Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Universal Music Takes Down Fun Mashup Of Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ And 1989 Aerobics Video
Last year, when Daft Punk released it’s super popular single “Get Lucky” the first time I actually heard it was when someone I know linked to a fantastic video of the song put over a danceline from Soul Train. It’s pretty amazing how well it works. You can see it here.
As you may have heard, Taylor Swift recently came out with a new album, “1989,” and she’s at war with Spotify over it and making some statements about streaming royalties and such (which we’ve mostly been avoiding covering because this fight has gone on long enough already and it’s silly and mostly misleading).
However, in the last day or so, someone tried to do the equivalent of the Soul Train/Get Lucky video above with Swift’s song “Shake it Off.” They matched the song to an aerobics competition video from (amusingly) 1989 — and it worked quite well. It got lots of attention with the Huffington Post and Slate and others writing about it. So, I went to check out the video and got this instead:
It makes you wonder what’s the point here? Yes, legally, Universal/Taylor Swift may have the legal right to pull the video down (though, some could make a reasonable fair use argument), but it seems pretty futile. Here are people having fun with her music, doing something of their own free will to get it more attention (I hadn’t heard the song at all before this), and then it gets pulled down, because copyright.
In many ways, this is the antithesis of how music worked for ages. Music was always about people sharing and building on the works of others. Someone would create a song, and others would take it, resing it, adapt it, change it, mix it up with other things. That’s how culture works. But not so much in an era with strict copyright laws and automated takedown systems. What a shame.
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