Saturday, May 31, 2008

A good torrent client to download and use is utorrent. There are various torrent search sites that you can use to find the music but I find just typing in the name of the band with the word 'torrent' in google usually gets me to screens with enough options. You have to install the torrent client first before the downloads will work and they tend to be a little slower to start than limewire but you can set up a bunch of them, leave the computer on and they'll eventually all download. Unlike limewire or other file sharing programs, you have to wait until the download is 100% complete....if it craps out, those song files you see on your computer are only partial files and won't be playable (unless incoherent mixed up versions of your favourite songs do it for you). Hope this helps.
Hi Mike, a number of us over here have been downloading (illegally) using "bit torrent", which enables you to grab full albums, and often full discographies of artists, with relative ease.   Honestly, I'm pretty surprised that a web savvy guy like you is hearing this from a webmoron like myself.

Basically to use bit torrent you have to download some bit torrent software into your PC, of which there are numerous available 0n the web (I use one called bit lord), and then visit one or more of the plethora of download sites (again, many many available, I tend to use isohunt, torrentz - which is a compendium of a bunch of sites), and start finding music.  You'll figure it out in about ten minutes max.

I've been using the sites for a couple of years, after Derek let me know about it, and it has kind of changed my life in terms of finding old music.  Personally I don't use it for new music but everyone has different degrees of morality about these things, and I would never suggest that mine is right or wrong.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thanks Kyle. Disappointing, but not surprising. Let me turn to the group here for advice. What I'm trying to do is go all-digital with my music. I just put hardwood flooring in my living room, so I had to move all the furniture out. At the moment, that includes a TV with surround sound system as well as a stereo with CD, cassette, tuner, amp and speakers. It seems wasteful to have 2 different amps and speakers in the same room - and the CDs and tapes take up a ton of space as well. So I bought a Squeezebox Duet, which allows me to stream music from my computer through the surround sound system, and I can avoid putting the CDs, tapes and stereo back in the room. I'm almost finished ripping all of my CDs, but I don't want to try to capture my 500 or so tapes - the sound would not be as good, and the process would be prohibitively manual and clumsy. Since I already have all of this music on tape, I don't have any ethical problem downloading it for free if I can find it, but a quick test with Limewire makes me leery - it seems quite difficult to find entire albums, and even in my brief test I downloaded 2 viruses. That's why I was excited to find a site that sells songs for 15 cents each, but I'm now leery of that option as well. Any suggestions?



Thursday, May 29, 2008

re: soudike....this appears to be one of many russian mp3 websites that are able to sell music so low because they're not really legit, in the sense that none of the money they rake in goes to the artists. i've never used any of these sites myself, mostly for fears of what could be done to my credit card but i do have a friend who has used sites like these in the past and she hasn't had any problems with overcharging or fraud. here's a review of soudike at mp3victim, a site which reviews these types of mp3 sites. they're recommending avoidance, given the lack of email response from the customer service department. hope this helps.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Do any of you have any experience with I stumbled across it today. It seems to be a commerical site for buying and downloading music at very reasonable rates. For example, here is Sgt. Pepper for $1.56 or $0.15 per song. It appears to be mp3 format at a bitrate of 320 (which is reasonably good quality, I think). They seem to have a relatively extensive catalog - more targetted at the mainstream than

My "if it seems to good to be true then it probably is" sense is tingling. Anybody have any information about the service?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Going back to the discussion abotu the changes in the music industry, I recently read an article that had a different take on the record company woes (actually it was an ebook, and a very interesting one, I thought. It's free, and you can get it here). It said that the real reason the record companies are struggling isn't the loss of sales to downloading, but rather the increased competition due to the disappearance of scarcity. The basic argument is that under the old business model, there was limited shelf space and so consumers had a limited range of choice when it came to spending their music budget. On the Internet, however, no such scarcity exists. So the field of choices for consumers is expanding exponentially, including not only the traditional major label stuff, but also the entire historical catelog of major label stuff as well as a huge array of indepent label material. On the web, it is never necessary to take something off the shelf to make room for something else. So the big releases by the major lables will still sell well, but they are now competing with a much larger selection of current and historical choices, and so their sales naturally decline. I'm about half way through this book, and I'm finding it extremely interesting, and full of cool websites that I should probably have already known about. It's just one more of an increasing number of things that make me feel old!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I finally had time to read that article "the soundtracking of America" and I agree in general with most of the criticism raised by you all, although I think if there was an effective means of communicating with Afica and Asia from Europe in Beethovens era, i am sure there would not have been cross fertilization of ideas... It would likely just have been the Europeans force feeding their own culture to the they still try to do today..

His main thrust for me is interesting....- music creates moods and induces merely feelings and emotions, rather then intellectual substance..( at least thats his gist)...he then goes on to argue that even here, music fails .... " we recognise that music claims to unleash emotion at its most primitive, (but) we understand it never will", which in turn has created the rise of irony or "musical ironists" of us all....

1) I agree with most of the first point, in that music of itself , though it can contain intellectual musical thought and ideas, there is no purely non musical intellectual thought dirctly given, ...much like his chess analagy.
2) Most of us can easily dismiss his second theme about it failing to unleash emotion at its most primitive form... Personally , I have been emotionally wiped after seeing a concert such as Arcade Fire at Lees is a trancendental primal experience, not to mention musics emotive power in the bedroom, particularly in ones younger years....Clearly Bottum needs to be on the bottom more often.....ok that was bad....

However my beef is this:
If music is emotive rather then intellectual, that does not mean the two things are unrelated...
I think Bottum misses the whole point which is that music, like good film, like good literature supports intellectual thought. It is not in competition with it!

Anne Michaels novel Fuitive Pieces gives insight into todays situation in the middle east that makes literature just as essential a component in the intellectual developement of a perspective on that topic as a non fiction book provides.. Intellectual thought is developed through multiple means and literature and music and film are just some of them...
Who hasen't pondered the death of a friend without music putting you in the right frame of mind to think about mans realtionship to earth, religion , atheism, existentialism, etc... The music is perhaps only a soundtrack to intellectual thought, but without it would the big questions be raised to the surface so effectively? Its support role cannot be underestimated....

He is correct in that lesser music can make us imagine that we must be "having a deep thought because we feel it so". I put this under the guilty pleasure songs that I like... Not all music is significant, some is bubble gum no doubt....but he misses Alan Bloom's (The Closing Of The American Mind) point when he dismissively states that " it turned out to be only rock music that Bloom objected too...he even ended up mildly praising the effects of classical music")

Bloom's point was that a lot of pop music is mindless yet still capable of emotionally moving people easily easily that it leads to a lack of drive for intellectual learning...but some music he correctly notes can be helpfull towards supporting intellectual thought, ie I read it as dont through out the baby with the bathwater...( I read the book decades ago so apologies to Bloom for bastardising his treatise to one badly written sentence, but I thing I have the essence of it.
Bloom is also of a generation that the concept of substantive pop music is beyond him)

Bottums' complaint regarding song lyrics has some merit but again he throws the baby out with the bathwater ...One only needs to hear The Band Played Waltzing Matilda once to get the ESSENCE of the tragic event....Reading newspaper accounts cannot get this close to the event, and hearing it, ( even almost a century after the event occurred, you are immediately there with the troops) , certainly affects ones intellectual position on war and human nature....

Finally I would say that although he raises an intersting topic, he is certainly not thorough and convincing . At one point Bottum states that " music stands fairly low on the traditional list of devices by which we try to understand human experience" who's list is that???? To start an argument with such unsubstantialed bunk is weak at best....

Friday, May 02, 2008

ouch! still smarting from the smackdown, bri, so i put together one of those muxtapes from the site derek discovered. hope you enjoy. i imagine the site will be taken down in days for copyright infringement but enjoy for now.
Kyle, poppycock, hoohaa, and jiminy crickets. Moreover, harumph.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Myopic goof? Oh, snap! That J. Bottum just got served!

My take? Well, I found the first half of the article pretty compelling, largely because I'm more easily bothered by crappy pop music that I can't escape. I can't visit a movie theatre without bringing along an ipod to drown out the treacle foisted on the pre-screening captive audience.

Yes, he was a little selective in his choice of lyrics, Mike, but aren't compelling lyrics in music more the exception than the rule? While we could probably point out countless examples on the good and bad side of the equation, wouldn't you concede that really good lyrics in music are more of a rarity than the norm?

Agree w/ you both that ultimately I didn't think he proved his thesis that music is a secondary art. It's decadent? Irony is expressed? Shocking! So is most contemporary visual art, film, and literature. His conclusions are weak but I did enjoy some of the tangents, particularly the passage describing the 8-year old alternating between different versions of 'Ob-la-di Ob-la-da'.

As for your 30 emusic track suggestions, Brian, I notice that My Morning Jacket's last two discs are now finally available on emusic. Given our discussion on Friday and Derek's glowing reviews of same, which seem to become more pronounced with every listen, or at least every beer, I'd say they're a solid use of your downloads. I'm still not quite over the fact that I failed to use my last 20 downloads before they refreshed yesterday, thus costing me at least three to five jazz albums, or 3/4 of an Apples in Stereo disc. Arrgh!
I was going to write my impression of the article as well, but Mike, you have summed it up damned well. While some of his points were well made, and did prompt introspection on my part on the nature and role of music, the overriding theme, not to mention the didactic tone in creating very tenuous conclusions, were bloody annoying. The man is a myopic goof. The history and importance of music cannot be summed up by comparing Beethoven (the way he is thought of today) to Kurt Cobain....the article moved quickly from the provocative to the puerile. Kyle, your thoughts?

So I have 30 songs left in my monthly e-music batch, and would welcome some suggestions.