i was psyched to see this video today. i never knew they made a video. i think it's actually quite important as far as freedom of art is concerned. there is a very interesting story behind all of this.
Danger Mouse is a very talented DJ. He does alot of mashups -- combining two different songs together, ususally from different musical genres. In 2004 he made a mashup album that was quite controversial and i have been very interested in it all. He took the classc White Album from The Beatles and The Black Album from Jay-Z and combined them to come up with The Grey Album. He used these two albums because he respected these artists so much. Can you imagine how much work that must have been to produce an entire album redoing all the songs? I LOVE the art behind the mashups . . . i think because i took several sound editing classes in college so i know what is involved technically, but also because i just love music and i like to see the different things people come up with.
When he released The Grey Album online it was very well received and generated alot of buzz. Everyone was talking about it and EMI, who holds the copyright to the beatles album took action against him. he got a cease and dissist letter and was forced to take down all the tracks. It brings up the question: what is art? I think that using the beatles lyrics and music as a contribution towards a new piece of work should be an honor! it's not really stealing since he used only their acapella track. but, good old corporate america doesn't agree i suppose. according to the wikpedia entry:
Danger Mouse never asked permission to use The Beatles' material, and intended to produce a limited production run of 3,000 copies. Jay-Z's material, on the other hand, was commercially released in a cappella form. Although the work was copyrighted, it was released for the implicit purpose of encouraging mashups and remixes.
this act by the musc industry back in 2004 had a big backlash. several bloggers and people championing the "freedom of the internet" cause rebelled on Grey Tuesday.
An organization which dedicates itself to music activism, Downhill Battle led a web-based protest to EMI's actions on Tuesday, February 23rd (2004). Naming the event Grey Tuesday, over 170 web sites hosted a full copy of the Grey Album for 24 hours, despite the numerous cease-and-desist orders issued by EMI to ISP owners. This protest proved a great success; overall, Grey Tuesday yielded over 100,000 downloads in one day, amounting to over one million digital tracks.
i know this is all old news from two years ago, but these issues still come into play today. and The Grey Album was one of the first big controversies, but definately not the last. It will be interesting to see how the music industry keeps evolving to handle both the internet and the new technologies available to new artists using this medium.
Luckily, all the lawsuits were dropped and today you can download all the tracks from The Grey Album (through blog torrent) if you are so inclined. but for an easy sample of the mashup, check out the video for the track Encore which features black-and-white footage from the beatles movie A Hard Day's Night and concert footage of artist Jay-Z in combination with computer animation. damn, can you imagine what all the whities would have done if they saw jay-z walking down the street as is in 1964? times have changed!