Creative Commons licences allow musicians, artists, and other creative people to create new and unique works based on the works of others. While you can often do interesting things based on finished pieces, having access to the individual components gives you a lot more flexibility, and it’s that access to components that ccMixter aims to provide.
ccMixter lets users do two core things: upload samples of their own creation, and upload remixes made using samples from other users. The samples that people upload range from individual sounds and solo recordings through to the stems (that is, the individual tracks) from full, mixed songs, so there’s a wealth of stuff to work with.
The most impressive thing feature of ccMixter is its attribution tracking on remixes. When you upload a remix, you tell ccMixter which samples you used, so it’s very easy to see what samples are used in a remix, or what remixes make use of your samples. It all gets complicated once you start using remixes within other remixes, but ccMixter displays the attributions as a tree, giving you a simple, and very cool, overview of a remix’s entire history.
I’ve always had a “do-it-yourself” attitude with my music, creating a lot of my own sounds and recording all of my own tracks, and I don’t see that changing just yet. As an experiment, though, I uploaded the stems for “move along”: complete and separate main and backing vocal, bass, and piano tracks, and a mixed stereo drum track.
I wasn’t sure if anyone would do much with it, but to my surprise, there are three remixes on the site using those samples — you can check them out from the link above. There’s a constant influx of new material, so you don’t have long to catch people’s attention, but it’s definitely exciting to know that people are listening to your work and using it in new ways. I’m sure I’ll be uploading more tracks in future to see what other users can do with them.