While thinking about how this reBlogging stuff is going to change the nature of RSS distribution it became apparent that it would change not just blogs, but Podcasts and Webjay playlists, too. Microcontent aggregation is how the general process is being described and now Yahoo is supposedly building a tool to do just what reBlog does now.
For a Podcast reblogger to be interesting, I think you'd need to have it be able to stream Podcasts as easily switchable auto-pausing channels. So you'd have an app that would essentially let you 'scan' the dial for new Podcasts. And when an ad or a boring part came up, the app would pause that channel as you switched to another. Something like that... Just an idea... iTunes of course is already doing this to a certain extent. What other features would a playlist reblogger have? Faster scanning, of course, is the reblogging feature and direct contact with content.
This week I started the New Music reBlog as a way to promote and disseminate new music blogginess throughout the galaxy. It uses software from Eyebeam called, reBlog which lets you subscribe and aggregate multiple RSS feeds for later commenting, quoting, or merely pointing to. Several issues about identity and authorship have come up by Robert Gable at awoks, et al because reBlogging essentially creates blog entries from RSS feeds and their inherent context is morphed by the act of re-associating the texts away from their home space. Also, some feeds quote in their entirety the blog entry while others have no text at all. Kyle Gann's PostClassic blog's RSS feed doesn't even have his name in it, nor his text. I've been trying to hand-edit those, but at a certain point, the RSS feed itself determines the reblogged content.
I use RSS readers from time to time (when I remember to look at them) but I've noticed I'm reading more music blogs since I set up this reBlog. So, maybe, the loss of context will encourage a curiosity about their home blog planet and the reader will voyage into their native blogospace.
Although it's been talked about a bit already, I'm heartened by the recent news that studies have proven that people who Online file sharers buy 5 times the amount of music that non-pirates do. Sounds like all this talk about attacking piracy is just hurting their strongest and fastest growing customer base. Who'd have thunk it!
Talking with a friend about the mashup phenomenon this morning got me thinking. The effect certainly is musico-symbolic; the tunes resonate in the memory as past experience signifiers and having those points morph into other points is interesting and pleasurable. We have in a sense, created with mashups a musical gateway into Kierkegaardian moments of rotational and repetitional experience. Nostalgia triggers, apperception moments, all rolled into one piece of sonic experience.
The real paradigm for a many of these morphogenetic musical anomalies is the classical variation. Harmonies, tunes, are essentially intact but the backing tracks are replaced in a way that Beethoven, Brahms or Bach would have found interesting - because - the accompaniments are from other pieces of music.
Maybe Bach's quodlibet from the Goldberg Variations is the original mashup. In that short, final movement, Bach used 4 pieces of street music (including the ever popular, "Cabbage and turnips have driven me away, Had my mother cooked meat, I'd have chosen to stay"). Through these contrapuntally-expressed street songs, Bach melds pop music, the Goldberg harmonies and original music. It's not the greatest piece of music, but conceptually it is mind-boggling and Bach knew it. One of his last pieces, it represents a return to the use of musical symbolism inherent in the Renaissance when composers would use tunes from pop songs in their masses and these tunes would represent, of course, emotional symbols of their prior uses.
Probably my favorite mashup so far, for its technique and for its emotive value is DJ Earworm's Stairway to Bootleg Heaven. A re-assemblage of Dolly Parton - Stairway to Heaven vs. Eurythmics - This City Never Sleeps vs. Beatles - Because vs. Laurie Anderson - O Superman vs. Art Of Noise - Moments in Love vs. Beastie Boys - So Whatcha Want vs. Pat Benetar - Love is a Battlefield into one smooth and poignant package.
Speaking of free music, the BBC has got itself into hot water from the big classical record companies for uh.... popularizing a dying art form?, re-invigorating the symphony? No! But for
undermining the value of music and unfair competition! Sorry, it's hard to
type when I'm laughing so hard.
The record companies shall reap what they have sown.