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Location: Home  Blogs  Remixing 
Remixing23 Apr, 2012
   eyebo.wp (8 comments, 2505 views)  
If you haven't already, please watch the fantastic web series "Everything Is A Remix". I've known about it for a while now, but it's still very much in my thoughts whenever this subject comes up. Remixing is far more a part of our culture than many realize.

I'd like to write a little today about how I think remixing relates to TrackMania.

As a creative community that has spanned the last 9 years, the TrackMania community is a prime example of this notion of remixing. Ideas by one builder are taken by another, built upon, released, only to repeat the process over and over. Track styles gradually emerge, separate, change, merge again, and so on. Change is constant, but the reuse of ideas is ever prevalent.

Whenever you go into the editor to build something, whether you realize it or not, you draw on the knowledge about block combinations you've driven in other author's tracks. You know what works and what doesn't. Sometimes some experimentation is needed, but sometimes you know exactly the combination that will work for the given scenario. That's similar to the use of sampling in music. You're using someone else's idea and building upon it.

Granted, new ideas can emerge by experimenting with block combinations on your own, and this is how truly unique tracks are created. But those authors who create such works probably started out by copying the ideas of others first and learning what worked and what didn't. They used that knowledge as a starting point before being able to adventure out on their own and blaze new trails that others will in turn follow.

On occasion, an author will take the entire track by another author and remix it... adding signs, changing the mood, making transitions or jumps smoother, or removing some hard part that they didn't like.

How much do they need to change before this becomes okay? That's really hard to say. It's almost entirely subjective.

I'm of the opinion (and this is my opinion, not that of the entire MX crew), that if the remixer credits the original author and appropriately labels the track as a remix or some sort of derivative work... then it's okay.

One of the potential issues on MX is that you can also receive awards for any tracks you upload. Some authors may be quick to take offense when a track built upon something they made receives some praise, and yet it's not in their account. My advice to them would be to enjoy the exposure it gives you as an author. If others enjoyed your track enough to take it and remix it, I'd take that as a compliment. You don't even have to like the remixed track itself.

Copying other people's tracks has been an issue ever since I became a moderator (and long before I'm sure). I think we've been very slow to adapt to the world we're now in, where ideas are copied over and over and built upon and changed. Actually things have always worked that way, but more and more people are participating in it.

On TMX/MX we've traditionally been very quick to stop people from copying large parts of someone else's track, even if attribution (credit) is given to the original author. I've even personally been very strict about this.

Granted, the act of trying to outright pass off someone else's entire track as your own is universally understood as wrong. Indeed, I've felt very strongly that it's one of our duties as moderators to protect user's from those who might infringe on their work. This is a very traditional way to look at things.

It's actually quite evident from the explosion of remixed content from every popular social media site in existence that people, now more than ever before in human history, are engaged in this act of remixing. They're exploring new possibilities by building upon the ideas of others. I think it's those possibilities that are really at the core of why we all love TrackMania. The possibilities for creativity are seemingly endless.

I can't speak for the entire moderation team, but I personally will seek to be more open to the idea of people remixing tracks, as long as proper credit is given. On the other hand, if only a few blocks are used (such as in the case of a specific transition) I don't really think it's necessary to credit the original author, unless you really wanted to. In many cases, you may not even know the first builder who used that combination of blocks.

Remixing is so much a part of who we are as a culture that it sometimes goes on unnoticed.

Hopefully this post, and the link to the web series at the top of this post, will make you pause and think about how remixing affects you and how you either participate in it yourself or are entertained by remixed works... probably on a daily basis.

I'd like to hear your thoughts in the comments; specifically about how you think remixing relates to TrackMania.

Thanks for reading. (y)

"Tribute" by Skilla is a Snow track on TMX United. It is the result of mixing parts from five other snow tracks by authors Acid, tmjonas, TaBle, Didyz, and Wallaby. This is what I would refer to as a mashup.

"Cool-Reworked" is a remix by xrayjay of the popular track by Cool-T called "a Cool-Track". It's here in Canyon.

Also there is Nimrod's Canyon adaptation of GanjaRider's classic TrackMania Nations track "Dutch Delight". This adaptation in turn inspired GanjaRider to remix his own track and adapt it to Canyon... and release "Dutch Delight Canyon" as well as an adaptation of his TrackMania Nations track "Black Velvet" adapted for Canyon and released as "Black Velvet Canyon".

MrA's first Canyon track, "Slalom Cornetto Rebuilt" was a remake of his first TrackMania track, a Desert track from 2004 on TMX Original, "Slalom Cornetto".

There's also the recent Canyon track "The Trump Card Canyon" released by Skeleton. It's a remake of the classic track by Crusard from TMX Nations, "The Trump Card".
8 comment(s).
  GR. writes ... 23, Aug, 2012  
eyebo says:
Also there is Nimrod's Canyon adaptation of GanjaRider's classic TrackMania Nations track "Dutch Delight". This adaptation in turn inspired GanjaRider to remix his own track...

That's not quite true. I already thought of remaking my tracks from the start of Canyon. And while I was building 'A&G'12 - Grid' I planned that my next map would be a remake of Dutch Delight. But one day after I released Grid, Nimrod released his remake of Dutch Delight. I didn't want to spoil his fun right away so I waited a bit but one month later I couldn't hold up much longer and just had to make my version of Dutch Delight and later on Black Velvet. :d
  arzgaa writes ... 15, May, 2012  
Interesting content you have here ;)
As a musician myself, I'm using a bit more music related example:
In any genre of music there is what is popular amongst the majority. And most of the time there are the same simple chord progressions in the songs and most of the times, the songs are still diverse and different in their own way.
To put this into the trackmania-sense-making form, the tracks may have small parts that just "work" no matter how many times you've driven it. So in my opinion, even if there are a couple of "old" parts in the track, the author's job is to make it unique. Everyone's got their own magical touch in creating stuff of their own. As you said, things get borrowed from here and there. And it's fine as long as it don't end up being a complete copy of someone else's creation.
  Nim writes ... 10, May, 2012  
lovely entry (l)
  Mikey writes ... 25, Apr, 2012  
Interesting reading , good blog.
The Timing is funny as I recently started remixing
To canyon, while playing it recently on united i thought it was suited to the canyon blocks and might be fun to attemp to remake it.
   MrA writes ... 25, Apr, 2012  
To some extent, MX is a remix of TMX.
   Tuta writes ... 23, Apr, 2012  
Wow great article! Remixed tracks are fun for sure! :d I'd write a long post about my opinions but not today.......
  tcq writes ... 23, Apr, 2012  
Very nice article eyebo, great to read. Best example are the multiple superman² versions on the sunrise version of TMX.

And have to agree with haenry, when he says that he needs to get some inspiration. For example if you play online and see this great transition, you are tempted to rebuild it in one of your tracks. Even more if you feel like that this transition is "wrongly" used in that track and it would be even better with different speed or build with different blocks. And in this case i really think there shouldn't be any problem by just doing it.
Only if whole sections or the track itself was copied, then it should be punished (if the user didn't gave honour to the original author).
  haenry writes ... 23, Apr, 2012  
Well written! I enjoyed reading it, especially because there is so much truth in it.
I experience it myself. Every time in the editor, when I have no new idea to bring up something new, I have transitions or other parts in my mind, which I have seen before in others' or my tracks. That's nothing bad actually, as it continues the workflow then.
But this happens more and more often and sometimes those "already known parts" are blocking my mind to create something new. I could build a whole track within less than one hour, but with what new inspiration? Nothing. The track feels somehow old to me, as all parts are known already.
That's why I try to avoid that, but I have to say it's not easy:|
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