A new website has sprung up, protesting EMI’s
cease-and-desist order issued to DJ Danger Mouse and his Grey Album.
The music industry giant demanded that the DJ
stop selling copies of the album, which was a clever mixture of Jay-Z’s Black
Album and The Beatles White Album.
is urging fans to stand up and protest the music industry’s "copyright
cartel" and is seeking to enlist websites to post the entire Grey Album
for download on February 24, to protest EMI’s attempt to ban the album.
Organized by Downhill Battle, a "music activism
project," the website and the organizers have no affiliation with Danger
Mouse, who complied with EMI’s cease-and-desist order.
"We think that the right to sample and musicians
to make their music and the people’s right to hear it is really important to
our musical culture," Downhill Battle’s founder Nicholas Reville told AllHip-Hop.com.
"We want to stand up for that and we don’t want corporate lawyers pushing
Reville also said that the major label’s vast
power and influence is one of the reasons Hip-Hop producers don’t sample music
as much as they did in the past.
"Speaking directly to Hip-Hop sampling is
something that has been around since the beginning. In terms of mainstream Hip-Hop,
you heard more sampling in the 1980′s because it was before the crackdown came.
Now the Hip-Hop you hear on the radio like songs produced by The Neptunes or
Timbaland use a lot less samples. The copyright regime makes it impossible for
even the wealthiest producers to do a lot of sampling. That means that this
group of five corporations are just shaping music in a certain way. Their saying
you can’t make this kind of music, you have to make this. No genre is more effected
by this copyright cartel than Hip-Hop People assume producers moved away from
that but they can’t afford it due to the labels."
Reville said he wasn’t worried that his brand
of Internet civil disobedience would bring serious repercussions, adding "if
they want to come after us, they are going to make it more of an issue. It will
get bigger and prove our point."
Downhill Battle also created the innovative TuneRecycler,
aimed at taking the unused winning codes from Pepsi’s campaign with Itunes,
in which 100 million songs are given away under Pepsi caps.
According to USA Today, Pepsi expects that only
10-20% of those caps will be redeemed, meaning an estimated 80-90 million caps
will end up in the garbage.
TuneRecycler allows unused winning caps to be
redeemed at the website. The winnings are then given to the "few great
independent labels in the iTunes store that give their musicians up to 40-50
cents, right from the first sale."
The company is seeking to avoid paying any of
the major labels, saying that most of the artists included in the promotion
are still in the process of recouping huge amounts of money and that they will
in fact, rarely benefit from the Itunes/Pepsi collaboration.
"We look for the labels that are on Itunes
that have a good reputation for treating artists fairly. The TuneRecycler is
more of a symbolic gesture. We want people to think about were the money comes
from and where it goes. We want to get more support for the independent musician
and less support for the major label monopoly."