Let me preface this by saying that I am not going to post a single original thought here. It's all stuff that someone else put together first. Even the name of this post is taken from other people, most notably the great documentary series "Everything is a Remix".
Once upon a time there was a little song you probably never heard of. Either it was Baah Baah Blacksheep, twinkle twinkle little star, or the ABC's, I forget. But anyway, the song was WILDLY successful.
Then this band Gotye TOTALLY stole it and made it into a song about heartbreak and loss, which was NOT the original intent of the author. But that didn't matter, because it was WILDLY successful. AND THEY DIDN'T PAY THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR ONE DIME
Then this OTHER group of people made it into a song about how a whole bunch of people can play on the SAME guitar. So I guess it was about sharing. But this little video was also WILDLY successful.
But then a bunch of jokers came in and made their own videos of the song, which were clearly just ripoffs, and they made it into things about Star Wars which was NOT what the original artist intended. However this didn't seem to matter, because many, if not all, of the videos were WILDLY successful. (latest internets show approx. 1 gabillion versions, which is slightly more than the covers of Baah Baah Black sheep, yet it has less bad animations)
Even some dudes drove around in their car talking about how much they hate the song, and it's WILD popularity, but still managed to sing the whole song. This was mildly popular, which is still pretty wild.
So here's the kicker. That Gotye guy, who stole the song from the sheep and didn't pay him one cent, went and stole back the covers of his song and made it into a new song. It's like he got the whole internet together to sing a song that wasn't even really his.
Which makes me wonder a few things:
Would you be mad if someone stole your song?
What if you still kept your song, they just sang it, would it still be stealing?
What if they made the song into something else that was more popular than your song, would that still be stealing?
What if you stole someone's song and made your own thing out of it, but then they came back and stole your song again. Is that stealing? Grand theft autotune?
Maybe we aren't really talking about theft, but something else altogether. If Gotye got mad at all the people stealing, I don't think the song would be such a cultural touchstone.
But it also makes me think, that whole internet orchestra thing is pretty amazing. I am glad that Gotye thought of it, because that is TOTALLY original.
(this is my favorite song of all of the songs in this blog post)
Which reminds me of one important thing. The internet is powerful and incredible. But don't think of it as a bunch of computers, think of it as a HUGE copy machine where some ideas and thoughts get magnified and others disappear and dwindle and die, but they all leave copies, copious copies in fact.
If you want to talk more about this, leave a comment below.
Or call me...maybe.
(P.S. I stole SO many of the ideas shared here)