I want to celebrate my birthday by giving away music. The piece I shall offer in our ListeningLounge – only from January 29th through February 4th – is a piece that came on the wings of… something. We had stopped recording and Jon was doing something in the control room. I started playing guitar and Rahim began to sing , well, here is a link to my Diary entry from the day after it happened.

I think this piece is an appropriate gift, because it was also a gift to us, in a way. Improvisations like this are the reason why I wanted to become a musician in the first place, to hunt for similar moments of spontaneous combustion.

Jon later added the beautiful bass intro.

Visit the LL on Thursday morning and feel free to tell your friends.

Related entry.

Journalism (and Radio and the Music Biz)

Discussion Piece: Why We Need a National Endowment for Journalism
So what’s the problem? Industry insiders blame the Internet for all of newspapers’ woes. But it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Here’s my basic take on what really happened: As control of papers and other news sources were consolidated and corporatized over the last decade, decision making was wrested away from editors and publishers who actually know and care about journalism, and into the hands of businessmen and boards of directors who brought the wisdom of the business world to newspapers… and promptly ran them into the ground.
(Via Worldchanging)

That’s exactly what happened to radio and the music biz. Record companies used to be owned and run by people who loved music, but once these companies became very successful they were bought by large corporations. Musicians and producers (e.g. Arif Mardin at Atlantic) gave way to the suits – business graduates, attorneys and CEOs. Owners gave way to presidents and CEOs who catered to stockholders and for whom it was most important to get the biggest four-year pay-off.

Suddenly, making a cool recording which then became an album and sold a ton of copies turned into maximizing profits and controlling the market.

Once radio stations became giant corporate entities, the accountants took over. After your company spent 115 million dollars on buying a radio station, you had to make sure the debt could be serviced… You couldn’t possibly trust the music director’s taste. You had to be sure. So you ordered research to help the music selection process. You found a company who sent employees to the mall with a stack of forms and a few CDs of music. They would ask people in the mall to listen to 20-30 seconds of any given song and to rate it on a scale… Meanwhile the Program Director jumped out of the window, maybe because he saw that radio had nothing to do with music anymore.

Something awful happened when record companies, radio stations and then newspapers became too corporate. I am all for making a profit, but should one start one’s day focused on profit? Shouldn’t we create music, broadcast music and print news because that’s what gets us excited and worked up?

I find there is a void, a gaping hole that cannot be replaced. A void where good DJs once played a meaningful set of music, combining songs I knew with strange and unfamiliar tunes – instead of merely reading the names of songs and artists, put together in advance by a computer program, from a screen. A void where people in the music business helped artists in their struggle for expression and where journalists were free to pursue news-items that might not be popular…

Maybe the void will get filled again, once these giant corporations go up in smoke.

Xiph.Org: QuickTime Component

Xiph.Org: QuickTime Components :: Downloads
OGG for Quicktime. Encode and playback OGG Vorbis with Quicktime and playback in iTunes.

Also see this:

Mozilla has given the Wikimedia Foundation a $100,000 grant intended to fund development of the Ogg container format and the Theora and Vorbis media codecs. These open media codecs are thought to be unencumbered by software patents, which means that they can be freely implemented and used without having to pay royalties or licensing fees to patent holders. This differentiates Ogg Theora from many other formats that are widely used today.

The Ogg development improvements will be coordinated by the Wikimedia Foundation.

I like OGG Vorbis, but iPods have by far the biggest share of the market and until Apple starts providing Vorbis playback on iPods (and I’m guessing Fraunhofer Institute, who hold the patents for mp3 compression, has something to do with Apple NOT offering Vorbis playback) there is no point in offering Vorbis files.

B for Barcelona

Very interesting and funny. My favorite moment: he shows a Bryan Ferry spread he designed using the dingbat font “because the interview was really really boring”