Copy, Transform, Combine. The Remix Culture and Music.

“I jump ‘em from other writers but I arrange ‘em my own way.”

Blind Willie McTell

Remix culture is embodied through music. It has origins in early blues music where the adoption of other musicians lyrics to your own melodic structure often occurred.  This ability to take from others to change and adapt for your own creative output has developed dramatically in the years following this. This prominence has occurred particularly since the turn of the century, as the ability to source music has grown with the web 2.0 revolution. Kirby Ferguson refers to this as the ability to “copy, transform and combine”.

This ability to copy, transform and combine has led to remixing becoming engrained in the musical culture of today. Almost every modern hit is disassembled and recreated to inspire new meaning from the original content.

This remix released last week has almost reached 1.5 million views. IN A WEEK. It would seem that the increasing popularity of EDM (electronic dance music) has spurned a new arc of remix music.

But, will this arc be sustained?

Lev Manovich believes that like many other cultures, remix will probably end, lose popularity or be adapted and transformed into something else entirely. He argues that if everything is a remix that eventually people will become tired of the “cultural object” nature of the music created. From here he believes that this discontent from the continued sampling of our cultural database will cause the birth of our next prominent culture.

However it seems farfetched that the world of remix, particularly in music could meet its demise so soon. The length of time it has taken to reach prominence would suggest a staying power particularly in youth culture.


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