Remixer Omid McDonald: “Sample-clearance horror stories from hundreds of artists”


Logo of legitmix.com

The series “Remixer” features interviews with people involved in remix practices and culture, asking them about their experiences and approaches towards remix. This time: Omid McDonald.

Omid McDonald is a software developer and entrepreneur currently working on Legitmix, a marketplace for sample-based artists.

What constitutes a good remix in your opinion?

A good remix or mashup breaths new life into old or played out songs in a way that delights and surprises.

In which way are you using works of others for your own work?

For software developers, its natural to build on existing software. Like remixers, developers sample from existing code to create something new.

How do you like the idea of introducing a „right to remix“, including compensation for the original artists?

Being a software developer, it makes sense to be able to build on an original song a consumer owns. This way the remixer gets paid for their creative contribution and the original artist gets paid when someone wants to enjoy the remixers work.

What’s the idea behind legitmix.com? What was your motivation?

I got the idea for Legitmix when my childhood friend, Booker Sim, told me about his problems licensing music for a documentary he spent years making. He introduced me to the problems of sample licensing and I thought that maybe technology could provide a solution.

Beyond this, did you have any problems or legal issues caused by your artistic or musical practices?

I have heard sample-clearance horror stories from hundreds of artists. The current manual system for licensing music makes it so difficult to legally release sample-based music that the majority of remixers give their work away for free over the Internet. This is creating a “culture of free” that is depriving both remixers and original artists of income.

How does legitmix.com work and why is it necessary?

Legitmix allows a remixer to create instructions that a consumer can use to recreate the remixer’s work using their copy of the sampled tracks. If the consumer doesn’t have the original tracks, we make it easy to buy them from iTunes. This allows the remixer to sell their intellectual property and ensures that original artists get paid.

As a last question: What is your favourite remix?

I am really enjoying this Sleeper mashup of Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” and Breathe by Télépopmusik. It perfectly combines two amazing songs to create something beautiful.

Georg Fischer in Interview
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