Brandon Polite: "The Fine Art of Sonic Duplication"

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: Zoom (contact Irene Martinez Marin for link)
  • Organiser: Department of Philosophy
  • Contact person: Irene Martinez Marin
  • Seminarium

The Higher Seminar in Aesthetics

(NB, time.)

Brandon Polite, Knox College: "The Fine Art of Sonic Duplication"

In this paper, I examine the recent practice of artists and bands, such as Taylor Swift, Def Leppard, and Ozzy Osbourne, attempting to record sonically indistinguishable versions of tracks and albums they’ve previously released. I begin with the ontological question of whether re-recordings count as instances of the original tracks or albums. I argue that they do not because, no matter how faithfully they duplicate the originals, tracks and albums are indexed to recording sessions—i.e., to when, where, and who recorded them. I next argue that because re-recorded versions are distinct works of art from, and different sorts of artistic achievement than, the originals, we should appreciate them differently than we do the originals. I conclude by briefly considering the ethics of re-recorded versions. I argue that they are worthwhile when they promote the autonomy of artists, but misguided when used to replace and thereby erase the contributions of original performers.