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Bowie backs mash-up Djs with new competition


Story: Jack Foley

BEDROOM Djs have received an unlikely ally, in the form of David Bowie, now that he has asked them to create a new track for an internet competition by bootlegging his songs.

The music icon has given fans the right to create a new song by using computer music software to blend, or ‘mash up’, two existing tracks, in a unique event that will see the winning track released as an MP3 and its creator rewarded with a car.

The artist believes that ‘mash-ups’ were ‘a great appropriation idea just waiting to happen’, and told The Times newspaper that he was very comfortable with the idea of his tracks being used.

Entrants are therefore invited to blend any song from the singer's latest album, Reality, with any other Bowie song from his extensive back catalogue - with a number of entries due to be broadcast via the Bowienet website, so that listeners can select finalists before Bowie, himself, chooses the winner.

The 57-year-old star brushed off initial scepticism of his support for the ‘mash-up’ phenomenon by describing himself as ‘a hybrid maker off and on’, and feels it is better to embrace and work with the latest trends, rather than battling against them.

Mash-ups have been made possible as computer music software and digital sound files, such as MP3s, have become more accessible. The craze is boosted by online song-swapping services.

But while the trend has created some success stories - such as the Sugababes' 2002 number one hit, Freak Like Me, which was created by producer, Richard X, using Gary Numan's Are Friends Electric? and Adina Howard's Freak Like Me - many ‘mash-ups’ have been deemed illegal and have courted the wrath of record companies, who are threatening legal action.

The most notable instance of this took place in February, when record giant, EMI, blocked distribution of The Grey Album, by DJ Danger Mouse, which blended songs from The Beatles' White Album with tracks from rapper Jay-Z's Black Album.

Jay-Z's label, Roc-a-fella Records, did not take any action against Danger Mouse, however, describing the album as ‘hot’, but EMI took exception, serving to make the album much more sought-after.

Not that the controversy has done Danger Mouse any harm, for it has served to boost the profile of his excellent debut album, Ghetto Pop Life, which features Jemini, as well as landing him the chance to work with Gorillaz on their next long-player.

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