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  1. #1
    Senior Member peejay's Avatar
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    The future of media

    I'm interested in understanding what people who have been around through the revolution of (digital) media technology have to say about what they thought then and what they think now, particularly since this forum seems to attract music and entertainment professionals who have input which is technologically current (in terms of the industry and what it experiences right now and did way back then).

    Back when CDs hit the scene, a mate of mine asked me where I saw this heading.

    Well, I pretty much guessed at an iTunes governed world ( My words were back in '89 "I guess you'll get music in files over the wire and your bank account will be debited for what you play") although my vision for this was a 'smart' CD player which was connected to a music publisher's server, and an on-demand service rather than buy and play.....)
    The other expectation was a replacement for the CD as a Flash RAM device, inserted into a player similar to what we see as PDAs today, or into your home system, still coming in a nice Jewel case however......

    The reality so far hasn't been a surprise to me, as a result. Just better...

    Anybody else see this coming?
    I've got a fever above my waist
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    I know the truth is in between the 1st and 40th drink - Tori Amos
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    Oh, and a BOOM...

  2. #2
    Senior Member gbruzzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peejay View Post
    I'm interested in understanding what people who have been around through the revolution of (digital) media technology have to say about what they thought then and what they think now, particularly since this forum seems to attract music and entertainment professionals who have input which is technologically current (in terms of the industry and what it experiences right now and did way back then).

    Back when CDs hit the scene, a mate of mine asked me where I saw this heading.

    Well, I pretty much guessed at an iTunes governed world ( My words were back in '89 "I guess you'll get music in files over the wire and your bank account will be debited for what you play") although my vision for this was a 'smart' CD player which was connected to a music publisher's server, and an on-demand service rather than buy and play.....)
    The other expectation was a replacement for the CD as a Flash RAM device, inserted into a player similar to what we see as PDAs today, or into your home system, still coming in a nice Jewel case however......

    The reality so far hasn't been a surprise to me, as a result. Just better...

    Anybody else see this coming?
    As far as making money is concerned, there is little in the publishing/record printing business left. That is you print records/licence downloads for marketing purposes. Money lies in live events...But of course promoters will only call you as a musician if you have managed create interest via your published music. This may be a good thing: artists cannot sit on their backsides anymore. More touring, more live playing, more records etc. This cannot be a bad thing!

    As far as the listeners' experience is concerned I am not so sure I am as happy. Music has gone down in price and you have direct access to very large catalogues, at the tip of a finger (I was subscribed to Napster to go for a long time, it was really quite good). The problem is availability of quality (as measured by kbps).

    Having said this, the more the industry consolidates and segments, the more I think we will see download services that cater for different tastes (eg 160/192/256/320 kbps mp3/wma and flac/aac as download choices - after all, this was the model www.allofmp3.com, illegal maybe, but well setup!) - hey even vynil is making a comeback!

    Regards,

    Giacomo

  3. #3
    Senior Member pfarrell's Avatar
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    Record companies are dead. They may not know it yet.

    Artists today make most of their money (if not all) from touring.

    I have long expected that music feeds would be subscription based, not 'per song' the way iTunes store does it.

    I'd happily pay $10 a month to get new music delivered to my SqueezeCenter.

    I'd complain at $100. A good businessman would figure out how to make money on a price that I'm willing to pay.

  4. #4
    Senior Member gbruzzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfarrell View Post
    Record companies are dead. They may not know it yet.

    Artists today make most of their money (if not all) from touring.

    I have long expected that music feeds would be subscription based, not 'per song' the way iTunes store does it.

    I'd happily pay $10 a month to get new music delivered to my SqueezeCenter.

    I'd complain at $100. A good businessman would figure out how to make money on a price that I'm willing to pay.
    I completely agree - I only wish these subscription services could be variabilized in terms of encoding quality.

    What I can see happening (Primus and others do it on their website) is a) you go to a concert and shell out your 30/40 euros/dollars/pounds. b) you get a code c) you use this code on the artist's site after a couple of days to get a couple of free downloads (maybe of the very evening itself).

    That to me makes a lot of sense, and you are shifting your attention from capturing the marginal willingness of your consumers to pay for a CD/piece of music (which today is very very very very very low) to the marginal willingness of your consumers to pay for a concert ticket (which is much higher).

    I feel it is much more fair - and you finally cut the record companies out (although you, as an artist, have to face up to the promoters, as Madonna just did).

    To get back to the topic: The future of Media: volatile/subscription based/used as an advertising tool by artists.

    How much would I pay per month to get such a service? I subscribed to Napster To Go for quite a while ú14.95 all you can download per month (of course wma with DRM, but: there is software like MuvAudio, which allows you to re-record your music (at up to 10x the speed - it creates 10 secluded virtual audio cables) bit by bit in mp3 format - at no stage are your breaking the encryption.
    That price was fair, and I probably would be prepared to pay more - bear in mind you start the first month downloading all you can, but then slowly you will download less and less - Emusic uses this pattern to cut the price of its online music quite successfully - those who bought large yearly subscriptions end up subsidizing those who have just subscribed and are downloading like crazy...

    I like this evolution

    Regards,

    Giacomo
    Last edited by gbruzzo; 2008-02-15 at 03:58.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MuckleEck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfarrell View Post
    I'd happily pay $10 a month to get new music delivered to my SqueezeCenter.

    I'd complain at $100. A good businessman would figure out how to make money on a price that I'm willing to pay.
    I would agree that $/ú/Ç10 per month whereas $/ú/Ç 100 is too high, there must be a happy medium for those of us willing to pay (and being based in th UK we have less choice than across the pond)

    It would seem to me that the basic format of a CD will eventually die off, too much packaging and not required when you can download the same in a few minutes.

    My main concern will be to the quality of the downloads that will be available. I did download a few mp3s from itunes before listening to them on the hi-fi...I then went out and bought the CD and ripped to FLAC...

    Currently I have used the Linn website to get some excellent music in FLAC format, unfortunately their catalogue is small, also they need to package the downloads better.
    Alasdair

    SBR -> Linn Majik -> Acoustic Energy Extreme 5 (garden) | SBR -> Cambridge Audio 640R -> Morduant Short (TV room) | SB3 -> AudioEngine 2 (bedroom-2) | SB3 -> AudioEngine 2 (kitchen) | SBR -> Musical Fidelity A1008 -> JR149 (office)| Squeezebox Radio (bedroom) | SB3 -> AudioEngine 2 (Bedroom -3) | Boom (bedroom-4) | Two Controllers

    Last Fm http://www.last.fm/user/MuckleEck/

  6. #6
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    This is a very good topic and very much in the "news".

    One thing which has failed to be mentioned thus far is the apparent lack of ability to make digital content (or media) secure. Basically if it's digital then it can be copied, copied quickly, i.e. not in "real" time, copied with no loss in quality and easily and widely distributed. DRM is, at best, a stopgap measure since just about all DRM can be either cracked or bypassed.

    Until someone finds a way to make digital content secure and easy to use (most hard to break digital copy protection is not user friendly) the future of just about all digital media (music, movies, video, ebooks, etc.) looks pretty bleak.

    Although this a digital music forum, after all Squeezeboxes and Transporters only play digital media, I say bring back analog. Sure analog can be copied but it must be copied in "real" time, there is generation loss on all copies and it's difficult to widely distribute the copies.

    Basically what I'm saying is that many, many people consider anything on digital media to be free and most of those people are younger rather than older. For example, I have two daughters, both in their early twenties, and I can't remember the last time either of them bought a CD or a paid download. As the man says "something's gotta give".

  7. #7
    Senior Member morris_minor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphpnj View Post
    I say bring back analog. Sure analog can be copied but it must be copied in "real" time, there is generation loss on all copies and it's difficult to widely distribute the copies.
    As someone who still buys vinyl - new and used - I have no problem at all with analogue. But mainstream music distribution will almost certainly have to be digital for any sort of business model to succeed , IMO. The big question, of course, is what model?
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  8. #8
    Senior Member JJZolx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peejay View Post
    The reality so far hasn't been a surprise to me, as a result. Just better...
    The reality of poor quality mp3s becoming a defacto encoding standard is anything but better. It might be mitigated somewhat with higher speed 'net connections and massive amounts of storage in portable music players, but I wouldn't bet on it.

  9. #9
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    IMO - music has no future as long as the hyper-compression loudness wars persist.

    I believe this is a technical reason for the unbelievably short longevity of "new artists" these days. What are their average career lengths now, a month? They release one album. Soon it'll be just a single. I believe that one of the reasons for this is a mass manifestation of listener fatigue. These are not recordings you want to hear more than a dozen times or so, and people probably don't realize why.

    That and many current artists are putting out unmitigated crap!

    There was a band called "Pop Will Eat Itself". I have never heard their music but I always liked the name, and I believe that's been happening and that's what must happen in order for music to go forward. Maybe when all the record execs lose their jobs?

    I realize this thread is more about the format than the content, but I believe the two are intimately entwined. Pop music, loudness wars and low-bitrate MP3s played back over iPod earbuds all go together and lead to this "disposable music" phenomenon.
    Last edited by Mark Lanctot; 2008-02-15 at 14:34.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Lanctot View Post
    I realize this thread is more about the format than the content, but I believe the two are intimately entwined. Pop music, loudness wars and low-bitrate MP3s played back over iPod earbuds all go together and lead to this "disposable music" phenomenon.
    Hold on a minute. You mean to tell me that today's compressed pop music, turned into low-bitrate MP3s and played back over iPod earbuds still doesn't sound significantly better than sixties pop music played back over hand held mono transistor radios? I think not and those tinny sounding transistor radios played back some pretty damn fine music - The Stones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Who, The Supremes and the rest of the great Motown groups.

    I suggest that we keep this thread on topic, i.e. format is format and content is content and while related it is quite possible to have great content with a poor format and vise versa.

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