Philly Through My Ear

The things I learn by talking with just a few people who know a lot!

I just learned about Philly Through My Ear, a creative, collaborative effort to bring together great jazz musicians, honor them, pay them, record what is still <em>great</em> music, and then give them a lottery ticket in the form of a CD that they are free to sell whereever and hoever they wish. Why, that sounds just like the fair share model I’m trying to promote in The Miraverse!

According to the wealth survey of the Wall Street Journal, there are now more than 10,000,000 millionaires in the world and 3.2 million living in the US alone. Why are they spending so much on mere stuff that’s polluting the environment and not much on transcendent experiences that can be made in carbon-neutral ways? I don’t know, but I do know that Will Smith Sr. (father of Will Smith Jr.) has his priorities in order, and his generosity expands far beyond just the support of his favorite living artists: it actually enriches the arts.

So a shout out to Will Smith Sr., and an invitation to those who are trying to decide how they might allocate their assets between things (that need space) and experiences (which can be carried always). And a prayer that my favorite living artists will have the creative and legal freedoms to create more musical descendents to fill us all their their genius.

Audio Clips of Rough Mixes

How cool is this?  A bunch of recording engineers sharing their works in progress so that they can learn and improve their craft.  (And maybe show off a little, too.)  This is one example of an organic version of what I hope to do when permission to share is granted.  As I explain in the thread:

While the Manifold Recording will certainly cater to high-end folks that want to lock it out and keep all the mixes and masters to themselves (until they release commercially), I’m also hoping that there are artists, engineers, and co-producers who are as interested in really developing not just an understanding of equipment and techniques, but creating works that are interesting and rewarding to others who try their hands at mixing and production. I detail that somewhat here the PROGRAMS section of the Manifold Recording website.

One particular technical challenge I have to address is the best way to tag all the data so that equipment chains can be easily annotated in the recording process and can be easily searched in a large (100TB) online archive.  As you can see from the thread, there are no standards as to the level of detail or the integrity of the data of these community-led efforts.  One idea is to use RFID to tag basically every piece of gear that can move (plus those that cannot) and then scan the chain from source to console and then attach each signal chain’s scan data to the respective track.  This will ensure that every device is scanned according to its canonical identifier.

Will this catch on?  I certainly hope so!

What is music worth?

I’m very behind on my blog postings, so don’t worry—you’re not reading my postings out of order. In October of this year, Radiohead put their album In Rainbows up for sale at whatever price you’re willing to pay. There was quite a flurry in the blogosphere, particularly from techcrunch.com, which argued that the pricing trend of commercial music is headed inevitably to absolute zero.

I had two thoughts about this. Continue reading “What is music worth?”

Putting a value on recorded music

I can’t change the fact that my paintings don’t sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture.
— Vincent Van Gogh (Attributed)

There was a time when digital media was not so cheap as to be essentially free.  In 1979 my father brought home a Cromemco Z2D with a 10MB winchester hard disk. I believe that computer cost $10,000, which was quite a lot back then. Three years later I got a summer job writing assembly code for a new Cromemco graphics board, and my goal for the summer was use my employee privileges to purchase a brand-new 50MB SCSI hard disk at cost: $5000. It was in that context that I first heard about the join SONY/Philips project to develop a 700MB CD-ROM for digial audio music.

Continue reading “Putting a value on recorded music”