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What’s the difference between remix, refix, covers, extended mix, edit, and more?




Many music aficionados are confused about some very common terms used to label music. Technology keeps changing the world, bringing on new ways of doctoring sounds. With each new technique, comes a new label to properly document the sound.

Also, it doesn’t help that music is mastered for different outlets, speakers, and demography, hence creating a variety of versions for every situation.

Then there’s the penchant by many artistes to alter their songs, and that of others for various reasons, with common terms including ‘remix’, ‘refix’ ‘edit’ ‘mashup’ and many others used to classify the finished work.

Pulse Music aims to take away your confusion, and educate you music listeners what the core differences are. These terms are explained thoroughly below, and will give you a better understanding of the labels, and how they are used.

One of the primary differences between tracks is length. Each different length has a different name. In a sense, every song in its purest form is an original mix, but some songs come in multiple versions. Although it seems intuitive, it’s still helpful to clarify that original mix denotes the first complete mix by the original artist. Simply put, it’s a song by an artist with no other changes; it can be of any length. If an artist prefers the track to be longer, he or she will produce an extended mix. In the extended mix, the track usually includes a longer intro and outro and is longer than the original mix. This type of mix is how the original artist imagines a song without time constraints — usually too long for radio. The last type of mix in this temporal category is the radio edit. In the radio edit, expletives are taken out and the length of the track is cut between 3 and 5 minutes in length (but usually closest to the three minute mark). Intros and outros that may bore radio listeners and take up valuable advertisement time are cut down.

There are other types of mixes that can describe songs by the original artist: instrumental mixes, club mixes and dub mixes. Instrumental mixes are simply original mixes that are stripped of vocals. These are usually good for DJs and layering purposes. A dub mix, by contrast, is stripped of other elements while leaving the melody recognizable. These are also good for remixes, allowing other DJs and artists to embellish the dub mix in a more original way. In other words, dub mixes are just altered original mixes typically meant for remixers. Club mixes are meant to be played in clubs, obviously. These tend to have a more bass-heavy dance element to them. Lastly, a VIP remix is a remix of the original mix done by the original artist. Although it seems kinda meta (which it is), this is frequently done. It’s not the same as a club mix because it’s not necessarily intended for a partying audience. Fun fact: VIP doesn’t mean very important person here; instead, it means variation in production.

In the examples above, the original artist is responsible for the changes to the track. When other artists are involved, more technical terms arise (surprise). These technical terms begin to get a bit fuzzier. Instead of describing time or a change for a specific purpose, these titles tend to describe the content of the song. Any track edited by another artist is called a remix. Remixes typically change the style of the song in some fashion, whether it is a shift in genre or a complete change in sound through sampling. Although official remixes involve permission from the original artist and are released on remix albums, the term “remix” is often conflated with the term “bootleg.” Much like the dictionary definition of bootleg, a bootlegged track is an unofficial remix — done without permission from the artist and released unofficially. Edits are pretty much the same as remixes but often involve deconstructing the existing song, which is not necessarily done in a remix. Lastly, the term flip is basically just a remix with a more aesthetically pleasing name. Remixes, bootlegs, edits and flips are all the same to the listener but are essentially changes made by artists other than the original.

In your quest for new music, you may also find yourself stumbling across some completely foreign terms. One I encountered a while back was the term “night version.” Night versions of songs often strip away embellishments, creating slowed-down and darker-sounding renditions. These versions are usually done by the original artist. But in Nigeria here, they are hard to come by.

Other useful terms include covers, mash-ups, and refixes. Covers are songs with vocals or instruments reinterpreted by someone other than the original performer. See: Wizkid’s cover of Kiss Daniel’s ‘Good time’. Also, check out this one by Reekado Banks. Mash-ups are just what they sound like: two or more songs or samples mashed into one track through layering. At last we have reached the end of our journey, ending with refixes. A refix is usually a remix of a remix. See: Friend Within’s refix of “Renegade Master.”

So, next time you’re checking out new music, hopefully you’ll be a little more educated than I was before writing this article.

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