In this day and age, almost every popular song has some sort of remix or parody to go along with it. However, this is not a good thing. Even professional artists, such as Led Zepelin have succumbed to remixing songs. In fact, songs like “Stairway to Heaven” even have some outside influences. Before it was released, Jimmy Page was touring with the group “Spirit”. While on tour, he probably heard the song “Taurus”, which sounds very familiar to those who have heard “Stairway to Heaven”, one of the Zeps most popular songs, hands down. I’m not saying that the entire song is a rip-off, but it is most likely that Page had some influence when writing his songs.
However, not everyone thinks that Led Zeppelin was wrong. Some may argue that the Fair Use act allows artists to use small portions of a published work in creating a new product. However, what supporters of this fail to mention is that artists who claim shelter under this rule must both give credit to whoever work they sampled from, and also what ever products they create must not be for profit. These remixes are not only unethical, but they are also illegal.
In today’s music industry, it is important that we have variety. Different people have different tastes, and it is hard to satisfy all of them. While the group who enjoys pop music has artists such as Ke$ha and Bruno Mars, the core group who enjoys heavy metal may be looking for alternatives to the bands that have died out. If we allow anybody to simply copy and paste other musicians work, we will have nothing except for what a majority of the people want. We will have a thousand versions of “The Lazy Song” and only one of “Enter Sandman”. There will be less and less original music, so fans of smaller, niche genres will luck out.
Not only does remixing pose a threat to smaller audiences, but it also poses a threat to the integrity of music. While it is easy to download a synthesizing program on a computer and remix or edit a song, it is a lot harder to pick up an instrument, master it, and perform it. I fear that we will no longer be saying “I really like [insert pop artist’s name here] new song,” we will be saying “I really like [insert pop artist’s name here]’s computer technicians.” As we evolve towards a new age of auto-tune and synthesized trash, we need to be weary of when our music stops being music.
Now that it is so easy to remix a song, we need to place stronger enforcement and punishment for people or organizations that still do. Websites like http://www.thepiratebay.se need to be stopped so that artists get the compensation they deserve for producing their music. As it is, musicians don’t get paid much money, and they don’t need other rip-off artists taking even more of. An interesting infographic from
Information is Beautiful shows that to earn minimum monthly wage ($1,160), artists much sell either: 3,871 retail albums, 2,044 albums on iTunes, or over four and a half million plays on Spotify. The point is, musicians have a hard enough time as it is making a living, and artists who copy their work don’t deserve to earn the money they don’t.
In the end, it is up to the consumer to decide whether or not it is ethical for remixes, because they are the ones that are voting with their money.
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