Mixing Contest Suggestion

Mixing Contest Suggestion
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#1

I don’t do mixing contests myself but I had an idea for one:

As a community, generally we recognise the value of reference tracks. How about a mixing contest that must incorporate a specific reference track?

The track would be designated possibly by the owner of the stem recordings, and the idea would be to utilise the reference track in a positive way, in the mix, specifically in approximating the instrumentation sounds, and especially their levels.

Mixing to a reference track is a powerful tool, and I think that such a contest would help those people who are not used to using it come on in leaps and bounds. I could certainly envisage coversations such as ‘how do I get that snare sound?’ ‘Is my bass guitar at the right level?’ ‘What is that effect on the vocals? How do I get it’?

Some of the marks would be awarded for relevance to the reference track.

Just a thought.

Also track recreation:
A couple of years ago when I was doing my degree we had to recreate a track from the ground upwards. I was assigned Every Breath You Take by the Police. The end product was not too bad I suppose but the important thing is that it was a valuable experience. I’m not sure if I learned anything specific but it certainly honed my listening skills.

We could have a similar competition. Marks would be awarded simply for closeness to the original, based on A/B comparisons.

Just another thought…

AJ out


#2

Some excellent ideas! I’d love to talk more about some of the logistics of some of this. Not sure if there would be any issues with license/copyright, but it could be quite a learning experience for everyone.


#3

Clear the copyright ahead of time.


#4

Clear it for what? What laws would be broken?

Even if laws were broken, what would be the outcome? Nothing. Nobody is going to sue at great cost to themselves for the loss of $0. You only see lawsuits when there are big bucks to be won, otherwise, there would be thousands of lawsuits every day. If anything, such contests would be regarded as free promotion.


#5

Not the way it works in the US. Someone only needs to show $750 of actual damages to file for statutory and punitive damages. This is automatically an issue of Title 17 federal law. The location of the plaintiff and defendant are totally irrelevant. If the plaintiff were to be ‘domiciled’ outside of US territory, they can still retain US council to represent them in pursuing a cease and desist order. Weather its for money or not, this isn’t a area of the law you want to play games with, when all you need to do is write an email to the publisher requesting the rights on behalf of the participants for limited purpose derivative use specifically for this competition. This would most certainly NOT qualify as fair use without the consent of the publisher.


#6

Whatever the legalities, and assuming it could be done, I love the idea of working to a specific reference track. I was very diligent about referencing for a while but I have to admit I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit, getting a little complacent I think. I’d be up for this kind of challenge.


#7

I’d highly doubt anyone would bat an eye at you personally covering a track… But I could see an artist or publisher getting annoyed with a couple hundred people all over the world (think about how many contestants we had in the last few mixoffs) taking their song and doing whatever to it without their permission. Wasn’t saying it was a bad idea…just suggesting going through the proper channels on something like this.

…and I was talking about the second idea of re-creating a track. Not the first one about the reference mixes :smiley:


#8

[quote=“Jonathan, post:5, topic:884”]
Someone only needs to show $750 of actual damages to file for statutory and punitive damages.
[/quote]And how would using a reference track or re-creating a track generate $750 dollars of lost revenue?

Even if it does somehow generate $750, that doesn’t mean the song owner actually will sue. I’m taking about what happens in the real world. For example Youtube is rammed with millions of songs. There must be hundreds of thousands of them that could be successfully sued - but aren’t. Why? because it’s just not worth the time, trouble and cost, especially when it’s not certain that the case will be won.

[quote=“Jonathan, post:5, topic:884”]
Weather its for money or not, this isn’t a area of the law you want to play games with…
[/quote]Oh calm down. Or else what? Pistols at dawn? Hung drawn and quartered?

Well firstly, ‘getting annoyed’ isn’t the same as sueing for $750. It’s more like the opposite, i.e. not sueing.

Secondly, why would they get annoyed? It’s free advertising.

[quote=“Jonathan, post:7, topic:884”]
I’d highly doubt anyone would bat an eye at you personally covering a track…

…and I was talking about the second idea of re-creating a track.
[/quote]So please tell me, what is the technical difference between “personally covering a track” and “re-creating a track”, and why is one any less likely to incur the wrath of the song owner? Better get your facts right, this site already has plenty of ‘covers’ and ‘track recreations’ in BTR, and there will be plenty more to come.


#9

Yes, that was the idea. As a community we should be promoting good practice, and using a reference track is one of the simplest, yet most powerful practices. I’m sure such a competiton would help people a whole lot more than a standard mixing contest.


#10

I’m about a quarter of my way through Mike Senior’s “Mixing Secrets” book, which I picked up the other day, and am in the chapter about referencing now. My fervor for referencing is well renewed!


#11

I’ve known some artists firsthand that would strongly disagree. I’m very much in that same camp of “why not give your song(s) as much exposure as possible?”, but some artists/bands and labels are highly protective of their material. They wouldn’t want other mixes out there floating around, etc. I get it, but not entirely.

There are definitely other artists that are more flexible and I think this idea will work out. It’s just a matter of finding someone willing to go along with it. Shouldn’t be too difficult.


#12

The reference track probably qualifies as fair use, so long as copies of the track are not digitally distributed by @holster during the course of the competition. That’s not a problem. Re-creating a track is. Actual damages are lose the compulsory licensing fees they are entitled to under federal law, and violate the rights to derivative works and duplication.

The artist probably doesn’t give a shit, but the publisher probably does. The artist just might see it as free promotion, but the publisher doesn’t stand to benefit from the free promotion in the way an artist might.

If someone threatens to sue, they’re threatening to come after more than $750. Actual/compensatory damages (which means what the artist actually lost) of $750 are the minimum required to open the door to add hundreds of thousands to the claim in punitive (which means don’t do this again) and statutory (which means you broke the law). So if you hurt the person for at least $750, you get spanked 10x over so you don’t do it again, and another 10x over because you know you shouldn’t have done it in the first place. By the way, you’re also liable for court costs in a copyright infringement claim.

No one here is going to get sued. Yes, I know that. First someone will get asked politely to not use particular material anymore. But if you stubbornly refused on the grounds you just named, you’d be surprised at how temperamental publishers can be.

Why are you so insistent on using a song without permission? Just ask for god sake. As I said earlier…just ‘clear the song ahead of time’.

[quote=“AJ113, post:8, topic:884”]
So please tell me, what is the technical difference between “personally covering a track” and “re-creating a track”, and why is one any less likely to incur the wrath of the song owner? [/quote] Because when @Chordwainer covers a track, he’s not intending to make it the centerpiece of an online competition.

I do have my facts right. Singing a song at a voice lesson is fair use. Performing a jazz pieces at a senior recital is fair use. A recreation for a bash is fair use. Featuring a song as a competition material for performers to compete for scholarships…yes. Featuring it as competition for us to re-record, no. Students video taping themselves as part of their audition and privately submitting it to a university ok. Us re-recoding something then publicly posting it on the open web? Wouldn’t try it without permission.


#13

I am missing something? @Jonathan

I am having a hard time connecting the lines, so bare with me.

Ok, next competition comes around we have a bands’ track to mix, let us call this band " Johnny and the Sailors" and their track is called " Sailing in the Moonlight"

We have the band, the track, and they have given us permission to use this during a Mix competition. Now, what AJ is saying is the rules are to use a specific (PRO) reference track that every participant must use to mix the song “Sailing in the Moonlight” …Ok it is choosen that Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” is the reference track.

With all of this , in this scenario, how is using “Sailing in the Moonlightrecreating Neil Young’s track “Harvest Moon” just by using it as a reference track?

Are you confused as to what AJ is suggesting? because I cannot see how using a reference track is recreating it …please explain.


#14

Do they have copyrights on vocal levels?


#15

[quote=“cptfiasco, post:13, topic:884”]
I am having a hard time connecting the lines, so bare with me.

Ok, next competition comes around we have a bands’ track to mix, let us call this band " Johnny and the Sailors" and their track is called " Sailing in the Moonlight"

We have the band, the track, and they have given us permission to use this during a Mix competition. [/quote]

Sweet! All good. Lets do it!

[quote]
Now, what AJ is saying is the rules are to use a specific (PRO) reference track that every participant must use to mix the song “Sailing in the Moonlight” …Ok it is choosen that Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” is the reference track.

With all of this , in this scenario, how is using “Sailing in the Moonlight” recreating Neil Young’s track “Harvest Moon” just by using it as a reference track? [/quote]

It’s not. Nothing wrong with this at all. Go for it.

AJ said this in the OP…

I suggested to @holster it would be a good idea to get permission (clear the track) through the artist/management/publisher.

…to which AJ replied:

So I tried to answer the question. I dunno…I assumed it was a serious question…doesn’t it look like one? It did to me. Could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.

You know the UAD ‘Voice of God’ plugin? Remember when @bozmillar got worried about UAD’s ip rights when he changed ‘Voice of Dog’ to ‘Bark of Dog’? I thought the was too trivial for them to care. And that plugin was free. But people are just goofy about this stuff in the US.


#16

[quote=“holster, post:11, topic:884”]
There are definitely other artists that are more flexible and I think this idea will work out. [/quote] I think the idea is fabulous. Just wasn’t crazy about doing it without permission, having the artist wake up one morning and get blindsided to see their tracks floating around this website, then adding insult to injury by telling them this:

= by the way, we did you a favor. Deal with it.

I’LL SAY IT AGAIN - ITS A GOOD IDEA! …I’m all for the contest. Just clear the track :wink: rest my case ~sigh~

I don’t think it will be difficult at all.


#17

Guys, in my business, this is what we call “being in violent agreement”. :nerd: :grinning:


#18

Well, here’s something we can also violently agree on of we want to… Music attorneys are expensive. lol But since they’re also my friends (or at least I think they are), here’s what one had to say:

You do not need permission from the artist. As I suspected their opinion is irrelevant. You do not need permission from the label. They are out of the picture since the mechanical component is being re-created. You DO need permission from the publisher. Once you get the green light for a limited use mechanical license, you submit the payment for the license to the Harry Fox Agency. The charge would be determine by standardized rates pertaining to ‘free non subsection add supported services’. Therefore, a percentage of the add revenue for this website will be paid to the publisher. Oh! Wait…um…isn’t x percent of zero um…zero? Yup. I think so. Unfortunately there is a mimimum fee of .08 cents USD that will need to be paid to attain the license. I will volunteer 8 lowly pennies if I must.

The last thing you ought to have is a writers union license. BMI/ASCAP. Why? These guys are unions that exist to screw songwriters and protect publishers. Weather you are subscribed to one or not, they will go to your local bars, nightclubs, and restaurants (and websites) and impose fines on lowly people that do not have 8 cents, or have not paid said 8 cents. Under what authority do they do this? They are not police? They are not federal investigators…right? Well, without paying your 8 cents you have violated federal law pursuant to Title 17 US Code 501 § 1-10-whatever. Then BMI/ASCAP, as a union, acts on behalf of the artist (weather the artist wants them to or not) and will petition a civil court to serve a summons to @holster in Oregon. The fine will end up somewhere in the $500 range. If you ever wondered how ASCAP and BMI make money, you just found out.

Think of US copyright law like Donald Trump. It does some good things, makes a lot of money, but is really fucked in the head sometimes. Sorry Donald. It is what it is.

When I tell someone I dropped out of law school, most of the time they tell me ‘congratulations. smart move’.


#19

Congratulations! Smart move! :grinning:

But seriously… thanks for the info. I’ll also gladly cough up the 8 cents as often as need be. :wink: