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  1. #21
    Senior Member peejay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphpnj View Post
    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.
    I *think* Mark's point was that the accessibility of music via digital means has led to a proliferation of formats, playback scenarios and opportunities for multiple copies of your music for playback in every conceivable scenario. This, compared with the available opportunities for listening to your favourite artists back in the analogue reproduction days (even via tinny sounding transistor radios), is a bit like comparing the number of available ways we have now to consume sugar with the halcyon days of the cotton candy and toffee apple...
    They were more of a treat back then, still sugar, but......
    I've got a fever above my waist
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  2. #22
    Senior Member gbruzzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peejay View Post
    I *think* Mark's point was that the accessibility of music via digital means has led to a proliferation of formats, playback scenarios and opportunities for multiple copies of your music for playback in every conceivable scenario. This, compared with the available opportunities for listening to your favourite artists back in the analogue reproduction days (even via tinny sounding transistor radios), is a bit like comparing the number of available ways we have now to consume sugar with the halcyon days of the cotton candy and toffee apple...
    They were more of a treat back then, still sugar, but......
    I think this is one of the main points. We hope the appearance of digital media will increase the number of formats available to artists and listeners, not reduce them. If this were to happen, then we ought to conclude, that we all did not really benefit from the technological change...

    My impression is that we are in a phase of proliferation today rather than one of contraction. There is one aspect that I feel is relevant: a lot of the coding/transcoding etc is done in software, thus (at least whithin the realm of music served as file) it is quite cheap to add new formats, rather than having to change your kit (E.g. avoiding for example the CD->SACD/DVD-Audio).

    Quote Originally Posted by bl243 View Post

    You also lose the joy of discovering a new band. With the digital distribution models being so convenient, you could listen to a million new bands, and write them off in the click of a mouse. When you buy a CD of a new band from a shop - you have a vested interest to give it a fair try - sure it could still be crap, but you are more likely to persist and actually find a gem you would have otherwise missed.

    Perhaps online shops and digital distribution models should incorporate acoustic fingerprinting to try and identify similar music - or even music that doesn't have certain defined characteristics. With the volume of music available online, this could act as a "crap" filter to help you discover the otherwise lost gem bands.

    Many places sort of do this with the "other people who bought this CD also bought..." links. The technology exists to extend this - might be interesting.

    Cheers,
    Ben
    In general I do not think you can separate any conversation about file formats from issues of distribution, of music production, of changes in the way artists are managed/manage themselves.

    All is changing more or less simultaneously, all driven by the overwhelming power (the power of externality) of the web/social networking (MySpace music for example) and online distribution channels: forget for the moment issues of DRM and consider Emusic and Napster (and even Last.fm, which is not a retail vehicle!): as you listen to music online via the websites' player you are presented with information about a) who your music "neighbours" are (eg, similar taste,similar names) and b) who are other artists bought by those who bought the track you are listening to etc etc... All of this is part of the new media revolution via web 2.0 (call it what you will). Acoustic fingerprinting? What an excellent idea! They only need to start negotiating with Music Brainz for their api's ...

    A last comment: What I think has shrunk, is the variety of music distributed via large retail chains: the tie-ins between the Walmarts, Tescos of this world and the big Recording/distributing conglomerates have done a lot of damage to music distribution - less choice less choice less choice! (Tower Records floundered in this context).
    I have also seen many smaller main street distributors/outlets suffer, but I have no statistics to back this claim up. On the other hand, it is sooo much harder to vertically integrate on the web than it is on the mainstreet - the digital good is, well "non-excludeable" (They are trying via DRM, but they will fail.... I firmly believe we have to understand that digital media have turned music into a quasi public good - those who will understand this will thrive, others run the risk of floundering)

    Regards,

    Giacomo
    Last edited by gbruzzo; 2008-02-17 at 06:01.

  3. #23
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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 have to say I don't like the subscription model. Who gets all the money and how is it divided up?

    If I was in a band I would prefer people to be able to purchase my music directly - either via the band website or via an online distributor/record shop. I still see a role for record labels to play in terms of management, promotion, distribution of music etc.

  4. #24
    Senior Member gbruzzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dSw View Post
    I have to say I don't like the subscription model. Who gets all the money and how is it divided up?

    If I was in a band I would prefer people to be able to purchase my music directly - either via the band website or via an online distributor/record shop. I still see a role for record labels to play in terms of management, promotion, distribution of music etc.
    The selling of music is not where the artist should focus. Live performances are where monies are to be earned. Record sales will progressively be associated with comunication and promotion.

    Contracts are quite clear, and the cut to digital distributors is quite reasonable. I think the relevant question is: who owns the rights to the master?

    More and more, successful artists will produce themselves. It will become progressively harder to live only on records.

    Creative destruction?

    Regards,

    Giacomo

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbruzzo View Post
    The selling of music is not where the artist should focus. Live performances are where monies are to be earned. Record sales will progressively be associated with comunication and promotion.

    Contracts are quite clear, and the cut to digital distributors is quite reasonable. I think the relevant question is: who owns the rights to the master?

    More and more, successful artists will produce themselves. It will become progressively harder to live only on records.

    Creative destruction?

    Regards,

    Giacomo
    I'm not advocating that bands should focus solely on selling music - but making their music available to purchase (or even for free) online extends their audience and can ultimately increase the demand for their live performances.

    In terms of subscription services - if I pay money for a product I expect to own it and not have it taken away when I stop paying a subscription.

  6. #26
    Senior Member gbruzzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dSw View Post
    I'm not advocating that bands should focus solely on selling music - but making their music available to purchase (or even for free) online extends their audience and can ultimately increase the demand for their live performances.

    In terms of subscription services - if I pay money for a product I expect to own it and not have it taken away when I stop paying a subscription.
    dSw, I agree with you on both counts, as I do not think you should expect as a musician to make your living only off the records anymore, but think of selling music as a promotional tool to get gigs (where you can get paid more).

    DRM is an attempt to keep segmentation in a market that is starting to reject it...don't think it will work..
    I always was under the impression, that larger record companies ended up apropriating rights of both the consumers and of the artists.

    Look at how the RIAA argued its "cases" - on the one hand they say they want implementation of DRM to protect the artists, on the other they simultaneously want to reduce the royalties to artists, "because they have to share in the pain of the fight". It is surreal, a surreal scam. There is no fair DRM.

    A little edit: have a look at www.doubletwist.com
    Interesting to see how things will pan out...

    regards,

    Giacomo
    Last edited by gbruzzo; 2008-02-19 at 07:41.

  7. #27
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    I know that I may be beating a dead horse here but I really don't understand why the issue of copy protection that I first raised back in post #6 has not been explored further.

    I somewhat jokingly stated that perhaps a return to analog would be a good answer but I only meant that with respect to analog's "built in" copy protection. However, on a more serious side, although we, as consumers, don't much care for copy protection and many of us, myself included, just wish it would go away, the content providers, read: movie, music and print production houses, have very serious issues with their apparent lack ability to provide some form of adequate copy protection of digital content.

    Add in the fact that while many, if not most, of us respect the rights of the artists and do not engage in the illegal copying of digital content, there is a much larger number of individuals who engage in the illegal copying of digital content and thus copy protection remains major issue. Almost all the scenarios outlined in this thread involve some form of distribution system in which copy protection can not be reliably applied. Sure it would be great if we could go online and for a reasonable price download some nice high bitrate FLAC files but the FLAC codec does not have any copy protection or DRM features and is therefore a rather hard sell to the digital media content providers.

    I'm sorry to cast such a dark shadow over this otherwise pleasant thread but I have to say that I see the future of media as a long and nasty battle over the issue of copy protection and DRM.

  8. #28
    Senior Member gbruzzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphpnj View Post

    I'm sorry to cast such a dark shadow over this otherwise pleasant thread but I have to say that I see the future of media as a long and nasty battle over the issue of copy protection and DRM.
    Ralphpnj,

    I do not think you are casting a dark cloud at all, and I agree completely with you on the matter - I just think there is no economically logical room for DRM in the music business of tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by ralphpnj View Post
    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".
    The point I was trying to make in the previous posts was, that I believe we are going towards a world, where there will be no more copy protection, because music as a "good" has changed (now much more of a "public" good than before, so inherently non-excludeable). This has been and is being brought about by the technological change inherent in the way we exchange intellectual goods and information on the web.

    The problems experienced by record companies and the economic distortions they try to force downstream on both consumers and artists (cheap Walmart-type wholesale distribution for example) are the product, I think, of the inability of these large corporations to evolve the business model they have been sitting on for a long period of time. They made too much money and so have certain artists - this is changing. They may bang their drum and take a moralistic stance, but this is neither here nor there.

    Music is much more of an even playing field now. Records are are a form promotion, which enables the artist to get more gigs. Have you noticed how many festivals there are around, covering every kind of music? (classical, jazz, industrial, electronics, dub, ethnic..)

    What is I feel interesting, is that because of the web we have more choice than before, both of musicians and of formats. I mean, vynil is back! (I guess as a backlash against digital music). I think this is good. Musicians have to work harder for their buck (make more records, selling less of each), and consumers have to become more enterprising in their searches for new music (we cannot simply expect to have the music brought to our feet anymore). But we have the instruments...


    Regards,

    Giacomo


    PS: Let none of this be perceived as a criticism of those, who believe it right not to deprive an artist of his/her royalty stream. They are fair, just and righteous. My only desire, is to understand the economics underlying the surprising trasformations brought about by digital distribution of musical media.
    Last edited by gbruzzo; 2008-02-20 at 11:38.

  9. #29
    Senior Member peejay's Avatar
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    Part of my experience during the shift to digital music was the perceived devaluing of the recordings by the mere fact they became files on my machine and not something I stored in a jewel case, or in an album sleeve. While the addition of album art and meta-tags helps the experience along, once music could be shipped around on a usb stick it came to be treated exactly the same as other media, such as happy snaps....This makes me much more likely to still purchase CDs and copy them onto mass storage for my own use, rather than download anything, regardless of it being in a lossless format. The way I purchase CDs has changed of course - searching online instead of browsing in a retail outlet. Pat's statement that physical media is dead may be true, but I believe it will be a long slow death, at least a generation away....because old habits die hard.
    On DRM - well, as long as it doesn't alter the original recording, no matter how imperceptibly, and as longs as I can make a backup copy of it, and I can play the music on any play back device of my choice, then OK, I'll go with it.......:-)
    I've got a fever above my waist
    You got a squeeze box on your knee
    I know the truth is in between the 1st and 40th drink - Tori Amos
    Squeezebox Classic -> NAD T743 -> Krix Phoenix
    Oh, and a BOOM...

  10. #30
    Senior Member th00ht'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.
    http://www.wired.com/entertainment/m...16-01/ff_byrne

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