Negativland and U2

U2_Negativland

Negativland is a group of sound artists who mix fragments and samples of sounds from the mass media to produce a parodic critique of contemporary culture.

The group’s 1991 single U2 combined samples from and a vocalized parody of the band U2’s I still haven’t found what I’m looking for with studio outtakes of Casey Kasem verbally abusing his staff on the American Top 40 radio program. Soon after the single was released it was pulled from stores and Negativland was sued by Island Records, Warner-Chappell Music (U2’s label and music publishing company, respectively) and by their own label, SST.

Over time a community arose that provided a loose distribution system for the recording, along with a medium for producing and disseminating an oppositional discourse to the dominant legal and economic system that had stopped its legitimate release.

This according to “Negativland, out-law judgments, and the politics of cyberspace” by John Sloop and Andrew Herman, an essay included in Mapping the beat: Popular music and contemporary theory (Malden: Blackwell, 1998).

Below, the recording in question. Warning: Negativland is not shy about using profanity.

1 Comment

Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Curiosities, Popular music

One response to “Negativland and U2

  1. It should be important to note that U2 asked to have the lawsuit dropped (as attributed to Bill Flanagan – U2 At The End of The World pp. 363-364).

    It’s also important to note that Negativland were sued by Island Records for illegal use of the “U2 trademark” and perpetuating their work as that of U2’s. And the even bigger lawsuit came in the form of a defamation suit by Casey Kasem.

    Like

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