YouTube collaboration at its finest

8.13.2012 — 5 Comments

If you’ve not yet heard the song, “Somebody that I used to know” by the artist Gotye, congratulations – you have somehow managed to not be influenced by our culture over since January when the song was initially released and ever since has seemingly been on ‘repeat’ on every and all radio station within the contiguous United States. Seriously, the song has been #1 on MANY countries charts for MANY weeks since its release.

Since its release, the song has not only been one of the most-played on the radio but also has become one of the most duplicated on YouTube by everyone and his or her fourth-cousin. This is what happens in a culture obsessed by music. We can’t just listen to the original, we have to produce our own versions. And I like it that way.

With the over-abundance of cover-versions of the song available on YouTube, I was pleased to find this week a new video by Gotye released on his own YouTube channel entitled, “Gotye – Somebodies – A YouTube Orchestra” where he downloaded and edited together a collaborative version of the track featuring some of those THOUSANDS of cover-versions available. Admittedly he barely scratched the service of what was available. He writes in the video’s description:

Reluctant as I am to add to the mountain of interpretations of Somebody That I Used To Know seemingly taking over their own area of the internet, I couldn’t resist the massive remixability that such a large, varied yet connected bundle of source material offered.??

I was directly inspired here by Kutiman’s Thru-You project. ??Wonderful stuff!??

Thank you to everyone who has responded to Somebody That I Used To Know via YouTube. It’s truly amazing!

All audio and video in Somebodies is from the YouTube user videos featured, each of them a cover or parody of Somebody That I Used To Know. No extra sounds were added to the mix, but I used some EQ, filtering, pitch-shifting and time-stretching to make the music.??

A full list of links to the original videos is available here:

???I avoided using any existing remixes of the song, or any covers from tv talent shows.?
As comprehensive and extensive as I tried to be with my downloading of source videos, I know there are many clips that I missed. Tay Zonday’s cover for instance, no internet mashup should be without him.

??I used to download the YouTube videos, Ableton Live for audio stretching, pitch-shifting and the initial video editing, and Adobe’s After Effects to put the final video together.

With the continued debate on copyright restrictions, legality of downloading videos from sources like YouTube, and the over-abundance of “asking for forgiveness instead of permission” within these arguments, it is refreshing to see the artist of a hugely popular song join in on the fun and release the next generation of copy-of-a-copy.

I think you’ll enjoy Gotye’s edit:

  • Lincoln Miller

    I misses the Satellites and Sirens cover. One of my favorites.

    • Stevan Sheets

      just looked it up. wow.
      definitely falls under ‘remix’ category, though, I think – so that’s probably why he didn’t use it in his copy-of-a-copy…

  • David Drury

    I think I’ll cross-blog on this.
    Faith implications & extrapolations. Love it!

    • Stevan Sheets

      I will enjoy your take, DD!

  • Jason

    I never heard this song or heard of it, or the artist.