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Author Micah Cambre

on-demand cd

If I was a practicing or professional musician, this would be my distribution method. The RIAA has a lot of trouble coming its way.

99 cents is a ripoff

Welcome to the world of digital music. In today’s world, we can go online to download software such as iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, MSN, as well as a few others and buy music from these digital stores. You can buy a certain song, just about any song you like for about 99 cents. However, I do not support those ventures for the following reasons:

  1. When you pay around 99 cents for a certain song on one of those sites, the artist gets maybe 2-8 cents per song, if even that. It’s very likely that the artist doesn’t get but fractions of a penny for those purchases. Most of that money goes to the RIAA, which I will continue to try and never support.
  2. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) says they represent the artist and tries to protect his or her rights, but in fact they are only looking out for number one and are actively taking the money away from the artist.
    When you download a digital music file from stores online, you are downloading a compressed, inferior quality file than if you would had you bought the CD. But it’s only 99 cents you might say! Well, let’s say you bought the CD from the store for $15. The CD that you buy from the store is straight from the record company and the songs on the CD are uncompressed and in their original forms. The digital music that you download from the Internet is compressed, which means its of poorer quality. What this means is that random digital information from the song is deleted so that even though you’re hearing the song like it sounds on the CD, the quality of that song is nearly 60-80% less than what it is on the CD.

    Let me make this comparison. You have a whole cake, and it costs $15. If you divide that cake into 15 pieces, you have the equivelent of the 99 cent download, right? Wrong. Take one of those pieces, cut about 40-80% of it off. Now you have the equivelent of a 99 cent download. It tastes the same, it smells the same, it looks the same, but it’s only a fraction of what you should be getting.

  3. So, assuming that a CD costs roughly the same as the album costs online, you should be purchasing a CD or song for about 40-80% less than you pay for a CD in the store. Yet, you’re not. Why? Because of convenience. But is convenience really worth that much of a premium? You don’t really get the complete, full version of the song and it’s for sale at a bloated price, nor does the artist really get any benefits from your purchase. You’re just making rich people richer.
  4. A lot of the music that you buy online has something called DRM (Digital Rights Management). This means that it’s protected from things such as pirating, copying, transferring to another computer, etc. I’m not sure what MSN does in terms of DRM, but it’s likely that it has some heavy protection so that you can’t really do much with this file once you download it. If you were to buy the CD instead, you could legally and illegally do with the songs what you want. You can make your own digital copy and have full control over it.
  5. Let’s assume you only want one song from a CD. Why buy the CD when you want only one song? Yeah, this puts a little more justification into downloading it from iTunes, but not too much more. I can possibly even find that soundtrack for free online at one of hundreds of sites. Then I could take the one song that I want and delete the rest. And it didn’t cost me a thing except time.
  6. For someone on a modem (unsurprisingly, there still are plenty) trying to download a file, what’s the chances that your modem connection gets interrupted and you lose the download? Would you have to go back to iTunes and pay 99 more cents to download the rest of the file or redownload it again? I’m not sure I’d want to take that risk.

So for these reasons, why would you bother paying 99 cents? I don’t think the convenience is worth the premium nor do I want to support companies which use a digital lock to prevent you from doing much with your files. You pay the price of honesty for the few that are dishonest out there. By dishonest, I’m not talking about someone downloading this song for free off of “illegal” sites. I’m talking about someone purchasing this music, copying/burning it to lots of CDs and pirating the music CDs to others for a few bucks per CD. That’s wrong. But downloading a copy of a song is just like, at least in my opinion, recording a song off the radio and listening to it. You shouldn’t be prosecuted for that kind of stuff. Which is exactly what the RIAA is doing by suing all of these thousands of people. It’s absurd.

the facts of downloading

Note: This article is incomplete and will be updated as needed.

Do you download music online? So do I. In case the RIAA or MPAA have scared you away from downloading any kind of music or movies, I’m going to reassure you that it’s still as possible to do it as it’s ever been. There are, however, still threats out there that might cause you grief and worry, the foremost being the threat of being sued by the Nazis at the RIAA or MPAA.

I am going to give you some facts about downloading so that you know where you stand:

First, almost all of the people sued were using Kazaa or another related software to download AND upload their music. Bittorrent users are just now starting to become a more major target as well. But, the Nazis aren’t going after people who download music. They are suing people who upload and share their collection with others. Turn off the ability to share/upload your music, the Nazis at the RIAA and MPAA will almost definitely leave you alone.

Second, there are millions of people downloading all the time. You’re literally one in a million and the RIAA is verrrrrrry unlikely to find you. It IS possible, but not too likely that you’ll be sued. Besides, they are mostly targeting students at universities.

Third, you might hear talk about how many people have settled the crazy lawsuits for thousands of dollars. But, as stated in a recent article, only a very small percentage of people have actually chosen to settle with them. Of MOST of the people who were sued, their lawsuits have been dismissed.

For those of you who want some more legitmate underground ways of downloading, you might be intersted to check out sources such as EasyNews. There is a lot of good info about how to run a Usenet application on your computer, but this is basically a Newsgroup that you and millions of other people subscribe to and upload and download just about ANYTHING that you want. It’s $10 a month and it’s been recommended to me by many different people.

So should you still download more music or movies or televisions shows now? That’s your decision. I just wanted to share a few facts.

No more SuprNova

Yesterday, the owner of the SuprNova network pulled the plug. This means that this site is completely dead, gone. No more downloading. For those who have never heard of SuprNova, it was a website used for the purpose of linking to downloads for movies, tv shows, games, software, and other Internet related download material.

I am very saddened by this because I used this site as Tivo. What do I mean exactly? Well, I don’t own a Tivo nor will I anytime soon…probably. The reason I don’t own a Tivo system or anything similar is because $300-400 is too much money for me to just give up on some system which really isn’t worth the money in my current financial situation. I would love a digital video recorder (DVR) such as Tivo, but I won’t talk myself into buying one.

SuprNova, thus, became my own personal Tivo. If I missed an episode of my favorite TV show, I would go to SuprNova and download the missed show. It was easy, it usually took from only a couple of hours to a day get that missed episode, and I could watch it on my own time. It was great!! Once I had the downloaded show on my computer, I would then s-video it to my TV and watch it as though it was just another show on TV. Then, once I was done watching the show, I would immediately delete the episode because I had no reason to keep it.

It was convenient, easy to use, and required no effort on my part! My top reasons for using this site are the following.

1. The shows I downloaded were high definition (HD) quality, usually meaning they were wide screen with 30% extra picture than your regular TV shows you. It was AWESOME! In fact, there were times that I would purposely MISS the show JUST so I could download it and watch a perfect, clear, HD quality TV show! Seriously, it was THAT nice!

2. I didn’t have to worry or get upset about missing my favorite TV shows. When I realized that I missed an episode, I would go to SuprNova and the website would usually have a hyperlink to download the show.

3. If there was an album or songs that I wanted to preview before buying a CD (theoretically), I could probably find it on the site and listen to it once I downloaded it!

4. Other reasons that just don’t really matter now.

It’s really sad that the MPAA are taking drastic measures like the RIAA are also doing. It’s sad. I am pretty much never going to buy a brand new CD again until the RIAA decides to come to its senses and get with the times (instead of suing college students every three weeks). I am tempted to do the same with the MPAA but as of yet, I’m not doing anything.

For more information on the closing of SuprNova, read the SuprNova FAQ.

Hilary and Larry sitting in a tree…

Sometimes, holding on to one’s old traditions and ideas can hinder progression. This seems to be the philosophy of one Hilary Rosen and her cronies in the RIAA. Keep producing masses of tasteless music, continue to gouge prices to the consumer, and prevent any form of artistic expression from pirating or “ripping off” an artist. Well, it seems Hilary might have finally seen some light.

It’s obvious that she doesn’t completely agree with what Larry Lessig has established through the nonprofit Creative Commons program, but it’s amazing to note how she now believes it’s a good step in a right direction! In fact, one of the most logical arguments in favor of reform for sampling music was spoken from her mouth! (or written by her pen)

“Think about your kids. After they get bored downloading all the music they can find, they’re going to discover the power… to remix the culture they’ve collected. These activities will become second nature to the iGeneration and could well represent the next great digital revolution.”

May I just stand up and applaud?! I am only 25, but if I knew then what I know now, I think my addiction would only increase by the hour because of how much power this knowledge can give someone. Kids are restless, they tend to do what they want anyway. Thus, taking samples of music and adding some more bass and rhythm or composing an orchestra to back up an awesome ballad… the options are endless! The courts should not hinder this creativity as it’s not a detraction from an artist’s work. Sampling music is one of so many areas which copyright laws hinder, thus impeding the inevitable evolution of music.

Although I don’t agree with a lot of other statements that Hilary makes, it seems she is starting to come to her senses. It’s just too bad that the RIAA as an organization doesn’t realize that they’re living in the last millennium. Suing college kids for using the Kazaa software is backwards progression and is completely based upon greed from corporate pigs. The positive aspect about this litigation is that it seems to be losing its steam in the public eye, or rather it seems that less people care anymore and the news media outlets just aren’t giving it any light. Stop the madness, people!

music reformations

I had an interesting conversation with the Music Supervisor Lisa at the end of work yesterday. I had just finished my work for the day and logged my activities by submitting an e-mail to the department co-workers who work there. In fact, there are only three girls who work in the department so I only send it to three people and include the intern e-mail as well.

After stating my completed tasks for the day, I usually make a little social commentary at the bottom of the e-mail relating to one of the day’s activities. This last time I typed “Why do rich music artists demand so much money for their music to be in movies? The exposure should be compensation enough.” That comment caught the eye of Lisa.

Right as I got up to put something away, Lisa paged my phone and asked me to pick up the receiver. She’s been super busy the past two weeks trying to get all the music found and cleared by the record labels for every scene of the movie which should have finalized with the music by Friday.

She found my comment humorous and explained that these artists don’t even really need the exposure because they’re already famous enough. Yeah, I agree with that. Remember the movie Forrest Gump? One of the main reasons that movie was so popular was because of its soundtrack, and most of those songs didn’t even need the extra exposure to be recognized.

I told her I realized that these artists were famous and that a movie would barely increase exposure. We’re talking about the chart hitting artists on the Billboard top 100 singles. I explained that I really didn’t agree with how artists can charge that much because I realize how the recording industry rips them off anyway. She responded with an interesting comment. The reason that artists really are able to get away by charging thousands upon thousands of dollars for their songs to be in movies is because people like the Recording Industry Association of America really don’t have as much control. Yes, they still get the money like they would anyway, but it’s a little different licensing than it would be to just use a song for an album.

If there’s one thing that I could do for this industry, specifically the music industry, it would be to bring reforms to the structure of business. I have in the past few years bought much less CDs than I would have. Why? Partly because I really don’t want to spend the money; I’m poor. But I also try to keep in mind that people such as the RIAA are in it for themselves. They aren’t really here for the artists sake. They’re in it for the buck. It’s always about the money and I don’t care what kind of statistics they try to show me or you. It’s all baloney because they’re losing money and they don’t like it.

I have bought a few CDs on a few special occasions like Christmas. I have my reasons. But now that I’m much more aware of where money goes, I’d rather give the artist money for his work than giving Sam Goody $18 for a CD. $18 for a CD is a complete rip-off. Even $10 for a CD is a rip-off. If I absolutely knew that $10 was going directly to the artist rather than some corporate pig who in turn gives about $.08 per song per CD to the artist, I’d be much less hesitant to buy CDs.

I really hope consumers are made aware quickly because changes need to be made now. Boycotts are a great way to start the wave.

Boycott the RIAA today!
Avoid buying RIAA CDs!

bad present for Christmas

I would like to pass on a certain link to anyone who is shopping or has shopped for Christmas presents already. I hope it wasn’t a CD. A CD is bad for many reasons:

  • The RIAA gets all the money.
  • The artist gets no money.
  • It costs just a few more cents to buy the DVD equivelent.

It could go on and on. But rather than me sitting here typing all my reasons out, why don’t you just click on this link to a humorous website explaining the same exact thing I just stated. Because, hey, it’s time we all learned a little about how crappy the RIAA really is.

Oh yeah, you think you’re safe with the iTunes music store? Nope.

is iTunes Music Store worth your money?

Probably not. It seems that those big bad guys at the RIAA are once again taking all the profits directly. How much? All 99 cents per song is going to the RIAA and Apple is losing money in the process. Why does this not surprise me?

So I guess the question would be where is Apple making its money? From the iPod. Not a bad product if I do say so myself. But definitely not worth it for the majority of everyone. We’re talking about .0005% of anyone who might even have one, and that’s probably a little liberal of an estimate.

If the RIAA doesn’t cut some slack, change their business model, do anything that helps the artist/consumer relationship, iTunes will probably fold in a few months/years. Same goes with Napster 2.0, Rhapsody, and any other pay-per-use download service.

support this cause – support MUSIC

Go HERE now. Why? Because “it’s” out of hand. “It” refers to the fact that the RIAA is money hungry and wants to wrongly sue so many people.

RIAA sues

In case you haven’t heard or read anywhere, the RIAA is suing 261 for trading files online that they claim breaks the law, something about copyrighted material or something… The RIAA better be going down or there will be more than 261 angry people.