Imagine it. Here’s a diamond stylus racing through a vinyl groove, somehow turning all those little bumps and ridges into beautiful, stunning music.
First, consider the vinyl. If the vinyl is virgin—never used before, not recycled—it’s a pure surface. If it is recycled, it will have impurities, little lumps of dirt and dust and maybe some bits of shredded label too, and that will show up as a granular surface in the groove which will slightly degrade the overall quality of the sound.
Now think about the stylus, a precisely shaped triangle of diamond mounted on a precision cantilever made of aluminum, boron, ruby, diamond, beryllium, or even carbon fiber for stiffness—each with its own physical characteristics that will influence the quality of the sound.
Here's a big shocker (assuming you've just been dethawed after thousands of years, a la Encino Man), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) doesn't feel current copyright law is strict enough.
"The DMCA isn't working for content people at all," RIAA President Cary Sherman said at the Technology Policy Institute's Aspen Forum. "You cannot monitor all the infringements on the Internet. It's simply not possible. We don't have the ability to search all the places infringing content appears, such as cyberlockers like RapidShare."
Sherman is none too happy with what he perceives are loopholes in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act that supposedly let ISPs and Web firms ignore their customers' illegal activities.
So what does Sherman suggest? More legislation, of course. Sherman feels Congress needs to step up with new laws with broadband providers, Web hosts, search engines, and the like.
"We're working on [discussions with broadband providers], and we'd like to extend that kind of relationship -- not just to ISPs, but [also to] search engines, payment processors, advertisers.
"If legislation is an appropriate way to facilitate that kind of cooperation, fine," Sherman said.
It's a big day for the Internet, an Internet meme has successfully invaded the real world. The Auto-Tune the News folks saw their tweaked version of the Lincoln Park Bed Intruder song reach number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 today. This feat was made possible thanks to a 2005 decision by Billboard to include digital downloads in their rankings. Bed Intruder is currently number 35 in iTunes.
Just let that sink in, the Gregory Brothers (the group behind Auto-Tune the News) saw something in the cadence and vocabulary in this news report, and made a hit song out of it. The song is currently only available as a digital download. The Gregory Brothers recently told Wired that they are also working on a pilot with Comedy Central based on Internet culture.
If you haven't heard the song, just check it out. You won't be sorry.
Add rocker John Mellencamp's name to the list of outspoken musicians who just don't get this whole Internet thing and how it can help the music industry. Here's what happens when you start drinking the RIAA Kool-Aid:
"I think the Internet is the most dangerous thing invented since the atomic bomb," Mellencamp said. "It's destroyed the music business. It's going to destroy the movie business."
Read it again if you like, but we assure you it doesn't get any easier to swallow. Mellencamp, who is also a political activist, likened the Internet to the A-bomb.
His comments came during a public seminar at the Grammy Museum and coincide with his new album, "No Better Than This." The 58-year-old musician went on to complain about the quality of MP3 files, and said of listening to a Beatles song on his iPod compared to a newly remastered CD, "you could barely even recognize it as the same song. You could tell it was those guys singing, but the warmth and quality of what the artist intended for us to hear was so vastly different."
Sony's Walkman models of today don't look a thing like the cassette-based ones we grew up with, and we're just fine with that. Instead, Sony's newest Walkman NWZ-E350 series sport modern amenities like MP3 playback and a fancy UI.
According to Sony, the new E350 series supports up to 50 hours of audio playback (MP3 files at 128Kbps) and 10 hours of supported video playback (WMV at 384Kbps).
Sony's also touting its SenseMe technology, which the company says can automatically categorize music tracks in a connected library into a variety of music channels and playlists. This comes wrapped in a new user interfaces with features like "Album Scroll" and "Scene Scroll", Sony says.
Other features include a "Bookmark Function" for creating playlists on the fly, Content Transfer Software for shuttling songs and videos from a PC or iTunes library, and audio support for MP3, WMA (DRM), AAC (non-DRM), and linear PCM, and WMV videos (DRM).
Look for the E Series to ship next month with three different color options, including red, blue, and black. The 4GB version will run $70, or just $10 more for the 8GB version.
Had things gone a little differently, we might be talking about Pandora in the past tense, as in the online music service that used to serve up streaming songs before it went belly up. Instead, the future's finally starting to look bright for Pandora.
"In the last year, I feel like we've finally cracked the nut on how to effectively monetize a streaming radio service," says Pandora founder Tim Westergren. "Out intention is to build a radio business that looks a lot like the traditional radio business, with a scalable mechanism for selling national and local advertising so we can do everything from big, branded national campaigns to local pizza joint specials. They can be delivered as graphic ads, as audio ads, as video ads. We're pitching big ad agencies who have historically bought broadcast radio and pitching them to shift that money to the Web."
That's quite the turnaround for Pandora, which is about to record 60 million register users and posted its first profitable quarter at the end of 2009. Prior to that, Pandora looked like it wouldn't be in this for the long haul, and at one point it even asked its employees to work without pay for nearly two years. Contrast that with the hiring of 70 more workers last year, with plans to add 70 more this year.
A whole lot more on the current state of Pandora (and where it's headed) right here.
Now that the initial frenzy over Apple's iPhone 4 has started to subside, tech chatter has turned to the next-gen iPod Touch. As the rumor goes, the updated iPod will come with a front-facing 5MP camera that's able to shoot HD video at 720p. But is the rumor accurate?
"John Lewis has just spilled the new specs at its Xmas in July event in central London," writes Electricpig.co.uk. "This is all speculation but John Lewis is one of Britain's biggest retailers so its sources are likely to be pretty savvy."
If they're as savvy as all the ones who predicted LeBron James would go to Miami last night, then you can take the retailer's predictions to the bank. In addition to an HD camera, John Lewis says the upcoming iPod will come with YouTube uploading, an accelerometer and gyroscope, and FaceTime with calls over Wi-Fi, which suggests a front-facing camera too.
Are you ready to rock? I should hope so. I'm giving your hands a rest and your ears a workout this week, for none of the apps in the ol' "freeware roundup" this time around are actually downloadable. That's right. Zero. After you read this, you will spend the course of your week installing absolutely nothing.
So what, then, am I profiling in this roundup? Dust? Nope. Rock. Every single Web app in this collection is specifically geared toward an audio pursuit of some kind. I'll show you apps you can use--through the comfort of whatever browser you'd like--to both create music and find new music to jam to. If you want to go worldly, I'll show you how to find the latest music streams from all over the world.
That's not all, however, for not everything audio-related has to involve music. The other two cool Web apps in this week's roundup center on audio usability. One lets you edit files online as if you were rocking an offline audio editor, and the other lets you craft up a message to your friends that will be read by one of those lovely, synthetic computer voices we've all come to know and love.
So that's that. It's audio week in the Freeware Files--even though you won't have to download a single executable to reap the benefits of these awesome finds!
When News Corp bought MySpace back in 2005, it couldn't have predicted the social network's current plight. Once the most popular social networking site, MySpace is now an eyesore in News Corp's portfolio. Just as rumors and denials of a possible sale abound, talk of MySpace Music, a hitherto free music service, switching to a paid model is picking up.
According to a Cnet report, quoting an unnamed source, MySpace Music execs are considering a subscription-based revenue model and have already discussed the idea with major labels. The ad-backed service is said to be reeling under the weight of streaming royalties and haemorrhaging money at an alarming pace.
Courtney Holt, MySpace Music president, was quick to rubbish such rumors when contacted by Cnet. "We're always exploring new monetization opportunities, but have no plans to change our current service which includes streaming free music," Holt said.
A company called Software Development Solutions (SDS) announced the launch of Jamcast on Tuesday, which promises effortless streaming of your music collection from your PC to any network connected source, including your Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles.
The magic happens with Jamcast's Virtual Soundcard, a software module capable of capturing any audio playing on a PC and then transmitting it over a wireless network to DLNA and UPnP-compliant devices. This not only includes other PCs and gaming devices, but smartphones, HDTVs, media adapters, home theater components, and more.
"Jamcast has really caught the attention of consumers looking to enjoy their favorite music from popular streaming services like Pandora and Spotify away from their PC, in the living room or elsewhere," said SDS CEO Scott Streaker. "Jamcast's Virtual Soundcard makes this easy when no solution from the device manufacturer or content provider is otherwise available," he added.
A wide range of media is supported, including MP3, FLAC, OGG, ALAC, AAC, WMA, WMA Lossless, WMA Pro, WMA Voice, WAV, AIFF, SHN, and PCM. There's also Playlist support for iTunes libraries, Windows Media (WPL), PLS, and M3U.
Intrigued? There's a 14-day free trial available, after which time you'll need to shell out $30 for a full license.