Techdirt is on holiday this Thursday and Friday. We'll be back with our regular posts on the weekend!Hide

Beck Re-Recording Other Classic Albums And Giving Them Away For Free

from the licensing? dept

Hypebot points out another fun experiment by a popular musician. Beck is apparently gathering random friends, and each week (with little or no rehearsal) they're picking someone else's classic album and re-recording it in its entirety and then giving away a free song from the session. This is the sorta thing that makes tons of sense (Hypebot calls it "a GOOD IDEA") and is something that's fun to do, and can help energize Beck's fans, the fans of the other artists playing along and the fans of the original performers/songwriters, as well. But, of course, there's always a cloud that hangs over any fun music project. Already in the discussion on Hypebot there are questions about royalties and who has to pay whom for what rights. When recording cover songs there are compulsory rates, but even then the matter isn't entirely clear, apparently. And, of course, some people are complaining that this just shows that he's "unoriginal." Of course, that simply shows a near total misunderstanding of the history of music -- which has always been about sharing and recreating the works of others.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 4:40pm

    Oh man...

    They better not do any Zappa....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    I'd love to hear Beck's cover of My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    some old guy, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 5:23pm


    claiming Beck is "unoriginal" is probably the stupidest thing anyone could possibly say (about beck).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Warren, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 5:24pm

    'sharing' is the weak point in the personalities of the RIAA staff

    The people that work at RIAA from Board members to the lowest lawyer have one thing in common, they all never learned to share.

    Greed is the totem that RIAA worships daily.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Joe, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 5:40pm

    Re: Oh man...

    Not in my garage man.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    interval, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 6:30pm

    Good for Beck, he needs it. Sugar Ray has been getting more press in the last week than they've gotten in 10 years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 7:01pm

    Welcome to what your career looks like when your 15 minutes is up and nobody really cares what you do anymore.

    This is a situation doomed to failure, where the performance rights with end up costing Beck way more than any return he might get on the stuff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 7:18pm


    Um. There's tons of people out there fucking obsessed with Beck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Another Joe, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:43pm

    They just don't get it

    Listening to the many "legal" debates over music, and art, can be mind blowing. Truly creative people don't "create" thinking about prior art, or licensing, or poses and lighting. They just create.

    Hearing lawyers debate creative intent and strategy is laughable. It's like an artist explaining why lawyers do what they do. The two are exact opposites and cannot honestly represent each other.

    It's a shame that lawyers are given the big stick in this relationship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Nik, Jul 11th, 2009 @ 1:23am


    Yeah! I am fucking obsessed with Beck. He is a musical genius and a wry muse. Some people just don't get it. They never will.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    packrat, Jul 11th, 2009 @ 4:32am

    beck who?

    jazz covers on internet radio?

    betcha it turns into a darknet web 3.0 rubble.
    internet radio taxed reg'ed outta being


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 11th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    more like trademark?

    Doesn't it seem like copyright needs to function a bit more like trademark? As in only protecting you from the dilution of your creation, not granting you absolute rights?

    What I mean by this is: if Beck records Dark Side or Sgt. Pepper's or something, it's not as if anything he could do could possibly devalue the originals... he could leave the names of the original bands out, and it wouldn't matter, since everyone would know what they were hearing right away. And it would be very hard to argue that Pink Floyd or the Beatles were losing sales because customers who would have bought their albums were opting to buy Beck's version instead, or that they were getting the two confused.

    On the other hand, if Beck records an album nobody has ever heard of by an unrecognized artist, I'd be disappointed if he didn't work hard to promote that artist alongside his own work. In that situation I can see the smaller artist deserving some sort of legal recourse to ensure he isn't being muscled out of the picture by someone whose only advantage is their established following.

    Of course, I'm sure Beck will be recording well-known albums AND giving full credit, so really there shouldn't be any problem at all -- but I'm sure someone will find one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Your Mother, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 8:10am

    Re: Are you retarded?

    Nearly everything album the guy's released has, at the least, been critically acclaimed! Your "financial/biz model" opinion is noteworthy, but referring to his ONGOING success for more than a decade a "15 minutes of fame" is ridiculous. I'm a fan of music, generally speaking; from early roots to avant-guarde. In an ecclectic way, Beck mixes of all sorts of genres, many times within one song or album; and MAKES IT WORK. GENIUS! He's got "rock'n roll hall of fame" written all over him. Trust me!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 10:20am


    Do you seriously think he is that concerned about the return on this? Artists near the end of their careers stop recording ENTIRELY and resort to live shows at old folks homes and casinos... they do NOT start recording full albums of cover songs without practice... in garage band jam session style.

    Get a grip.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re:

    Hahah, and after visiting his site I notice he's got amateur mixed video of this posted. Noone worried about their future success posts tons of amateur video anywhere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    artistic lawyer, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 10:57am

    Re: They just don't get it

    Well, according to your comment, we might say that Beck as a “truly creative” individual, while making his music is in fact engaged in the same type of activity as his granddad while shitting on the carpet. However, in order to determine whether or not this is the case and provided in your comment definition of “create” applies to both acts we must first consider whether or not granddad could be regarded as a “truly creative” individual. In that respect, in my opinion, it would not be unreasonable to consider aforementioned granddad as a remarkable and indeed “truly creative” person. Consequently, we might move on and consider whether or not he, while being creative on the carpet, was simultaneously engaged in thinking about “poses and lighting”. After detailed examination of available evidence, particularly taking into account mindless look on his face during the act in question and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary I am of an opinion that on balance of probabilities it is safe to assume that no such consideration as to “prior art”, “licensing” and “poses and lighting” took place during the act in question. Therefore, for the purpose of your comment we could reasonably consider that both, Beck and his granddad while being engaged in the acts of music-making and shitting on the carpet, respectively, were in fact engaging in the same type of activity to which from now on we might refer to as “creative”.
    In other words, your reliance on broad and vague definitions of words makes your statement completely meaningless. For example, what do you mean by “just create”? Isn’t it rather obvious that “truly creative people” “create”? What is the difference between “truly creative people” and people that are just “creative”? How can we distinguish “truly” creative people from those “not so truly” creative? Is a “creation” still a “creation” if its creator who is “truly creative” had an intention to monetize on his creations? Would such intention make him somewhat less than “truly” creative? And so on.
    In any case, I hope you do recognize the difference between “listening to” and “hearing”, on the one hand and “comprehend” on the other? And you do know that the former does not have to be followed by the latter. Nevertheless, you would probably agree with me that “understanding” is a prerequisite for any attempt to “explain” no matter how “laughable” it may seem. And with this in mind try to consider the following:
    1.One cannot create something out of nothing; abstract terms, any process of creation could be expressed as “input-whatever-output”; where “input” and “output” are indicators of some form of interaction between creator and his environment.
    3.While simple rules are inherent to even most basic forms of interaction, significantly more complex sets of rules are necessary for the development of more complex interactions.
    4.“Legal” rules create a platform for large numbers of such interactions, which take place in every complex society.
    In short, in my “input-whatever-output” model, “legal” rules and those who deal with them are concerned solely with “input/output” and do not give a shit about “whatever”.
    Contrary to what you may think, any such attempts to “explain” “whatever” which in your opinion are so amusing, many lawyers would probably consider as inappropriate, if not quite dangerous.
    As for the “big stick”, again you might be surprised to learn that individuals are very welcome to hold the stick by themselves, but most of them would probably hurt themselves with it. It seems very likely that you would.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2009 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re: They just don't get it

    Dude you really suck, and you write too much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    JILL SlABBAERT, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 2:38am




    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re: Re: They just don't get it

    Funny thing about the Internet is that it gives “couch potatoes” ideas that they can think while they actually can’t. go and watch some tv.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    minijedimaster (profile), Jul 13th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: They just don't get it


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    this has been done before. ben lee recorded his version of against me's 'new wave' and gave it away for free.

    just saying...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Techdirt Reading List
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.