[rumori] The Potency of the White Label

Steev [rumori] The Potency of the White Label
Mon, 31 May 1999 23:31:14 -0700 (PDT) (00928218674, Pine.LNX.4.05.9905312300210.590-100000atflotsam.detritus.net)

On Tue, 1 Jun 1999 Jarrod5083ataol.com wrote:

>Almost everyone knows the song "Tom's Diner" by DNA, if not by name then by
>Suzanne Vega's incessant "Doot Doot Doodoot Doo Doodoo Doot" layered over an
>intense triphop beat. What's interesting about the whole thing however is the
>fact that, though the released single says DNA f/ Suzanne Vega, the original
>lyrics were from a Suzanne Vega song. The ambient triphop duo DNA sampled the
>entire acapella version of the song, modified its flow somewhat, and set it
>to a heavy dance beat. The original white label sold extremely fast, and was
>played all over in Britain's clubs, until eventually radio stations accross
>Europe were playing the catchy dance tune. Suzanne Vega and A&M threatened to
>sue if the song was released for mass
>market consumption, so a deal was struck between them, and the single, DNA
>featuring Suzanne Vega, hit the store shelves, and sold millions of copies.

an interesting thing about this story is that it happened about 10
years ago, before anyone had ever heard or uttered the phrase "ambient triphop". ;-)
also, when i heard this story (about 10 years ago), i heard it slightly
differently, that Vega actually really liked the white label and
OFFERED to officially release it on her label, rather than threatened to

here is a copy of an article about the event, from "Record Mirror", August 4, 1990:
further, interestingly enough, there's an entire album called "Tom's Album" (1991) of different versions of the song, including one by R.E.M. going under the name "Bingo Hand Job." this info courtesy of http://www.vega.net/

>An excellent example of collage artists overcoming record label woes :)

overcoming or just getting lucky.... also, let's be honest, the remix isnt
really that challenging. it was basically a great chance for A&M to make a lot more money and "crossover" Vega into a new demographic, the dance music crowd. I'd bet my sampler that if DNA had done something more along
the lines of what John Oswald did to Dolly Parton on "Pretender", they wouldnt have been so lucky, because a) Vega wouldnt have been pleased, and
b) A&M wouldnt have thought they'd make any money from it.
however, i agree, white labels are a cool and useful thing....


Steev Hise, Subversive Radical Hippy Hacker
steevathise.org http://www.cyborganic.com/people/steev recycled art site: http://www.detritus.net -----------------------------------------------------------------
"The power in this world is held by heterosexual white men, and always will be. Therefore, the value of every single thing in the world is
the value heterosexual white men place on it." -Dorothy Schefer, What is Beauty?

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