New York Times Magazine profiles Girl Talk about two months too late.
You might expect that Girl Talk’s success has made Gillis a legal target. His sound collages are radically different from their sources, far more than the sum of their parts, but to an entertainment lawyer they might look like a lawsuit. Or, in the words of Lawrence Lessig, author of “Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy,” “a gold mine.”
To secure permission to use the 373 samples on “All Day” would cost, Gillis estimates, millions of dollars. Some labels would refuse, others would draw him into endless negotiation. But he has never been sued. No one has ever asked him to stop doing what he’s doing. One of the acts he samples on “All Day,” the Toadies, proudly put a link to Girl Talk on their home page.
“We don’t realize how much the notion of creation has changed for people under the age of 25,” Lessig says. He suggests that in 20 years the sampling issue will seem “completely bizarre.” Any Girl Talk show provides a vivid preview of what the future might look like. It will look like leaf blowers showering confetti on a crowd going crazy to an unlikely pairing of Soulja Boy, the hip-hop idol, with the avant-garde electronica of Aphex Twin.