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So, it’s almost the end of semester. All the readings have been done and I’ve added in some additional things related to me and the music industry as a whole.
To finish up, the links below are for my html website which hosts my soundscape and timelapse, a link to my eventual NW STILLS web page and my delicious account.

http://daftwho.com/folio/nwstills/
http://raws.adc.rmit.edu.au/~s3285807/
http://www.delicious.com/nikkichook

The Apolitical Irony of Generation Mash-up: A Cultural Case Study in Popular Music by Michael Serazio

Although this article by Michael Serazio covers majority of the topics discussed in previous blog posts and readings, the author does raise some interesting perspectives related to the purpose and role of mashups in today’s society. Serazio discusses various pivotal case studies such as Danger Mouse’s Grey Album saga and Christina Aguilera and The Stroke’s mashup by Hellraiser. The article then discusses the validation of the mashup art from the perspectives of lawyers, artists and music business personnel.

One of the most interesting points made by Serazio is the idea that mashups are to create elements of “irony, empowerment and reappropriation.” Although this point isn’t described explicitly in the essay, it is a very relevant and valid point. Many artists may or may not have a reason for creating mashups except for entertainment purposes and to imitate famous DJs throughout the world. However Serazio’s explanation of mashups creating irony in a piece of music is highly true. Irony in the sense that the two or more piece of music combined in the mashup would probably never be featured on the same physical stage and therefore the bringing together of these pieces of music is relatively ‘ironic’. The idea of empowerment in mashups I believe could be described as a new music enthusiast being given the power to produce their own music, even though they aren’t working with the original artist directly and they’re not working from a recording studio. Finally, appropriation seems like a fitting way

comparison to mona lisa and Marcel Duchamp moustache (respect for self or expose secret)

Simplifying Podcasting by Prachi Parashar Panday

This piece is dedicated to outlining the basics of podcasting. That is, what they are, how they are used, where they can and should be adopted into every day life and answers to common “questions, queries and apprehensions”. Prachi Parashar Panday speaks a lot about the benefits of educational and corporate arenas using podcasting in their operations and even backs this up by appealing to the psychology of podcasting and other audio-related activities. The explanation for why podcasts should be used more widely include: Audio plays a very important role in the learning process. Audio has a few characteristics that text lack. Audio can have a significant impact on understanding of some information. Often, we understand better in a face-to-face lecture than when we read the same content on our own. According to Clark and Walsh, “listening is instinctual, [whereas] reading and writing are not”. Although, further into the article Panday suggests that “everyone is a different type of learner” and therefore, although podcasts may be a good learning tool for some, they may not be for others.

Panday’s ideas for podcasting allowing for multiple different students who are studying different subjects collaborating and creating a podcast is quite viable. Because it is a fairly new technology, many young people would be interested in experimenting with the idea. The essay also explains the multitude of purposes that people can use podcasts, some of which I hadn’t personally considered before reading the piece. For example documenting a holiday, recording assignments for university or school and weekly newsletters were some of the ideas that I hadn’t considered prior to reading the article. Although this piece was relatively straight forward and explained a lot of background information which I already knew, there was some great information about podcasts which I hadn’t considered before.

The Music Industry has experienced a drastic evolutionary change in recent history, with the rise of the Internet and in particular Web 2.0. The developments have markedly been in relation to the consumption and production of music. Henry Jenkins believes that it is the cultural practices being adopted by music consumers and creators which is the underlying element in understanding our current “media landscape” (Jenkins 2006).  It is, however, important to understand that it is the technologies themselves which began to shape the behaviours of those involved in the Music Industry. These technological advancements have created new and simpler connectivity between makers and consumers of music. Without digital technology and the web, the ease by which we access music would otherwise have altered little. It is because these technologies have grown rapidly and are readily accessible that they have been so easily adopted by individuals. It is this phenomenon that has shaped “our current moment in media transition (Jenkins 2006).” With the freedom to access and create music, a minefield of legal consequences has risen in its path, namely Copyright.

So how did this situation arise?

The Music Business and Recording Industry E-Book (Hull 2010, 30 & 31) refers to the Music Industry moving from an ‘Agricultural Age’ around a millennium ago, to the Industrial Age in the 1800s and finally the Information Age/Digital Age in recent times. The author explains that these periods held key changes in the music industry. Music, originally, was played by troubadours, court musicians, jongleurs – the original live music act.  Lovers of music had to be in the same arena to enjoy the sound and be involved with the performance. In the Industrial Age, music began to be made more readily available to lovers of music via products such as sheet music, records and mass media.  Amateur musicians could purchase their favourite music in consumable media formats and perform for their own pleasure or personal development. Then, in the Information Age/Digital Age in which we are still living, music has been transformed into content which is digitally delivered through technology such as the Internet and mobile phones.  Even though music has been shared through various mediums over time, it is, however, only relatively recently that music has been shared in a reproduced format. It is the evolution of how music is created and shared that has initiated the illegal exchange of music between people.

Humans have always created music. Instruments have been designed and played over centuries. Today, music can be created without instruments. The advent of digital audio workstations, such as Pro Tools, Logic and Reason, have brought music to the people – all people whether they are musical artists or not.  This development has enabled music enthusiasts to record and remix music in the comfort of their own homes. In past times, musicians had to save for a session in the recording studio. The ability for musicians to have their music recorded professionally was a fairly rare and highly expensive endeavour. These days, those with some spare money enthusiasts and would be pop idols are able to purchase recording devices and programs and produce similar results as recordings done in a professional recording studio.

Another significant invention that enabled people to produce home recordings was the “Musical Instrument Digital Interface in 1981 or more commonly referred to as MIDI which is a communication protocol” (Homer 2009, pp91) that enables compatible devices, such as MIDI keyboards, to be linked with computers. As a result of these programs and inventions, “there are more people today than ever before who are involved in creating music” Geronimo (2010). Some sources believe this means “the music industry is being flooded with [low quality] music,” (Chris Standring) and has resulted in the music industry becoming saturated with material. This has made it more difficult for Artist & Repertoire agents to sift through the vast sea of what is considered largely “mediocre music” (University of Washington 2010) to find what is marketable and worthwhile music. These amateur musicians have the capability to then market themselves on the Internet. This is being done without any legal guidance. For example, if their music is uploaded to Limewire, it then becomes available to the general population who are also using Limewire. Indiscriminate downloading of musical content automatically breaches copyright.

The greatest negative consequence of music having become so widely and easily available to the general public is the rise in breaches of Copyright law. The illegal activity of unauthorized downloading of music was spawned by P2P sharing services such as Limewire and Frostwire and more recently, torrents. The premise underlying these programs was that music should be freely available to users. Inadvertently, copyright laws were being disregarded as users reveled in free access to their favourite tunes. According to Copyright law, “it is illegal to download or share copyrighted materials such as music of movies without the permission of the copyright owner” (Ashley Kobi 2011), and any party who assists others in committing this crime is also infringing Copyright law. The program first caught violating these laws was Napster (who was sued by A&M Records in 2001) and the most recent case of Copyright infringement by a P2P service was Limewire (who was sued on two separate occasions by Arista Records on one occasion and over thirty other music publishers on the second occasion (Thomas Brannen 2008, 8).

Both of these programs were accused of the same law infringements by their respective plaintiffs: “Users directly infringing the plaintiff’s copyright, liability for contributory infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright and liability for vicarious infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright” (Thomas Brannen 2008, 8/15). In their defense, Napster claimed they were a search engine and invoked the protection of the “1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act” (Thomas Brannen 2008, 9), which supposedly protects “against liability for Copyright infringement for intermediaries or search engines” (Thomas Brannen 2008, 9/15), Napster also attempted to claim that users were “sampling music before making the decision to purchase the music” although neither of these defenses survived in court and Napster was “[liable] for US $26 million” (Thomas Brannen 2008, 12),   Limewire, on the other hand, claimed that none of the accusations could be proven without statistical evidence SCRIBD (2010, pp36). Although the Limewire case has not finished, there have been allegations made that Limewire is being sued for “US $75 trillion” (Chloe Albanesius, 2010).  Without having content filters or record labels as mediators in the process of downloading music, programs such as Limewire and Napster allowed music to “reach unprecedented levels of availability. From an institutional standpoint” (Woodworth 2004, pp3), Limewire and Napster transferred the responsibility to their users for not abiding by Copyright law. They should have, instead, of sought permission to share each of the individual songs that were made available on these P2P programs.

Copyright is not only being infringed in regards to illegal downloading platforms. Video, music and website remixing and mashups are part of the relatively new “remix culture”. This is where amateur music makers “are taking up the role of producers – to cut, paste, sample or jam with content in order to produce something which is distinctive of their own social and creative innovation” (O’Brien, Damien and Fitzgerald, Brian 2006, pp1).  However, in using others’ material in this manner means the new creator is breaching the “exclusive rights of the copyright owner” (O’Brien, Damien and Fitzgerald, Brian 2006, pp3) which include the “reproduction, copying, adaptation and performance” of the original work. The only legal way for these pieces of work to be used is by gaining permission from the original artist or if they are under a free use license such as Creative Commons. The Grey Album case study is an example of why Copyright laws are now outdated in today’s “current media landscape”, where sharing, remixing, mashing and collaborating are generally accepted practices in society.

One of the most controversial case studies involving remixing and the subsequent infringements of Copyright is Danger Mouse’s “Grey Album” saga. This piece of work combined the instrumentation from the Beatles’ White Album with the vocals from Jay Z’s Black Album. Initially Danger Mouse received a “cease and desist” letter from EMI/Capitol. However, when the album was rapidly spread through P2P services, both Danger Mouse and the people who were sharing the album on their websites were threatened to be sued as well (McLeod 2005, pp1). These threats led to an online protest against EMI/Capitol where over “150 websites hosted the album” (The Globe and Mail 2004), and made it available for free download on their respective sites. Although it can be argued that this new work was innovative and brought two separate artists together who would perhaps never perform on the same physical stage, from a legal perspective, the creation of the Grey Album was a criminal act.  It denied the original artists their due in both acknowledgement and financial gain via purchase of rights to their original music.

The original purpose of copyright was to “serve[d] twin roles as guarantees of economic property and moral propriety” (Meisel & Sullivan, Mark Rose 2002). That is, Copyright was created to protect the originating author’s innovations, their works which reflected their personality, creative ideas and overall intentions. Copyright law also gave creators authority over how their original work could be used in future. Copyright also aimed to ensure that an individual’s work was attributed solely to the original creator in order to prevent others from gaining financially if they used another author’s work. Copyright did not entertain or allow for development of technologies that would easily breach these intentions. The ease by which individuals could connect, mix, mash and link as well as the extent to which individuals participated in these acts was unprecedented. It is a case of the law not pre-empting the ramifications of technology. “It seems that litigation has been the most common form of regulation throughout the history of copyright” (Woodworth 2004, pp5) instead of anticipating changes in technology and society and creating laws accordingly.

The music and other creative industry’s efforts to manage Copyright and authorship issues have been demonstrated through the development of an organization called Creative Commons. Works that are using Creative Commons use the symbol CC instead of C for regularly copyrighted material. Their aim is to “expand the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share” (Creative Commons). It also allows creative people to choose how they want their work to be shared and reused by others. For example there is a licence for attribution only, noncommercial use of works, a no derivatives licence and share alike licence. Each licence determines a different standard to which a particular work can be used from not being used at all to using the work on the condition that the work doesn’t gain financially. There are also licences that combine multiple of these standards. Although this concept is not yet being adopted by all creative people, it is a step in the right direction to enforce the law, but also understand the current status and function of creative industries, particularly the music industry.

It could be stated that technological advances throughout history have led to the increase in music creation by amateurs, however it was not until the Internet was invented and became widely used that Copyright became outdated. This was due to the abilities of web pages and associated programs to link with a community of computers and other technologies, which then resulted in the illegal distribution of creative works. These programs such as Limewire and Kazaa have suffered the consequences with large lawsuits being filed against them. The larger ability for people to access music has also led to the heightened appreciation for “remix culture” which is another concept which unfortunately also infringes copyright laws. If copyright laws are being infringed for multiple various reasons, the question must be asked why these laws aren’t being updated according to new technologies and advances and how exactly these issues will be approached in the future. I believe that it is the changes and advances in technology which has led to both an increase in the creation of music, but also a rise in copyright infringements. It could therefore be determined that the rise in technological advancements has had both positive and negative effects on the functionality and status of the music industry as a whole.

Bibliography

1.    Henry Jenkins (2006) “Eight Traits of the New Media Landscape”
http://henryjenkins.org/2006/11/eight_traits_of_the_new_media.html

2.    Geoffrey Hull (2010), Music Business and Recording Industry E-Book, “Understanding Music and Recording Business”, Hoboken: Routledge Publishing, ProQuest, pp30 & 31

3.    Matthew Homer (2009), “Beyond the Studio: The Impact of Home Recording Technologies on Music Creation and Consumption”, pp 91

4.    Geronimo (2010), SOUND SECTOR “Rant: Saturation, Is This Music Industry Getting Saturated”, http://soundsector.net/2010/03/19/rant-saturation-is-this-music-industry-getting-saturated/

5.    Chris Standring (Date Unknown) Music Biz Academy.com “Record Labels: Make Them Come to You”
http://www.musicbizacademy.com/articles/cs_labels2u.htm

6.    University of Washington (2010) “Peer to Peer File-Sharing and Copyright Infringement” – “What is the Copyright Issue?” http://www.washington.edu/students/gencat/policy/p2pshare.html#q2

7.     Ashley Kobi (2011), American University Intellectual Property Brief, “Limewire and Music Publishers Settle Copyright Case, Trial on Damages in Similar Case Filed by Record Companies Still Slated to Go Forward”, http://www.ipbrief.net/2011/03/11/limewire-and-music-publishers-settle-copyright-case-trial-on-damages-in-similar-case-filed-by-record-companies-still-slated-to-go-forward/

8.    Thomas Brannen (2008), Wiz IQ, “Case 4.1 – The Napster Case”, “Claims against Napster – Slide 8, 9 and 12/12 (Powerpoint) http://www.wiziq.com/tutorial/7640-Napster-Case-Study

9.    SCRIBD (2010), “Arista et al. v Lime Wire et al Summary Judgement” (Case manuscript) http://www.scribd.com/doc/31284309/Arista-et-al-v-Lime-Wire-et-al-summary-judgment

10.    Chloe Albanesius (2010), PC MAG.com, “Limewire Sued (Again) for ‘Massive’ Copyright Infringement” – News and Opinion, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2365177,00.asp
11.    Griffin Mead Woodworth (2004), “Hackers, Users and Suits: Napster and Representations of Identity”, Popular Music and Society Journal, 27, 2; ProQuest Central, pp 161 – 165, 3, 5

12.    O’Brien, Damien and Fitzgerald, Brian (2006), “Mashups, remixes and copyright law”, Internet Law Bulletin, 9(2): pp 1,3

13.    McLeod, Kembrew (2005), “Confessions of an Intellectual (Property): Danger Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Sonny Bono, and my Long and Winding Path as a Copyright Activist – Academic”, Vol 28 No 1, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, Popular Music and Society Journal; 28,1; ProQuest Central

14.    The Globe and Mail (2004), “Websites Stage Protest with Beatles Remix”, The Globe & Mail division of Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc, ProQuest, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/docview/383807912/12F195265A574575746/1?accountid=13552

15.    John B. Meisel, Timothy S. Sullivan, (2002) “The impact of the Internet on the law and economics of the music industry”, info, Vol. 4 Iss: 2, pp.16 – 22,http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=873940&show=abstract

16.    Creative Commons (Year Unknown), “About Creative Commons”, http://creativecommons.org/about

THE DIGITAL FUTURE OF AUTHORSHIP: RETHINKING ORIGINALITY by Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Kathleen Fitzpatrick seems to have written this article in an attempt to acknowledge the differences between writing and publishing written works in the real world and on the Internet or as a result of emerging technologies. The element of whether or not you’ll be published in the real world in comparison to the high likelihood or ability for one’s work to be re-published online is the main subject for the article. Fitzpatrick then expresses her belief that it is not necessarily the upcoming technological “tools” that we need to analyse and adapt to but in fact what the consequential technologies will require of us to use effectively. One interesting point she made was that “Web 2.0 may not in fact be the fear of loss of community, but the fear of loss of individuality” which to an extent I can believe because of the subsequent rise of appropriating other’s works through the Internet and related technologies, however, I think the argument for these new technologies “losing communities” could be looked at in two ways; either we are losing them because the internet encourages online communication instead of face to face and therefore the lack of relationships in reality but on the other hand communities are increasing because of the ways similarly minded people can collaborate and create through the internet.

Fitzpatrick also talks about the ideas of versioning, commenting and linking and how these linking strategies aim to create a web of networks as well as the idea of written works changing over time and whether this is a positive or negative effect of the advancements of technology. On one side of the argument, history in my eyes is static, the truth is the truth and this shouldn’t be changed, however when it comes to view points and opinions on historical events and matter, I guess these can be changed to suit the individual. This is what scares me about sites such as Wikipedia in that anyone can change information freely and one can never fully know when the information they are reading is truthful or completely fake. I like Fitpatrick’s idea on focussing on the gradual publication of works instead of the final publication when it is entirely completed.The author also explores the notions of remixing and remastering other’s works and how this behaviour has become acceptable in today’s society.

Although I think the author raises some interesting points of view and includes some useful and very relevant quotations, the type of prose adopted was dry and overly scholarly in style. What was covered in this fairly lengthy essay could have been covered in a page instead.

Remix and the Rouelles of Media Production Author Unknown

This reading explores the ability of common citizens to remix in today’s day and age and the viability of such behaviours in regards to music, art, video and literary works. Early in the piece, the author makes a comparison between the art of poetry and video remixes by including a direct quote from Louis Dudek – “If A thinks himself a better poet than B, let him stop hinting at it in the pages of an essay; let him re-write B’s poem and publish his own improved version”. I believe this is an interesting point because when poetry was a prevalent art form, remixing was not a common practice. I then pose the question as to whether the development of such technologies such as the Internet are the sole reason for the rise in remixing, mashing and appropriating.

The author then continues to analyse the types or distinctions of remixed work and more specifically the reason why remixers begin their art. For example it is described that people have different reasons for remixing different types of art including film clips, news pieces, trailers and music clips and that the reasons are often “social or community-oriented intentions” and at other times, the authors will have no specific intention. Finally, the author concludes by stating the importance of the person behind the remix. That is, the numerous hours spent in making these remixes in front of a computer screen and the additional hours spent allowing the work to be seen on the Internet. The one thing I did notice is that the author refers to this hypothetical “person” as a “she”. I’m not entirely sure why this generalisation was made.

CRASHING THE SPECTACLE: A FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF DIGITAL SAMPLING, INFRINGEMENT, COPYRIGHT LIBERATION AND THE END OF RECORDED MUSIC

By Kembrew McLeod

This article explored KFL (Kopyright Liberation Front) and their struggle to comprehend and abide to Copyright laws in regards to their unique music-related practices. They started in the remixing, mashing and sampling world in 1987 and since then have achieved quite an underground name for themselves. McLeod follows the triumphs and lows that KFL had with the legal system and their personal opinions on the music sharing community we live in currently.

McLeod mentions KFL’s prediction that technology would revolutionize the Music Industry and the ways in which music would be made. Now we see people making music in the privacy of their own home. These predictions were completely true. KFL seem to be radicals in everything they stood for and everything they did. McLeod also mentions a story in which the KFL crew put a carcass on the red carpet at the British Music Awards – I see it as making a statement and being entrepreneurs, some see it as unnecessary and attention seeking.

Throughout the piece, the author also includes quotes and KFL idealisms. It is proposed at one point that the Music Industry stop going down the route they are going and start again. This also makes sense to me. The emphasis on making good music has been replaced with that of making money through using Music within a business market. I believe this needs to be reversed once again.

White Summer Band Manifesto

White Summer are a band who I am currently doing work with. In fact, I’m sitting in their living room while I listen to them jam in the next room. Their bio goes a little something like this:

“It’s the eclectic orchestration of unified spontaneity”

The raw and mysterious “White Summer” pride themselves on creating down to earth, Blues and Roots infused rock. Originally residing from coastal town Phillip Island, Victoria, lead man and drummer Jimmy “James” Stanfield, guitarist Michael Barnsley and bassist Anthony Zielke are on a voyage to reacquaint music lovers with a taste of defiant blues-rock. With dreamy guitar riffs, gritty and at times haunting vocals as well as dynamic instrumental sections, the “White Summer” boys could be described as the lovechild of the Black Keys and Kings of Leon.  White Summer deliver their live shows with the energy of a protest song but the sincerity of a Bob Dylan classic.

White Summer Manifesto

It’s vital to embrace the sea air, to remind you where you’re from.

You should take life, day by day, minute by minute and enjoy the simplicities.

Thou shalt practice the indulgent act of musicianship, only when illuminated by a sleezy red light.

You will not abuse the old traditions of “sex, drugs and rock and roll” but you won’t ignore them either.

One must always put their music before cooking a decent meal or Spring cleaning.

Always remember to stay true and organic but allow your ego to show in doses.

Aim to reach a climax while ensuring your audience follow the journey there.

Allow your demons to show, let your guard down and play your music without fear.

Check out the band:

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/whitesummerband
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/White-Summer/179818295471
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/whitesummerband
Unearthed: http://www.triplejunearthed.com/whitesummer

A Short Manifesto on the future of Attention – An interesting concept, but a very hard thing to take over the world with. Attention is a psychological matter that cannot yet be purposefully changed. The only time it has been changed is through diseases and syndromes such as ADD which effect the person’s ability to concentrate for the usual amount of time. I must say though, if this was to go ahead, there’s a possibility that people would gain more knowledge and at a faster rate instead of an in depth knowledge in a long period of time.

Portishead Manifesto – What a simple and effective way of saying “Get lost!” to the Music Industry and it’s followers. This manifesto isn’t necessarily trying to make people abide by these rules, it’s merely expressing their own beliefs for the ways in which they want their music to be made, delivered and heard. I actually believe writing a manifesto for a band is a great idea. It’s the equivalent of creating a niche market through the image that the band portrays. Instead of doing this physically, it is done in writing and I believe listeners and potential listeners would be more likely to listen to the band’s music if they can relate to the people who create the music. Creates a sense of belonging.

The Anti-web Manifesto – I did have a laugh while reading this. I think this could just be an internet user who is slightly irritated by the minor annoyances that can be experienced while using the web. Look, it’s not a big deal and these things are being updated and fixed on a daily basis.