Girl Talk Takes Copyright Issues Mainstream with Compelling Mashup Dance Tracks

Image: Girl Talk is Gregg GillisI’d encourage you to steal Girl Talk’s breakthrough fourth album, but you can’t. It’s pay-what-you-like, so if you like, pay $0.00 to start listening and return to toss in a payment later. Start your download during this golden time before DMCA takedown notices and TROs make this a coveted, though still free, file.

Under the name Girl Talk, Greg Gillis creates music out of dozens of songs mashed together on each of his tracks. His fourth album, Feed the Animals, uses over 300 samples, much of it easily recognizable pop music which is recontextualized into 3-4 minutes musical cultural reference montages. He releases his work under a creative commons license on a “pay what you like basis.”

A biomedical engineer in Pittsburgh by day, Gillis is now making the charts in Rolling Stone and accumulating praise for integrity and creativity, both in his art and in his approach to copyright from unusual sources. Image: Girl Talk’s Feed the AnimalsThe Wall Street Journal, not the usual source for breaking music news, describes Girl Talk’s work as “propulsive dance music” in a lengthy and enthusiastic article.

Then there’s his Congressman, Mike Doyle, who offered perhaps the coolest congressional testimoney, referencing Paul McCartney’s admission that he nicked the Chuck Berry bass riff for the Beatles’ hit “I Saw Her Standing There” in testimony about RIAA’s over-reaching tactics to enforce copyright. While established artists have used their popularity to bypass labels and offer works on a “pay what you like” basis, this may be the first case where a totally new artist will use this model to gain fame and substantial sales.

Some days, following online copyright law is both cool and fun. Enjoy the tunes!

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