Archive for the ‘Art And Entertainment’ Category

The History of the Digital Music Revolution

Sunday, June 14th, 2009
Richard Adams asked:


Most of us, when we were kids, listened to the radio to hear the latest, greatest songs in the music world. We listened eagerly for something new, something original, something our buddies hadnt heard before, and when a song made its way into our collective conscience, we would wait for hours for our favorite DJ to play the song for us, sometimes even for days, just so we could hit the record button and get the thing on tape.

At the time, the record companies knew we were taping our favorite music, but they didnt really care, because the quality of the recording was low and the DJ would more often than not talk over the first and last five seconds of the thing, making it worthless as something to swap or sell. Mix tapes were a personal thing, but they couldnt really compare to the real thing  an LP, or, in later years, a compact disc.

But just as happens with every great hole in supply, eventually technological advances catch up with demand. And so it was that the publics desire for quality (free) music created the double cassette recorder, which made it possible for us to copy our mix tapes for our friends. The record companies tried to ban these devices, claiming they would lead to the end of the music industry. But they didnt&

Then video cassette recorders came along, allowing us to record our favorite music videos from MTV and play them endlessly. The music companies didnt like this either, and tried to get VCRs banned, claiming they would ruin the music industry. But they didnt&

Then along came Compact Discs, which allowed a cleaner recording to audio cassette, and late down the line, CD burners, which allowed people to copy CDs directly. Later still came DVD, and satellite radio. Everywhere you looked, someone was using new technology to make access to music easier, and everywhere that happened, the music industry tried (timidly) to put a stop to it. And then came Napster.

The online music world has led a fraught and tumultuous existence over the past decade. As early as 1996, pioneer internet users were passing around copies of their favorite music using chat servers and email, with equipment and formats that sometimes took as long as a full day just to download one song. But it was Shawn Fannings Napster program that, in 1999, brought the ability to download music freely to every net user.

Napster provided the means for anyone to log in anonymously, search for their favored songs across millions of users hard drives, and download those songs quickly and simply. The fact that any internet newbie could master Napster in minutes added greatly to its early success, but it was mass collectors, largely operating from university and college computers, who turned the system into one of the biggest buzz-makers in computing history.

What Napster did was create a huge central directory of every song owned by users on their system. If you wanted to get a copy of I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow, you would just type the band and song name into Napster, hit search, and you would be presented with a long list of matches. You then just selected the one you wanted to download, and it would **** down on to your drive.

Of course, when people find a loophole that allows them to get something for nothing, they do often tend to go overboard, and thats exactly what the community of Napster users did en masse. Instead of just finding the music they needed, users were soon downloading everything they could find, hoarding songs and albums that they had little interest in, just so they could say they had them. It was not uncommon for college students to use multiple computers at their school to download thousands of songs on to CD in a few hours, most of which would never actually be listened to. This, obviously, annoyed the hell out of the record companies in ways that double cassette recorders never could.

While Napster made it clear to users that its service was designed to help users find legal music downloads, it also made little effort to stop people from trafficking in pirated material through its system, which led the body that represents the record companies politically, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to take legal action against the company, effectively charging it with mass piracy and the loss of tens of millions of dollars in sales.

Interestingly, rather than kill music downloading completely, the court action had the opposite effect, spreading word of Napster across the globe like wildfire, which saw millions of new users sign up even as the creators of the program were fighting to keep the system from closure. So many people had become addicted to music file-sharing that the prospect of life without Napster seemed a punishment few could take, and so those with the skills began coding Napster alternative programs.

Gnutella was an early variant, created by Nullsoft (the company behind the hugely successful WinAmp music software), and though they quickly took the program off the market, hackers and crackers were soon ripping Gnutella to pieces and reconstructing it to suit their needs. Morpheus was soon on the scene, and as Napster began to cooperate with the record companies by filtering out popular song titles from the system, the new program rapidly grew.

But Napsters shift towards cooperation was not enough for the giant music conglomerates, who threw up hurdle after hurdle designed to take Napster out of business. Even heavy metal group Metallica joined the fray, launching their own lawsuit and earning the rage of many of their fans in the process. Lawyers for the file-sharing software company made the all-too valid point that, if Napster was in any way responsible for the actions of copyright violators, so too were the phone companies that provided the phone lines upon which the music was being shared. They claimed that the ISPs were just as liable as they were, because they didnt actually house any illegal files on their servers, rather they simply facilitated the searching of said files on other peoples computers.

We may never know if the judge hearing that particular legal case understood the difference, or merely figured that while Napster wasnt breaking the law per se, they were acting against the spirit of the law, but either way, the judge told the company in July 2001 that if it couldnt stop illegal files from being passed through its service, it would have to shut its doors. And thats what it did, after a judge stopped record company Bertelsman, who had invested heavily in Napster in an effort to legitimize the company, from taking it over.

Since Napster shut its doors, the company has since reemerged as a legitimate music download source, albeit with far less success than it enjoyed in the early days, and literally dozens of illegal file sharing programs have taken its place to fill the free music download void. These, such as WinMX, BitLord, Kazaa, Morpheus, BearShare, Aimster, Napigator, AudioGalaxy, and Limewire, run the gamut from useful to useless, but they all share a common element  they take the stance that, if theyre not hosting pirated music, they have nothing to do with those using their systems that do. Translated: Use at your own risk.



Ipod Music Downloads – Download Ipod Music to your Heart’s Content

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Davion W asked:


Downloading iPod music always brings thrill to users whenever they manage to find the tune they are searching for. Just not long ago, when radio was the only free source of music, people would stay tuned to their radio or portable receiver. Then CDs came along, followed by music MP3s. It is apparent that the MP3 player has invaded almost all the modern homes of America. Chances are you would find one MP3 player or more specifically an iPod in the homes since it is the most popular MP3 player. More than 21 million iPods were sold in just the last quarter of 2006 alone, boosted by the Christmas sales. Having a nice gadget with such enhanced capacity to hold hundreds to even thousands of songs and music is not enough. You need to know how and where to get hold of unlimited iPod music downloads in order to do justice to your iPod.

When people think of iPod music downloads, the first place they would think of is iTunes. If you do a quick review, you would discover that they have a wide selection of over 3.5 million songs, movies and over 200 TV shows, over 20,000 audio books, games etc. Prices range from $0.99 for a music track, and movies retail at $9.99 per movie, while TV show sells at $1.99 per episode. Frankly, that’s quite a large database of iPod media files and there are old fans who stick with it since that’s probably the very first site that they knew and got their first iPod music downloads.

However, there are others who feel that it is ridiculously expensive if they want to beef up a private stash of music and songs with tons of iPod music downloads. Naturally, they would switch to downloading iPod music at free download sites like Kazaa or Limewire. Why should anyone bother to download iPod music that comes with a price tag each time you do so? People quickly figured this out and as a result, huge demand for free iPod music downloads ensued. More download sites using the same concept as Kazaa pop up.

But there are some problems with downloading iPod music at sites like Kazaa. These download sites would expose your computer system to malware such as viruses, adware and spyware. In exchange for downloading iPod music for free, you are obliged to view those pop-up advertisements, or commercial ads. Needless to say, this would badly affect your PC’s performance such as speed and memory and its functionality. Imagine the kind of trouble you would be in should your PC crash on you and wipe out all your important files and documents. The reformatting, reinstallation and so on so forth is something most people would love to avoid.

Business owners saw the loopholes and pitfalls in these free iPod music downloads sites. In meeting the ever-increasing demand for cheap music downloads for iPod, new membership sites that offer lifetime access to millions of iPod music files, music videos, and other media files like business audio books, TV shows and movies came into the music scene. Instead of a pay-per-download fee structure, they go for a one-time fee based concept. Various download sites charge a different fee but it is generally in the low range of $40. The music community, especially iPod users has welcomed such a refreshing change. Music enthusiasts can now access to as many iPod music downloads as they wish, without expensive charges under an environment safe from malware attacks.

Read my blog to find out how it is possible to access to millions of iPod music downloads and get the latest tips and reviews of top iPod music sites.

The content of this article is provided for the purpose of education and illustration only and is in no way associated with Apple, iTune, or any company or subsidiary of Apple. This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any ezine, newsletter, blog or website. The author’s name, bio and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.



Where is the Music Industry Heading?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
Josh Lipovetsky asked:


Where has the music industry been in the past few years? Even worse, where is it headed? Every year, sales seem to keep slipping, and more artists are losing motivation. What can we do as consumers? For one, we can write articles and act to help generate a movement, and make people aware of the problem. We can also buy more CDs, especially now that certain retailers are selling for below $10. If you prefer to download digitally, that can be done as well. Throughout the article, you can find various resources which will help consumers do their part to save the music industry.

Our economy is consumer driven, and we are in quite a recession. Therefore, all types of industries are going south; music being one of the many. So the first thing we can do to help is spread the word. Why should we care about saving the music industry? For one, we don’t want new artists like Soulja Boy gaining confidence in their “singing” abilities. Music is also one of our main productivity and confidence boosters. If we didn’t have good music, how much tougher would it be to get things done? Lastly, most independent music artists don’t rake in enough money to make a living, and they will be stuck there until they get discovered. With the current state of the music industry, it looks like we will be dealing with situations like these for a long time. Only the consumer can do something about it.

There are many places where we can go to purchase music, so don’t just think that you’re limited to a small amount of record stores or online shops. Here is a compiled list of some of the places where you can go to buy/sample/obtain music to help support the crippled industry.

Online Stores:

New Retail Music

www.amazon.com

www.buy.com

www.circuitcity.com

www.bestbuy.com

www.deepdiscount.com

www.barnesandnoble.com

www.tower.com

www.cduniverse.com

Sell/Buy Used Music

www.secondspin.com

www.spun.com

www.wherehouse.com

www.cashforcds.com

Digital Subscription Services/Online Music

www.itunes.com

www.rhapsody.com

www.napster.com

www.emusic.com

Other/Social Networking

www.last.fm

www.imeem.com

www.seeqpod.com

www.pandora.com

As you can see, there are so many ways that consumers can get out and support their favorite artists, or just discover new ones. As a Rhapsody subscriber, getting a very large selection of music for the price of 1 album every month is a great deal. It lets you discover new music, listen to the old classics, and even some exotic world music when you are in the mood for it. New services like Imeem and Last.fm let you connect with others who like the same music as you, and Pandora uses the Music Genome Project to find other music that you may like. So now you have no excuses not to get out there and do some good for the music industry today.



The Top 8 Things the Music, Television, Movie and Consumer Electronics Industries Should Do

Sunday, June 7th, 2009
Scott Consolatti asked:


The music, television, movie and consumer electronics industries (hereafter collectively referred to as the industry) have been struggling with the rapid advance of technology and the new virtuality of content. Here are the top eight things the industry should do to harness the technology and recapture the simple tenet of giving the customer what they want.

1. Offer three consumption models.

a. Offer all content free with ads.

All content should be available on demand all the time free with ads. The best examples of this so far are music videos at mtv.com and music.yahoo.com and TV shows at in2tv.aol.com. The worst examples of this are the television networks who still insist on having their content time expire after only a short period of availability. Networks should use the ad model to make their entire catalog of shows, current and past, available for free all the time. All media stores, such as iTunes, should also introduce the option of listening to or watching a brief ad per 10 minutes of content or so in order to enjoy the entire content rather than just short preview clips.

b. Rent all content without ads for a fee.

This is the same as 1a only without the ads for a fee. The best examples of this so far are Netflix and Yahoo! Music Unlimited. With the former, for as low as $8.99 per month, you can rent any movie in the store, and that now includes some that can be watched directly online. With the latter, for as low as $5.99 per month, you can listen to every song in the store as many times as you want with no ads. All media stores and sites should offer this option.

c. Sell all content Digital Rights Management(DRM, or copy protection)-free.

There will still always be a market for owning content outright, such as for those times where you just don’t have an Internet connection or don’t want to be tethered to a server. In these cases, for both online virtual formats and offline physical formats, DRM simply should go. It has proven to hamper sales significantly due to treating everyday paying customers as if they are pirates, restricting them to play back the content on too few devices, giving them the chore of backing up and managing licenses on their computer and violating their fair use rights. DRM will always be defeatable and the industry simply needs to stop investing an inordinate amount of time and money into something that has a negative impact on their bottom line. The industry should abandon it and get back to the basic premise of allowing the customer the joy of experiencing the content they paid for without any strings attached. The best example of this so far is EMI which is now allowing media stores to sell DRM-free songs.

2. Wireless Internet-enable all devices.

The computer cannot be the only access point. TVs, cable boxes, disc players, DVRs, game consoles, portables, boom boxes, phones, car head units - in short all playback devices - should come with built-in wireless connection to the Internet for access to content servers. The best examples of this so far are the Playstation 3 and the iPhone/iPod touch Wi-Fi Music Store.

3. End format wars.

When a new format is needed to advance the industry to the next level, there should be one and only one format that goes to market and becomes the standard. Like 1c, this applies to both online virtual formats and offline physical formats.

The current example in physical formats is Blu-ray vs. HD DVD. Two formats were necessary at first to spur competition, but the differences between them at this point are so negligible that ultimately one has to win for either to succeed. A standards body needs to exist to allow competition at first and to oversee a limited beta period to ensure customer opinions are factored in, but then to ultimately pick a winner before full-scale market launch. Companies should be required to register candidate formats in the early stages. The standards body should track investment and invention level of each candidate along the way. Then a winner should be chosen with a percentage of the licensing revenue going to all of the candidates commensurate with their investment and invention level. The candidates either agree to these terms from the get-go or they do not participate in determining and profiting from the next generation format.

The current example in virtual formats is mp3 vs. AAC vs. WMA vs. yet others for audio, and mpeg-4 (H.264) vs. WMV (VC-1) vs. yet others for video. Coupled with 1c, the industry should have standardized on mp3 and mpeg-4 a long time ago to ensure that all content will be universally playable on every device.

Correcting this immediately is essential. The industry should get a standards body in place as soon as possible and declare much overdue industry standards, such as Blu-ray, mp3 and mpeg-4. The marketplace will rejoice, sales will skyrocket and the floodgates will open on the dam the industry itself has been one of the largest contributors to building.

4. Allow playlists to be defined and stored on the servers.

What 1a and 1b do is move us away from the need to store and manage our own copies of the content on our client devices (or on our shelves). Moving playlists off of the clients is a natural extension of that. When we can dial up all content including our favorite playlists on demand all the time anywhere we have an Internet connection, the convenience of not having to permanently store and backup our own copies of the data will start to prevail. The best example of this so far is Yahoo! Music Jukebox.

5. Offer movies by the chapter in addition to whole.

Just as the norm is now to be able to buy individual songs rather than just whole albums, the same option should be available for buying the individual chapters of movies. Doing so would offer the same advantages as individual song sales - the ability to collect favorite chapters at lower cost and storage use, the ability to direct-access chapters on playback and the ability to arrange favorite chapters from various movies into playlists. Note that this would require players to pre-cache the next chapter to ensure gapless chapter-to-chapter playback, but that is certainly doable.

6. Offer a choice of bitrates.

Highly compressed bitrates were fine at first, but there is no doubt that even with today’s bandwidth and storage (which will only grow with time), those who want to enjoy higher bitrates should have the option. With 1a and 1b, bandwidth is the primary factor, and clearly higher bitrates are possible even today. With 1c online formats, storage is also a factor, but even with today’s capacities some may choose quality over quantity for must-have content.

7. Piggyback audio on video for physical formats.

The industry moving to a new physical format is a big undertaking. Assuming a new HD format succeeds for video, then audio should just piggyback on that success. The video format will obviously have enough capacity for audio, and consumers will not have to buy additional players. Previous HD audio attempts of DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD failed for several reasons - separate audio-only players, no single digital connection such as HDMI, format war, etc. - all of which can be avoided once either Blu-ray or HD DVD is declared the standard. Albums in uncompressed PCM, both 2-channel stereo and multi-channel surround, with HD extras such as music videos, live concert footage and still photos all played through an existing player with single HDMI connection would be very compelling. With lossless compression such as Dolby TrueHD, perhaps entire album box sets could fit on one disc. These are exciting new possibilities.

8. Leverage viral marketing.

This is an extension of 1a. Provide url-addressability to free ad-coupled content that sites anywhere can provide links to - it essentially equates to free marketing for you. It doesn’t matter from where the eyeballs found the content, just that they found it. More eyeballs means more ad revenue in your pocket and more exposure that will lead to the eventual purchase of the content and related merchandise such as concert tickets, t-shirts, posters, action figures, toys, etc. A free ad-supported lure has always been necessary (radio and TV) for widespread exposure. The best examples of this so far are music videos at mtv.com and music.yahoo.com and TV shows at in2tv.aol.com. Music, movies and all TV programs should get on board and realize the massive new source of constant ad revenue never before possible without the new technology.

These eight things would take the industry out of its current slump and carry it into unprecedented growth territory.



iPod Music Videos - Watch And Learn

Monday, June 1st, 2009
George Murphy asked:


If you kow anything about how today’s “artists” sell albums, you’ll not be surprised when I say, “it’s not all about the music”. And indeed its not. Let me give you a little example. The itunes music store has over 2000 music videos for sale. That is some serious camara time. Whatever happened to the Replacements? But, if you’re down with the glitz and the glamour and the diamonds resting in the bottom of a Dom P drenched champagne flute, then I’m talking your style.

And what style is that exactly? Ipod music videos, of course. That thing in your pocket isn’t just a single function unit, you know. Well, that is of course, if you’ve got a 5th generation ipod. If you do there’s a multitude of ways that you can realize the potential of it. You can watch everything from TV shows to movies and ipods music videos.

There’s also a plentitude of ways that you can obtain the videos, or whatever you want to watch. Take videos that you’ve taken off of your camara and have put on to your computer. Do you have some favorite movies on there (I know that most of my friends do)? You can put them right into your itunes, and then into the library icon. Once its on your computer your good to go to fill up your ipod. And then, as stated earlier, there is an amazing list of ipod music videos that are available for purchase on the itunes website.

The point is that as good as the photos look on your ipod, the ipod music videos are going to look just as clear and nice. So, use them. You have videos already sitting around on your computer, so load them up and get them mobile.



Watch Music Videos Online That Have Been Created By “You”!

Friday, May 29th, 2009
Brooke Hayles asked:


For anyone living in the civilized world, must have by now seen the newest fad to hit the Internet. Google is among the first to offer this newest tool, and in doing it has come with a huge price tag. This newest fad allows you to watch music videos online and short videos as well.

A music video is basically as the name states. It can be a short or full-length video that is set to music. The subject of your music video can be anything from a band playing or practical joke or stunts done in front of a camera.

What you can do with a music video is limited only by your own imagination. With this newest tool, you can watch a music video online that you have created.

If you have merchandise that you want to sell online you can also create a music video to promote it in a creative manner for everyone to watch.

If you ever had the desire to learn how to play an instrument, it is now possible to watch music video on the Internet and receive step by step instructions on how to play any instrument you desire. For some having a visual aide is more productive than just reading or listening to the instructions.

There are many places to watch music video online, doing a simple Google search will yield thousands of links including itunes where you can buy or share music videos. Napster.com is another very popular site for music videos.

If you want to have others to a watch music video online that you created, you can research google video or myspace.com both have an extremely large online community.

Another site that has gained popularity is YouTube.com. This site has become such a huge success that even though Google paid an outrageous price of over one billion dollars, they feel they can still make a profit by offering the service allowing the consumer to watch a video online.

Of course MTV, the people who brought music videos to television, and created music awards is also involved in online music videos. These sites offer you the choice to upload or watch a video online.

Although you can watch videos online and even upload your own for others to view, there are still certain things you cannot do.

You cannot take your favorite movies and videos and upload them on a free share site for all to view. This is highly illegal and most likely you will be prosecuted. Also, you cannot take your favorite CD and share it on a free site. These are considered to be copyright infringement and it is illegal.

When you want to purchase movies or videos, visit reputable online stores or conventional stores. Downloading movies video and software is illegal.

If you want to watch music video online that you create yourself, there are plenty of places where you can upload them. This is legal because you own the rights to the videos you create. You can do what you want with them. Sites like Amazon and Ebay are companies that are established and have reputations of excellence.

Summary:

Living in today’s technology-based world has the advantage of being able to try the newest, latest, and coolest new tools and devices. You can watch music video online that you create and share with your family and friends.