Meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot:

This morning's BBC Breakfast did a short segment on "what it's like to be a young recording artist". They cut to a shot of $PFY at his computer, with a sound editor open, who plays us his most recent piece of sampled electronic beatz. It's reasonably pleasant, for that sort of thing — so okay, fair enough, he's at least moderately talented.

The voice over tells us how modern technology has made creating music much simpler for $PFY than it would have been in the past — he can do everything in the privacy of his mum's home that previously would have taken a recording studio and a lot of expensive machinery. But, the voice over continues, technology has its downsides too. For every track $PFY sells legally, a much larger proportion is illegally pirated, which cuts into his profits!

Of course, they're making the standard recording industry false assumption: that every person who has downloaded an illegal copy of this artist's work would have bought it if it weren't available illegally. This is patent bull-crap — people download things for a variety of reasons, not least of which is to have a decent listen to a track before they decide whether they want to purchase it. (This has been better argued by people smarter and more thorough than myself — with figures and everything — but my Google-Fu is failing me. Any links, anybody?)

I would have thought the real reason that $PFY is struggling to sell tracks would be staring everybody in the face. If every monkey with a computer and a lot of free time on their hands can do effectively the same thing as $PFY, it's going to be a lot harder for him to convince anybody that his efforts stand out in quality. It's a buyer's market, basically — it's less tempting for random internetters to buy one of his tracks when there are a hundred very similar MP3s being offered for free. It's much harder for him to get gigs when the organiser's nephew's roommate is offering their DJ skillz for the price of a case of beer. And it's hard for him to find agents when the pool of people jumping up and shouting "ME! ME! ME!" is pretty much the entire population of the UK. (Pardon my hyperbole).

And then there's the X-Factor effect, and what that's done to the public perception of what music is and how it is manufactured... but that's a different rant.

According to my desk calendar, audio recording is 150 years old today.

The oldest known audio recording was made not by Thomas Edison (as was once thought), but by one Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, using his phonoautograph.

Unfortunately there wasn't any way to play back the audio, which was a bit of a shortcoming. But thanks to physicists at Berkeley in 2008, we can now listen to what he recorded. Awesome.

Edit: alternative link

Wooooo! Rage at #1!

Edit: and now it's snowing! Best. Christmas. Ever.
I have nothing against the X-Factor — it's easily-watchable, throwaway reality television that can prove an amusing distraction for a while. However, I also believe that it has very little to do with real music, and dislike the hijacking of the Christmas number 1 spot by said TV show.

A lot of people feel likewise. They've set up a Facebook group to promote the idea of Rage Against the Machine's 'Killing in the Name' being number 1 at Christmas. Links to download the track are given on that page.

It's a bit of a silly protest, but I find it amusing, and will do my bit to help it along.
It seems to be doing quite well so far

A less silly aspect of the movement is the collection for Shelter that downloaders are urged to donate to. It's an appropriate charity for the Christmas season, and I'd urge a donation whether or not you're also downloading the Rage Against the Machine track. So far, they've raised ¬£37,648 — nice work!

Edit: Thanks to [ profile] bracknellexile for this: X-Factor – Killing in the Name Of (YouTube)

Edit 2: Tom Morello (of RATM) is donating his profits from the song to a charity that supports young musicians
spudtater: (Default)
( Aug. 31st, 2009 09:06 am)
First new discovery due to; the unexcitingly-named Milburn. Imagine The Arctic Monkeys if they actually had talent. Yes, I know it's a stretch.

Sod's law: they've split up now. Ah well.
spudtater: (Default)
( Aug. 29th, 2009 06:41 pm)
Due to the radio at work deciding that it wanted to play ABBA at me, I have finally signed up to It's pretty neat, although how it operates from a legal standpoint still confuses me. I think I need somebody to explain it to me. With diagrams.

Also, I am slightly worried by its choice of songs. On Friday, the day when the Jaycee Lee Dugard story made worldwide headlines, it decided to play Solitary Confinement by The Members, followed by Dirt Room by Blue October.

So I decided to cancel random play and just listen to some Franz Ferdinand. I was listening to This Fire, when the fire alarm went off.

spudtater: (Default)
( Jun. 12th, 2009 11:15 pm)
I believe it was [personal profile] tehblahhh who was expressing disbelief that there was such an instrument as a "hurdy gurdy". I insisted that it did exist, and that it was some sort of crank-operated device, although I couldn't give any more details.

Well, this is a hurdy gurdy, and it's really quite a lovely instrument. An odd mixture of the mechanical and the organic, with a haunting, mournful tone.

(More hurdy gurdy: One with a 'buzzing bridge' for rhythm. One played with crazy-fast fingers.)

Apparently it was all the rage in medieval times, and then all but died out. What other instruments have been forgotten by history?
spudtater: (Default)
( May. 25th, 2008 11:58 am)
This is No Good. I cannot program to Dream Theater. The screen is moving up and down and up and down and up and down. And there is hair in the way.
spudtater: (Default)
( Feb. 24th, 2008 12:08 pm)
If anybody hasn't seen Juno yet, I can highly recommend it. (Yes, you've probably heard the same thing from everybody else...)

Have, on [ profile] galaxy_girl00's request, also acquired the soundtrack. Strange. About half of the songs are annoyingly quirky and upbeat, to the extent I keep expecting them to turn into a mobile phone advert. But the other half are excellent.

Must acquire more Belle & Sebastian...
spudtater: (Default)
( Dec. 15th, 2007 12:39 am) are doing a "What if band names were taken literally" challenge. (Warning: crude humor, slightly nsfw, etc.)

Six of the best... )
spudtater: (Default)
( Nov. 8th, 2007 09:27 am)
Thanks very much. Ever since seeing Paul Tibbets' obituary the other day, I haven't been able to get the song Enola Gay out of my head...

I should really be working
spudtater: (Default)
( Oct. 26th, 2007 08:08 pm)
[ profile] spudtater presents: Scenes From The Future™

Today: Amy Winehouse reaches middle age.

"They tried to make me switch to decaff, I said no, no, no..."
spudtater: (Default)
( Oct. 24th, 2007 05:59 pm)
is Primal Scream v2.0
spudtater: (Default)
( Oct. 18th, 2007 06:16 pm)
Those adverts on TV for Newton Faulkner's Hand Built by Robots (excellent name for an album, by the way) have prompted me to download some Massive Attack.

Which reminds me of how amazingly freaky this music video is. (For Teardrop).

Was listening to teh Beatles today, when something occurred to me: how many songs are there which contain sections of repeated "You say X, I say Y" lyrics? Can think of three just off the top of my head:

  1. The Beatles — Hello Goodbye
  2. Fred Astaire — Let'S Call The Whole Thing Off
  3. Queen — Bicycle Race

Anybody else got any examples, well known or not? Does this pattern appear in any traditional songs? What's the earliest example that you can think of?

spudtater: (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2006 06:41 pm)
[ profile] galaxy_girl00's mate's brother's in a band. It's called Toyshelf, and it hails from that famous wellspring of rock 'n roll, North Yorkshire. I've just been listening to a couple of their mp3s, which they're very kindly offering over teh intarweb:

I like.

Also... )
spudtater: (Default)
( Sep. 23rd, 2004 02:32 pm)
Mp3 meme. (from [ profile] deralte).

Turn on your mp3 player. Whatever song comes up next, go to and send it to me:; remove the mock fish product before sending.
Send me anything. Anything at all.


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