Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft

You want some good news? The great classical music label Deutsche Grammophon appears to have put a very nice download store online.

Gizmodo says:
• First, their store is international. You can buy from anywhere in the planet with no stupid geographic limits.
• Second, they are not only publishing their current massive catalog, but reviving out-of-print recording as exclusive downloads. A hundred of them are available now and a thousand will be in the next weeks after launch.
• And finally, the music is all DRM-free (YES!) so it can play in the iPod, Zune or preferred MP3-compatible player.

Prices are $1.29 for a full track (that’s lots of music in the classical music world) to $11.99 for an album, which often come with PDF booklets covering the materials, like actual CD editions do. Unfortunately for classical music maniacs, the tracks encoded in MP3 format. Fortunately, they come beautifully encoded at 320kbps, so most people except Pear-cable buyers won’t be able to tell the difference.

Trust me, 320kbps encoded mp3s sound great. I would say ninetyfive out of a hundred listeners will not be able to tell the difference between that and an AIFF/WAV or FLAC file. Hm, maybe 98/100.

I checked out the DGG store and bought the Kite Runner soundtrack as I am a fan of Alberto Iglesias’ music. The buying process is painless and am now downloading a zipped folder containing the mp3 files.

In other music news:

Warner Music Profits Are Down
Warner Music actually did take a hard beating this past quarter, losing almost $7 million in profit versus last year’s—more than half, for a take of $5 million. While profits were down, digital sales shot up 25 percent to pull in $130 million, though that didn’t particularly mollify the industry-wide 14 percent plunge in CD sales this year.

EMI to Slash RIAA Funding
EMI, one of the “big four” record labels that feeds $132.3 million every year to trade groups such as the RIAA and IFPI, has decided that its money could be better spent elsewhere.

Wednesday Music

Regarding this posthere is a video – Thanks VH

Started the day by taking out the garbage.

Later a listen to the newest Lingua Franca master with Jon, followed by a meeting with Michael Motley, the designer of the CD package. Michael came up with a great cover and at noon we went to Brian’s for lunch. The conversation was all over the place, but I do remember this web site Michael mentioned: BUY (LESS) CRAP!.

That’s a great xmas tree.

In the afternoon I read this article and had to laugh out loud at the last paragraph:

I hate Tom Cruise, but see no reason why, in a movie, he shouldn’t play von Stauffenberg. Objections to that simply show how much emotion still surrounds the issue, especially among the German chattering classes.

Indeed. If it has juice, if it makes us emotional, then it might point to a shadow we have.

And regarding the biz of music, BoingBoing reports this:

On the 5th of October 2007, the Swiss law makers adopted a new law to comply with the WIPO treaties. Thanks to the entertainment lobbies, apart from criminalizing DRM circumvention devices, you can now win a one year visit in jail if you share a copyrighted file on a P2P network.

And this:

The Canadian government is about to bring down Canada’s version of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it promises to be the worst copyright law in the developed world. It will contain an “anti-circumvention” clause that prohibits breaking the locks off your music and movies in order to move them to new devices or watch them after the company that made them goes out of business — and it will follow the US’s disastrous lead with the DMCA in that there will be no exceptions to the ban on circumvention, not even for parody, fair dealing, time shifting, or other legal uses

I see both as more extreme measures, which in turn will make the file-sharers feel more righteous. There is a middle way. It is called CreativeCommons and here is a link to my 2005 interview with CC.

Guy Hands, the new boss of EMI, discovered waste and was congratulated by Robert Fripp:

Mr. Guy Hands of Terra Firma is to be congratulated on his acquisition of EMI. Perhaps. Majors have a diminishing role to play in the future of music-provision. No doubt this is the fault of the artists – only interested in garnering huge advances (which seems to be partly the view of Mr. Hands). The economic base of majors is copyright ownership of the work of others. They are exploitative, incompetent, failed to take a lead in the emerging digital music-world, have problems providing accurate accounting, and fail to honour responsibilities to others that they claim for themselves (eg RF/KC copyrights).
A good buy, EMI?
Goodbye, EMI.

That remids me… the licenses for “In the Arms of Love” and “The Santa Fe Sessions” will return to SSRI on February 24th, 2008.

And, this article on global warming…

Universal Music CEO

Universal Music CEO: Record industry can’t tell when geeks are lying to us about technology
“There’s no one in the record industry that’s a technologist,” Morris explains. “That’s a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn’t. They just didn’t know what to do. It’s like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?”
(Via BoingBoing)

It’s easy to make fun of a guy like this and I am sure the net will be abuzz with that. But the fact is that any industry, any business hit with a paradigm change like the one experinced by the music industry will take a long time to recover. Just imagine Google if advetising were to be outlawed…

Since the beginning of time, if you borrowed something from me, I didn’t have access to that until you brought it back. That is true for flintstones and hammers and iPods. Well, are there exceptions?

I can think of fire. If I lend you fire, give you a burning twig, my fire is still burning. Knowledge – if you ask me something and I give you an answer we now both have that knowledge. I think we won’t come up with many great examples, because it just is not the way things work out side the digital realm, is it?