As mentioned earlier enjoying music means different things to different people. However, you will find that it is almost consumed while doing something at the same time. Be it dancing, cleaning, working, driving or creating a derivative work. Creating something of your own. A sum of all the parts that make you whole. Today, some artists, such as Girl Talk, create mash-up style tracks almost entirely made out of samples and others such as Rhymefest make it a conversation with and a dedication to other artists.
Dedication or not; with all the litigation going on in regards to copyright and the lack of clarity if you purchased the music or the physical medium, how does one determine if someone has the right to sample or create derivative works. Cover songs are pretty well covered, but what about sampling?
Sampling has been around for a long time, but with todays technology and ability of creating digital copies; it is even easier then ever. Girl Talk uses software, such as AudioMulch to whip a new track. To get an idea as to how this is done, see the following video clip, where he takes "Radio Radio" by Elvis Costello And The Attractions and mixes it with an A capella by Ce Ce Peniston of "Finally".
Next, is the natural desire to want to distribute this derivative work for others to enjoy. But how does that work into todays copyright? It seems a bit unclear, especially if someone is charging for this, however, this will be a battle to be resolved in the next few years. Two recent documentaries, Good Copy, Bad Copy and RiP: A Remix Manifesto discuss some the view points and issues related to sampling and remixing of content.
At the excellent SanFran MusicTech Summit in February 2008, John Perry Barlow of the Grateful Dead and the Electronic Frontier Foundation talked about his take on all this and expressed that he felt that "Art is a verb, not a noun" and that it was all about the experience of creation and connecting with the fans. That any derivative work is merely an "artifact", a keep sake, as you will.
This clearly is a perspective where music becomes more of a service and an experience and less of a product. I find it refreshing and see it analogous to wanting to own a digital image, print or original work of an artist. Why differentiate between originals and derivatives? Why not have different pricing based on the experience where we use digital copies in a similar vein to how we have shared mixed tapes with friends in the past?
Mix it up!