Thursday, January 03, 2008

Two solitudes

Some of the first posts on this blog, nearly two years ago, dealt with music, linguistics and the divisions of music scenes by languages. Juan Rodriguez of the Gazette has an insightful piece on his experiences as an Anglophone music critic whose beat is the Francophone pop scene. Juan is an astute writer and a voracious listener - the above piece namechecks Malajube and John Zorn.

Also appearing in today's Gazette was a Reuters article about the prevalence of Beatles' music in hip-hop and advertising. It's an interesting piece for many reasons: cynics in the crowd might note that Sony/ATV (and Michael Jackson) own the copyrights to the Beatles catalogue -- feel free to make your own inferences here. And in the wake of the brouhaha over Danger Mouse's Grey Album (and in a different manner, the whole Love mash-up project), it's notable that the samples are still not fair game, but "interpolations" or recreations and performances of the music in question, are all right. (The sampling-vs-interpolation debate is quite intriguing, but it's a discussion for another day.) Rather, I'd like to highlight this quote from Sony/ATV's chief executive, Martin Brandier:

"It's important that the world knows this music. It just can't be hidden forever, otherwise you're going to miss generations of music listeners."

Really? Lennon/McCartney tunes "hidden forever" because they haven't been decimated by American Idol? My head hurts.

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