On this episode of Live Fix Radio we’re exploring the past, present and future of the Super Bowl halftime show and thinking about what sort of copy-catting Beyonce might be up to during this year’s show. We’ll also riff on Pepsi’s attempt at crowd-sourcing and compare that with examples of real concert crowd-sourcing. Rock on and thanks for listening!
In that originality exploration we took a deeper look at similarities between an artist being inspired or being a copycat.
It’s a controversial and provocative topic that influences almost all of our live music experiences and challenges us to really think about our favorite concert moments and why (and how) those moments move us, even when the artist isn’t being that original.
And I couldn’t help but think about Beyonce’s Billboard Awards story in the wake of the lip-syncing fiasco. Maybe this story will resurface after Sunday?
Maybe Beyonce will “borrow” from past shows to inspire Sunday’s show performance and set design? We’ll have to wait and see.
And as I watch our son Calvin develop, I’ve also thought about how Beyonce’s performance will be inspired by her daughter Blue Ivy?
What will be going through Blue Ivy’s mind and heart as she watches her mom entertain millions of people for 12 minutes?
Will Beyonce be teaching her daughter to rock out like this?
Is Pepsi Really Crowdsourcing the Super Bowl?
The other thing I was thinking about was the crowdsourcing element to this year’s half time show as Pepsi invites fans to submit photos to be included in the introduction of the Beyonce performance.
Of course, it’s not going to be anything close to our interactive Google Plus idea we suggested last year, but at least what Pepsi is doing is semi-social and sort-of interactive.
And according to ClickZ, the fans who win the Pepsi contest will get a chance to soak in the show on one of live music’s biggest stages:
The grand prize includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, ground transportation, and $500 cash. Grand prize winners and their guests must participate in the Super Bowl halftime show practice in order to be present on the field during the halftime show. The prize does not include tickets to the Super Bowl XLVII game and Pepsi says winners will not have access to view the live game.
In order to promote the campaign, @Pepsi, which has 1.1 million followers, is tweeting with the hashtag #PepsiHalftime. Pepsi is also using promoted tweets and pulling in tweets with #PepsiHalftime and #LiveforNow on Pepsi.com.
What Is Real Concert Crowdsourcing?
But, again, is what Pepsi is doing really crowdsourcing? And does this really benefit the fans or the evolve the live music experience? What is real concert crowdsourcing? How can crowdsourcing be used to tell amazing, diverse and unique fan stories like these?
We won’t answer those questions now, but in the meantime you can check out these great examples of concert crowdsourcing and tell me if you think Pepsi should have done something like this.
After her performance of “Run the World (Girls)” at the Billboard Music Awards last weekend, many fans are wondering: is Beyonce an unoriginal copycat? Or is she showing that she’s Lorella Cuccerini biggest fan? And we’re wondering if she’s really that much different from artists like Jack White and Johnny Cash.
Well, according to this AOL Music quote where Beyonce explains herself, it looks like she was “inspired.”
“My makeup artist showed me the performance of Lorella Cuccarini a year ago, and it inspired me so much,” Beyonce tells AOL Music, exclusively. “I then met with the talented people who worked on it. The technology and concept were so genius. Thank god for YouTube or I would have never been exposed to something so inspiring. I never worked so hard on anything in my life as that performance for the Billboard Awards.”
Is Anyone Really Original?
Yes, thank God for YouTube, Beyonce. Now everyone is questioning your live performance originality.
Without a doubt YouTube is responsible for spreading creative idea like no other media channel in history. But on the flipside it has also forced artist to be even more original, because artist are just a few edits and YouTuber upload away from being held accountable for their unoriginality.
And judging by that quote it appears that Beyonce has never seen Cuccerini live in concert before, so it’s even harder to say that she was inspired by her own personal experience of seeing Cuccerini live.
Sure, Beyonce is being honest about her inspirations, but what does this situation say about the creativity of all artists live performance.
Is anyone really original?
What Do We Really Pay For During A Show?
Do we pay money just to see live imitations that aren’t the artist own?
When have we actually truly seen a live performance that was completely original?
Or better yet, at this point in history, is originally even important? Do concert fans value interpretation more than originality?
And at this stage in live music history, are we okay with being sold another version of the another artist, just as long as what we bought is a little different from the original source?
We tend to pull from other sources to create our own art. Whether you’re an artist or a fan with hopes to become an artist, when you go to a show you get influenced. You get inspired. And the natural thing is to want to duplicate that which inspires you.
But the hopeful and wishful part of me wants to believe that what I see on stage is “mostly” original.
I hope that when I get blown away by an artist that the part that blows me away is uniquely their own, and not stolen or just ripped off from someone else.
Some of the words I tend to use in reviews of albums and concert when I see signs of other artists coming through is “interpreation,” “channeling,” and “celebrating”.
When I see an artist drawing on their influences and doing something creative with it, I usually use one of those three words to describe what I see. And when the copycat shows up, I call it like it is.
So Is Beyonce an Inspired Fan or a Performance Thief?
Right now, and after watching the video above a several times, I think that Beyonce’s performance is way too close to Cuccerini’s performance to be called original.
There’s a difference between taking elements of an artists performance to create your own interpretation, and completely ripping off someone else. When we do the latter it’s like just putting a different coat of paint on a stolen car, scratching off the VIN number and calling the car your own.
There A Many Other Examples Too
But let’s look at some others for a moment. For starters, when I discovered more of the inspiration roots of Jack White of the White Stripes live performance style in the film This Might Get Loud, I was amazed to see how similar his thrashing and tortured whipping around live style was to Dex Rombweber of Flat Duo Jets.
Now, we are big fans of The Man In Black, but when it comes to lyrics, I’ve always struggled with the fact that Johnny Cash “creatively borrowed” many of the lyrics of “Folsom Prison Blues” from Beverly Mayer and Gordon Jenkins “Cresent City Blues”.
What Would Picasso Tell Beyonce?
Yes, Picasso, or someone like him once said, that good artists borrow and great artists steal. And some other wise person once said that imitation is the biggest form of flattery.
That all might be true, but how does all this sit with you?
Do you lose respect for an artist when you find out where they got their music and live performance inspiration from?
Do you get disappointed when you find out that they not that original and have only ripped off or “creatively borrowed” from some other artist?