Matt Corwine gave a hilarious and also informative talk on the theme music from Super Mario Bros. (He pointed out, quite perceptively, that it's not often to listen to one song, over and over, for hours and hours and years and years, and that there is areason why it is so completely embedded.) At a certain point, he began to talk about other video games, and said that no video game has ever come up with a score that compares to this early 80's composition that remains in a certain generation's hearts to this day. Anyways, a delightful Freudian slip brought to light a very relevant issue. The exception to the rule, Corwine said, is the popular video game "Grand Theft Audio," and then he immediately corrected his mistake. I wonder if he realized the irony, as I am sure that I cannot have been the only one. In speaking of music licensing, alternative revenues in a changing industry landscape, and all these kinds of related issues, Grand Theft Auto is well known to be a major player in the market. Even I, who to this day really only enjoy playing the original Super Mario Bros. and certainly has never played Grand Theft Auto, am aware of it's central usage of pop music in the soundtrack, and the money it generates for artists. But to inadvertently mistake, or subconsciously substitute, the word "Audio" in there was more than poignant – to the point where I wonder if Corwine did it on purpose, though he did not seem to be one of ther performative speakers. Grand Theft Auto Grand Theft Audio Some questions on the latter: Can music be stolen? Is it being appropriated by a consumerism that is engulfing all sense of culture, individuality, character? Is it thievery if the musicians actively seek it out?
April 30, 2006
EMP Pop Conference #6