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Everything Is Interpolated: Inside Music’s Nostalgia-Industrial Complex

by Jayson Greene, Pitchfork, April 26, 2023

The music industry has always had a fascination with nostalgia, constantly looking back to previous eras and styles for inspiration. In recent years, however, this nostalgia has taken on a more industrialized and commodified form, with many artists and producers using interpolation and sampling to recreate the sounds and styles of the past.

The article explores the ways in which this nostalgia-industrial complex has developed, with examples ranging from the use of classic rock riffs in modern pop songs to the sampling of entire verses and choruses from older songs. The article also examines the ethical and legal implications of these practices, questioning whether such blatant borrowing constitutes creativity or theft.

Despite these concerns, however, the article ultimately concludes that nostalgia and interpolation have become an integral part of modern music, offering both artists and listeners a way to connect with the past and create something new and exciting in the process.

Hipgnosis CEO Merck Mercuriadis is a self-styled disruptor in the field—so much so that he refuses the label “music publishing” entirely, deeming Hipgnosis a “song management company.” “I view these iconic songs as the energy that makes the world go around,” Mercuriadis says, “and they need to be managed with the same responsibility as you would expect to manage a person.”

Overall, the article offers a thought-provoking analysis of the ways in which nostalgia has become a driving force in the music industry, and the potential benefits and drawbacks of this trend.

Summary by ChatGPT.

Image by Marina Kozak


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