Remixing Radiohead

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Radiohead, in league with the iTunes Store, is offering the Common Person the opportunity to remix the band’s single, “Nude” (nudeness not required) and upload the results to the band’s site, where the Public At Large will vote on its favorite remixes. The remix information site goes on to say that the band will listen to the best remixes. The Terms page provides further niggling details, the gist of which is that you’re doing this for the fun of it and nothing more. Any remixes shall be the property of Warner/Chappell Music Ltd and Xurbia Xendless and not you.

It works this way:

You purchase up to five “stems”—the bass, drum, guitar, string fx, and voice parts of the single—for 99 cents each. These parts are in iTunes Plus format (unprotected AAC) so can be imported directly into Apple’s GarageBand or Logic as well as a variety of other music editing applications. (Or can be converted to AIFF, WAV, or MP3 for editing in applications that don’t support AAC.) If you purchase all five stems you’ll receive a link to a GarageBand project file of the tune. (I purchased all five about 2 hours ago and haven’t yet received the email that contains this link.) The track is in 6/8 meter rather than 4/4 and no tempo or key information is offered (if you count it in 6 rather than 2 it runs at around 64 bpm).

Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor did something like this three years ago when releasing a version of the song “The Hand That Feeds” in GarageBand format. (No longer available.) It’s now Radiohead’s turn.

It’s an interesting idea—a nice way for bands to bring in some extra cash and promote their work while providing fans the opportunity to be part of the creative process. Given that GarageBand includes very few 6/8 loops I’m not sure that it’s the best editing environment for your remix unless you’re willing to create your own parts (a couple of remixes I’ve heard cheat this by doubling up 3/4 loops), but kudos to the band and Apple for providing parts—oh, okay, stems—that can be used in other editing applications.

Whether you’re an old hand or just someone who would like to try their hand at remixing, $4.95 is a small enough investment in something that should be, at the very least, a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

For more details and to listen to others’ remixes, visit Radiohead’s remix site.

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