vlog soundtrackster pile up

Back on 4/20 I posted about a collaborative project I did with Jay Dedman where he did a videoblog and I slacked together a soundtrack for it in a bloggy style. On his own blog entry about it Jay contrasted it with the remix scene:

CC Mixter would be a great place for people to put out requests for collaborations. This goes beyond the idea of a mashup…and starts entering the way that commercial media is created. People with different talents work together to create something none of them could do alone.

Now enough time has gone by for comments to accumulate there. One thread is about resistance to cultural oppression:

I think the boundaries of Fair Use need to be pushed. […] Bring on the stupid copyright battles!

GirlTalk (http://tinyurl.com/p8t9v) is a good example of how someone pushes Fair Use in a smart way.

I appreciate the point that the best solution to copyright extremism can’t just be to withdraw from the world into a perfect ivory tower of all-Creative Commons all the time. Still, we’re hardly at that point. The vast majority of what’s happening in the real world is childish regression — “I’ll do it until I get caught” and then “Fuck you for catching me!” To my mind it’s idiotic to keep doing that, over and over again, year in and year out. Hello, Lab Rat? Quit pushing the button that gives you the electrical shock. Try this button over here, the one that requires you to be an adult but that also accomplishes something. Isn’t it kind of nice to be able to demand respect?

Another thread — more interesting if less volatile — is about the conversational interaction between music and video in a soundtrack:

new track – completely different feel.It’s funny because I was playing around with this video last week. …
I’ve been thinking about videos for my wife Kate’s new album …
So just as a little experiment for myself, i ran about five of her tracks with it. Amazingly different experiences, even though the tracks themselves are not *wildly* different. There was one that really worked (although it was 30 seconds too long).

And that’s exactly the point of the exercise. This whole situation started when Jay released the same videoblog with different music, music that he didn’t have the rights to use. There was a flood of comments on the copyright situation, then this third party tried out five different alternate pieces of music, then Jay himself changed the music over. And each one of these steps was about conversational interactions.

When we were creating CC Mixter, the idea was to unleash an art form that needed permissive licensing to survive. The original interaction design was in the form of threaded comments — Bob’s mix responding to Ellen’s Mix of Sally’s original. Similarly, my music was a response to Jay’s video, and if somebody remixed my audio the thread would be one deeper.

This whole vlog+blog-musician business is no different. It’s culture happening in real time. The video and the music are part of a back and forth flow of works, and the flow is a primary component of the art.

time for Internet Radio 2.0

It’s time for Internet Radio 2.0:

Independent and forward-thinking artists have an enormous opportunity now to get in front of listeners. Online stations have a chance to become next generation leaders, to provide rich new music, and most importantly to engage the listeners with them in their battle to find new sources of content.

Please, people, stand up and do the right thing, MOVE ON.

Sure. It’s a great opportunity for Creative Commons music — which sometimes allows on-demand redistribution — and for URL playlisting — which puts together a continuous listening experience without involving the webcasting regulations.

(link via Mike Dierken)

save internet radio

I’m in pre-mourning for net radio. I’ve seen the financial numbers on the 2006-2010 rates for webcasters and they don’t work. Appeals are exhausted now, and absent a deus ex machina like Congress whipping up emergency legislation in a jiffy — legislation which powerful industries oppose — there is about to be mass extinction of webcasters.

Things are pretty hosed when something as wonderful as Soma FM disappears in a flash because an obscure panel of judges who work for the library comes down off the mountain with a crazy whole-hog rewrite of the ground rules for an entire industry.

Don’t fool yourself — the only internet radio which will survive will be so thickly encrusted with ads that it makes Times Square look like a monastery, and any webcaster without the sales muscle to get top-dollar rates isn’t even going to have the option to sleaze up like that.

And forget really high-quality playlists generated just for you via machine learning algorithms fed a steady diet of raw information about your listening habits — the new rules set a $500 per station minimum. You would need to generate at least $500 a year for your webcaster just to break even on the up-front costs. From now on every unique set of tastes costs extra, just like with over the air broadcasting. You’ll get pre-programmed stations and be grateful.

So fucking save net radio, goddammit.

I know this comes off as overwrought, but I feel really sad about this.

Pointers to related stuff:

Radio and Internet Newsletter has a great Fisking related to the bill.

Wind In The Wire explains the situation.

Broadcast Law Blog goes over the procedural background, including this nugget:

The Board concluded that the rapidly escalating rate was justified as it brought the statutory services closer to the interactive services as the advertising market grows over the next few years.

wifi devices don’t fear the iphone

Jon Healy has a couple pieces up about the Sansa Connect, one on his weblog

I look at what it means to add real WiFi capability (as opposed to what Microsoft put in its Zune players) to a digital audio player, and how the Connect may signal the beginning of the post-iPod era.

— and a longer piece in the LA Times:

SanDisk ranks a distant number two to Apple in digital music player sales, accounting for less than 10% of the market compared to more than 70% for Apple’s iPods. But its new Sansa Connect player provides a glimpse of what a post-iPod world might look like, with players tapping into online jukeboxes and friends’ collections instead of relying on the tracks stored inside them.

Apple is not an internet company. It doesn’t matter whether the devices it sells are connected via telephone or internet or not at all. In the days when the soul of the company was being formed, it was primarily the third option — these computers were not designed with connectivity a forethought.

Its contemporary flagship — the iPod –has only a hardware bus, which is a throwback to the Wozniak days almost 30 years ago. This is a device which is fundamentally disconnected, just a brick with power cables and headphones.

That’s why the iPhone makes just as much sense for Apple as an internet device would have. You could add a dial-up modem to the iPod and it would be an improvement. There’s nowhere to go but up.

It’s also why the Sansa thing is special: it looks to become the first wifi music device which manages to cover its bills and stay in business. Portable music devices need to get hooked up to the internet. The telecoms are blocking that; the iPhone is part of the blockage.

Not to say that the Sansa is all that open, since it can only get network music from Yahoo, but my guess is that Sansa took that approach for simplicity, so that they could have a narrowly defined target for their first ship date.

Creative Commons “share alike” license asking for trouble?

The comments on my license on my own music post turned into a lively conversation about Creative Commons licensing.

Mike Linksvayer commented that the Share-Alike license, which requires a downloader or remixer to themself allow redistribution and remixing, allows inclusion of a SA work into a collective work which is not as a whole also under a Share-Alike license. For example, my releases on this blog could be incorporated into commercial CDs and forbid redistribution or remixing of the CD as a whole. This is important because the requirement that reusers are bound by the same commitment as the original creator is the main defensive feature of this license.

And gurdonark had this to say about the Share-Alike license:

While most CC licenses seem to me relatively straightforward and issue-free, the [Share-Alike] designation and its accompanying license gives me the most pause about whether it will require a court to interpret how its intricacies work.

I agree with gurdonark that there is a lot of complexity lurking under the surface of the SA license, but I feel confident that it strikes the best balance between promoting my creations and defending me from exploitation. So what if my track on a compilation CD is the only one under the same license? This helps me and hurts the others; I profit at their expense by using this license.

Cruxy on soundtracks, threads, and remixing

People With Ideas blog (from the Cruxy guys) on my videoblog soundtrack post:

Writing and recording music for podcasts and videoblogs is an emerging opportunity for musicians that can generate publicity, reach new audiences, and, down the road, opportunity for revenue from royalties, sponsorships, and advertising.

With Cruxy, anyone can release their works for sale under a Creative Commons license to allow others to re-use them in a legal, fair, and managed way. The creator always maintains control of the media and the specifics of how and when it can be used, while still allowing for their own creativity to grow and live beyond just the original work. Its all about “being involved in the thread”, as Lucas put it.

1 Bit Audio Player : A JavaScript-inserted Flash MP3 player for WordPress blogs and other websites

1 Bit Audio Player : A JavaScript-inserted Flash MP3 player for WordPress blogs and other websites

1 Bit Audio Player is a very simple and lightweight Adobe Flash MP3 player with automatic JavaScript insertion. It’s main purpose is to act as a quick in-page preview for audio files you link to from your website or blog.

The player can be easily installed as a WordPress plugin or used stand-alone in any website. Small audio players will than automatically appear next to any MP3s you link to.

This is a variation on the del.icio.us PlayTagger in concept but not code, with the new feature that you can exlcude some MP3 links from 1 Bit by setting the ‘include only class’ or ‘exclude class’ options to CSS classes that you have set on your tags.

JPEGs vs album covers

Design Observer: writings about design & culture

Are JPEGs the New Album Covers?

Black to Comm “Levitation/Astoria.” 7” Lathe-Cut Picture Disc, design by Marc Richter and Renate Nikolaus. Dekorder Records.

Over the past few months I’ve been researching a book about current record cover art. Besides hunting down examples of stimulating music graphics, I’ve also been looking for digital alternatives to the traditional album cover.

Iranian micro-bloggers

The person who posted about Play Twitter in a language I couldn’t identify — it turned out to be Persian (the language of Iran), rather than Arabic — stopped back in the comments on my Audio afspelen in Twitter post and left this note:

hi.i am persian blogger & twitterer!! and now jaiku-er !! your blog is very beauty and in my mind it,s very similar to tumblr.com

list of iranian twitter : twitter.com/mhmazidi
list of iranian jaiku-er! :mhmazidi.jaiku.com