Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mixing it up...

Onc more the law is about to prove that it is indeed an ass.And the ramifications of the latest legal bitchfight, if taken to its already illogical conclusion, could mean an end to the interactive creative endeavours of DJs, remixers, and mixtape compilers everywhere, forever.

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but the news that Superclub and dance CD franchise monster, Ministry Of Sound are suing user friendly online music streaming service Spotify over, get this, the order in which they list songs. 

Yep, that’s right, tracklist wars.

But I sort of understand, I really do.
I’ve always been a compulsive mixtape maker. I even clung to the format to such an extent that I would use the huge collection of mp3 albums stored on my phone, played via cable into my stereo, to allow me to make cassette compilations of digital music to play in the car.
And back in the good old days, you could spend hours hunched over a record deck, surrounded by a scattering of black vinyl discs and their eclectically garish sleeves, timing each track to the very last second, to fit as much variety as possible onto 30, 45, or if you were lucky 60 minutes of shiny, fragile, easily tangled magnetic ribbon.
Back then, a compilation tape was a thing to proudly play to your mates, all of whom would listen solemnly to your creation before offering their judgement on the timing, running order and content of this new entry into the pantheon of audio anthology.

Or something.

Anyway, assuming you garnered the approval of your peers in musical appreciation, and your mixtape was professed to be hip / cool / groovy / sweet / rad / wicked (delete according to generation) then imagine how pissed off you’d be when some first year kid came to school the next day with a tape he “just threw together” with all the same tracks as on your now acknowledged masterpiece, and what’s more, in the same order!

Well you’d certainly need to have words if he went round claiming credit for all your creative hard graft wouldn’t you?
I mean, that’s just not proper etiquette is it?

But let me remind you that this is 15 year old schoolboys we’re talking about here, and that’s how they’re supposed to act.
If you make untold millions selling collections of other people’s music, with virtually no creative input, then at least respect the rights of other bandwagoneers who wish to profit from the not-really-a-talent of playing records in a certain order to create the sound most pleasing to the wallet ear.

The impending Ministry/Spotify battle shows that the big kids can’t play nicely together either though, even when it’s with someone else’s toys.

Ministry Of Sound’s main gripe seems to be that Spotify users are compiling tracklists that are in exactly the same order as mix CDs previously released under the MoS brand name, and are even able to give their homemade album the original title.

Spotify’s attitude appears to be the legal equivalent of “Yeah, whatever” at the moment, but I have a feeling that may change soon.

And where will it lead?
They could stop you putting all sorts of things in order.
First music, then what, words?

We’d lose all the stories overnight, word of mouth would die out, you couldn’t tell old jokes, and politicians would have to come up with different ways to tell the same lies,

So be careful next time you put together a party mix, someone may be listening.
Well, I guess you’re hoping they’ll be listening, but you know what I mean…

Read the full news story here...



  1. Great post, Dale, and I was not at all aware of this until I read your post. First music, then our words, ya know it could happen! Big kids can’t play nicely together. Very interested in seeing how this all plays out with your Ministry of Sound and Spotify, the end result could have huge consequences everywhere. I better closely guard my party mixes!

  2. Thanks Lil. Yes, don't let the mixtape police grind you down.

  3. This post made me go back to my cassette box and dig up some of my old mixtapes. Ones I had made and a few that some girls had made for me. Then I realized I didn't have a cassette player anymore...Hell, I haven't had one for about 12 years! :(

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