After a friend recently sent me the above Kirby Ferguson video, I had to think about how Remix has evolved over the years. I first blogged about this video in 2011, yet it’s still as relevant today as it has ever been. But remix has taken on a very different role in culture since 2011.
As I see it, Remix has gone through five major cycles and will continue to evolve as much as we content producers and consumers will let it.
When Remix first entered the stage of common internet nomenclature it was all about Creative Commons. Flickr had brought Creative Commons to the fore but there was still a lot of confusion around the term. When YouTubers began downloading video, remixing and reuploading, it was often done under the guise of Creative Commons licensing. This then quickly turned into a privacy issue.
If I upload my cute baby video then it’s remixed with Britney Spears, surely that’s a violation of my privacy. All of sudden we began to see just how open and assessable the web really was. People who never head a camera or cast an actor were making movies with Hollywood appeal. And we also saw the speed that content could travel.
This iterative speed blurred the line of who was the original creator. This made it impossible to claim any rights to the content and even more difficult to monetize. But there was money to be made thanks to the expansive reach.
As networks grew in size and social connectivity remix began to fuel these connections. If you wanted something to spread, to go viral, it was almost never the original. Nor was that really important if the goal was to reach the largest possible audience.
Now Remix is at the heart of any engagement metric. Anyone can like, tweet, pin or tumble but remixing shows a level of commitment. If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery then remixing someone’s work is down right flirtatious. Word of mouth advertising has long been the mecca because it converts the best, but Remix has both WOM and advocacy and earned media distribution wrapped all in one.
So what’s next? Remix for the masses. Everything will be seen as a bit more fluid, open, available to be played with. The debate will always rage on about CC, Privacy, Ownership, Rights of redistribution and engagement but while all that happens in the background let us remember that nothing is purely original so let’s just have a little fun with our creativity.