I can dance a July night cold when Girl Talk is “spinning” in the amphitheater.
The man on stage, Pittsburgh native Gregg Gillis, is using simple technology to take hundreds of samples from good music and mash it together into something that has such energy the crowd can’t stop moving.
“Copy that. Paste that,” Gillis said an interview for the documentary “Good Copy/Bad Copy.”
Girl Talk and the dozens of other sampling artists are making money by taking a song produced in a sound studio and making a new sound in their homes.
“It comes back to some guy from Pittsburgh with a laptop,” Gillis said in an interview. (As a bonus,you see him eating a Primanti’s sandwich in the video.)
Is he an artist? A composer? A producer? A consumer? Girl Talk is an example of convergence between the producer and user in the music industry.
Illegal Art apparently thinks this is a profitable form of convergence. Girl Talk signed to its label and has produced four albums of his works.
Girl Talk is also a consumer who is listening to the music and the crowd to create his art.
Rebekah Farrugia of Oakland University calls Girl Talk and similar artists “bedroom musicians” and “laptop artists.” She talks about the pervasive use of technology in shaping the future of music and converging the consumer with the producer. This echoes nearly Deuze’s definition of convergence: “cultural phenomenon of blurring the boundaries between ‘producers’ and ‘users’ of content.”
With the instantaneous ability to join sound, music becomes a reflection of the mood and the moment.
The technologies Gillis uses are also available to the masses who often also create their own mashups and post them to forums like YouTube.
“Computers, mobile phones and other interactive technologies are changing our relationship with media, blurring the line between producer and consumer, and radically changing what it means to be creative,” PBS said in its release for its January documentary“Copyright Criminals.” While this documentary mostly focuses on the legal conflict surrounding sampling, it also examines the layman composer as an example of convergence. The final entry in the Copyright Criminals timeline is a video of Gillis taking the “bedroom musician” to its literal form as he copy and pastes his way through a song from Elvis Costello’s Radio.