Last updated

A remix (or reorchestration) is a piece of media which has been altered or contorted from its original state by adding, removing, or changing pieces of the item. A song, piece of artwork, book, video, poem, or photograph can all be remixes. The only characteristic of a remix is that it appropriates and changes other materials to create something new.


Most commonly, remixes are a subset of audio mixing in music and song recordings. Songs may be remixed for a large variety of reasons:

Remixes should not be confused with edits, which usually involve shortening a final stereo master for marketing or broadcasting purposes. Another distinction should be made between a remix, which recombines audio pieces from a recording to create an altered version of a song, and a cover: a re-recording of someone else's song.

While audio mixing is one of the most popular and recognized forms of remixing, this is not the only media form which is remixed in numerous examples. Literature, film, technology, and social systems can all be argued as a form of remix. [1]

Roots of the remixing of sounds

Since the beginnings of recorded sound in the late 19th century, technology has enabled people to rearrange the normal listening experience. With the advent of easily editable magnetic tape in the 1940s and 1950s and the subsequent development of multitrack recording, such alterations became more common. In those decades the experimental genre of musique concrète used tape manipulation to create sound compositions. Less artistically lofty edits produced medleys or novelty recordings of various types.

Modern remixing had its roots in the dance hall culture of late-1960s/early-1970s Jamaica. The fluid evolution of music that encompassed ska, rocksteady, reggae and dub was embraced by local music mixers who deconstructed and rebuilt tracks to suit the tastes of their audience. Producers and engineers like Ruddy Redwood, King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry popularized stripped-down instrumental mixes (which they called "versions") of reggae tunes. At first, they simply dropped the vocal tracks, but soon more sophisticated effects were created, dropping separate instrumental tracks in and out of the mix, isolating and repeating hooks, and adding various effects like echo, reverberation and delay. The German krautrock band Neu! also used other effects on side two of their album Neu! 2 by manipulating their previously released single Super/Neuschnee multiple ways, utilizing playback at different turntable speeds or mangling by using a cassette recorder.

From the mid-1970s, DJs in early discothèques were performing similar tricks with disco songs (using loops and tape edits) to get dancers on the floor and keep them there. One noteworthy figure was Tom Moulton who invented the dance remix as we now know it. Though not a DJ (a popular misconception), Moulton had begun his career by making a homemade mix tape for a Fire Island dance club in the late 1960s. His tapes eventually became popular and he came to the attention of the music industry in New York City. At first, Moulton was simply called upon to improve the aesthetics of dance-oriented recordings before release ("I didn't do the remix, I did the mix"—Tom Moulton). Eventually, he moved from being a "fix it" man on pop records to specializing in remixes for the dance floor. Along the way, he invented the breakdown section and the 12-inch single vinyl format. Walter Gibbons provided the dance version of the first commercial 12-inch single ("Ten Percent", by Double Exposure). Contrary to popular belief, Gibbons did not mix the record. In fact his version was a re-edit of the original mix. Moulton, Gibbons and their contemporaries (Jim Burgess, Tee Scott, and later Larry Levan and Shep Pettibone) at Salsoul Records proved to be the most influential group of remixers for the disco era. The Salsoul catalog is seen (especially in the UK and Europe) as being the "canon" for the disco mixer's art form. Pettibone is among a very small number of remixers whose work successfully transitioned from the disco to the House era. (He is certainly the most high-profile remixer to do so.) His contemporaries included Arthur Baker and François Kevorkian.

Contemporaneously to disco in the mid-1970s, the dub and disco remix cultures met through Jamaican immigrants to the Bronx, energizing both and helping to create hip-hop music. Key figures included, DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash. Cutting (alternating between duplicate copies of the same record) and scratching (manually moving the vinyl record beneath the turntable needle) became part of the culture, creating what Slate magazine called "real-time, live-action collage." One of the first mainstream successes of this style of remix was the 1983 track Rockit by Herbie Hancock, as remixed by Grand Mixer D.ST. Malcolm McLaren and the creative team behind ZTT Records would feature the "cut up" style of hip hop on such records as "Duck Rock". English duo Coldcut's remix of Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid in Full" Released in October 1987 is said to have "laid the groundwork for hip hop's entry into the UK mainstream". [2] Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian named it a "benchmark remix" and placed it in his top ten list of remixes. [3] The Coldcut remix "Seven Minutes of Madness" became one of the first commercially successful remixes, becoming a top fifteen hit in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. [4] [5] [6] [7]


Early pop remixes were fairly simple; in the 1980s, "extended mixes" of songs were released to clubs and commercial outlets on vinyl 12-inch singles. These typically had a duration of six to seven minutes, and often consisted of the original song with 8 or 16 bars of instruments inserted, often after the second chorus; some were as simplistic as two copies of the song stitched end to end. As the cost and availability of new technologies allowed, many of the bands who were involved in their own production (such as Yellow Magic Orchestra, Depeche Mode, New Order, Erasure, and Duran Duran) experimented with more intricate versions of the extended mix. Madonna began her career writing music for dance clubs and used remixes extensively to propel her career; one of her early boyfriends was noted DJ John "Jellybean" Benitez, who created several mixes of her work.

Art of Noise took the remix styles to an extreme—creating music entirely of samples. They were among the first popular groups to truly harness the potential that had been unleashed by the synthesizer-based compositions of electronic musicians such as Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Giorgio Moroder, and Jean-Michel Jarre. Contemporaneous to Art of Noise was the seminal body of work by Yello (composed, arranged and mixed by Boris Blank). Primarily because they featured sampled and synthesized sounds, Yello and Art of Noise would produce a great deal of influential work for the next phase. Others such as Cabaret Voltaire and the aforementioned Jarre (whose Zoolook was an epic usage of sampling and sequencing) were equally influential in this era.

After the rise of dance music in the late 1980s, a new form of remix was popularised, where the vocals would be kept and the instruments would be replaced, often with matching backing in the house music idiom. Jesse Saunders, known as The Originator of House Music, was the first producer to change the art of remixing by creating his own original music, entirely replacing the earlier track, then mixing back in the artist's original lyrics to make his remix. He introduced this technique for the first time with the Club Nouveau song "It's a Cold, Cold World", in May 1988. Another clear example of this approach is Roberta Flack's 1989 ballad "Uh-Uh Ooh-Ooh Look Out (Here It Comes)", which Chicago House great Steve "Silk" Hurley dramatically reworked into a boisterous floor-filler by stripping away all the instrumental tracks and substituting a minimalist, sequenced "track" to underpin her vocal delivery, remixed for the UK release which reached No1 pop by Simon Harris. The art of the remix gradually evolved, and soon more avant-garde artists such as Aphex Twin were creating more experimental remixes of songs (relying on the groundwork of Cabaret Voltaire and the others), which varied radically from their original sound and were not guided by pragmatic considerations such as sales or "danceability", but were created for "art's sake".

In the 1990s, with the rise of powerful home computers with audio capabilities came the mash-up, an unsolicited, unofficial (and often legally dubious) remix created by "underground remixers" who edit two or more recordings (often of wildly different songs) together. Girl Talk is perhaps the most famous of this movement, creating albums using sounds entirely from other music and cutting it into his own. Underground mixing is more difficult than the typical official remix because clean copies of separated tracks such as vocals or individual instruments are usually not available to the public. Some artists (such as Björk, Nine Inch Nails, and Public Enemy) embraced this trend and outspokenly sanctioned fan remixing of their work; there was once a web site which hosted hundreds of unofficial remixes of Björk's songs, all made using only various officially sanctioned mixes. Other artists, such as Erasure, have included remix software in their officially released singles, enabling almost infinite permutations of remixes by users. The band has also presided over remix competitions for their releases, selecting their favourite fan-created remix to appear on later official releases.

Remixing has become prevalent in heavily synthesized electronic and experimental music circles. Many of the people who create cutting-edge music in such genres as synthpop and aggrotech are solo artists or pairs. They will often use remixers to help them with skills or equipment that they do not have. Artists such as Chicago-based Delobbo, Dallas-based LehtMoJoe, and Russian DJ Ram, who has worked with t.A.T.u., are sought out for their remixing skill and have impressive lists of contributions. It is not uncommon for industrial bands to release albums that have remixes as half of the songs. Indeed, there have been popular singles that have been expanded to an entire album of remixes by other well-known artists.

Some industrial groups allow, and often encourage, their fans to remix their music, notably Nine Inch Nails, whose website contains a list of downloadable songs that can be remixed using Apple's GarageBand software. Some artists have started releasing their songs in the U-MYX format, which allows buyers to mix songs and share them on the U-MYX website.

Some radio stations, such as the UK's "Frisk Radio".{{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help) make extensive use of Remixes in their formats to create a hotter, more up-beat sound than their market rivals.

According to the Guinness World Records, Madonna is the most remixed act. Her remix album You Can Dance is credited with helping popularize remix albums releases. Madonna - The Celebration Tour live London14 10 2023 (53270974497).jpg
According to the Guinness World Records, Madonna is the most remixed act. Her remix album You Can Dance is credited with helping popularize remix albums releases.

Recent technology allows for easier remixing, leading to a rise in its use in the music industry. [10] It can be done legally, but there have been numerous disputes over rights to samples used in remixed songs. Many famous artists have been involved in remix disputes. In 2015, Jay-Z went to trial over a dispute about his use of a sample from "Khosara Khosara", a composition by Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdy in his song "Big Pimpin'". Osama Fahmy, a nephew of Hamdy, argued that while Jay-Z had the "economic rights" to use the song, he did not have the "moral rights". [11]

In 1988, Sinéad O'Connor's art-rock song "I Want Your (Hands On Me)" was remixed to emphasize the urban appeal of the composition (the original contains a tight, grinding bassline and a rhythm guitar not entirely unlike Chic's work). In 1989, the Cure's "Pictures of You" was remixed turning "the music on its head, twisted the beat completely, but at the same time left the essential heart of the song intact." [12]

Remixes have become the norm in contemporary dance music, giving one song the ability to appeal across many different musical genres or dance venues. Such remixes often include "featured" artists, adding new vocalists or musicians to the original mix. The remix is also widely used in hip hop and rap music. An R&B remix usually has the same music as the original song but has added or altered verses that are rapped or sung by the featured artists. It usually contains some if not all of the original verses of the song however they may be arranged in a different order than they originally were.

Carey helped popularize rapper as a featured act through her post-1995 songs with her remix of "Fantasy" featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard. MariahGMA.jpg
Carey helped popularize rapper as a featured act through her post-1995 songs with her remix of "Fantasy" featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard.

In the early 1990s, Mariah Carey became one of the first mainstream artists who re-recorded vocals for a dancefloor version, and by 1993 most of her major dance and urban-targeted versions had been re-sung, e.g. "Dreamlover". Some artists would contribute new or additional vocals for the different versions of their songs. These versions were not technically remixes, as entirely new productions of the material were undertaken (the songs were "re-cut", usually from the ground up). Carey worked with producer Puff Daddy to create the official Bad Boy remix of "Fantasy". [13] The Bad Boy remix features background vocals by Puff Daddy and rapping by Ol' Dirty Bastard, the latter being of concern to Columbia who feared the sudden change in style would affect sales negatively. [14] Some of the song's R&B elements were removed for the remix, while the bassline and "Genius of Love" sample were emphasized and the bridge from the original version was used as the chorus. [13] There is a version omitting Ol' Dirty Bastard's verses. [13] The "Bad Boy Fantasy Remix", combines the chorus from the original version and the chorus of the Bad Boy Remix together, removing Ol' Dirty Bastard's vocals from his second verse. [13] Carey re-recorded vocals for club remixes of the song by David Morales, titled "Daydream Interlude (Fantasy Sweet Dub Mix)". [15]

The Bad Boy remix garnered positive reviews from music critics. "Fantasy" exemplified how a music sample could be transformed "into a fully realized pop masterpiece". [16] The song and its remix arguably remains as one of Carey's most important singles to date. Due to the song's commercial success, Carey helped popularize rapper as a featured act through her post-1995 songs. [17] Sasha Frere-Jones, editor of The New Yorker commented in referencing to the song's remix: "It became standard for R&B/hip-hop stars like Missy Elliott and Beyoncé, to combine melodies with rapped verses. And young white pop stars—including Britney Spears, 'N Sync, and Christina Aguilera—have spent much of the past ten years making pop music that is unmistakably R&B." [17] Moreover, Jones concludes that "Her idea of pairing a female songbird with the leading male MCs of hip-hop changed R&B and, eventually, all of pop. Although now anyone is free to use this idea, the success of "Mimi" [ref. to The Emancipation of Mimi, her tenth studio album released almost a decade after "Fantasy"] suggests that it still belongs to Carey." [17] John Norris of MTV News has stated that the remix was "responsible for, I would argue, an entire wave of music that we've seen since and that is the R&B-hip-hop collaboration. You could argue that the 'Fantasy' remix was the single most important recording that she's ever made." Norris echoed the sentiments of TLC's Lisa Lopes, who told MTV that it's because of Mariah that we have "hip-pop." [18] Judnick Mayard, writer of TheFader, wrote that in regarding of R&B and hip hop collaboration, "The champion of this movement is Mariah Carey." [19] Mayard also expressed that "To this day ODB and Mariah may still be the best and most random hip hop collaboration of all time", citing that due to the record "Fantasy", "R&B and Hip Hop were the best of step siblings." [19] In the 1998 film Rush Hour , Soo Yong is singing the song while it plays on the car radio, shortly before her kidnapping. In 2011, the experimental metal band Iwrestledabearonce used the song at the beginning and end of the video "You Know That Ain't Them Dogs' Real Voices". Indie artist Grimes has called "Fantasy" one of her favorite songs of all-time and has said Mariah is the reason there is a Grimes. [20]

Jessica Simpson's "Irresistible" (So So Def Remix) featuring Lil' Bow Wow and Jermaine Dupri had an incredible impact in 2001. JessicaSimpsonMay10.jpg
Jessica Simpson's "Irresistible" (So So Def Remix) featuring Lil' Bow Wow and Jermaine Dupri had an incredible impact in 2001.

M.C. Lyte was asked to provide a "guest rap", and a new tradition was born in pop music. George Michael would feature three artistically differentiated arrangements of "I Want Your Sex" in 1987, highlighting the potential of "serial productions" of a piece to find markets and expand the tastes of listeners. In 1995, after doing "California Love", which proved to be his best selling single ever, Tupac Shakur would do its remix with Dr. Dre again featured, who originally wanted it for his next album, but relented to let it be on the album All Eyez on Me instead. This also included the reappearance of Roger Troutman, also from the original, but he ended the remix with an ad-lib on the outro. Mariah Carey's song "Heartbreaker" was remixed, containing lyrical interpolations and an instrumental sample from "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)" by Snoop Dogg. [21] A separate music video was filmed for the remix, shot in black and white and featuring a cameo appearance by Snoop. In 2001, Jessica Simpson released an urban remix of her song "Irresistible", [22] featuring rappers Lil' Bow Wow and Jermaine Dupri, who also produced the track. [23] It samples the Kool & the Gang's song "Jungle Boogie" (1973) and "Why You Treat Me So Bad" by Club Nouveau (1987). [24]

The main single of I Turn to You by Melanie C, was released as the "Hex Hector Radio Mix", for which Hex Hector won the 2001 Grammy as Remixer of the Year. Melanie Chisholm byte.jpg
The main single of I Turn to You by Melanie C, was released as the "Hex Hector Radio Mix", for which Hex Hector won the 2001 Grammy as Remixer of the Year.

Released on July 12, 1999, "Always You" remix by Jennifer Paige, reached number six on the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart. [25]

The main single of I Turn to You by Melanie C, was released as the "Hex Hector Radio Mix", for which Hex Hector won the 2001 Grammy as Remixer of the Year. [26]

Another well-known example is R. Kelly, who recorded two different versions of "Ignition" for his 2003 album Chocolate Factory . The song is unique in that it segues from the end of the original to the beginning of the remixed version (accompanied by the line "Now usually I don't do this, but uh, go ahead on, break em' off with a little preview of the remix."). In addition, the original version's beginning line "You remind me of something/I just can't think of what it is" is actually sampled from an older Kelly song, "You Remind Me of Something". Kelly later revealed that he actually wrote "Ignition (remix)" before the purported original version of "Ignition", and created the purported original so that the chorus lyric in his alleged remix would make sense. [27] Madonna's I'm Breathless featured a remix of "Now I'm Following You" that was used to segue from the original to "Vogue" so that the latter could be added to the set without jarring the listener.

In 2015, EDM artist Deadmau5, who worked with Jay-Z's Roc Nation, tried to sue his former manager for remixing his songs without permission, claiming that he gave his manager the go-ahead to use his work for some remixes, but not others. Deadmau5 wanted reimbursement for the remixes his manager made after they had severed ties, because he claimed it was his "moral right" to turn these future remixing opportunities away if he had wanted to. The two parties reached an agreement in 2016 that kept Play Records from making any new remixes. [28] [29]

50 Cent tried to sue rapper Rick Ross in October 2018 for remixing his "In da Club" beat, due to their publicized feud. However, a judge threw out the lawsuit claiming that 50 Cent did not have copyright on the beat, but rather it belonged to Shady/Aftermath Records. [30]

Many hip-hop remixes arose either from the need for a pop/R&B singer to add more of an urban, rap edge to one of their slower songs, or from a rapper's desire to gain more pop appeal by collaborating with an R&B singer. Remixes can boost popularity of the original versions of songs.

Thanks to a combination of guest raps, re-sung or altered lyrics and alternative backing tracks, some hip-hop remixes can end up being almost entirely different songs from the originals. An example is the remix of "Ain't It Funny" by Jennifer Lopez, which has little in common with the original recording apart from the title.

Slow ballads and R&B songs can be remixed by techno producers and DJs in order to give the song appeal to the club scene and to urban radio. Conversely, a more uptempo number can be mellowed to give it "quiet storm" appeal. Frankie Knuckles saddled both markets with his Def Classic Mixes, often slowing the tempo slightly as he removed ornamental elements to soften the "attack" of a dancefloor filler. These remixes proved hugely influential, notably Lisa Stansfield's classic single "Change" would be aired by urban radio in the Knuckles version, which had been provided as an alternative to the original mix by Ian Devaney and Andy Morris, the record's producers. In the age of social media, anybody can make and upload a remix. The most popular apps for doing this are Instagram and YouTube.

Broader context

A remix may also refer to a non-linear re-interpretation of a given work or media other than audio such as a hybridizing process combining fragments of various works. The process of combining and re-contextualizing will often produce unique results independent of the intentions and vision of the original designer/artist. Thus the concept of a remix can be applied to visual or video arts, and even things farther afield. Mark Z. Danielewski's disjointed novel House of Leaves has been compared by some to the remix concept.

In literature

A remix in literature is an alternative version of a text. William Burroughs used the cut-up technique developed by Brion Gysin to remix language in the 1960s. [31] Various textual sources (including his own) would be cut literally into pieces with scissors, rearranged on a page, and pasted to form new sentences, new ideas, new stories, and new ways of thinking about words.

"The Soft Machine" (1961) is a famous example of an early novel by Burroughs based on the cut-up technique. Remixing of literature and language is also apparent in Pixel Juice (2000) by Jeff Noon who later explained using different methods for this process with Cobralingus (2001).

In art

A remix in art often takes multiple perspectives upon the same theme. An artist takes an original work of art and adds their own take on the piece creating something completely different while still leaving traces of the original work. It is essentially a reworked abstraction of the original work while still holding remnants of the original piece while still letting the true meanings of the original piece shine through. Famous examples include The Marilyn Diptych by Andy Warhol (modifies colors and styles of one image), and The Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso, (merges various angles of perspective into one view). Some of Picasso's other famous paintings also incorporate parts of his life, such as his love affairs, into his paintings. For example, his painting Les Trois Danseuses, or The Three Dancers, is about a love triangle.

Other types of remixes in art are parodies. A parody in contemporary usage, is a work created to mock, comment on, or make fun at an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation. They can be found all throughout art and culture from literature to animation. Famous song parody artists include "Weird Al" Yankovic and Allan Sherman . Several current television shows are filled with parodies, such as South Park, Family Guy, and The Simpsons.

The internet has allowed for art to be remixed quite easily, as evidenced by sites like (provides pictorial template upon which any words may be written by various anonymous users), and Dan Walsh's [32] (removes the main character from various original strips by Garfield creator Jim Davis).

"A feminist remix is a creative resistance and cultural production that talks back to patriarchy by reworking patriarchal hierarchical systems privileging men. [33] Examples include Barbara Kruger's You are not yourself (1982), We are not what we seem (1988), and Your body is a battleground (1989) Barbara Kruger, Orlan's (1994) Self-Hybridizations Orlan, Evelin Stermitz's remix, Women at War (2010), and Distaff [Ain't I Redux] (2008) by artist Sian Amoy.

In media and consumer products

In recent years the concept of the remix has been applied analogously to other media and products. In 2001, the British Channel 4 television program Jaaaaam was produced as a remix of the sketches from the comedy show Jam. In 2003 The Coca-Cola Company released a new version of their soft drink Sprite with tropical flavors under the name Sprite Remix.

In 1995, Sega released Virtua Fighter Remix (バーチャファイター リミックス/Bāchafaitā rimikkusu) as an update to, just months after the Virtua Fighter release on the Sega Saturn.

Virtua Fighter had been released on the Saturn in a less-than-impressive state. Sega had attempted to make an accurate port of the Sega Model 1 arcade version, and therefore chose to use untextured models and the soundtrack from the arcade machine. However, as the Saturn was incapable of rendering as many polygons on screen as Model 1 hardware, characters looked noticeably worse. Many claim it to be even worse than the Sega 32X version, thanks to the added CD loading time.

Virtua Fighter Remix was created to address many of these flaws. Models have a slightly higher polygon count (though still less than the Model 1 version); they are also texture-mapped, leading to a much more modern-looking game that could effectively compete with the PlayStation. The game also allows players to use the original flat-shaded models.

In the west, a CG Portrait Collection Disc was also included in the Saturn bundle. North American owners would get Virtua Fighter Remix for free if they registered their Saturns, while Japanese customers would later receive a SegaNet compatible version. Sega would also bring Virtua Fighter Remix to Sega Titan Video arcade hardware. [34]

Because remixes may borrow heavily from an existing piece of music (possibly more than one), the issue of intellectual property becomes a concern. The most important question is whether a remixer is free to redistribute his or her work, or whether the remix falls under the category of a derivative work according to, for example, United States copyright law. Of note are open questions concerning the legality of visual works, like the art form of collage, which can be plagued with licensing issues.

There are two obvious extremes with regard to derivative works. If the song is substantively dissimilar in form (for example, it might only borrow a motif which is modified, and be completely different in all other respects), then it may not necessarily be a derivative work (depending on how heavily modified the melody and chord progressions were). On the other hand, if the remixer only changes a few things (for example, the instrument and tempo), then it is clearly a derivative work and subject to the copyrights of the original work's copyright holder.

The Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that allows the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools and explicitly aims for enabling a Remix culture. [35] They created a website that allows artists to share their work with other users, giving them the ability to share, use, or build upon their work, under the Creative Commons license. The artist can limit the copyright to specific users for specific purposes, while protecting the users and the artist. [36]

The exclusive rights of the copyright owner over acts such as reproduction/copying, communication, adaptation and performance – unless licensed openly – by their very nature reduce the ability to negotiate copyright material without permission. [37] Remixes will inevitably encounter legal problems when the whole or a substantial part of the original material has been reproduced, copied, communicated, adapted or performed – unless a permission has been given in advance through a voluntary open content license like a Creative Commons license, there is fair dealing involved (the scope of which is extraordinarily narrow), a statutory license exists, or permission has been sought and obtained from the copyright owner. Generally, the courts consider what will amount to a substantial part by reference to its quality, as opposed to quantity and the importance the part taken bears in relation to the work as whole. [38]

There are proposed theories of reform regarding the copyright law and remixes. Nicolas Suzor believes that copyright law should be reformed in such a manner as to allow certain reuses of copyright material without the permission of the copyright owner where those derivatives are highly transformative and do not impact upon the primary market of the copyright owner. There certainly appears to be a strong argument that non commercial derivatives, which do not compete with the market for the original material, should be afforded some defense to copyright actions. [39]

Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig believes that for the first time in history creativity by default is subject to regulation because of two architectural features. First, cultural objects or products created digitally can be easily copied, and secondly, the default copyright law requires the permission of the owner. The result is that one needs the permission of the copyright owner to engage in mashups or acts of remixing. Lessig believes that the key to mashups and remix is "education – not about framing or law – but rather what you can do with technology, and then the law will catch up". [40] He believes that trade associations – like mashup guilds – that survey practices and publish reports to establish norm or reasonable behaviours in the context of the community would be useful in establishing fair use parameters. Lessig also believes that Creative Commons and other licences, such as the GNU General Public Licence are important mechanisms which mashup and remix artists can use to mitigate the impact of copyright law. [35] Lessig laid out his ideas in a book called "Remix" which is itself free to remix under a CC BY-NC license. [41] [42]

The Fair Use agreement allows users to use copyrighted materials without asking the permission of the original creator (section 107 of the federal copyright law). Within this agreement, the copyrighted material that is borrowed must be used under specific government regulations. Material borrowed falls under fair use depending on the amount of original content used, the nature of the content, the purpose of the borrowed content, and the effect the borrowed content has on an audience. Unfortunately, there are no distinct lines between copyright infringement and abiding by fair use regulations while producing a remix. [43] However, if the work that is distributed by the remixer is an entirely new and transformative work that is not for profit, copyright laws are not breached[ citation needed ]. The key word in such considerations is transformative, as the remix product must have been either sufficiently altered or clearly used for a sufficiently different purpose for it to be safe from copyright violation.

In 2012, Canada's Copyright Modernization Act explicitly added a new exemption which allows non-commercial remixing. [44] In 2013, the US court ruling Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. acknowledged that amateur remixing might fall under fair use and copyright holders are requested to check and respect fair use before doing DMCA take down notices. [45]

In June 2015, a WIPO article named "Remix Culture and Amateur Creativity: A Copyright Dilemma" [45] acknowledged the "age of remixing" and the need for a copyright reform.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Da Brat</span> American rapper (born April 14, 1974)

Shawntae Harris-Dupart, better known by her stage name Da Brat, is an American rapper. Born and raised in Chicago, she began her career in 1992, the year she signed with So So Def Records. Her debut album Funkdafied (1994) sold one million copies, making her the first-ever female solo rap act to receive a platinum certification, and the second-ever female rap act after Salt-N-Pepa.

A mashup is a creative work, usually a song, created by blending two or more pre-recorded songs, typically by superimposing the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the instrumental track of another and changing the tempo and key where necessary. Such works are considered "transformative" of original content and in the United States they may find protection from copyright claims under the "fair use" doctrine of copyright law.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Armand van Helden</span> American DJ (born 1970)

Armand van Helden is an American DJ, record producer, remixer and songwriter from Boston. He is considered one of house music's most revered figures, with a career spanning three decades.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heartbreaker (Mariah Carey song)</span> 1999 single by Mariah Carey

"Heartbreaker" is a song by American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey featuring American rapper Jay-Z for her seventh studio album Rainbow (1999). It was released on August 23, 1999, by Columbia Records as the lead single from Rainbow. The song was written by the artists and produced by Carey and DJ Clue, with additional writers being credited for the hook being built around a sample from "Attack of the Name Game" by Stacy Lattisaw. "Heartbreaker" pushed Carey even further into the R&B and hip hop market, becoming her second commercial single to feature a rapper. Lyrically, the song describes lovesickness towards an unfaithful partner.

<i>The Remixes</i> (Mariah Carey album) 2003 remix album by Mariah Carey

The Remixes is the first remix album by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, released on June 25, 2003, by Columbia Records. It is primarily a collection of remixes of some of Carey's songs: disc one is compiled of club mixes, while disc two contains Carey's hip hop collaborations and remixes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fantasy (Mariah Carey song)</span> 1995 single by Mariah Carey

"Fantasy" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Mariah Carey. It was released on August 23, 1995, by Columbia Records as the lead single from her fifth album, Daydream (1995). The track was written and produced by Carey and Dave Hall. It samples Tom Tom Club's 1981 song "Genius of Love". The lyrics describe a woman who is in love with a man, and how every time she sees him she starts fantasizing about an impossible relationship with him. The remix for the song features rap verses from Ol' Dirty Bastard, something Carey arranged to assist in her crossover into the hip-hop market and credited for introducing R&B and hip hop collaboration into mainstream pop culture, and for popularizing rap as a featuring act.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Honey (Mariah Carey song)</span> 1997 single by Mariah Carey

"Honey" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey from her sixth studio album, Butterfly (1997). It was released as the lead single from Butterfly on July 29, 1997, by Columbia Records. The song was written and produced by Carey, Sean Combs, Kamaal "Q-Tip" Fareed and Steven "Stevie J" Jordan. The song samples "Hey DJ" by World-Famous Supreme Team and "The Body Rock" by the Treacherous Three. "Honey" was a redefining song in Carey's career, pushing her further into the hip hop scene.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Remix culture</span> Society that allows and encourages derivative works

Remix culture, also known as read-write culture, is a term describing a culture that allows and encourages the creation of derivative works by combining or editing existing materials. Remix cultures are permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix the work of other creators. While combining elements has always been a common practice of artists of all domains throughout human history, the growth of exclusive copyright restrictions in the last several decades limits this practice more and more by the legal chilling effect. In reaction, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, who considers remixing a desirable concept for human creativity, has worked since the early 2000s on a transfer of the remixing concept into the digital age. Lessig founded the Creative Commons in 2001, which released a variety of licenses as tools to promote remix culture, as remixing is legally hindered by the default exclusive copyright regime applied currently on intellectual property. The remix culture for cultural works is related to and inspired by the earlier Free and open-source software for software movement, which encourages the reuse and remixing of software works.

A megamix is a remix containing multiple songs in rapid succession. It often features various artists. There may be only one verse or even just a brief chorus of each song used, sometimes in addition to samples of the same or other songs. It is common to use different samples to maintain and sometimes even ridicule the original. To unify the songs together smoothly, a single backing beat may be added as background throughout the megamix, although this is not a must. This backing beat is kept basic so as to simplify mixing and to not compete with the music. These mixes are usually several minutes long at minimum, going up to a half-hour or an hour, or even more sometimes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">It's All About the Benjamins</span> 1997 single by Puff Daddy featuring the Notorious B.I.G., Lil Kim, and the Lox

"It's All About the Benjamins" is a song by American rapper and producer Puff Daddy. It was released as the third single from his debut studio album No Way Out. "Benjamins" is a slang word for money, referring to Benjamin Franklin's image on the US $100 bill. The song featured an uncredited vocal arrangement by Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, and featured a signature guitar hook played by Marc Solomon.

Steve Porter is an American music video producer, remixer and DJ originally from Amherst, Massachusetts. He is best known for his pop-culture mashup remixes and studio work as a progressive house producer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crush on You (Lil' Kim song)</span> 1997 single by Lil Kim featuring Lil Cease

"Crush on You" is a song by rapper Lil' Kim, released as the second single from her debut album, featuring fellow Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Lil' Cease. The Notorious B.I.G. raps the hook. It peaked at number 23 on the UK Singles Chart. The original album version had Lil' Cease rapping alone, while the single version featured him with Lil' Kim.

<i>The Grey Album</i> 2004 remix album (bootleg) by Danger Mouse

The Grey Album is a mashup album by Danger Mouse, released in 2004. It mixes an a cappella version of rapper Jay-Z's The Black Album with samples from the Beatles' self-titled ninth album, commonly known as "The White Album". The Grey Album gained notoriety when the Beatles' record label EMI attempted to halt its distribution despite approval of the project from Jay-Z and the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

"H.A.T.E.U." is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey from her twelfth studio album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (2009). It was written and produced by Carey, Tricky Stewart, and The-Dream. It was released as the third single from the album on November 1, 2009, for radio airplay in the United States. It is a down-tempo R&B love song about Carey wishing for the love and pain she feels from a break-up to turn into hate so she can get over the relationship. The song garnered a positive response from music critics, with many ranking it amongst the best on the album. The song's music video was directed by Brett Ratner in Malibu, and features Carey in a variety of swimsuits walking along the beach. She has performed the track live on Today and Late Show with David Letterman. "H.A.T.E.U." reached number 72 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Trackmasters are an American hip hop production duo composed of music producers Poke and Tone, best known for their commercial hit records in the mid-late 1990s and early 2000s. Frank "Nitty" Pimentel joined forces with the duo to complete the success of "Trackmasters". Throughout their career, they have worked with various hip-hop and R&B artists including Destiny's Child, Nas, R. Kelly, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Will Smith, Jay-Z, Cam'ron, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, The Notorious B.I.G. and 50 Cent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oh Santa!</span> 2010 single by Mariah Carey

"Oh Santa!" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey from her second Christmas album and thirteenth studio album, Merry Christmas II You (2010). Carey wrote and produced the song in collaboration with Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox. It was released as the lead single from the album on October 1, 2010 by Island Def Jam Records. It is an up-tempo R&B song about Carey making a plea for Santa Claus to bring back her partner in time for the Christmas holidays. It received a positive response from music critics, with many praising its composition and style.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Triumphant (Get 'Em)</span> 2012 single by Mariah Carey featuring Rick Ross and Meek Mill

"Triumphant (Get 'Em)" is a song by American singer Mariah Carey, featuring rappers Rick Ross and Meek Mill. It was written by Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, Ross, and Mill. The song was released on August 3, 2012, and Carey stated the song was written when her then-husband, actor Nick Cannon, was hospitalized with acute kidney failure in 2012, and was also inspired by the death of singer, and her friend, Whitney Houston.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">You're Mine (Eternal)</span> 2014 single by Mariah Carey

"You're Mine (Eternal)" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey included on her fourteenth studio album, Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse (2014). It premiered on February 12, 2014, as the third single from the album. It was written and produced by Carey with Rodney Jerkins. An R&B song, the lyrics revolve around the singer reminiscing about a past lover. Critical response to the song was positive: Carey's breathy vocal style and use of the whistle register at the climax earned praise from critics. It also drew several comparisons to one of Carey's previous singles, "We Belong Together" (2005).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">A No No</span> 2019 single by Mariah Carey

"A No No" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey from her fifteenth studio album, Caution (2018). The song was written by Carey, Robert "Shea" Taylor, Priscilla Hamilton, Mason Betha and Camron Giles. Since the track samples Lil' Kim's "Crush on You" (1997), songwriting credits were added for a total of nine. Digitally released as a promotional single in November 2018, Epic Records serviced it to rhythmic contemporary and urban contemporary radio as the second single from the album on March 4, 2019. "A No No" is a hip hop and R&B song with a blithely dismissive chorus and frisky beat.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Big Energy</span> 2021 single by Latto

"Big Energy" is a song by American rapper Latto. It was released through Streamcut and RCA Records on September 24, 2021, as the lead single from Latto's second studio album, 777 (2022). It was written by Latto, A1 LaFlare, Jaucquez Lowe, Randall Hammers, Theron Thomas, Dr. Luke, and Vaughn Oliver, with the latter two handling the production. Adrian Belew, Chris Frantz, Steven Stanley, and Tina Weymouth received songwriting credits since the song samples Tom Tom Club's 1981 song "Genius of Love". "Big Energy" has been described as pop and funk-rap.


  1. Everything is a Remix
  2. Herrington, Tony (15 July 2019). ""This is a journey into sound…" The sample that made hip hop history". 909Originals.
  3. Lynskey (14 October 2004). "Dorian". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2004.
  4. Hess, Mickey (2007). Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. p. 152. ISBN   978-0-313-33902-8 . Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  5. ""Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company". . Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  6. " – Eric B. & Rakim – Paid in Full". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved January 21, 2013. "Offizielle Deutsche Charts - Offizielle Deutsche Charts".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. " – Eric B. & Rakim – Paid in Full" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved January 21, 2013. "Dutch Charts -".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. Baker, Riley (August 16, 2018). "Madonna's career in 10 records as Queen of Pop turns 60". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on March 24, 2020. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  9. O'Brien, Jon (November 2, 2022). "How Madonna popularised the remix album". Reader's Digest . Archived from the original on November 2, 2022. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  10. Mark Ronson, How sampling transformed music, archived from the original on 2021-11-07, retrieved 2020-02-12
  11. ""Big Pimpin' " Trial: Jay Z Song Stirs International Copyright Law Debate". The Hollywood Reporter. 15 October 2015.
  12. Smith, Robert. Mixed Up (Deluxe Edition) (Media notes). the cure.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Nickson, Chris (1998). Mariah Carey Revisited. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. p. 137. ISBN   978-0-312-19512-0.
  14. Shapiro, Marc (2001). Mariah Carey. ECW Press. p. 92. ISBN   978-1-55022-444-3.
  15. Nickson 1998, p. 149.
  16. "Best Singles of the 1990s | Music". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  17. 1 2 3 Frere-Jones, Sasha (2006-04-03). "Mariah Carey's record-breaking career". The New Yorker . Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  18. "Celebrities Praise Mariah Carey: Part 1". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2011-12-11. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  19. 1 2 "Suite903: R&B, Rejected and Betrayed". 2011-01-14. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  20. "Grimes Favorites". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  21. "Mariah Carey Casts "Rainbow" For Next LP; Taps Missy, Da Brat For Remix". MTV News . MTV. 1999-08-13. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  22. Lu-Lien Tan, Cheryl (September 1, 2001). "One blond diva in for long haul". The Baltimore Sun . Tribune Company. Archived from the original on 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2011-06-01.
  23. Wiederhorn, Jon (2002-05-22). "Nas, Cypress Hill, Jessica Simpson ride the Remix wave". MTV . MTV Networks (Viacom). Retrieved 2011-01-10.
  24. Cinquemani, Sal (2002-07-02). "This Product Contains Previously Released Material". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
  25. Billboard Dance Club Play Songs (4 September 1999) Retrieved 30 June2017.
  26. Boucher, Geoff (January 4, 2001). "Grammys Cast a Wider Net Than Usual". Los Angeles Times. p. 13. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  27. "The Confessions of R. Kelly". 20 January 2016.
  28. "Deadmau5 Sues Over Remixes and Mashups". The Hollywood Reporter. 26 October 2015.
  29. "Deadmau5 Reaches Settlement with Play Records over Unauthorized Remixes".
  30. October 04, Robert Storace; PM, 2018 at 06:20. "Federal Judge Tosses Rapper 50 Cent's 'In Da Club' Remix Suit, Appeal Expected". Connecticut Law Tribune.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  31. Interviewed by The Paris Review , Burroughs explained the following: "A friend, Brion Gysin, an American poet and painter, who has lived in Europe for thirty years, was, as far as I know, the first to create cut-ups. His cut-up poem, Minutes to Go, was broadcast by the BBC and later published in a pamphlet. I was in Paris in the summer of 1960; this was after the publication there of Naked Lunch. I became interested in the possibilities of this technique, and I began experimenting myself. Of course, when you think of it, The Waste Land was the first great cut-up collage, and Tristan Tzara had done a bit along the same lines. Dos Passos used the same idea in 'The Camera Eye' sequences in USA . I felt I had been working toward the same goal; thus it was a major revelation to me when I actually saw it being done." Cf. Knickerbocker, Conrad, Williams S. Burroughs, 'The Paris Review Interview with William S. Burroughs' in A Williams Burroughs Reader, ed. John Calder (London: Picador, 1982), p. 263.
  32. "garfield minus garfield".
  33. Keifer-Boyd, Karen; Liao, Christen (2018). Feminism. In Keywords in Remix Studies. New York:NY: Routledge. pp. 147–157.
  34. "Virtua Fighter Remix". Sega Retro. 29 October 2021.
  35. 1 2 Lessig, Lawrence (2008). Remix. Penguin Press.
  36. "What we do".
  37. "Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) ss 31": 85–88.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  38. Mashups, Remix, and Copyright Law
  39. Nicolas Suzor (2006). "Transformative Use of Copyright Material". LLM Thesis. Queensland University of Technology.
  40. "Mashups, Remix, and Copyright Law" (PDF).
  41. Download Lessig's Remix, Then Remix It on
  42. remix on Bloomsbury Academic (2008, archived)
  43. "Fair Use". U.S. Copyright Office. U.S. Copyright Office. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  44. Rostama, Guilda (June 1, 2015). "Remix Culture and Amateur Creativity: A Copyright Dilemma". WIPO . Retrieved 2016-03-14. Canada is one of a few countries, if not the only one, to have introduced into its copyright law a new exception for non-commercial user-generated content. Article 29 of Canada's Copyright Modernization Act (2012) states that there is no infringement if: (i) the use is done solely for non-commercial purpose; (ii) the original source is mentioned; (iii) the individual has reasonable ground to believe that he or she is not infringing copyright; and (iv) the remix does not have a "substantial adverse effect" on the exploitation of the existing work.
  45. 1 2 Rostama, Guilda (June 1, 2015). "Remix Culture and Amateur Creativity: A Copyright Dilemma". WIPO . Retrieved 2016-03-14. in 2013 a district court ruled that copyright owners do not have the right to simply take down content before undertaking a legal analysis to determine whether the remixed work could fall under fair use, a concept in US copyright law which permits limited use of copyrighted material without the need to obtain the right holder's permission (US District Court, Stephanie Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., Universal Music Publishing Inc., and Universal Music Publishing Group, Case No. 5:07-cv-03783-JF, January 24, 2013).[...] Given the emergence of today's "remix" culture, and the legal uncertainty surrounding remixes and mash-ups, the time would appear to be ripe for policy makers to take a new look at copyright law.