It’s (Still) A Bootleg Business

You can call them bootlegs, edits, reworks, dubs, refixes, or by any other fancy name, but the reality remains one and one only: unofficial remixes are one of the main drivers of the evolution of electronic music. The proliferation of these creations is what allows the continuous surface of new sounds, styles and sub-genres. Although, occasionally, they may seem more of a plague (can you hear all the Skrillex remixes coming?), they keep the underground fresh and exciting. They allow producers to experiment while at the same time gaining exposure, not to mention when they single-handedly give popular tracks a second life. A win-win situation, right? Well, I guess certain people in some cool offices would disagree with this analysis, but the “remix” is such a pivotal part of our pop culture (simply think about memes or TikTok) that it’s not going away anytime soon. No matter how many copyright claims will be fired off. 

Late last year, the entire FUXWITHIT team was tuned into the traditional end-of-the-year call (yes, the same where we crowned ‘Rumble’ song of 2022), we ended up addressing this topic and how our habits as music bloggers have significantly changed in the span of just a few years. Looking back at 2018/2019, our articles and charts were full of unofficial material. Year after year, this representation had diminished, replaced by more “official” selections. The reason behind this trend is obvious. As we all (artists and fans) shifted our listening habits from SoundCloud to Spotify and Apple Music, the huge differences between the two types of platforms quickly influenced our “crate digging” routines and our selection. 

In the days that followed that call, in the grip of nostalgia, I went through my old articles, and dove deep into my SoundCloud and Bandcamp likes. I stalked my friends’ collections too and I even poked around my USBs looking for forgotten mp3s. I couldn’t find peace. The realization that, as a writer, I’ve overlooked such an essential (and probably the most entertaining) part of our culture in recent years was triggering me. 

Music can be fun […] It seems across the industry this is something that’s becoming forgotten. Whether it’s stuck-up music journalists only highlighting music that’s ground-breaking or thought-provoking, elitist fans judging art solely on predefined metrics, or producers focusing all of their energy on sound design and being forward-thinking, we could all use this simple reminder. Music is meant to be enjoyable. It can be political, inspiring, mind-bending, and life-changing, but it doesn’t always have to be. Sometimes the best music is simple and fun. It makes you smile, dance or single along. This is a passage from Colin’s superlative “Reminder: Music Can Be Fun” editorial, published in 2022. A much-needed reminder for us all that, in the first place, followed the white rabbit deep down into the music world to have fun. 

Stumbling into that article was the last drop that convinced me to embrace again this overlooked side of our scene by launching a new dedicated column, here on FUXWITHIT. It won’t be anything fancy or bombastic. Just a straightforward, little project to celebrate that, behind its officialdom, statistics, headlines, and managers, this “music stuff” is still a bootleg business.

Tomorrow, February 21, we’re kicking things off in-house with a b2b selection between me and Colin.