Anyone can be a DJ, because anyone can use a social network. This is the idea behind our do-it-yourself websites, UMIX.com and REMIX.com, which will enable everyone to unleash the Fatboy Slim that grooves within. There’s Pandora. There’s Spotify. With UMIX and REMIX, we recognized the demand for a more personalized music experience, so we developed sites which offer the ability to keep the party going with a seamless, shareable flow of personalized music, DJ style, à la your favorite club.
What we’ve done with UMIX is to one-up traditional music streaming sites by allowing the user to handpick songs from a variety of places, such as a video on YouTube or an MP3 file, and then create a DJ mix with the end of one song automatically blending with the beginning of the next. With UMIX, we’ve eliminated the fate of the mix being left strictly in the hands of the professionals – which means you can pull a Lindsay Lohan and kiss Samantha Ronson’s pouty face goodbye. Expert effects, like scratching or vocal drops, can be added wherever you like. Once the mix is perfected, it can be easily shared with other UMIX users, as well as users on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site. And it’s free.
UMIX is the DJ table, while REMIX.com is the mixing studio. With a few simple clicks, the user can take an instrumental track of any song and mix it with the vocals of another song. The end result is a completely unique sound. We want the possibilities for fusion to be endless, and the software on REMIX allows this. We feel REMIX is also a great tool for budding musicians, as you can import files of your own songs. If someone happens to belt out a killer rendition of “Son of a Preacher Man,” they can upload their vocal track and see how amazing it sounds with Aretha’s backup band. Then they can show their badass skills to the world via the social networking sites of their choice.
We recognize that music purists might feel that a DIY site like REMIX will put the creative talents of the music industry in jeopardy. However, anyone paying attention to recent trends in technology knows that these sorts of advances frequently transform the industry for the better. Digital photography is a perfect example. Professional photographers worried that the advent of the digital camera would render their services obsolete. Instead, what we saw was that making professional technology available to the layperson actually led to an increased interest in photography. This, in turn, left every Ansel Adams wannabe with a hunger to learn the fundamentals of professional photography. Enter the photographers to share – and capitalize upon – their own knowledge.
Something similar is bound to happen with the original music production industry. We’re convinced that people who have never even considered learning the trade will be inspired by such DIY DJ tools and will start exploring the components of producing music. These amateur mixing pioneers will likely lead to an enormous explosion of new types of music, expanding and benefiting the state of the art along the way.
We are very excited about the innovative networking aspects of REMIX. Historically, artists on opposite ends of the world have not had the means, financial or otherwise, to easily collaborate with each other. We envision REMIX bringing together people of different cultures and backgrounds, effectively ending the segregation of musical genres and yielding new, multicultural, genre-busting collaborations that, thanks to social networking, are within earshot of millions of music lovers.
Now, let’s alleviate some copyright-induced fears. Anyone who reached the age of musical consent by 1999 instantly fills with nostalgia at the mention of Napster. Depending on how frequent a downloader you were, this nostalgia may be accompanied by a slight fear of negative consequences. Major music companies (in other words, the rights holders) might share this fearful nostalgia as well, as many of them reacted instinctively to Napster and made reflex decisions based on fear, much like the panic that you might feel if shoved into a dark, chaotic room. You might want to lash out at first. But pretty soon, you’re able to distinguish forms in the darkness and the situation becomes less scary. As your eyes continue to adjust, you start to see that there’s a really great party going on, with no signs of stopping. Because the party itself is unlikely to disappear, you decide to join in the fun. Before long, all of the lights have come on, everything’s clear, and no one has to stop dancing.
This is exactly what most major music companies have decided to do. We know the industry is changing. Hackers will always be one step ahead of the rest of the world. The point we want to get across is that, fortunately, major music companies have recognized this change and have cleverly adjusted their business models to a more collaborative tone so everyone benefits. The initial fear of financial loss brought about by Napster has subsided because the major companies now know that there are proven models of not only protecting their copyrights, but profiting to boot. That’s not to say that every company has evolved, but luckily Napster paved the way so that nowadays, even when there is such a dispute, it’s nowhere near as serious as ten years ago. Decades into the digital age, people are more familiar with this new collaborative territory, and we want REMIX to help fuel the revolution.