Immortal Musicians? No, thanks.

By now most anyone who has ears & an internet connection, has seen this holographic performance by “2pac”. The sheer awesomeness of this is enough to warrant attention from all corners of the world wide internets. But there’s another aspect to this that immediately caught our attention, and more interestingly, sparked our imaginations: future applications of this technology.

How soon will we see holographic performances by Elvis, Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley or Frank Sinatra? Does this mean the end of cover bands and impersonators? We sorely hope the answer is no.

Granted seeing a holographic Bob Marley toking a blunt on stage with Kottonmouth Kings at the next Rock the Bells would be wildly entertaining – it underscores a cultural nostalgia for the past. Our fascination with everything “retro”  has brought us to a place where instead of focusing energies on emerging artists, we spend millions of dollars bringing back dead ones. The music industry especially has pushed this agenda, because for them the “remixer” or “bedroom band” are their worst enemies.

But in this world we live in, some of the best experiences are to be had from the bastard children of original works. It’s a grim prospect for artists/performers trying to eek out a living (though there are avenues to capitalize on this, think SoulWax), but it’s a plethora of goodness for culture at large. Sure there are major record labels trying to capitalize on this idea, but they are usually met with little to no success.

And it’s all for 1 simple reason: in the 2000′s, remixers/amateurs do it better. They are unencumbered by the weight of Lawyers, or the misguided song writing dictated by sales charts. Learning by doing is the most creative, and this is why the remix generation is thriving.

Remember this diddy? We covered this SBTRKT cover a few months back, You’re My Star. As good as the original is, there’s an entirely new reason to love it because of this version. The original artistry brought to the table, only enhances the song, and any previous love for it.

The reason imitators, covers, remixes and tribute bands are so wildly popular, is that there is a fresh energy being brought to the mix. Not only do you get the original creators intent and passion, but a whole new set of baggage is brought to the table & when it’s done right and thoughtfully, you inevitably end up with a fuller, richer product.

Sure sure sure, there are PLENTY of remixes/covers that are only interesting because they are so mind numbingly bad, but think about it. Even those horrible versions, are something new, something interesting.

And while a tribute band is only 1 step away from a holographic version of said band, they are doing their own take and there’s still a human element that this “2pac” is sorely missing.

The original take on a an artists song/performance reminds us that culture is rewritable, and moldable. That WE as consumers are the real definers of culture. That we now too have powers to create.

Not to mention, watching “2pac” bounce around all we could think about was the tech behind it, the disembodied Snoop, the actor they modeled this off, and how it must have looked in real life.

So forget these holographic versions, even the worst cover feels more real. Because at the end of the day, they’re human too. And no matter how badly they cover “Stairway to Heaven” they will always have more soul (the essence of music) than a holograph.

And isn’t that what seeing a live performance is all about?

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