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
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
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.