Saturday, June 23, 2012

I've been thinking about Hollywood and the music industry.

We talk about "remix culture". It's commonly accepted that people like to remix things. We hear a song, we want to sing our version of it. We see a super hero, we want to put him through adventures we think up. We play a game, we want to make a version of it that is "just like that, but with more of MY ideas in it."

Certain things, such as dubstep and sweding, are flat-out remix-only. Of course, they are done on the cheap, largely without any sort of publicity, because they know that at any time a lawyer could come and tell them that remixing their culture is illegal unless they buy permission.

Hollywood, the music industry, and even the games industry to a lesser extent are all desperately trying to control remix permissions.

Because they are a remix culture.

They produce almost nothing new. Everything is recycled and spit-shined.

Used to be that you did remixes until you wanted to prove you had the chops to do original stuff, and then you took the big risk of creating something truly original.

Nowadays it's the opposite! You have to do original stuff or lawyers show up at your door. You have to work your way up to doing remixes. You have to earn the right to participate in your shared culture.

The "culture engine" has stopped. The big boys that drive the culture have put the car in neutral, and the little guys who used to refine and consume the culture have gotten out and tried to push. But it's an awfully heavy car.

Well, that's been my Saturday Morning Thoughts.

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