight the way CCM now accepts remixes and to express my view that I think it’s great we can have a site that accepts our uploads even if sometimes we only include a small sample.
permalink   Loveshadow Mon, Nov 5, 2012 @ 8:49 AM
I hear you RT but . It just makes me laugh to hear people talking about , getting tough on remixers, demanding Stems, drowning out and marginalising improper behaviour against some imaginary rule book, saying what is a sample and what is a remix.( Someone should tell David Guetta)

Anyway I should keep your head down RT, you have 264 mixes and from what I can see only one upload with stems. It’s only a matter of time and the CC Police know where you are ! `Evenin all’…He he..:-)
permalink   Snowflake Mon, Nov 5, 2012 @ 9:52 PM
you better watch out! i will soon be spying on you like the CIA! lol

don’t you agree it is part of the spirit of ccM to remix not self-mix? almost everyone here remixes. including stems is great because it enables folks to keep the “mixversation” going. don’t you think? i don’t always include my stems in a remix, but, it is a remix, not a self-mix. if i’m putting up my own song, i put up the pell & stems (you do too jeff?)…have i had too much vodka? :)
permalink   Loveshadow Tue, Nov 6, 2012 @ 11:13 AM
I do agree entirely that stems are nice to have but I am concerned in the principles and tone expressed here that anyone who does not do that is not in the spirit of ccM.

People engage with the site in many ways, around 3500 people signed up this year according to the stats, and a loose but generous estimate is that perhaps only 200 or so at best contribute regularly. So what are they are the rest doing here ? (That’s rhetorical) There are people who put up stems and samples and don’t mix and there are a lot of samples on here that no one goes to find as they only comment, mix or engage with the recent upload page.

There are stems,samples, and pells arriving on a regular basis. So unless there is something we are not seeing out here then the site doesn’t feel as broke as this thread suggests it is.
*** Topic deleted by author ***
permalink   Snowflake Tue, Nov 6, 2012 @ 1:49 PM
Hey colab —

I think I didn’t communicate very clearly. You don’t self remix — I love your work and every track I’ve heard of yours is actually a remix of content here on the site. There are a couple of folks that upload tracks that contain no samples from ccM and call them remixes, instead of uploading them as samples and including their stems.

Thanks for the conversation and your input.
permalink   Speck Tue, Nov 6, 2012 @ 5:15 AM
Yes, of course you are correct. I too can, have and do make remixes from full tracks. Maybe there should be an additional option on the upload page to upload fully mixed tracks. And maybe change the name to ccMusic. That would be fine. And fair. But I would miss the old ccMixter.

But then, I am the type who gets a little bothered every time the grocery store re-arranges it’s stock. And stops carrying the food I like. (Dammit, no more lentil pilaf?) And what’s with Polaner All Fruit that has three ingredients, two of which aren’t fruit?
permalink   Admiral Bob Tue, Nov 6, 2012 @ 1:36 PM
It is great that you’ve remixed things that aren’t stems. You’re certainly not the only one, I’ve even done it.

But the fact is that it is relatively rare. Most uploads that aren’t really remixes, and which aren’t stems… well, they just sit there.

Are there exceptions? Yes, and you’ve noted a couple. But these kinds of uploads don’t see the take-up that material uploaded explicitly for remix sees.

I don’t think ccMixter has to be all things to all people, personally.

The design of the site, with its rich attribution trees and sample listening features, makes it particularly well suited to remixing with stems.

For whatever reason, the culture of the site does - by and large - leave behind those who try and bend the edges of this design. That isn’t universally true, but it is generally true.

For however far “I Wonder if God was Sleeping” reached, its success remains a combination of your great talent and happy anecdote: there are pages and pages of files where nothing really happened - no further interaction with anyone on the site, either in recs hit, remixes done, or anything at all.

On Soundclick, that’s fine. It just hosts stuff, and hopefully serves up enough ads to pay for it. ccMixter, on the other hand, is a bit more ambitious. It was meant to be an experiment in seeing whether collaboration could take place in an organic, self-selected fashion. And if Victor is to be believed, some types of source music contributions clearly didn’t demonstrate that hypothesis.

ccMixter’s collaboration model works not because of a happy accident - but because a theory of interaction was tried - and then refined. There’s a reason all those undergrads like to run studies here.
permalink   Loveshadow Wed, Nov 7, 2012 @ 5:04 AM
Firstly as far as I know, except a server clearout or closure of the site, there are no `sell by dates’ on the sample pool either remixed or stems. They exist for access by anyone now or in the future when they inspire total creativity or just plug the hole in an arrangement. Duckett just remixed the mixed archives and got Ed Picked. So let them sit there.

Likewise there are great samples never used as it’s often easier to just go add your own parts to a newly uploaded pell in the rush to be the next top reviewed track.

Secondly there is a tendency to upload the `mixed ’ instrumental as a stem. Without the pell that helped its creation it’s no more than an Original track in hiding often with no ccM samples present, so why not stop that too ?

Thirdly , there are many tracks where the vocal is clearly just not a part of the remix but the backing track is great and so the percentage of vocal used qualifies it as remix. The fact is, it does not matter how the process begins or ends as the gift and sharing of the work is still intact.In either case what we would like to encourage is a break down of that work to its constituent parts, but not remove them because they don’t comply( unless that becomes a direct ruling or a burden in server costs).

As for the reach of the `I Wonder’mix it may serve your comment to say that it was all down to me and avoid again the basis for my inspiration which was BOCrews mixed track without which it would not exist. Like wise the 100’s of hours other people, mixers and videographers have added to that initial root which I had nothing to do with.

Sonically there is no way that my inspiration and that ongoing Mixervation on that track would have begun with a drum stem even though for someone else it might do.

The culture should be to embrace people and encourage not `drown them out ’ with another Secret Mixter so they will hopefully be left behind.

And finally if you read Victors memoir the ccM model exists indeed because of a happy accident born out of the mutual want to change a legal straitjacket that survived to some surprise I believe after a remix competition. The reason studies are run is not only to see genetically how it began but to analyse why, in the face of improbability, it even continues.

There is no theory , there is no spoon.

permalink   Fri, Nov 9, 2012 @ 6:51 AM
Are there any conclusions to be drawn from all this?
permalink   Subliminal Fri, Nov 9, 2012 @ 8:44 AM
We still love each other? ;-)
permalink   SackJo22 Fri, Nov 9, 2012 @ 9:33 AM
Yes we do love each other. Always.
permalink   Snowflake Sat, Nov 10, 2012 @ 9:54 AM
yes, we love each other! this is a place where all our collective opinions and guidance matter. together we decide the direction of our community. thanks to all for sharing on this thread. we’re working on proposing some “best practice” guidance for your input…..
permalink   MC Jack in the Box Sun, Nov 11, 2012 @ 11:56 PM
Quote: SubliminalWe still love each other? ;-)
permalink   Numeron Fri, Nov 9, 2012 @ 11:29 AM
Quote: timbermanAre there any conclusions to be drawn from all this?

Yes…time for a drink? Yes! This is still the loveliest place on the internet - cheers everyone!