Margie Borschke  – This is Not a Remix: Piracy, Authenticity and Popular Music


Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN-13: 978-1501318917, English, 194 pages, 2017, USA

“This is Not a Remix” is a study finally dismantling the usual polarisation between customers and industry, reassessing the social and cultural value of a copy. The author reconstructs the practice of copying music over the years with its cultural consequences, observing how at its contemporary stage it is embedded in digital and networks, whose technical and conceptual structure is based on the copying of information. Her brief account of important an obscure music website destroyed by the Megaupload servers’ seizure is still sadly posing the question of ignorance towards effective backup practices (or knowledgeable copying strategies) even amongst ‘custodians’ advocating the cultural importance of copies, and especially addressing the open question of “how to handle” them. The reassessment of the analogue, currently so evident with the resurgence of vinyl and tape, is then grounding his definition of copy as a “transhistorical” idea, even in their own relationship with specific media. Borschke is tackling a crucial aspect when discussing the aesthetics of copying, which she defines as a “relational property of an object”, that enters in similar terms the aesthetics of distribution. In this sense the long history of different methodologies of copying music media is then tracked from the DIY taping to the 2000s proliferation of so-called MP3 blogs, up to the current distribution of unauthorised edits of famous tracks. With a high number of evidences proving the value of the copy, this book is an essential and inspiring study.

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