no singles, please

Leftsetz, who blogs compulsively, says Singles Only:

Don’t make an album. And whatever you do, don’t send it to me! I don’t have time.

Heritage acts. Classic acts. Cut one great single! That you can do your best to work. Shit, give it away for free… As an inspiration to buy a concert ticket, where the true money is. Why spend all that money and time to cut an album that almost no one’s going to hear?

New bands… One track only.

But wait, he doesn’t mean you only get one more song in your career:

you don’t give them ten more tracks… You give them a dribbling of killers. So they end up becoming fans of the act, not the track.

Ok, so what’s another word for dribbling? Blogging. The new format isn’t the *single*, the single is just as inert as the album. Singles are vestigial. The format is the *post*.

A couple real world examples: Jeff Harrington has a new violin sonata out and there’s a new song up on soup greens.

When Liszt transcribed Paganini:

remix culture [was vital] was in the era before recording technology. Remixes back then required transcriptions and new performances of the pieces created, to make new pieces. Transcription/remix culture provides a set of parallels that might help us understand that what we are doing is not some odd form of new piracy, but instead a licensed continuation of a tradition that made sense and great music.

Liszt at 20 heard Paganini, then 50, perform. He was so swept away that he began to convert Pagainin’s violin studies into piano pieces. His remix (technically a transcription) of Paganini’s “A minor caprice (Nr. 24)” for piano both caused him controversy in his time and gives us a sense of his piano genius in our time.

Transcribing a violin piece for piano is like translating a poem. There would be some mechanical conversions, but also there would be spots that required the transcriber to get involved with the music at a qualitative level. The transcriber would need to understand the internal lines and structures, and since structures carry meaning they’re subjective enough that the transcriber would have to exercise their own taste and musicality. It would be a lot like orchestrating, arranging, or remixing.

hAudio in Yahoo! Media Player

This blog post is for techies.

It’s natural for Yahoo! Media Player to support hAudio. hAudio has valuable functionality and is generally well thought out.

But it’s too big a project. The syntax is very complex. Writing a parser and accurately supporting the features is a large job which is out of scope for the media player team. The verbosity of the syntax will turn off many users. And using the syntax is too complex to do by hand; users absolutely can’t write hAudio without a dedicated hAudio editor.

What my team needs is an open source library for parsing the syntax and managing the feature set. This library would have to be small — we have strict limits on code size that are already hard to manage. The library would have to be fast — we already have a long lag time to parse big pages, and our metadata syntax can be parsed much more quickly than hAudio. The library would have to be under a license that we could incorporate into a commercial project; this probably means a BSD license.

What users need is a user interface for authoring hAudio integrated into their working enviroment. For example, editors within Drupal, WordPress, Moveable Type, and social networking sites.

I appreciate the good work of the hAudio creators. They took on a difficult and practical goal and had both the persistence and skill to pull it off. So I’m sorry to say that their project is not yet at the point where my team can take advantage of it.