I've written before about anime music videos (AMVs), and so has Lawrence Lessig. They're a good example of what the creative commons is supposed to be about: new artistic work created through the use of existing artistic work, and in a way that would be impossible without easy DRM-free access to existing artistic work. If you haven't already, you should fill out the Annanberg Center for Communication survey on AMVs; see also my comments on legal threats and a takedown order stemming from this activity's illegal nature. Anyway, today's topic is that people are doing the same thing with music from anime series. I spotted Nekomimi Music in a Project Wonderful auction - and you know me, I'm all about the nekomimi - and found links from there to animeremix.org, which seems to be the animemusicvideos.org of audio.
One thing I think interesting about this activity is that although they call it "remixing", it isn't what I'd call "remixing". To me, a remix is what you get when you take an existing track, process it into its components - or obtain the unmixed components directly, if the makers of the existing track are hip enough to provide those - and then, literally, re-mix it. You perform the "mixing" step of audio production, and maybe make different decisions from the ones made in the existing track. That's a remix.
What the "anime remix" people seem to be doing is a lot more elaborate. Not only are they often using multiple existing tracks per new track (so it includes an element of the "mashup"), they're also recording completely new performances of the same music on different instruments, and composing original music to include in the "remixes", using the anime soundtrack albums as sample libraries. The result goes far beyond an ordinary remix. It's hard to argue that this is not original work; it's hard to argue that this is not something we should encourage; but it's also hard to argue that this is legal.
Note: the "Matthew" referred to on the Nekomimi Music Web log is not me.