Friday, February 1, 2013

Musicians Sir Mix-A-Lot and John Roderick talk new media, JoCo, and Glee on NPR in Seattle

Important update --to buy Jonathan Coulton's version

Here's a link to the NPR Seattle radio show that addressed the recently unfolding story about Fox TV's program Glee and its attribution-free use (aka plagiarism) of Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot. Don't get me started on how much time I sank into trying to find a way to listen to the specific part of the show that I wanted to access, such that I could properly transcribe it. Starting at about 48 minutes in. (Hat tip to John Hodgman for making me aware of this interview.

Sir Mix-A-Lot:...but I mean that when you actually interact with your fans and understand what they want and give it to them, that's an art in itself. 

KUOW: Do you both feel that it's basically up to you? Because you have so many platforms by which you can reach an audience?

John Roderick: Well, yeah, but as Mix says, you have to have a social media--you have to have a savvy and a strategy, man, not to turn this back around to Mix's, but this situation that's happening with Glee right now, where they covered Mick's tune that was done by--they did a version of a cover that had been done by another artist, Jonathan Coulton, a friend of mine. And Glee kind of was, uh, they made the arrangement with Mix but they didn't--they copied Jonathan's version. And they thought that Jonathan was just going to roll over and it would disappear. But Jonathan is a guy with an incredible social media dexterity and he--his version is now in the top 100 in the iTunes charts, and the Glee version is somewhere down in the low 200s.

KUOW: What is happening? This is again about ownership and--well I guess it's about ownership.and who controls the product. Who controls the art?

John Roderick:Well, it's about two things. I mean, the song is by Mix-a-Lot, he controls--he has the ownership of the tune in that sense, but Glee made an arrangement with him that was very old media, right? It was like contracts between two big companies. Jonathan is an internet artist, and a Facebook and Twitter artist, and his rendition of it, people--it's different music. But Jonathan was able to marshal his social media people in a way that I don't think Fox anticipated.

KUOW: So how you do you--I know there's legal issues here--how do you look at this larger question that you started by looking at the power of Macklemore and their ability to speak to many people?"
Sir Mix-A-Lot: Well, you know, in watching this--first of all let me say the reason I can't comment on certain aspects of it is that my managers asked me not to, because we kind of have deals with both the Glee side and Jonathan's side. But something--I don't know what it is with some of these larger companies, but do NOT underestimate a cat like Jonathan with a million followers. He will wax that ass! (Laughter.) I mean, really, you can't underestimate that kind of power, and the best thing to do is to get them on your side. And you know, the industry as we knew it is over. I mean, these kids are not intimidated by any large corporation. Those days are gone.
Update: Check out this article at The Mary Sue, and then please tell Stephen Colbert that the Fox execs in question would make great Alpha Dogs of the Week.

1 comment:

Christo said...

I've got to be honest. It's awesome to hear Sir Mix-a-lot back Jon on this whole thing. Also as a huge fan of the work JoCo and Hodgman did together on that whole audiobook series I can say with certainty that it elated me to hear that this was being brought to your attention by Hodgman...that's true bromance and it's beautiful.