Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remixes Are Good For You

            Have you ever listened to a remix of a song and found that it sometime is better than the original? I find remixes that are frequently more interesting than the original. I personally like some of Travis Barker’s heavy rock remixes. I like his remix of “Umbrella” performed by Rhianna.  I am not a fan of the original, nor of Rhianna, but I do like his remix of it.
            You need to get permission to do a remix if you plan on distributing it.  This means talks with the people or group that own the rights to the music and paying them royalties for the use of their work. Most people don’t actually seek permission before remixing a song.  Most people will remix a song and then seek permission to distribute it.  This allows them to showcase what they can do to the people they are seeking permission from.
            So what does this all have to do with songwriting? Regardless of opinion, this is still a type of music creation. It is also a type that can benefit both the original songwriter and the remix artist. Part of being a professional in the songwriting world is paying bills. Everyone has bills so why not let your intellectual property help you pay some of them off. If someone approaches you about a song you have written and would like to do a remix, don’t tell him or her that you are not interested. This person may have a bigger following than you or access to different mediums that you don’t. Let them work their remix magic. If you happen to like their remix you can strike a deal with them to use and distribute it. This means you’re going to get royalties. The other idea behind this is that people that don’t know you may find you through the remix artist.
            I write music because I love it.  I know many people may feel like they are selling out for one reason or another, but in reality anyone who takes music seriously has bills to pay. Bills don’t pay themselves. Why not let your music help you pay your bills? I write a lot of orchestra, solo, and mixed ensemble works, which are not remix friendly.  However, I’m not above letting someone remix a song that I wrote in order to get some extra exposure or income. There is a difference between a song and a concert piece, but that is a discussion for a later time.
            There are tons of remixes out there.  Some are good and some are terrible. The reason I decided to do this post was because I found some remixes of old video game soundtracks I used to play back when I was young. DJ Max-e has remixed some tracks from “Sonic the Hedgehog 3” and “Sonic and Knuckles.” Both have amazing soundtracks for their day and both are among my favorite video games of all time (I don’t play many games anymore.).  DJ Max-e probably may or may not have permission from the owners of the rights to the music, but the fact that the remixes have not been removed from You Tube shows they probably don’t mind. These remixes are very good in my opinion.  They bring back some memories. Perhaps my favorite is his take on the Launch Base Zone from “Sonic 3.” Below I’ve provided links with my favorites of his remixes and links with the original soundtracks.
          Don’t count out someone wanting to do a remix of your work. It is a good opportunity for you and the remix artist. It gives you exposure and income, and them a chance to showcase their work. If you want to take music writing seriously you need to know others and network every opportunity you get.

DJ Max-e                                             Original
Launch Base Remix                        Launch Base
Lava Reef Remix                            Lava Reef


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