“Illegal” Mashup Leads to $21 in Sales

kissbeyonceWe’ve all heard about the record companies’ claims that illegal downloads are costing them and their artists millions billions of dollars. I’m not going to say that “freebie” copies never prevent a sale but I thought I’d illustrate how an “illegal” mashup led to over $20 in sales for me personally.

I’m kind of a mashup fan. These are song that incorporate elements of different songs into one. Some call it an art form. The record companies call it ripping them off. In any case, the most popular of these mashups are “A vs B Mashups“, where the music of one song is used with the vocals of another. I used to hear a lot of these on Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code podcast before he dropped the show in early 2009. So, I hear about most of these now from Mashuptown.com.

A new Mashuptown track was recently released called I Was Made For Dreaming ‘Bout You [Beyonce vs. KISS]. The track from MadMixMustang incorporates the music from Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams” with KISS’ disco-era hit “I Was Made For Lovin You.”  Check it out. It’s a really cool mashup.

And here is where the record companies should be paying attention.

I was hearing the Beyonce hit quite a bit (especially thanks to those Kidz Bop commericals that run ad-nauseum on Nick), so I grabbed that track from iTunes for $1.29. It’s actually the third song from her recent album that I’ve purchased, which is kind of surprising since I’m not the biggest fan of Beyonce’s music (or her acting! Have you seen Goldmember or Obsessed? The defense rests).

Next, I was thinking I should explore the KISS back catalog a little bit. I haven’t particularly loved them or hated them over the years but I was twelve years old in 1979 so it was pretty hard to ignore them in their heyday. I also liked the bit of nostalgia for KISS on display in Role Models. Seann William Scott’s description of the “actual meaning” of the lyrics to “Love Gun” is the best bit of musical education since Quentin Tarantino’s spotlight scene in Reservoir Dogs! Of course, KISS’ “Beth” is used pretty well at the film’s conclusion.

So, I thought to myself, I ought to invest in some KISS music. I looked around iTunes at the various tracks that I knew I liked, and the collections available. Surprisingly, I found myself drawn to the 80’s era material without the makeup and with second drummer Eric Carr who had a more bombastic drum style. So, I ended up “splurging” for an iTunes collection called The Complete Collection: Kiss that includes 45 songs for $19.99.  Even if I don’t like half of these it still is a deal. But I’ve enjoyed hearing some KISS’ early raw stuff and exploring more from their misunderstood “middle period” as well.

I was thinking about the question every KISS fan is obligated to answer: “Who is your favorite member of KISS?”  It certainly isn’t Peter Criss, who has flat drum style that isn’t really in step with the rest of KISS’ music. Probably not Ace Frehley either, though it was cool his solo hit “Back in the New York Groove” made the aforementioned KISS collection. I think Gene Simmons is a cool cat and Paul Stanley is a great frontman. I’m certainly not picking any of the nameless guitarists from the 80s and 90s. So, I guess I’ll pick Eric “The Fox” Carr. Sadly, Carr died of heart cancer in 1991.

So, there you go. Over $21 in sales because a mashup got me interested in the artists involved.

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