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Rifflet, described by Gizmodo as “Twitter for Music”, is a new website that pushes musicians to post their unfinished song – a unique melody, bass line, guitar riff, drum beat, etc. – for the rest of the Rifflet community to hear, build upon, and recontextualize. From Rifflet:

A rifflet is a piece of a song–a bass line, a guitar riff, a drum beat or something else entirely. Share your rifflets and combine them with others, or even upload a finished song. Here’s the catch: every rifflet must be less than 60 seconds. The idea is to only upload a part of a song, or an idea for a song, or just a couple of guitar chords you think are cool. Then, you can download parts of other people songs (like a drumbeat) that you can combine with your ideas. If you’re a dj, you can use all these great pieces of proto-songs for remixes without worrying about royalties or copyright restrictions, because these sounds are all on this site for the purpose of being remixed.

Rifflet has CC licensing options built into its UI to facilitate this method of online collaboration, allowing users to embrace the spectrum of CC licenses in publishing their work(s). This integration is exactly what CC is meant for in that it easily facilitates the conscious sharing and reuse of works in a manner that remains legally sound without becoming overbearing for non-legal minds.

With this said, Rifflet’s implementation could improve in two main ares. Firstly, it would be helpful for these licences to be more prominent on Rifflet’s home page (license choice is only visible after you click on a track) . Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Rifflet should look towards CC Mixter’s “Uses Samples From” widget (see the right side of this page) in providing attribution for rifflets that are turned into full songs.

These are minor, albeit important, changes that would greatly increase Rifflet’s functionality for its users. Thankfully, these changes are more technical than conceptual – the core idea behind Rifflet remains true to the goals of the CC community in providing a fluid and open place online for people to share, reuse, and build upon other people’ works.

Posted 20 May 2008