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I'm just curious here.

  • What has mp3 done for all of us?
  • What did Napster do for us?
  • Where is the business going?
    I don't know if you all realize this but there is ALOT! of music out there on mp3. I just finished a job with a large company, lots of staff.
    These people don't care about quality or how they're effecting the industry by supporting this. They download thousands of songs, keep them on their drive, play them all day long. Like what the hell! I asked them what they think about this and do they realize it's killing the business, however, they all said "ya but if we can get music for free", duh!
    They all didn't really care much about the sound quality.

    Napster's gone but there are others like them. I know it will change, it has too but, what do you think? So many of you have your music on

    Man I have a whack of song, but I'm sitting on them until I see something. Liquid looks cool and I think has the right idea but they don't seem to be going anywhere. Bob, you mentioned something about the majors coming up with something?


  • Topic Tags


    Ang1970 Fri, 11/02/2001 - 13:10

    I heard thru the grapevine that Sony really wants to push the DSD thing... but they're moving slow (presumably) to make sure there will be no snags (a la the DAT copy protection lobbying which ultimately caused the demise of that format). The word "feasibility" was used, but I'm not sure what it meant - if anything. Maybe just a nifty buzzword to get us off their backs? In any case, I would put $1 on that square just for the speculation of it. I'll bring my shovel to AES and see who else is on the table too.

    e-cue Fri, 11/02/2001 - 23:42

    As far as "What has MP3 done for us?", I'd say it's the greatest poor man's codec in the world. I love MP3'ing mixes to clients and while many people argue about the sound quality, it sure beats using a cassette like we used to do back in the day.

    anonymous Tue, 11/20/2001 - 14:59

    I thought of a couple positive things mp3's have contributed.

    1.Saves heaps of time(read money): I personally use mp3's pretty often to send mix, arangement or other ideas back and forth online. And an mp3 encoded at 320kbs sounds as good as a cheap cassette and approaching the quality of a high-end cassette...with less noise.

    2.There's lots of LEGAL mp3's out there: Bands from Arkansas to Zamabia can get their sound out there, even e-mail demos to prospective band-mates, producers, labels, etc.

    There's probably more, but I'm too lazy to dwell on it :)


    Bob Olhsson Tue, 11/20/2001 - 15:24

    The majors are using a format called Advanced Audio Coding which was developed as the successor to MP3 by the same people. It is about twice as efficient for a given level of quality and has copy protection as an integral part of its construction rather than as an afterthought "band-aid" that can easily be cracked.

    The Sony SACD is only just coming to market. The delay has been in replication capacity. Mass market titles need to be able to be ramped up on a dime as demand increases. This has only been possible for SACD in the past couple months.

    anonymous Wed, 11/21/2001 - 11:05

    in my opinion,

    the mourning of the industry about mp-3 and how it affects its business is unfair, childish and cheap!

    it is unfair because most people who are downloading ripped mp3's wouldn't buy the whole stuff if mp3 wouldn't exist, either because they don't have the money or simply wouldn't want to.
    it is also unfair considering what the industry has earned on cd's, tapes or any other media during the last 20-30 years-i still remember well that the ceo of sony music germany stated a few years ago how cheap cds are and that he could imagine them to cost 50 dm (~$25) in the near future!
    in this light, i don't see how it kills the music industry, apart from groups or "music" that is simply based on marketing hype, like britney spears or 80% of the other acts which are dominating the pop-charts, and which disappereance i wouldn't consider a loss, really!

    it is childish and cheap because the big companies don't have the customers in mind, but just their own existence which they see threatenend by mp3, also because artists are getting more independent from them, because it got easy to publish your own music (, and also because quality (in a musical sense!) does play a bigger role right now!
    the only answers those biggies know is trying to establish new forms of copyprotections which is totally senseless, because-like a hacker stated: "there's a key to every lock!", and sooner or later this key will be made public-there are enough wizards out there!
    the other answer is sueing companies like napster, and so trying to kill the "competition" instead of finding new ways of marketing to hold or even gain marketshare-but those exchanges are like the hydra from the ancient grek saga, if you cut off one head, 2 others will appear.
    also, exchanges like gnutella are decentralized and you can't sue them, because there is simply no one to sue.

    so in my opinion, the music industry is already in a major change, and the companies have to face the new competative situation with new answers instead of trying to kill it!
    strongly reduced prices of cds with enhanced booklets or other additional features would be one, the conquering of the new distributionchannels with consumerfriendly priced offers (for example, general fee of $25 for "all you can download"!)without any restraints be another.

    so my assesment of mp3 is very positive instead of negative!

    but just IMHO, of course!

    anonymous Wed, 11/21/2001 - 13:28

    According to whomever's lobbyist you listen to, mp3s are either mana from heaven or the very essence of evil incarnate.

    The Napster court case, the overt evilness of the [=""]RIAA[/]=""]RIAA[/] and the lack of major artist support for the fight against mp3 downloads proves that the whole industry (as well as the consumers themselves) are fed up with the current "eat what your fed" system of music distribution. What has soured the consumer relationship even more is the labels' [[url=http://="…"]handling of the issue.[/]="…"]handling of the issue.[/] (with a worrying sidenote of shoving [=""]standards[/]="…"]standards[/] down our throats)

    Even with the opinions and desires of the consumer and artist laid plainly for all to see (not to mention the slowness of the major labels' reaction to the danger of a mass, free mp3 market) it is an uphill battle to change the traditional mold of music commerce. There is too much money/power at stake. The squeeze can be felt by the slashing of artist royalties at [[url=http://=""][/]=""][/] last month.

    Above and beyond anything else; the term "MP3" is not about the sound quality, file size or compression method but has become a rally cry against the current purveyors of music. This, to me, is both drastic and amazing.

    To quote synergy in the post above...
    "but just IMHO, of course!"

    Bob Olhsson Thu, 11/22/2001 - 18:48

    FWIW I have friends who have seen the average sales of their new albums drop through the floor after appearing on Napster.

    The artist who used to be able to earn a living off of selling five to twenty thousand units a year through independent distribution is who has gotten reamed. The biggest thing wrong with Napster is that it erodes the middle-ground between selling off the bandstand and selling a few hundred thousand units using a half-million buck video. All of this talk about how it hasn't hurt anybody is a bunch of pure bull.

    The sad part is that often only the RIAA seems to be standing up for artists and composers' rights which is a downright pathetic situation.

    anonymous Fri, 11/23/2001 - 06:24

    how to NOT do it...
    (babelfish-translation of a german text, but nevertheless understandable, i guess...)

    Tiscali bases with Peter Gabriel on-line music rental business

    The Internet enterprise Tiscali does with Peter Gabriels to digital music selling OD2 together, in order to open to in the middle of Decembers a " interactive subscription service " for music in the Internet. As Tiscali indicates, the common service is to carry and on the technique of OD2 put " Tiscali Music Shop " for the names. Also videos want to take up the two partners to the liable to pay the costs supply. Among the Supportern of the service large music enterprises rank such as BMG, EMI, Telstar, Mushroom, Realworld record and Vìll. The service will start on English and Tiscalis native language Italian, is to be localized however gradually for the 15 European markets, in which the Italians are represented. The music supply is three-divided: As used there is the possibility of the normal Downloads, with which the music on CD can be burned and carried forward in the Player. The moreover the Music Shop wants to intersperse monthly music programs. The listener selects a program, for example a certain music direction, and receives once in the month a list of the Songs and video tie-clips. These may be able to be demonstrated he streamenderweise or beforehand on his computer load, where they are to expire however after 30 days. A third possibility represents the personal Playlist. There the music fan from the music repertoire of the Music Shop selects and arranges themselves from it a list, which is limited to a certain play length. Some Songs, which are offered over this channel, are to likewise run after 30 days. The Abo gives it according to the enterprises starting from seven euro in the month. Over credit card or Tiscalis of own NetCard, a type Internet Prepaid card is accounted for. So that the music cannot spread wildly in the Internet, Microsoft is to protect the pieces with its digitally Rights management for the WMA format. This protection already went around, the software company can adapt its procedures however relatively easily and remote controlled. As is the case for the free competition a comfortable Download manager is to facilitate music hamsters (cgl/c't)

    crazy_guitar Wed, 12/05/2001 - 10:51

    Limp Bizkit, is posting their entire new album for free on their website as mp3s (each week they post a new song). In this case I think mp3s are a good marketing move. many bands have done this before.

    Bob Olhsson Thu, 12/06/2001 - 19:17

    I think it's just fine for somebody to use sound files for their own promotion. My beef is with people who say an artist shouldn't have any choice in the matter.

    anonymous Mon, 12/10/2001 - 18:21

    Why isnt there an official napster type service? The market is there, by trying to make it go away they are just hurting artists. They need to establish a presence in the market by providing a service that is better, better because it respects artists copyrights and allows artists to better integrate multimedia into their work without having to worry what mtv thinks, or the clear channel, each artist having their own mtv.

    I am not an industry insider, but if I could cut out the whole process of manufacturing cd's as new technologies arise for the net to take that role I could just tour like crazy to spread the word and distribute music on the net pocketing all the money since I wouldnt owe a label jack shit. You could sell less, make more, maybe even turn it into a subscription based business model.
    Thats wishful thinking, I know, but I think eventually somebody will figure out how to pull this off.
    I mean people already pay subscription fee's to see dirty picture's, it could work for music too.

    audiokid Mon, 12/10/2001 - 19:05

    Well is that a breath of fresh air :w: I'll tell you...if we could turn RO into an engineers napster then my job would be done. Ha! wishful thinking but possible with the right minds.

    The support for RO becoming a sort of label/online audio network has been unbelievable!

    Just my little plug here and there hoping it will connect one day.

    anonymous Thu, 01/10/2002 - 18:48

    I couldn't agree with you more, Bob.

    One of my biggest problems with the whole MP3/Napster (and subsequent spinoffs) situation is that it takes control of the music away from the creator. Instead it is placed into the hands of someone who thinks "music should be free for everybody". Hey, go record your own album and then you can make your music "free for everybody". Our music, however, in a lot of cases pays our bills. Thank you, jackass.

    I will admit that it probably doesn't hurt some of the bigger bands out there that much (Metallica comes to mind), and some of the smaller bands willingly offer MP3s (of THIER music, which is fine), but it does indeed "erode the middle ground". Now more than ever bands either make money or they don't. There isn't a whole lot of middle ground. While there are people who make use of MP3s in perfectly legal ways (albiet at a lower SQ), but by and large, MP3s are traded and copied ilegally at a whim. IMHO at least a portion of the problem is lack of public awareness as to what exactly constitutes copyright infringment.

    I have some friends that say "I get it online because I don't think I should pay $13 for a CD to the "evil record labels", therefore it's good because I'm thwarting the evil-doers." As far as I'm concerned, trading MP3s with Napster like programs and otherwise is no better than going to a car dealership after hours and stealing a brand new BMW off the lot because you think they're charging too much for it. Yeah the labels may be "evil" in some people's eyes, but that doesn't justify stealing from the artists as well. It's the principle of the thing.

    Hurting artists hurts the entire music industry, which last time I checked, as engineers, also hurts us.

    I don't know if anyone out there agrees with me that if it ain't yours to give, dont F#$%ING give it!

    Just my two cents.


    anonymous Sun, 01/13/2002 - 15:30

    I certainly don't advocate theft of works, but it would be worth a look to determine why MP3's are so popular.

    1st, self labels aside, who makes the money from a CD sale? The major record labels. We, the people, were promised that the price of CDs would drop from their initial $15 price tag after technology improves. They didn't. Now they are coming close to $20.00. The artist isn't making but a small % of that. If CDs were $10.00, perhaps the MP3 market wouldn't have gone as far as it has.

    2nd, If I am not mistaken, the recording industry is making a "small fee" of each blank recordable CD. This is money on top of money that the artists don't get.

    3rd, Copy protection is never going to be popular. Any solution that someone comes up with that "looks" to the consumer that they will not be able to do with as they please, will not survive. I would look to the Original DivX from Circuit City's master mind. It was a horrible flop. Liquid Audio will probably not see any support from the public either. Any copy protection scheme can be broken by a bored 14 year old on a Sunday afternoon.

    I am not a successful musician. I am really trying to find my niche in the market. I would never want anyone to "Steal" my music. I would want to make the most from it. I feel that if the musicians and engineers were in charge, things would be different. It's the managers, and producers and major labels that dictate what we make and get in the "biz".

    I think the MP3 as an independent is a great thing. I have a few of my songs on and have had a whopping 61 plays to date.....But, that is more than I have ever had.


    anonymous Sun, 01/13/2002 - 16:30

    Just wanted to throw a couple of points into the pot here :p

    I've actually been buying MORE music since the advent of MP3, though I know I'm the exception not the rule. Previous to MP3 a friend would tell me about a cool new act, and IF I had the time I'd pop down to the music store and see if I could have a listen. Since MP3, I'll be talking on the phone and someone will recommend some new music......I'll be on to MacSatellite, download a couple tracks, and be listening to them before the phone call is even finished. If I like it, I keep it and add it to my "to buy" list, and if I don't, I trash it. The result is I've been hearing a lot more good music, and have been buying a lot more CDs!

    I don't know too many people that collect MP3s who have stopped paying for music altogether. Some people have, but these are the same freeloaders who would borrow their friends' music collections and tape them 10 years ago. Or even worse, tape the radio!!! To these people, the quality doesn't matter, and therefore they will probably never pay for music. It certainly isn't right, but there's not a lot that can be done about it.

    At best, MP3 is a great promotional tool for people like me that like to sample before they buy. At worst, it has cost some artists sales, and that's a VERY bad thing. The internet has had this type of effect on a lot of different industries - we just have to grasp the new technology and figure out how to make the advantages outweight the disadvantages.

    One last point: up here in Canada you will now pay as much as $25-$30 for a non-chart CD in a store like HMV or Virgin. I wholeheartedly support music, I make my living from it, and believe strongly in paying for my music. But $30 for one CD??? You must be fucking joking!!! Is it any wonder music sales are dropping??? I find it really hard to justify paying that much for less than an hours worth of music, knowing that the reason for it is that I'm paying for the 30 odd acts the record company signed that year that flopped!!!! Instead of signing the occasional act that they really believe in and nurturing them, they sign acts willy nilly (mostly stuff that sounds like another hot chart band), invest $200,000 + in them, and then drop them before the record is even released!!! Then the music buying public has to contend with ridiculous music prices. Not fair on the act, OR the consumer.

    That might sound off topic, but let me explain. Music sales have been dropping drastically for over 10 years now. At first, people suggested it was because of the advent of things like video games and videos etc, that people weren't as interested in music any more because of other forms or entertainment. What Napster has done is blow that theory all to hell, and shown us that there is still a MASSIVE interest in music as a form of entertainment. Maybe we just have to win back our share of the consumer's entertainment dollar by giving better value for money, by increasing the quality of our product (DVD-A, SACD.......5.1 music mixing, at a FAIR PRICE), and by paying more attention to the demands of the people who DO spend money on music. And how about doing something to give the consumer faith in new formats??? Why is there no music playing machine that supports both SACD and DVD-A??? Does anybody honestly think the general public is going to support another format war (when they now know from experience that the only loser in that kind of war is themselves)???

    I think it's really easy to blame the "crooks" who download music for dropping sales. In reality, maybe we need to look a little deeper into why something that is essentially a poor quality format could have such an impact on our industry.

    Be interested to see what you all think of what I've barked on about here!!! :roll:

    Steve Chahley

    osmuir Sun, 01/13/2002 - 21:51

    listening to mp3's right now as i type it...

    people who work for their living should be paid. people who fuck us for a living could do with a little less cash.

    i buy more records since mp3 came along. i listen to alot of indie music, and i like to pay the bands for it. i like the bands.


    however, alot of the bands i like put out CDs for $10 at their shows or on their label websites.


    mp3, and the whole digital music concept should do something for both the consumer and the artist.

    artist: make money
    consumer: convience and value.

    simple as that. what if every cd you bought came with a little encoding of all the songs on mp3 as well? no ripping needed. you paid for it.

    i don't want to waste time downloading music, and i doubt anyone does.

    is it wrong to believe that the mp3 thing could seperate the wheat from the chaff?

    i want labels to put out great sounding music that i am happy to pay for because it is so convient and good OR i'm gonna take it on mp3, listen to the singles sometimes, and then pop my rainer maria and modest mouse cd's for the umpteenth time.

    if we can find some way to get the labels to stop their piss poor buisness practices that make them piss on the consumer, good. i want good music economicaly.

    they put out crap expensively. will anyone argue this point.

    as my new mercenary audio shirt says "corperate rock still sucks, what are you gonna do about it?"


    osmuir Mon, 01/14/2002 - 21:52


    i went into a record store [newbury comics, for the MA kids] that tries to be cheap.

    cd's ON SALE for 13.88.

    i walked right the hell out.

    there were SEVERAL cds i wanted to get. i would probably have gotten 2 if they were $11 or so [i would DEFINATELY gotten them if they were $8, which is around what i think they should cost, $10 i can also deal with].

    but $14 for the SALE cds?

    regardless of my plans to "steal" the music via MP3 [it would be too much bother, FYI], the end result for the industry is they same:


    not even for my bloody valentine. i am a friggin engineer. listening to music is part of my job. those purchases are tax deductable. i have hundreds of CDs. so many that, upon seeing all of their cases, my father started bitching about how much money i had "WASTED" on music [he did, however, drop his objections to me as engineer hearing my cousin chris athens @ sterling now makes $300k + a year... ;) ].

    and i still didn't buy shit. i haven't bought a CD in a while. the last record i got i didn't even get the pleasure of going into the store for .


    i felt insulted, used, and other bad things. my industry, and i still didn't buy in...

    point: there is a damn good reason people are not buying music: it's not convient, and way way way way over priced.

    if it takes MP3s to fuck the system up, so be it.

    i want to make a living. but if i can't afford to buy a buttload of records, who cares?

    it is even more a principal thing. they lost out on $20 of sale for about $5 in price increase.

    so no more CD's for me for a while.

    fuck 'em?

    feelings kids?

    anonymous Tue, 01/15/2002 - 03:03

    mp3 was a learning showed us what amazing potential the net has for independant distribution. keeping the artist in direct contact with the audience.

    artists and their assistants must get paid to continue to make good music. free music is no answer.

    record company mega-corporations must be stripped of their excessively powerful grip over distribution and marketing.

    the net will take care of artists if we are diligent in our battle to keep the artists directly in contact with the audience.

    the majors will try to buy up the net and turn it into another controlled distribution channel. we can beat them to it, if we work hard to setup independant sites that offer convenience and quality music, legally. is a great example.

    it is in our best interest to help find a DRM solution that is open source and not controlled by any one corporation.

    anonymous Wed, 01/16/2002 - 02:27

    the balance between art and commerce should be just that... a balance. majors were started by gangsters and intimidators. the industry began that way and has grown in its unbridled power. they feed their own machine the way alcohol companies sell bud light... by shoving the images and sounds down our throats through the ad channels that they control...until finally we believe that we are receiving good piss-water and we are addicted.

    mp3 has opened our minds. it is the crack in the Matrix. it will take time for our minds to adjust.because they are so closed.

    from just the 12 notes in the western scale system...there are millions of possible melodies and harmonies. expressions of individual souls as unlimited as the human experience.

    how can you judge one expression good or bad?

    you can't. you have to give everyone a voice and a chance. those which resonate with the most people will find their own way to the masses...and those that are idiosyncratic and arbitrary will stay that way.
    Word of Mouth has never been as powerful as on the Net.

    look at it this many good expressions..songs that could change the world....get squashed by the current media factory because the VP of marketing doesn't believe they have a market? BS. someone wants to hear it, but commerce says no.

    VIVA mp3. VIVA freedom. VIVA indie.

    Thomas W. Bethel Wed, 11/09/2011 - 03:56

    Well illegal downloading has changed forever the landscape of the "music business". It had become the new "standard" of quality and many people never hear music on a good stereo system any more. It is all about earbuds and MP3 Players.

    The amount of "free" music has increased exponentially over the past couple of years and now almost any one under the age of 30 simply does not buy music anymore but instead steals it off the internet. I know people who have 20 to 30 thousand songs on their computers but have never paid a dime for any of it. It has changed the way my business works and I am sure it has changed the way a lot of people conduct their business.

    One might say that the MP3 is both a plus and a minus when it comes to music and getting access to that music. It has allowed new artist to post their music on the WWW for others to enjoy but it has also almost single handily bought the music industry to its knees with illegal downloading. A double edged sword if their ever was one.

    MadMax Wed, 11/09/2011 - 06:00

    A double edged sword if their ever was one, indeed!!

    During one of our songwriter's roundtable discussions earlier this year, one of the songwriters in attendance managed to get a distribution deal with WalMart and Border's. Part of his discussions led hm to meet with one of the few US Government copyright officials...

    According to him, she notified the artist that clearly 95% of the music that is downloaded on the internet is illegally downloaded... and the primary format is empty3's.

    Their compact size has lent itself to the illegal trade. When a song/songs are small enough to be emailed as attachments and/or the file size is small enough to allow "hoarding" of copyrighted material en mass, Pandora's box was opened.

    If file sizes were to have stayed in wav format, then there would have been less likelihood of the theft of copyrighted material. Convenience due to the file size is much to blame.

    The upside/downside is moot in reality... we have the format, it's definitely hurt artists and labels as far as income derived from recordings, but has ultimately meant that artists must perform live in order to maintain some sort of income stream. Which in itself, is not a bad thing... other than venue's and promoters are not willing to pay artists their worth for performances unless they are at least at a moderate level of popularity... which has been compounded by the narrowing of markets through consolidation of the broadcast airwaves and limiting access of exposure to the public.

    RemyRAD Wed, 11/09/2011 - 23:55

    Really I think everybody is being silly here. What has MP3 done? It done what it sppose to done, reduce file size for dial up. The quality is irrelevant. It serves a purpose like cassettes did. We get to know it's not professional and nobody else cares. Record labels? You really care about the record labels? Record labels are not passing out checks much anymore. What? You think all musicians and recording engineers are supposed to be rich and famous? Most over time have been dirt poor. I mean back in the day, we didn't even have to go out to buy milk. That's because it was delivered to your door. What did those guys think when the supermarket started carrying milk? Should we go back? What happened to lead in gasoline? We used to need it to make our cars work properly. Where's the lead in my solder?!? And will all of our alcoholic drinks become like those on Star Trek synthohol? Emulators? Aren't those just as bad? I mean impersonator, imitator is the same as emulator. Nothing original about that except that it's all fake. And we don't complain about that. I mean I really really miss my EMT 140 ST. And the only imitator you're going to get that sounds like that is going to cost as much as the original. So MP3 is great for its intended purpose. Thankfully, good mixes, still sound like good mixes, albeit with its own artifacts from the data reduction of MP3. But then a lot of us used to utilize 15 IPS instead of 30 IPS for various reasons. Did that make our productions unprofessional? I think not. If you can hear it or if you can see it, it can be copied. I don't care what kind of copy protection you build into it. That protection will just mean the dissemination of bad bootlegs. They were keeping us from copying our DVDs but now you can purchase BlueRay Discs that let you copy the movie to put on your computer, iPod, game console. What's with that? So while those companies were all bellyaching about this, now they're allowing it. How consistent is that? I don't anybody has anything to worry about with MP3. As technology improves, this too shall pass. It's not an issue, it's a tool.

    I have other tools I can play with these days
    Mx. Remy Ann David