Some musicians — I’m sure none of you reading — are observably fucking delusional about business, relationship management, reputation management and what copyright actually is and how it works. They are certain that the three chords and the melody they know damn well where they nicked ’em are MINE MINE MINE and no-one else is allowed to think about them until the end of time without coughing up. They act like the kids who make LiveJournal icons out of other people’s images for fan fiction then hit the goddamn roof when someone STEALS their ORIGINAL CREATION.
Today’s example is Andy Scott, one of the surviving members of The Sweet and in one of the two bands touring under that name. Mr Scott keeps a keen eye on technological developments relevant to his career interests, and thought he was onto a winner when he saw someone daring to sell an obvious bootleg on eBay for one euro. He claimed it was a pirated copy and demanded €2000 from the fellow, but the scofflaw in question insisted it was a disc he’d actually bought and could actually sell for 80p if he wanted to. Scott went to court asking for €36,000. When the scoundrel opposing proved in court that it was his bloody CD, Scott changed his claim to say he owned the “copyright” on the name, so definitely deserved all the money from any second-hand sales. The court told him to fuck off, funnily enough.
Copyright, it’s like oxygen. Too much and you get high. Still, I’m sure Scott is pleased to have established a good European precedent protecting second-hand record sales.
Copyright collection agencies are actually a really good idea for working songwriters. Record companies generally never cough up a royalty cheque ever past the initial advance, but publishers frequently do, so public performance and radio play are a non-trivial earner for many.
The trouble is that when collection agencies pull this sort of outrageous bullshit, they continue to discredit copyright altogether in the eyes of the public. You’d think they’d all have learnt by now. (Although ASCAP’s attempt to collect on ringtones meets with my full approval.)
To bludgeon the point home about anything over CD quality being superfluous, we have, from 2008, Audibility of a CD-Standard A/D/A Loop Inserted Into High-Resolution Audio Playback — a study in which professional “golden ears” were subjected to random A/B/X testing of SACD audio which was randomly switched to 16/44.1, and this was consistently undetectable by the trained listeners.
The difference in commercial 96kHz recordings is that they have usually been mastered better, with no loudness wars. But the bitrate is literally useless for the end listener. And if you insist it isn’t, I’ve got some over-the-phone system tweaking to sell you.
In the Internet era, copyright laws are just getting tougher. But people really, really don’t give a shit. 61% of 15-25-year-olds in Sweden fileshare personally, and heavy sharers have gone up. (Translated Swedish news report.)
Industry education about copyright provokes “fight the power” — it turns out people think record companies are lying fountains of shit and if they said the sky was blue people would first assume it was green. And politicians who do what Hollywood wants cause a healthy general disrespect for the law. Oh, and these kids are voting now.
What you need to do is work out how you’re going to make a living when, not if, copyright is cut to a straight fourteen-year term. At least your competitors will be in the same boat.
My high-school English teacher really wanted me to do journalism at Curtin because I did well on the school magazine. I did chemistry at UWA instead (striking out badly) and a fanzine in my spare time (which rapidly became all of it).
But think what I could have been missing out on: a chance to write about the poor oppressed mainstream. They just can’t get a break with all the hipsters running WAM. I hope the author is really embarrassed about this piece when they’re older.
You have a record collection this big and all you do and think about every day is records and music. So just how closely have you been listening? Can you tell a note out of place in a chord? Lots of testees are surprised and horrified to discover they can’t. It took me a few tries, so you can get better.
The “industrial groove machine” known as The Sisters of Mercy recently performed twice in Melbourne at the Corner Hotel and apparently also at the Soundwave Festival. The crowd was a good mix, but mainly of goth aficionados from the 1980s when the band reached a high-point of popularity, with the albums First and Last and Always and Floodland.
It turns out this is audiophool bollocks. Monty is the guy who wrote Ogg Vorbis — he knows his stuff. There are no humans found in the last century who can testably hear over 20kHz, ultrasonics encoded at 192kHz just cause intermodulation distortion, 16 bits is provably all the information any known human ear needs and the main benefit of 24-bit is headroom.
“Modern playback fidelity is incomprehensibly better than the already excellent analog systems available a generation ago.” Monty’s advice for actual fidelity? Spend effort on decent headphones.
(Can you tell a 320kbps MP3 from the FLAC? I know damn well I can’t.)
Official Church of Scientology Australian rap music. That is all.
(This is what I get for declaring something the possible worst.)
Oldies but goodies from Tom Ellard of Severed Heads, on the trouble with fan spaces (I was on the email list version for a coupla years, it was pretty good then) and a reminder that fan is short for “fanatic.” The artist’s shit effect is the mildest form. You cannot buy souls on a record. “I’ve started forwarding messages and phone recordings to the police, hoping to get someone to leave me the hell alone or get a warrant. And I’m nobody.”
Students of Australian music need to listen once to the first six songs on Icehouse by Flowers as part of first-year New Wave. Beyond that, singles will do. Hitting fast forward a lot.
Mostly. I have discovered the best Icehouse album ever recorded: The Berlin Tapes, a collection of post-punk covers Iva Davies put together for a Sydney Dance Company production. Yet again, we see excessively skilled musicians do well handed someone else’s songs. I most strongly commend to you “Disappointed?” His “Love Like Blood” wins as well. How the hell did I not hear of this when it came out?
The twentieth anniversary of the release of “Baby Got Back” was February 5th. To commemorate this occasion, we present a logical puzzle. “You are curious whether your butt is big or small. Unfortunately, you lack the ability to accurately assess the size of butts. Fortunately, there are three rappers before you …”
Today’s is from the advent of the evil talkie in the cinemas. The obvious solution is to ban soundtracks on moving images. Playing YouTube memes should be illegal without professional musicians present, paid union scale.
If you don’t tune to A=432Hz, you are defying the natural order of the universe, and JUST LOVE HITLER.
In previous reviews the general superiority of Billboard as a venue has been mentioned and they remain applicable here; the light is better, the sound is good, the floor-design is excellent and they actually keep the place at a moderate temperature. With an audience of the usual suspects, The Damned came with two support acts. The first was some clown (I mean a magician) who didn’t like the fact the audience were indifferent to his tricks; the accusations of being on heroin and being a bunch of grey-haired “fruity arses” are obviously designed to endear us to the performance. To be fair ‘Dr El Suavo’ did have a cool mask and a stylish assistant, but the act and customer relations is going to need some improvement.
“There are dozens of “art guitars” with multiple necks that can never be played. It’s just about the look for some of these creations. So, the NGM decided to go one further and create a guitar with 8 necks — more than any other in the world — that can actually be played. If you’re going to make something like that, it should be real. We got 8 guys together to prove it.”
Bluegrass firing squad, and other termination procedures. Leaving them at the truckstop is only the third option on the list. “It is true, however, that if one of your band members is completely off his/her rocker, the statistical odds are that person will play an instrument that’s tuned in 5ths.”
There is, er, something there. It appears to have a new story or two mixed in with old ones from 2006, all dated September 17th, 2011 or thereabouts. The software is not the Slashcode that Rocknerd v2 ran on, but appears to be mangled copies of the original content, roughly dumped into WordPress. The whois was previously registered to an eastern European domain squatter, but now names someone in Canada, with the IP address in the US. The site still claims to be run by Ben Butler and me. I haven’t heard from Ben in years.
What on earth? Does anyone have any idea what this is about?
(And if anyone cares that much, I do have a database dump from the tail-end of Rocknerd v2. But playing Gillian McKeith with the products of Slashcode is so tempting I haven’t even unzipped it in five years.)
Update: someone bought the domain name with plans to do new things with it and thought putting up the old content would be more useful than not while he works out what to do with it. (I suggested it should start afresh — and I really should get around to processing that database dump.) I look forward to his new thing.
The network died years ago, but Napster’s vegetative corpse was finally taken off life support Wednesday. They can’t even make money from the name any more?
It’s a good thing the legal assaults on Napster thoroughly eliminated the Internet and computer science in general. ‘Cos otherwise the attempts to bugger DNS to block all Hollywood-disapproved Internet sites might have inspired MAFIAAfire, a P2P alternate-DNS plugin for your web browser (Firefox: Tools->Add-Ons->MAFIAAfire).
There is the minor detail of trusting a bunch of leeches with a sense of entitlement with your computer, and that the existing shadow DNS proof of concept was invented to redirect your money to the Russian mafia. However, the proof of the pudding will be in the network effects — people already install all manner of dubious rubbish for the promise of telly at their convenience, all this network needs is users.
And the fundamental point remains that the Internet is a giant copying machine, and that every gadget imaginable plus computers — televisions, phones, record players, cameras, drawing boards, recording studios — equals computers. Everything that can be conceived of as information can be done on computers. There’s a reason it’s called “universal computation.” Call it as evil as you like, but while computers and networks exist, you just can’t assume copying is rare, difficult or expensive any more.
Feel like brushing up on your Beatles, but don’t have all day to listen to all 226 recorded tracks? Ramjac has helpfully put together all the tracks playing simultaneously, sequenced in order of lengths, with the longest starting first and all 226 tunes ending together.
Goooooood-byeeeeeee. Universal gets EMI’s recordings, Sony gets its publishing. Three dinosaurs left. “More such earth-shaking unions of doomed giants seem inevitable.”
For your delectation: The Kitten Covers.
An earnest attempt to construct the world’s mathematically ugliest music. (Several minutes intro, then the tune.) Personally I think this fails to correctly ascertain what constitutes “ugly”: it fails to precisely jar against all human thinking. Though past attempts along those lines have resulted in works that have been hugely influential despite their superpowers of making people hate them. I was playing Metal Machine Music at work today, ‘cos it’s perfect for keeping the workplace jibber-jabber at bay.
Looks like no more major CDs by the end of 2012 — they’ll become boutique items for fans, like vinyl. About time too.
You thought trying to make a living as a rock musician sucked? You should be giving prayers of thanks that you’re not a classical musician.