Abstract Edit

"Everything is a Remix" by Kirby Ferguson is a four-part video series in which he claims that the ultimate driver of progress in the arts, technology, and society is borrowing from others. Ferguson believes that everything is a remediation of existing material, e.g. music, film, etc. Ferguson's concepts of "copy, transform, and combine" help to convey his message that it is nearly impossible to create something without drawing inspiration from something else; in some cases, people will directly sample existing material in the process of creating their own.

Key Concepts Edit

Part 1 of this series, "The Song Remains the Same," begins by defining the term remix: to combine or edit existing materials to produce something new. Ferguson does this by remixing his own introduction to mimic the introduction of Star Wars. Remixing is normally associated with music, and rose to prominence in the late 1990s with hip-hop, which Ferguson describes as "the first popular music form to incorporate sampling from existing recordings."

Ferguson then goes on to talk about Led Zeppelin, whom many critics dubbed ripoffs. Many of their songs lift lyrics and music from existing material. Ferguson explains that "When Zeppelin used someone else's material, they didn't attribute songwriting to the original artist" and "Zeppelin didn't modify their versions enough to claim they were original." Most other artists would do the opposite by either performing covers--performances of other people's material-- or knock-offs -- copies that stay within legal boundaries. Both of these are examples of legal remixing.

Ironically, Zeppelin went from being the copiers to the copied. One of their more popular songs, "When the Levee Breaks", was sampled by the Beastie Boys, Enigma, Dr. Dre, and Eminem.

Examples Edit

"Rappers Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang sampled the bass line from Chic's "Good Times." The same bass line has been sampled numerous times since then, including "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash" by Grandmaster Flash, "Everything's Gonna be Alright" by Father MC, "It's All Good" by Will Smith, and "Around the World" by Daft Punk to name a few.

The beginning chords of Led Zeppelins "Bring it On Home" are identical to Willie Dixon's song of the same name.

Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj is a song that was remediated from Sir-Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”. In this sense the song was not taken to create her own but to hypermediacy the original song. Therefore the song and video show lots of similar aspects but is done in a woman’s perspective.

Keywords Edit

Legal Remix


Citations Edit

Everything is a Remix Part 1

"Nicki Minaj - Anaconda." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2014. <>