A Brief Anecdote Concerning Social Networks, Creativity, and Distance

Story time!  In May of 2011 just before I graduated college, I spent a little bit of time working on a project I’d been wanting to do for months: a complete transcription of one of my favorite songs, Safe in LA by Gold Motel.

Over the course of a week, I meticulously tuned my ears to each instrument and painstakingly plotted their sounds on the staves in Guitar Pro one bar at a time.  For the trickier parts, I even watched live footage to get a grasp of the fingering since guitar is not my primary instrument and there are multiple ways to play the majority of notes.  Once complete, I published my tab on Ultimate-Guitar, by far the best tab site on the internet. (and someone gave it 4 stars! hooray)  I even tweeted a link @goldmotel and they followed me in return!  Awesome!

So there it sat for some time, picking up about a view per day, but out of my mind.  Flash forward to May of 2012.  Gold Motel posts a link on their Facebook page to an 8-bit cover of the song.  Intrigued, I take a listen.  I’m immediately struck by how familiar it sounds; obviously I know the song, but certain aspects of the cover (the way the vocals are written, the strumming of the rhythm guitar) are kicking me in the face.  I pull up my tab and compare– they’re the same!  Alright, how do I feel about this?  Kind of impressed actually, but I had to confirm my observation.

I head over to tumblr to the cover artist’s page and send her a quick message, which turns into a relatively lengthy conversation about music.  Long story short, she bases her 8-bit covers on Guitar Pro tabs and that my tab was, in fact, the one she used for Safe in LA.  Neat!  Here’s what I think it the coolest thing about all of this though: she’s from New Zealand.  So, in a nutshell, here’s what happened and why this is awesome:

I transcribe a song and post it online, while still at school in New York.  My work comes back to me a year later, now living in California, through the band who wrote the song, in the form of a cover that was created by someone who lives on the other side of the planet.

This would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.  All I can say from this simple experience is that we live in the future.  It’s here everyone, enjoy it!


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