A mash-up is a creative musical art that blends two or more pre-recorded songs. This pre-recording is done by superimposing one of the song’s vocals seamlessly over another song’s instrumental by shifting the key and tempo where necessary to create a new song. Mash-up of songs is useful in making the songs more favorable to the consumers. Just as merchants use branding to appeal to consumers, so do mash-ups of songs appeal more to most people. When the songs are mashed up, their message is made more palatable. Men naturally enjoy the element of surprise; thus, we keep glued to the rhymes to see how they’ve been altered.
This music originated in the early 1970s in New York City, United States, as a cultural exchange between Black, Caribbean, and Latino youths. The typical instruments used in hip-hop music are music sequencer, DJ mixer, keyboard, and synthesizer, among others. The nature of hip-hop music is commonly characterized by rapping, singing, and chanting with rhyming speech and is usually rhythmic (John, page 12). There are five elements of Hip Hop music which are; emceeing(oral), language, break dancing(physical), knowledge, entrepreneurialism, graffiti(visual), deejaying (aural), beatboxing (vocal), and street fashion. These hip-hop songs were created with principles of enhancing love, peace, and oneness among the youths in the United States, which later spread around the globe. The audio files are usually in MP3 format and then spliced using audio-editing software; this is commonly done online. This newly edited music is the mash-up (“12 Bizarre Music Mash-ups That Work Surprisingly Well”, pg 1). The participants were involved in an online music scenario where spliced parts of song pieces were rearranged, forming a mash-up culture. This mash-up culture responds to more institutional, improved technological, and larger social contexts. Although mash-up cultures originated via online communities, they entered a more art-related dimension. It became an art that is now used as a statement against the normal content that the music industry provides.
Mash-ups allow for the reuse of existing songs to satisfy the current want of the listener; it could be an emotional or a psychological need or a deep-rooted desire for pleasure and enjoyment. They also allow for the rapid development of old-time songs into new ones with fresh savor (John, page 13). New songs hit differently, and man naturally loves to explore new adventures. This mash-up development only involves a little skill compared to creating new music that meets the standard of the market. This makes it much easier for more people to participate in mash-up development. More career opportunities, as well as entertainment varieties of different tastes, emerge with ease. The cost of mash-up development is greatly reduced as it involves using already pre-recorded songs and simply merging them with the aid of instrumentals. There is no cost for the recording of each song that is incurred (MasterClass, page 2). Mash-ups are better tailored, thus meeting users’ expectations. This is because one can now incorporate content that they had been unable to develop on their own due to time or even constraints of resources. A good example is a mash-up work done by Kylie Minogue’s “can’t get you out of my head” and another new order titled “Blue Monday.”
There are also a few disadvantages associated with mash-ups, including no mash-up standards, which further make it tougher to implement security mechanisms. Mash-up artists are usually guilty of copyright infringement, which means that mash-ups aren’t protected under fair use, although there are still ways that mash-up artists can and still do defend their works. Producers must have legal permission when using other people’s music in their creations to be allowed to distribute their releases (MasterClass, page 2). The integrity of the content cannot be assured/ guaranteed either. The user needs help to easily control the features of the content added and the quality of the newly created song. This is because mostly the mashing up happens in real-time and is not pre-recorded.
Mash-ups are easy and quite fun to create, although only some people love them, especially song rights holders. People tend to enjoy and support the mashed-up music releases produced by financially patronizing the mash-up artists more than the original owners of the songs (“12 Bizarre Music Mash-ups That Work Surprisingly Well”, pg 1). This discourages new artists from venturing into innovative and creative new music work and rather majorly advancing and mashing up other people’s existing works. Over time this eventually kills the roots of the pop music industry if consistent and stricter measures aren’t applied to curb copyright infringements.
Our society loves it when these music varieties are mashed up together rhythmically as it creates good suspense about the next phase of the combination. Music mash-up is generally very useful in the pop music industry as it adds more flavor. Mash-up is indicative of a new phase of creativity. Therefore, legal measures should be implemented to ensure it is done appropriately.
“12 Bizarre Music Mash-ups That Work Surprisingly Well.” Tone Deaf, 20 Apr. 2022, tonedeaf.thebrag.com/12-bizarre-music-mash-ups/.
John, Edward. “13 Awesome Song Mashups That Will Blow Your Freaking Mind.” Medium, 23 Oct. 2021, rocknheavy.net/13-awesome-song-mashups-that-will-blow-your-freaking-mind-60df3b3da034?gi=c84afb63d369. Accessed 24 Nov. 2022.
MasterClass. “How to Make a Mash-up: 5 Steps to Make Mash-up Songs.” MasterClass, 3 Mar. 2022, www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-make-a-mashup. Accessed 24 Nov. 2022.