Magazine article Newsweek

Technology: Time for Your Mashup?

Magazine article Newsweek

Technology: Time for Your Mashup?

Article excerpt

Byline: N'gai Croal

Unless you're a geek, obsessed with DJs or under the age of 35, chances are you've never heard the word "mashup." The term was coined in 2001 after DJ Freelance Hellraiser took the vocal track from pop songstress Christina Aguilera's single "Genie in a Bottle," and recorded it over the instrumentals from "Hard to Explain" by the Strokes, a New York City rock group. Sounds strange, but the end result, titled "A Stroke of Genius," proved as tasty to the pop-music cognoscenti as a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.

Hellraiser's trick spawned a series of imitators, including what is probably the best-known mashup to date, "The Grey Album," which took the vocals from Jay-Z's "The Black Album" and placed them over the Beatles' "White Album." The concept of mashups has extended to video, like the mock trailer for "Brokeback Squadron," which reconfigures the '80s military flick "Top Gun" as a romance between Tom Cruise's and Val Kilmer's characters. It even encompasses Web software, as in the hundreds of mashups that use Google Maps to create search services ranging from pubs in London to scuba-diving sites around the world. Here are some of tip sheet's favorites:

MUSIC: Because it would be expensive for most DJs to pay the clearance fees to the artists they sample, most mashups are unauthorized and thus impossible to find in stores. You'll have to turn to file-sharing services like LimeWire and BitTorrent, so proceed at your own peril. …

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