Now Live: Magnatune/Lisa DeBenedictis Remix Contest
CC Mixter and Magnatune are running a remix contest using two songs by Lisa DeBenedictis, in an attempt to make a Lisa D remix album that we'll then sell (the proceeds being split among the remixers).
CC Mixter is currently hosting a remix contest featuring the work of Magnatune recording artist Lisa DeBenedictis with the entire Magnatune catalog of over 1,700 pieces of music available for source material. The creators of the top 10 winning entries (up to two winning entries per contestant) will get signed to a Magnatune recording contract and appear on a commercially available remix album.
There's a press release describing the contest as well as another document in non-PRish terms. The docs at CC Mixter also do a good job of describing this all. Victor has been putting together a massive sample library (400 loops, all high quality WAV files) all with tempo (BPM) and key information, so it's super-easy to assemble samples from these libraries using any of the standard music remixing packages (Fruity Loops, Sonar, Acid, Garageband) into new pieces. That's a hugely helpful step to take, rather than just giving people raw songs to hack at (which they're also welcome to do, it just takes more work for them to do it)
On the "open music" concept of Magnatune: I've long wanted to release "source files" to the music Magnatune releases, which really means single tracks, unmixed (so you can "compile" the tracks into a final new song). However, it can be hard to get these source tracks after the fact, especially if musicians paid a studio to make an album, and an engineer wants more money to go back and find the source tracks. As part of this CC Mixter contest, Victor and I went back to our musicians, and managed to get a half dozen artists to give use tracks to several songs. That's at least a start. If the remix contest is successful (and we're already getting lots of remixes!) I should be able to use that as leverage to get musicians to give me their multi-track sources to their albums.
On another topic, it was interesting working with the Creative Commons on the contest rules. It turns out that anything called a "contest" is highly legally regulated in the USA, and so tons of lawyer time went into making "the rules" legally compliant. Thankfully, the lawyer time is donated by the CC, but still...
One other big issue came out was how the various CC licenses work (or don't) together. Since we release our music under a "share-alike" license that requires new works to be released under the same license, you cannot use other samples at CC Mixter in this remix contest, because those are mostly released under the more restrictive "sampling" license (we use the more general "derivatives" license) -- because if you made a work which used samples from both works (each with a different license), which license would the new work use? The answer: you can't, it's not allowed.
I chose the "derivatives allowed" license for Magnatune, because it allows any transformation, even small ones. For example, a "mash up" of two songs playing at once doesn't seem like "sampling" to me, since the entire songs are present in the final (just mixed together), and might not be allowed by a sampling license. More tangibly, the sampling license doesn't allow a non-commercial film to use the music, since the music isn't being sampled, while the "derivatives" license does allow it.
This legal stuff is important (the point of the CC is to get the legal stuff right, hopefully without lawyers) so we ended up restricting people to only use Magnatune sources (or public domain ones, or stuff they play themselves) in their remix. That's a strange consequence, but it's an important insight we (and the CC) have gotten from this, which is the first large-scale attempt to mix various music libraries to create new works.
Posted by John Buckman on May 19, 2005 at 04:58 PM | Permalink
Are you really, really sure that ANY commercial use is possible with the kind of licence Magnatune has (by-nc-sa)? The licence specfically states NONCOMMERCIAL!
Posted by: Cezary Ostrowski at May 20, 2005 10:36:27 AM
Any non-commercial use is allowed -- the point I was trying to make is that the content in the new work isn't relevant to whether reuse is allowed (ie, a small sample vs large sections). But, you're right, the new work can only be presented (for free, under the CC license) if it's non-commercial. Of course, if it is commercial, they can just license the music using our online licensing engine...
Posted by: John Buckman at May 20, 2005 4:37:37 PM
I'm not a lawyer, but I thought that it's the artist who decides about the licence, not the magnatune online licencing engine :)
But, if what you say is true than parhaps we should talk to Mr Lessig that all this stuff with CC variety of licences is absolutely useless, and that only one CC licence could exist - that is CC (wws) - CC we will see :)
Posted by: Cezary Ostrowski at May 20, 2005 11:18:53 PM
This one is a bit of subject, but you look like a musician that plays some classical instrument. Is that right?
P.S. I like the haircut :)
Posted by: Cezary Ostrowski at May 21, 2005 12:52:24 AM