Is remixing the new X-Factor?

toy piano

Or Is remixing becoming the new X-Factor? Whatever you want to say about them, tv shows like the X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent, etc., are becoming the major way for kids to become pop stars. The temptation to audition for one of those shows is often too much for the budding singer, girl band, boy band, or guitarist, and when they finally reach the live shows, there’s the chance to get free publicitiy, exposure, critique of their style and ability. Even if they don’t make it all the way to the final, there’s always the chance of being signed by a record company, however well they can sing.

So, why do I think that remixing is becoming the new X-Factor? Well, compare the two: someone advertises a talent contest where you don’t need any industry form or prior performance experience. You just need your instrument (voice or digital audio workstation – Ableton Live, anyone?); the material to perform with, either a song or some audio stems; and you need some time to get your performance right, but not necessarily to a high level. There are so many talent shows out there – X-Factor contests run by pubs and bars, holiday hotels, local tv and radio stations, probably a new one every day somewhere in the world. There are so many remix contests out there too. There are even websites dedicated to advertising the latest contests. Somewhere in the world, someone will enter all of these contests, but usually budding remixers, who see it as a quick way to get signed by a record label, will enter one or two a month, hoping that this will be their big chance.

But, like the X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, the really talented, dedicated, hardworking remixers will miss out, only to be beaten by the “popular vote”, in terms of the ones with the highest number of plays or likes will be shortlisted. Talent probably does come into it if they’re in a contest that is looking for particular techniques and it’s about ability rather than what sounds good to some people. However, like in the real world of becoming a popstar, it’s the approaching people in the industry and showing them what you can do, that gets you the opportunities. Ok, so some people who win remix contests may be famous and find a way in to the music business, but more often than not it’s the talent that is wanted and that’s what gets you the gig.

So, two things from all that. First of all, anyone can make a remix. It may not be good, but it may be what someone is looking for. Even my 8 year old can make a remix in Ableton Live. Secondly, I still enter remix contests, despite having done “official” remixes for some bands I know, and appearing on compilations etc. Why, because there’s a very tiny part of me that still sees them as a way to get famous, despite that fact that I always ridicule shows like the X-Factor! My latest remix below, is one I did in about 6 hours for the Ableton 24 hour remix contest “Beat the Clock”. I downloaded the parts for the track, most of which you could only open in Ableton Live and you had to make the remix with the same program. Having only used Live for a few days before, I probably proved my theory that anyone can make a remix, so here’s the result:

Contest Page:

Beat the Clock – Ableton Remix by Tim Blackburn/mistrust

Listen in Soundcloud:

By the way, if you’re a Soundcloud user, and like the track, please favourite it,and share it, thereby making me win the popular vote! If Pudsey the dog can do it, so can I!

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Just to remind you….

Where have all the musicians gone?

 I’m still concerned about the apparent lack of musicians who run blogs on WordPress and (ahem) Blogger, in fact all the other major blogging sites. Come to think of it, there don’t seem to be many “bands that blog” on Myspace these days. When I’ve looked under the “music” tag on WordPress, the majority of links and headlines that appear are usually from people commenting about their favourite tracks or all-time 100 love songs, something like that. Not a lot from either established acts or bedroom musicians like me. Why’s that? Why not blog, all ye musos of the world? I must be missing something. I’ll be they all run blogs on their own websites. That’s it. Must be the answer.

So, here’s the challenge: If anyone knows of either established acts who run blogs on WordPress (or Blogger) comment back and I’ll add them (and you) to my blogroll.

If you look at this  blog regularly, you’ll notice my capacity for dissatisfaction with my blog theme. I think the people who design the themes are very clever, but the ones on offer at WordPress.com don’t really suite the needs of a downtempo/chillout musician. I’ve chosen the “blue” one this time, and added my own header (a crop from Music Tech magazine’s announcement of me winning the Yamaha keyboard – see thread below). Well, it’s different to all the clouds and rivers and flowers, and other pretty pictures. No doubt I’ll get bored and go for pink or something soon.

I used to frequent a website and forum called “Electromancer”, where I uploaded my first “modern” tracks (“Never Alone” included), and where I got a lot of support and inspiration to make more tunes. Sadly, Electromancer folded (read about it in my old blog) and most of its members went over to a site called Nervejam, where they all continue the spirit of support, inspiration (and tomfoolery) and make nice tunes. I’m mentioning Nervejam because the site admin (Nervejam, himself) has changed my profile name/avatar to something that I really like and which I’ve decided to adopt as my byline on this blog (thanks NJ)….

YammyGit

Talking of which, you can now listen to this and all my other blog posts in MP3 format. I’ve got a RSS feed going off to Talkr.com which produces all my posts in audio format with a weird-sounding, automated female sounding voice. I guess I now have my own podcast. Rather than having “listen” blocks in every previous post, there’s a link to all of the “podcasts” here at TruMix. Have a listen – it’s really quite bizarre…..