Hip-Hop remix of a cover (new work?)

Artist A covers work I by artist B :arrow_right: R-W relationship “recording of” + cover
Artist A remixes recording X by artist A :arrow_right: R-R relationship “remix of” & W-W relationship based on.
Artist A covers work I by artist B in recording X, then artist A remixes recording X in recording Y :arrow_right: ?

I think there is an argument for two ways of handling it:

  • recording Y is a remix of recording X, with a new work II which is based on work I.
  • recording Y is a remix of recording X and a cover of work I.

On the one hand there is the guideline that remixes are new works, on the other hand there is the guideline that covers are not new works.

Let’s say artist A is a singer and electronic music producer and produces music that has little to do with the original work and then sings the lyrics of the work over it. Then they produce new music that again has little to do with the original work and put their lyrics from the other recording over it and call it a remix.

I think in this case technically the second recording is just as much a cover of the original work as the first one.
On the other hand I tend to say it should be handled however the artist intended it: If recording Y is called “recording X (remix)” then it should be a new work based on the original one.

How would you do it?

As I attempted to point out in your edit, I normally only consider it justified if there’s a separate entry in a rights society database.

This is not a thing - remixes can be new works if they give a new composer or lyricist credit, because then we need a new work for that, but generally they’re still the same work (hip hop remixes are a bit different because it’s often new music or new lyrics, not playing around with the original recorded stuff)

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Well when I talk about a remix I mean something that definitely involves either newly composed music or newly written lyrics. That is the only kind of remix I know. If you don’t change the music or lyrics significantly I’d consider it a mix or edit.
But you’re right: I thought I had read it somewhere in the documentation, but instead it was on the forum:

PS: I did find something in the documentation:

A work’s distinctiveness is based on the artists who contributed to its final output, and whether a work is derived from another original work. Examples of works that are distinct:
[…] a mashup of multiple original works

If a mashup of let’s say 50% one existing work and 50% from another constitutes a new work how can a remix consisting of 50% material from an existing work and 50% new creation not be new work based on the old one?

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in general it is a new recording, not a new work.


It can’t, for something like a rap remix with new music/lyrics :slight_smile: But most remixes just take the original track and modify it, and that is generally a different recording of the same work.

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Now that we got that out of the way, back to my original question:
If a hip hop artist covers another artist’s work (by creating 100% new music and rapping the original lyrics over it) and then makes a remix of his own recording (by creating completely new music again and putting the vocal track from the previous recording on it) does the new recording then get a new work (because it’s a hip hop remix) or does it get linked to the original work (because it’s still a cover of the original work)?

I’d say that’s three works. A standard cover is not generally completely new music, if it’s completely new music, I’d say that’s a new work based on the old one.

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I think part of the problem is…
You said

You are using your terms, not the industry terms.

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No I’m using hip hop terms. I’ve never heard a hip hop remix where nothing was significantly changed.

I currently have such a case. No remix involved, but a cover (lyrics-wise) with completely new music. So I’ll create a new work based on the old one, but do I also link the recording to the old one since that’s the only “cover of” relationship we have?

I wouldn’t. Our definition of “cover” is very unclear (although, to be fair, so is everyone else’s) but I think this is not exactly a cover in the traditional sense.