Archive for October, 2009

Album Cover Art-Part Two

Saturday, October 31st, 2009
Robert Benson asked:


Album cover art software allows you to explore this pop phenomenon

In the last article, we discussed some of the elements of album cover art and I would like to continue the discussion with some more details and an album cover finder that is a must for any fan of album cover art.

As I stated previously, many famous artists have been commissioned to design and produce album covers. For example, the Rolling Stones and pop artist Andy Warhol are famous for the cover art on the Stones’ album “Sticky Fingers.” As the story goes, at a party in 1969, Andy Warhol casually mentioned to Mick Jagger that it would be amusing to have a real zipper on an album cover. A year later, Jagger proposed the idea for “Sticky Fingers.” But, there was a flaw in the shipping process, the zipper would press onto the album stacked on top of it, causing damage to the vinyl record. The solution? The zipper had to be pulled down before the album was shipped, then it would only dent the album covers. However, they never figured out how to keep the zipper from scratching the other album covers. Additionally, some department stores refused to display the album, feeling it was risque and not family oriented because of the model’s snug jeans and the zipper display. But this album is historic because it broke new ground and also saw the debut of the now famous Stones logo: a caricature of Jagger’s lips and tongue.

If you are a Janis Joplin fan, then you would probably know that the famed cartoonist Robert Crumb designed the cover for Joplin’s album “Cheap Thrills.” This revered, yet misunderstood artist, drew the cover as a favor to Joplin, who he befriended in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood where they both resided. He was paid $600 for his work by Columbia Records, which later sold the artwork. Crumb was asked to do a cover for the Rolling Stones, but refused because he did not like their music. Crumb is also the artist for the “Keep On Truckin’” poster and “Fritz The Cat,” and has more than seventy covers to his credit.

The Internet is full of sites related to album cover art and is just too numerous to list. There are sites devoted to fan favorites, the weird and unusual, particular decades and so on. Many users have turned to ebay to find lost art treasures from their childhood. But I want to share a website and album cover artwork finder that is not only convenient, but a must have for any art lover.

I recently spoke with Richard Nicol, the program designer and owner of “Album Cover Finder.” (http://www.albumcoverfinder.com) The program has been available for more than two years and is a godsend for anyone interested in album cover art.

“Album Cover Finder” allows the user to not only find specific searches for interesting album cover art, but also allows the user to download selected songs from the release. I asked Richard about his fascination with album cover art.

“I’ve always been interested and loved album cover art and wanted to create a database where the users could not only look at album cover art, but experience it as well. The program allows the user to browse through the cover art of a particular band and also lets the user to download particular songs through iTunes as well. The main feature is convenience, you can utilize iTunes and not only get more of an experience for the music, but the great artwork involved with the music and artists.”

But “Album Cover Finder” is more than just iTunes and album cover art. The program allows users to look at different art work from different countries as well. Some of the art work involved in a US release may be different from that of a UK release or German release, only adding to the experience. The program also allows users to review artist biographies, read reviews of a particular release and add the artwork to their iTunes library and an iPod. “Album Cover Finder” also allows users to find additional cover art from a particular artist or band, copy the artwork to a clipboard and has artist videos and applicable tour information. “Album Cover Finder” is a fully functional way to search for album artwork and includes free updates for registered users and is available at http://www.albumcoverfinder.com.

Now, I have only had the program about a week, but I have to admit spending literally many, many hours looking at historic artwork and listening to the songs associated with the acts. This software gets a hardy “thumbs-up” and is a “must have,” affordable program for album cover art connoisseurs and anyone with a fascination with art and music.

Needless to say, there can be a lot more written about album cover art and the impact it has had upon music and pop culture and cannot be summarized in a couple of articles. There are countless books, (I actually own one that talks about and illustrates ***** vinyl and the images used to try and sell albums!) that detail album covers and the impact upon pop culture and music.

Additionally, there are so many web sites and blogs associated with album cover art, they are to numerous to list. Why there are even web sites devoted to preserving this treasured art and frame it for display.

Furthermore, did you know that June 1, 2007 marked the 40th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?” Not only is the release one of the most influential albums of all time musically, the cover art itself is iconic as well.

I spoke with Gary Freiberg, owner and operator of http://www.rockartpictureshow.com about “Sgt. Pepper” who related to me that the album “broke new ground and challenged the industry.” Gary and I talked about album cover art and the influences it has had on our culture. He also told me of a recent poll conducted by http://www.vinylrecordday.org that voted the “Sgt. Pepper” album cover the favorite album cover of all time. Gary is world renowned for his work in the album cover art industry with his patented record album frame and his work has been cited and used by the Smithsonian, Home & Garden TV, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and thousands of satisfied Internet customers. And if you interested in getting your great album art framed, you may visit http://www.rockartpictureshow.com and tell Gary you heard about him from an article posted at http://www.isnare.com



10 Reason Why Everyone Should Learn to Play the Guitar

Saturday, October 31st, 2009
Charlie Wallace asked:


Everybody I meet seems to either play Guitar, have played when they were younger or want to play. So here is ten reasons why everyone should learn the Guitar, regardless of size, color, age or skill level!

1. Everyone Likes a Guitarist!

It’s true, there’s just something about it, everyone likes a guitarist! I’ll prove it to you, next time you meet someone, tell them that you play Guitar, see what kind of reaction you get (You should actually play guitar before you go telling people you do though). Don’t just be another average person, be ‘The Guitarist’.

2. You Can Make Money!

It’s not hard, even if you only know a few chords and can only chuck a couple of songs together I bet if you go out on the street (Check with local laws first) and open up your guitar case and start playing you will get some money. Some make their living off this, I myself from personal experience have earned up to $55 an hour and have heard of much higher amounts.

3. There’s Always a Guitar Around!

You know exactly what I mean, whether you’re at a party, around for dinner at a friends house or at the Pub there always seems to be a Guitar around. What a great skill to be able to pick up any guitar and impress people around you, who knows, you may even get a free drink!

4. You Could Become a RockStar!

Honestly, can you tell me a single person alive on this earth who would not want to be a RockStar for a day (I’m talking about a sane people here!), don’t think you’ll find one. Everyone has that dream and it is very possible if you become any good at Guitar!

5. No more need for expensive lessons!

The days of paying up to $30 for a half hour lesson are over, these days you can pay for a whole course that will teach you everything you need to know for the price of just one normal lesson. A lot of people today learn the Guitar without paying a single cent on lessons!

6. You can play your music to people all over the world!

No matter if you are an Eddie Van Halen in the making or a complete starter, you can post a video up on Youtube of yourself playing, set up a myspace page and even sell your music in iTunes to people all over the world with ease. Thanks to the internet you know have this freedom!

7. Make Yourself Smarter!

Instead of sitting in front of a box all day, actually get your mind working on things, learn a song, keep your brain active and it will stay active for you! The more songs you learn the easier they become to learn.

8. Release your most deep and darkest thoughts!

Once you know a few chords, you have everything you need to write a song, writing songs and poetry is a great way to get how you feel down on paper. Some people find it helps a lot with stress levels and some people just like to write!

9. Get Active in your Community!

Nothing is better for musicians than to play with other musicians, take a walk down to your local music store and put up a sign with the styles you play and put your phone number. You’ll be amazed by how many local people who will to keen as mustard to come jam their favorite songs with you. Do it! It’s a great way to meet new people.

10. Start a Band!

If you play Guitar, you can start a band. Nothing is better than the feeling you get when you are on stage. So stop dreaming and get together with some local musicians and start jamming out your favorite songs then start making your way to writing your own original material.

So there you have it, 10 Reasons why Everyone Should Play Guitar! Hope you had fun reading it, and make sure you go pick that Gat up now!



21 Ways to Be More Creative

Thursday, October 29th, 2009
Kiranvoleti asked:


If you’re opening up to a more artful and creative life, know that it’s not something to push. It’s something to allow and live. Here are 21 Ways to be more creative, and subsequently, more happy!

1 - Stop watching television

Or better yet, get rid of the damn thing. Any time I teach writing or creativity, this is one of the biggies. TV is a mind-killer. It numbs you. It fills you with emotionally-charged images and over-simplified solutions. It dulls you. Turn it off. Even if this idea scares you, turn it off.

2 - Take a 20-minute walk everyday

It’s easy to become driven about exercise. You go to the Y. You go running. You think that a 20-minute walk isn’t productive or worth much. Take a 20-minute walk and allow the world to just be. Watch things. Stop and smell things. Notice birds. Let the world unfold and show itself to you.

3 - Write with pen & paper (or pencil and paper)

Keep a journal. Do morning pages. Write in long-hand. Typing on a keypad into a computer doesn’t always open up that tactile sense-loving part of us that loves to create.

I can sometimes get weirdly happy just hearing the sound the pen makes scribbling on paper. I also love it when the paper is thin, and my pen makes indents so it feels sort of Braille-y, and the paper makes a snappy sound when I turn the page.

4 - Write songs to your pets

At the first women’s retreat I ever facilitated, (at a college campus in St. Louis) a group of women sat on the floor one night in the dorm and sang each other the songs we’d written to our various pets. It was hysterical. The more we sat there, the more women came and sat down with us.

I’ve written many songs to my dog. Greatest hits include “Mom’s Little Girl,” “She Is Going to Be a Very Clean Girl,” (a bathtub song) and “She is Unbelievably Cute.” Of course, there’s also the “Good Morning Song.” My cats each have their own songs too. I actually make myself laugh as I’m creating them because my animals look so truly unimpressed with me.

It’s easy to do because you can do it anywhere - while you drive to work, while you make dinner, while you lie on the couch with them.

5 - Dance around the House

Put on old disco (Earth, Wind, and Fire, baby!), or new Madonna, or swing. Put it on loud. Dance around your house while you make dinner. Or start the day shakin’ your groove thing.

6 - Walk in the rain

I haven’t owned an umbrella in about 10 years. I love the rain. I love walking in it. I wrote the song Everything Green after I hiked in the mountains in the pouring rain. I was journaling about how alive everything was, and I wrote “It was all just rain and mud and wild and green.” That’s how I got my CD title. Walking in the rain can be a happy thing. (Use an umbrella if you want. Rain on umbrellas makes a good sound.)

7 - Make a collage

Magazines. Some Yes Paste. A scrapbook page and lots of crayons and paints and stickers. (And thou.) This isn’t a vision board. It doesn’t have a purpose. It’s just for fun and beauty and making something. I love collaring. I’m not great at it. But I’ve gotten better and better at laying out the page and learning what colors and shapes I love. I always feel more alive when I do one.

8 - Make a list of things you love

My song Loving Hands (on my first CD) was born out of a journal exercise I did where I just wrote a long list of all the things I love. That song remains one of my most requested songs. I had so much fun thinking of things that delight me in the world. Finding feathers, finding pennies, the sound of big flags flapping in the wind, the smell of my cat’s fur when she’s been out in the snow (she smells like a big box of wool mittens). I remember reading it to a friend of mine who just sat there smiling and nodding his head. Even though this was years ago, I still remember how much fun I had making that list.



9 - Write 10 postcards


Go pick out some really cool postcards, and then go to somewhere, and order your Genmaicha Tea (Okay, get yourself a Latte if you want) and write postcards to friends and family.

10 - Get up early and watch the sun rise

11 - Listen to music you’ve never listened to before.

After I saw the movie Tortilla Soup, I downloaded a bunch of Latin music from iTunes. One of my favorite nights in my memory this year was a hot rainy night thick with humidity. My husband and I opened up all the windows and doors. We pressure cooked (I love our pressure cooker) some black beans, shared a frou-frou mixed drink and made a fantastic dinner while all of my new Latin and Tejano music was cranked up. It was one of those really happy nights, partly because I loved discovering new music.

12 - Eat with your hands

Be a kid again. Make a meal and put the silverware back into the drawers. Eat with your hands. Have some friends over for a silverware less dinner.

13 - Be quiet

Light a few candles after dark and just sit. Don’t meditate if you don’t want to. Just sit quietly and listen. Watch the candles. Allow for more silence in your life.

We are a noisy people. I hear people say they can’t stand silence. But it is in silence where we can hear the voice of our creativity. Maybe not at first. But it will come.

Drive with no music on. Make dinner in silence. Pay attention to your hands as you slice the veggies. Just be quiet.

14 - Take a nap



15 - Take photos. Real photos. Not digital photos.


My favorite camera is a Pentax K1000. It’s completely manual, and it’s how I learned to take pictures. I’m not very good. When I first moved to Asheville, I used to walk around town on Sundays (the whole town was closed up then) and take pictures of all the buildings. These photos are now a treasure to me because nothing is the same anymore. (Every building has been bought, remodeled and now is filled with stores that sell trickily fountains, Buddha, and things that smell grassy.)

Take pictures of anything. And have fun in the old method of actually getting your film developed and the excitement of flipping through photos you haven’t seen yet.

16 - Make an event out of watching the full moon come up

One of the things I love about my husband is that he’s always looking for the perfect place to watch the full moon come up. He’ll make an event out of it. We pile in the car and go to this one field or to a bench on the college campus and sit and watch the moon rise.



17 - Read poetry aloud


Poetry is meant to be read aloud. The words and phrases will tilt your brain and open doors like you never thought they would. My favorites: Mary Oliver, e.e. Cummings, Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Sharon Olds, Barbara Brooks, and Alicia Suskin Ostriker. There are lots of collections of poetry if you don’t want to pick just one.

18 - Go see a play or live music or live anything

Get out of the house and experience creativity. Avoid mega-blockbuster-Hollywood movies whose trailers begin with the deep gravelly voice saying, “IN A WORLD” (And then bombs go off and Mel Gibson appears)

Live performance is an exchange. As an audience member you get to participate. I know this because I perform. Every night is different. Everything is about the audience. You receive so much more energy from live shows. Go see the symphony, even the small local symphony. See a play. See some improve. There is so much life on a stage, so many improvisational moments, so much about authenticity. You can’t help but take it in.

19 - Visit a gallery

See another artist’s creation. The downtown of any city is bound to have some great galleries. You don’t have to buy anything. Just experience the artistry of someone gifted in glass blowing or pottery or woodwork.

20 - Write a letter

When was the last time you wrote a letter? I just got a long letter from one of the women who participated in my last retreat. It was funny. And it was fun to read. And I kept thinking, “Damn. It’s been too long since I’ve experienced this.” Every time I write a letter, I feel clearer and happier. Not only is it more fun to make something for someone else, it’s also just a way to get out of you.

21 - Stop watching television

This is an important one. It bears repeating. There are so many better things you can do than watch American Idol.



A Call to End Format Wars, Boost on Demand and Untether Digital Downloads

Wednesday, October 28th, 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. 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. 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. 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.

2. 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 2a 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 their songs DRM-free.

3. 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.

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

What 2a and 2b 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 2a and 2b, bandwidth is the primary factor, and clearly higher bitrates are possible even today. With 2c 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 2a. 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.



The Black Eyed Peas : Ixs

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Heidi Grumm asked:


The Black Eyed Pea is an International fame American hip-hop group. They are from Los Angeles, California, America. The group is composed of will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo and Fergie. Their music styles are pop-rap and alternative hip hop. The Black Eyed Peas Group was created in 1989 when will.i.am real name William Adams and Apl.de.ap real name Allan Pineda met and started rapping plus performing together around Los Angeles. They also got opportunity of signing to Ruthless Records that is run by Eazy-E, after inviting the attention of the nephew of Jerry Heller who is Eazy-E’s manager. Having another friend in their group, Dante Santiago, they named their trio Atban Klann.

In the beginning of their career, The Group faced some problems. Their first album, “Grass Roots”, was never released as Ruthless did not consider the social themes mirrored in the group’s music to be marketable to their listeners. The Group was renamed as Black Eyed Pods by Atban Klann. However, Finally it was decided to name it Black Eyed Peas, because - as will.i.am stated on the front cover of the Monkey Business album, “Black Eyed Peas are food for the soul”. There were also changes made in the team of the band. The band replaced their original third member with Taboo real name Jaime Gomez, plus had Kim Hill as a steady background singer. Contrary to many hip-hop acts, they opt to perform with a live band and chose a musical and clothing style that wildly different from the “Gangsta Rap” sounds of other Los Angeles-based hip-hop (http://events.ixs.net/Rap-Hip-Hop.aspx ) acts at the time.

Most of the performances of the band were exhibited in the local club circuit since the mid-’90s beside fellow acts like Ozomatli and Jurassic 5. Then they launched their second album named Bridging the Gap in 2000. This album contained the hit “Request + Line” featuring Macy Gray. In 2003, they released their third album, Elephunk which proved to be a superhit. Importantly, The lovely voice of Stacy “Fergie” was featured in this album.From this very album the anti-war anthem “Where is the Love?” came. (possible protest against the Iraq war which began the same year the song was released. in 2003) featuring an unaccredited Justin Timberlake that proved the band’s first major hit, mounting at #8 on the US Hot 100, in addition topping the charts almost everywhere else, counting six weeks at #1 in the UK where it was the biggest-selling single of 2003.

Another great song of “Elephunk” was “Shut Up” that ranked at #2 in the UK. However, One of the critic commented on this song as “the single most vacuous, pointless, vile and generally loathsome song in a generation”) and topped the charts in many other European countries including France and Germany. Elephunk was an international success and went gold and platinum in the US, UK, Germany and other European markets. The third single from the album, although significantly restyled from the original Elephunk version, “Hey Mama” hit the Top 10 in the UK, Germany and other European countries and reached #23 in the US.

The Black Eyed Peas continued enjoying their work and wrote many new songs.Their next album, Monkey Business, was released on June 7, 2005. The first single of the album, “Don’t Phunk with My Heart”, was an instant hit in the U.S., going to number three on the Billboard Hot 100. This song rested on the highest pinnacle yet of their career and they brought home another Grammy for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group. The song also became three in the UK, and five in Canada, and number one in Australia. Though it also earned some criticism due to its obscenity. Another song form the same album “My Humps”, instantly achieved commercial success in the U.S. and reasonable substantial radio play regardless of the sexually suggestive lyrics; also reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Black Eyed Peas released an iTunes Originals play list of their greatest hits in Sept 2005, as well as some that were re-recorded especially for purchase through iTunes. The play list involved popular songs like “Don’t Lie”, “Shut Up” plus a new version of “Where Is the Love?”

It is worthmentioning here that Black Eyed Peas also involved themselves in the social welfare services. They established the Pea Pod Foundation to help suffering children globally. The foundation is administered by the Entertainment Industry Foundation. On February 6, 2006, At a concert in Hollywood, California the band was joined by Sergio Mendes, Jessica Simpson, and other stars to benefit the foundation.

Keeping in view of the modern trends, Black Eyed Peas also produced a remix album, named “Renegotiations” on March 21, 2006. It is actually the Remixes” to iTunes. It includes remixed versions of Ba Bump, My Style, Feel It, Disco Club, They Don’t Want Music, Audio Delite at Low Fidelity, plus also the standard version and video of “Like That”. And the next week it was released on CD without the music video. Others who took part in it were on the EP included DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Erick Sermon, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Large Professor.

For more information about Black Eyed Peas visit: http://events.ixs.net/concert-tickets/Rap-Hip-Hop/Black-Eyed-Peas/index.aspx



What Is An Mp3 Player Of Portable Media Player?

Monday, October 26th, 2009
David Liu asked:


A digital audio player (DAP), more commonly referred to as an MP3 player, is a consumer electronics device that stores, organizes and plays audio files. Some DAPs are also referred to as portable media players as they have image-viewing and/or video-playing support. MP3 players are now regularly built into mobile phones, making them the most common form of digital audio player. In short, an MP3 player is a portable device that plays digital music files–although many MP3 players can do much more than that. They evolved from the portable cassette and CD players that we carried around in the 1980s and ’90s. Instead of bulky cassettes or scratch-prone compact discs, most MP3 players play files stored directly on the device. Aside from a pair of headphones, there is nothing extra you need to carry to enjoy your music collection.

An MP3 is a digital audio file compressed with a standard defined by the Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG). MPEG was formed to develop techniques for dealing with digital video; since most video also contains audio, MP3 was developed as an audio extension of that work. Officially known as “MPEG-1, Layer 3″, MP3 is a lossy compression algorithm that uses psychoacoustic modeling to reduce the size of audio files by up to 90%.

Psychoacoustics takes advantage of deficiencies in the human hearing system to throw away digital bits corresponding to sounds that cannot be heard. The human ear cannot hear soft sounds in the presence of loud sounds having a similar frequency; for example, a voice conversation becomes inaudible when a jet flies low overhead. This effect is known as auditory masking, and done correctly the discarded sounds will not be missed.

MP3 is a lossy algorithm in the sense that the original bits cannot be recreated from the compressed bits. In terms of hearing, however, MP3 is lossless because the human ear cannot distinguish between a CD recording and a properly encoded MP3 version of it. MP3s achieve this transparency at a bit rate of approximately 256 kilobits per second, or roughly one sixth of the 1.4 megabits per second required by the compact disc format.

MP3s can be recorded at lower bit rates, saving even more space, but audible differences begin to appear at rates below 128 kilobits per second. At these lower bit rates, MP3 can use a trick known as joint stereo to improve quality. Audio generally consists of left and right audio tracks. Joint stereo combines, whenever possible, the sounds common to both left and right tracks into one track. Instead of left and right, it has “common” and “different” channels.

Being an open standard, and therefore available to anyone, has played a major role in the widespread adoption of the MP3 file format. While specific implementations such as those by the Fraunhofer Institute may be protected by patents, there exist numerous open source implementations. MP3s were originally only playable on computers, but inexpensive, portable MP3 players such as Apple’s iPod have since been developed.

History

The immediate predecessor in the market place of the digital audio player was the portable CD player, which was sometimes referred to as a “portable audio device.”

Briton Kane Kramer designed one of the earliest digital audio players, which he called the IXI. His 1979 prototype was capable of approximately 3.5 minutes of audio playback but it did not enter commercial production. The related patents expired in 1988. Apple Inc. hired Kramer as a consultant and presented his work as an example of prior art in the field of digital audio players during their litigation with Burst.com almost two decades later.

The first mass-produced DAP was created in 1997 by SaeHan Information Systems, which domestically sold its “MPMan” player in the middle of 1998. The South Korean company then licensed the players to Eiger Labs which distributed them—now branded as Eiger Labs MPMan F10—to the North American market during the summer of 1998. The flash-based players were available in 16 MB storage capacity.

The Rio PMP300 from Diamond Multimedia was introduced in September 1998, a few months after the MPMan. It was a success during the holiday season, with sales exceeding expectations. Interest and investment in digital music were subsequently spurred from it. Because of the player’s notoriety as the target of a major lawsuit, the Rio is erroneously assumed to be the first DAP.

In 1998, Compaq developed the first hard drive based DAP using a 2.5″ laptop drive. It was licensed to HanGo Electronics (now known as Remote Solution), which first sold the PJB-100 (Personal Jukebox) in 1999. The player had an initial capacity of 4.8 GB, which was advertised to be able to hold 1200 songs.

In October 2001, Apple Computer (now known as Apple Inc.) unveiled the first generation iPod, the 5 GB hard drive based DAP with a 1.8″ Toshiba drive. With the development of a minimalistic user interface and a smaller form factor, the iPod was initially notable within users of the Macintosh community. In July 2002, Apple introduced the second generation update to the iPod. It was compatible with Windows computers through Musicmatch Jukebox (now known as Y!Music Musicmatch Jukebox). The iPod series, which grew to include microdrive and flash-based players, has become the market leader in DAPs.

In 2002, Archos released the first “portable media player” (PMP), the Archos Jukebox Multimedia. Manufacturers have since implemented abilities to view images and play videos into their devices.

In 2003 the first MP3 players were installed into mobile phones in South Korea and the first artist to sell songs as MP3 file downloads directly to mobile phones was Ricky Martin. The innovation spread rapidly and by 2005, more than half of all music sold in South Korea was sold directly to mobile phones. The idea spread across the globe and by 2005 all five major handset makers, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, LG and SonyEricsson had released musicphones. By 2006, more MP3 players were sold in musicphones than all stand-alone MP3 players put together. The rapid rise of the musicphone was quoted by Apple as a primary reason for developing the iPhone. In 2007, the installed base of musicphones passed the 1 billion level, and today more than half of all moblie phones in the world have an MP3 player.

Although online music services such as RealNetworks’ Rhapsody also offer legal downloads through a subscription plan, the launch of the iTunes Store in 2003 established the model of selling individual songs and albums for purchase.

Operation

Digital sampling is used to convert an audio wave to a sequence of binary numbers that can be stored in a digital format, such as MP3.

Common features of all MP3 players are a memory storage device, such as flash memory or a miniature hard disk drive, an embedded processor, and an audio codec microchip to convert compressed sound into analogue form that is then played through the speaker jack.

Most DAPs are powered by rechargeable batteries, some of which are not user replaceable. Listening to music stored on DAPs is typically through earphones and stereo systems connected with a 3.5 mm jack.

Types

Digital audio players are generally categorized by storage media:

Flash-based Players: These are non-mechanical solid state devices that hold digital audio files on internal flash memory or removable flash media called memory cards. Due to technological advancements in flash memory, these originally low-storage devices are now available commercially ranging up to 32 GB. Because they are solid state and do not have moving parts they require less battery power and may be more resilient to hazards such as dropping or fragmentation than hard disk-based players. Basic MP3 player functions are commonly integrated into USB flash drives.

Hard drive-based Players or Digital Jukeboxes: Devices that read digital audio files from a hard disk drive (HDD). These players have higher capacities currently ranging up to 250 GB. At typical encoding rates, this means that thousands of songs can be stored on one player.

MP3 CD Players: Portable CD players that can decode and play MP3 audio files stored on CDs.

Networked audio players: Players that connect via (WiFi) network to receive and play audio.

Common audio formats

MP3 is the dominant format, and is nearly universally supported. The main alternative formats are AAC and WMA. Unlike MP3, these formats support DRM restrictions that are often implemented into files from paid download services. Open source formats, which are completely patent-free, are available - though less widely supported. Examples include Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and Speex.

Most players can also play uncompressed PCM in a container such as WAV or AIFF.

Controversy

Although these issues aren’t usually controversial within digital audio players, they are matters of continuing controversy and litigation, including but not limited to content distribution and protection, and digital rights management (DRM).

Lawsuit with RIAA

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed a lawsuit with Diamond Multimedia for its Rio players, alleging that the device encouraged copying music illegally. But Diamond won a legal victory on the shoulders of the Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios case and DAPs were legally ruled as electronic devices.

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