23.6.08

Why I Won't Pay for Girl Talk

The new Girl Talk album Feed the Animals is out, and you can opt to either pay the guy or download it for free. I cheer on most of the independent/remixing/sample based music community, but I'm struggling to find a reason to give this chap money for an album that has zero distribution costs (torrents are free - the hosting they've chosen is optional) or creative. His music is no different to Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers used to do in the 80s. In fact, reading Wikipedia, it's not even comparable there because Jive Bunny et al recreated all the music from scratch using sound-a-like musicians.

In my opinion: Girl Talk makes party mix albums, and while I completely appreciate the hours he must have dedicated to gluing the samples together, it's not really that inspiring to me. He's not re-purposing them to write a new narrative - he's snatching funny little moments that click with the target audience (under 25, white American hipsters). Those moments were created by someone else. When the theme tune to Dawson's Creek kicks in, you're thinking about the first season of the television show where Pacey loved the teacher and Joey loved Dawson and Dawson loved Jen. And what a good time that was, when all you had were your crush and your homework to think about. But that is not a music album.

I guess when you're exposed to Kanye West singing through a wired jaw with Chaka Khan or the RZA remixing Japanese culture for the mid-nineties hip hop kids, Girl Talk pulling "moments" even hinting that we should pay for it is poor fare. And it's probably going to work, if he doesn't get slapped with a lawsuit when he's forced to reveal how much he's earned from it (he's not paying the original musicians last time I looked). People love nostalgic moments. But for me, I'm drawing the line at such unoriginal use of samples. The only way he'll earn my money is to come to Bristol and hold a party. I'd pay more than the average £11 show.

But not much more.

[note: I still feel that this opinion is pretty weak, and it frustrates me, but the overall sentiment is that it's just not money well earned yet]