There are few performers making music today who are as representative of our generation (meaning, the current twenty-somethings out there) as is Gregg Gillis, known by fans and foes alike as "Girl Talk."
If Gillis didn't create the genre of 'mash-ups,' he certainly perfected it... and while there are those among us who will badmouth him as a copycat or pirate artist, I think he's innovative, fresh and damn entertaining.
Photo by the NYTimes
So when I found out yesterday that Gillis is a Pittsburgh native, and began his first attempts at music at Chartiers Valley High School in Bridgeville, I was instantly inspired to profess my love to this native Pittsburgher, right here, right now, on Summerburgh.
I'll keep this PG-13.
All kidding aside, my love for Gillis has much more to do with his music and what it represents than anything else. Unlike other mash-up artists who weave together full songs, Gillis often uses dozens of clips of different songs on each of his albums' tracks.
Gillis = our generation, for numerous reasons, none of which is more important than the fact that his music challenges conventional copyright laws. His work is emblematic of a new era that rewards innovation above all else, forcing industries to evolve or risk becoming irrelevant.
Photo by the NYTimes
There are those among us who will say that Gillis' work represents a profound abuse of the laws set in place to protect an artist's rights over his or her own work. Yet, I firmly believe that it is not the copyright laws that need to be changed, it's the business models of traditional industries that need to evolve.
And you know I mean it, because hey, I work at a newspaper. If I were out for self-interest, I'd have a different opinion about copyright infringement and reading information online free of charge.
Industries across the board need to adapt to the changing times, and yes, this includes newspapers. Gillis' success at monetizing his product and using the internet as a vehicle for his music's promotion is just one example proving that it's not about reforming laws, it's about reforming content to meet today's consumer demands.
It is with these ideas in mind that I find myself increasingly proud to intern at an organization that is working hard to be inventive by using new multimedia tools to convey news stories & reports.
For an example of the kind of work that the Post-Gazette is doing, see this new multimedia platform, created by Andrew Rush and Steve Mellon of the Post-Gazette. Who knew the Pirates were ever any good?