Pete Rojas’ article provide a good summary of the “mash-up” or bootleg culture or remixing or whatever the hip term is now. Can’t really say I agree when he talks about how easy it is now to create music except in relation to a life time of learning a musical instrument. We still have a long way to go to allowing ‘every-man’ the opportunity to express themselves in a sophisticated way musically.
While there have been odd pairings, match-ups and remixes for decades now, and club DJs have been doing something similar during live sets, the recent explosion in the number of tracks being created and disseminated is a direct result of the dramatic increase in the power of the average home computer and the widespread use on these computers of new software programs like Acid and ProTools. Home remixing is technically incredibly easy to do, in effect turning the vast world of pop culture into source material for an endless amount of slicing and dicing by desktop producers.
So easy, in fact, that bootlegs constitute the first genre of music that truly fulfills the “anyone can do it” promises originally made by punk and, to lesser extent, electronic music. Even punk rockers had to be able write the most rudimentary of songs. With bootlegs, even that low bar for traditional musicianship and composition is obliterated. Siva Vaidhyanthan, an assistant professor of culture and communication at New York University and the author of “Copyrights and Copywrongs,” believes that what we’re seeing is the result of a democratization of creativity and the demystification of the process of authorship and creativity.
“It’s about demolishing the myth that there has to be a special class of creators, and flattening out the creative curve so we can all contribute to our creative environment,” says Vaidhyanthan.