I can't believe it that it's been 10 years to the month that the song "Code Monkey" came out?
Wait, have you not heard of the song "Code Monkey" by Jonathon Coulton?
Well my friends, let me tell you a story!
First the term Code Monkey:
"term for a computer programmer, sometimes considered an insulting or derogatory oversimplification of their skill set"
But before the story, you should hear the song.
Listen here first then come back
You should be able to tell after hearing this song that this fits into a genre called "geek rock" qute nicely. It's a fun tune, easy to sing along to and tells a story of a dissolutioned computer programmer. The song was released in 2006 by Jonathon Coulton who had been a computer programmer in his past.
Now the reason why I am sharing this song is not that I, like the singer, has a love for all things geeky, but its because I used it to engage students in my web design classes for years when we talked about remixing and creating a culture of sharing on the web.
The story goes that there was a "Code Monkey Remix" contest in late 2006 that ran for a month. Contestants were able to download the source files for the song and remix them as they saw fit. What this means is that these source files were not just the song itself but all the pieces of the song on different tracks. So, the drums, guitar, bass, lyrics, etc were all separated and the contest was open for anyone to take these pieces and remix them anyway they wished. Then they submitted their new version of this song and the winners decided at the end.
I loved this idea when I heard it back in 2006. I am not a musician by any means but the idea of celebrating and promoting this remixing culture was infectious. A few weeks back I wrote about how sampling music was not the best idea when you don't have permission (Vanilla Ice & The Verve) but in this instance the artist WANTED his fans to remix his song.
So... do you want to hear some of the submissions? Here are my tpo three
Below is a live version that two sang together as Coulton invited her to one of his shows. (Fast Forward to about 2:45 in the video)
Which version was your favorite?
By the way... Coulton releases his songs under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license which means that he is OK with others using his music in "noncommercial works".
This could be great opportunity for your kids who are really interested in music to get them inspired in making and remixing their own music.
But there is a problem. There is not a lot of great places to find Creative Commons licensed audio out there. Here are a few:
Now for anyone, and yes younger students can do this too, interested in starting to make their own music I HIGHLY recommend this service called Soundtrap. It is a super simple to use web based program where you can create your your own music by dropping in loops, beats, and even your own voice or instruments. Plus you can have student actually collaborate from different computers on the same song. Pretty wild and like I said, SUPER EASY.
And for when you're ready, there are remix contests out there. Here is a site all about this very thing called Remix Comps.