Labels and artists are only now catching on to the idea of letting fans remix their music, and are even slower to give those fans access to individual stems. But where musicians have embraced this idea, they’ve gotten surprisingly big outpourings of support — thank a culture that’s gotten savvy with digital music tools and consumes more music than ever.
While that change continues to spread slowly, though, audiovisual remixing could already have a jump start.
Radiohead: Big news for fans of data visualization, the coding tool Processing, and Creative Commons: Radiohead have "shot" their latest video using only 3D scanning devices in place of cameras, and they’ve made source code and the data (in friendly CSV files) free. The whole thing is released under a non-commercial / ShareAlike CC license, which is well-suited to remixes in general. So, to anyone who was disappointed that Radiohead didn’t use a Creative Commons license for their remix contest, now you’ve gotten something you didn’t even ask for — three-dimensional, animated data of Tom Yorke’s face. And because this is essentially raw data, it’s unusually open to interpretation.
Visual stems? By total coincidence, Create Digital Motion’s Jaymis wonders aloud if the entire A/V scene couldn’t be given a jump start by two obvious (but strangely elusive) decisions: 1. release video "stems" for music videos to give people free access to them, and 2. go get a real visualist. Some artists have done #1, of course, but there wasn’t a specific name given to the result, and they’ve more often than not released full videos — so here you go.
Both stories are covered today on Create Digital Motion:
But I think it’s well worth asking readers here on CDMusic, too. Music sampling and even remixing may be old news — even if copyright protection remains the norm. But could opening up visual remixes and free visual interpretation re-energize how people think about music?
Of course, this isn’t just for the sake of doing it. Jaymis launched his discussion partly because he wanted something more expressive at a performance, and Radiohead’s CC decision allows them to take an experience that would be pretty limited (a few minutes of cool video) and make it far less so (live data and code remixed by especially-savvy fans). Likewise, the CC license is essential in the latter case; there’s far less incentive to fans to code their own visual software if they can’t share ownership of the result, or — just as importantly — share the resulting code with each other. (The tool the band’s video used, too, wouldn’t even exist without the open source community that created it.)
So, what’s next — particularly if you’re not as famous as Radiohead?