Posts tagged ‘iPod’

February 19, 2009

“You like Joy Division, try this sleeping bag.”

I don’t illegally download. While most musicians make most of their money from touring and merch, they still make some percentage of money from album sales. Many of the musicians I listen to sell albums in the ten or hundred thousands, not millions. I have copied CDs from friends and when I borrowed them from the library. But, at some point those CDs were paid for. I have friends who are professional musicians or are in bands. It matters to me.

I also have that attachment to physical CDs. The act of going to a store, browsing through the racks, finding what you’re looking for or something you didn’t know you were looking for but are so happy you found. I worked at Borders in the music section, and I loved it for that reason and more. You feel like you’re part of a community. I love the act of opening a CD for the first time and looking thorough the booklet. I’ve learned so much from reading the linear notes. I enjoy seeing much the artist is involved in the recording process, the other artists they’ve worked with, and reading the lyrics.

But, as you know, times have changed. The CD as a medium is slowly dying. I own well over a thousand CDs. I’d say I currently own 1,300 – 1,400. They take up a lot of room in my small apartment. In order to continuously buy CDs, I’ve had to sell CDs, both on eBay and at used CD stores. I’ve likely sold at least 500 CDs. The benefit of downloading music instead of buying the physical CD is obvious here. Personally, I use iTunes. I own a Macbook, and an iPod, so it obviously integrates. Carrying all your music in a Mac or your iPod, one small device, is also simpler and more convenient. I’ve found I interact more with the actual music now that it is in MP3 format. iTunes does recommend other music I might like, but obviously that isn’t quite the same as browsing at a store.

So, this is part of my dilemma. The intangible feelings I get from CD buying, versus the simplicity of downloading MP3s. With Lily Allen’s new album, I downloaded it. The CD version offered no incentive, while iTunes offered two extra tracks. With Morrissey’s new album, I bought the CD because the cover is amazing, and the special edition came with a DVD interview, two live performances, and music video. I also bought the CD version of the Dark Was The Night collection, because the record store had it $2 cheaper than iTunes. But, usually, iTunes is cheaper or at least equal to the CD copies.

Recently I wondered how much more or less the artist makes from download versus CD sales. It really matters to me that artists are making money. And, who better than David Byrne to answer that question. I tripped over this article he wrote on this issue. In it he also discusses why people download versus buying the CD, and the different models of record company/artist relations. It’s a well-written, engaging, and informative article by someone who has seen every side of the music industry first hand. Furthermore, it features 90 minutes of audio conversations he had with other knowledgeable people from the industry: Brian Eno, the cofounder of Merge Records, Aimee Mann’s manager, and Radiohead’s managers. All recommended listening, especially due to Byrne stepping back and letting these people talk.

To answer the question, Byrne states that from a $15.99 CD an artist gets $1.60, while from a $9.99 download an artist gets $1.40. iTunes takes a 30% cut, but the real problem is that record companies have not adjusted for the lack of overhead cost in MP3 downloading. It’s suggested that as contracts are renegotiated in the future, this will change. I did a little more research, and apparently according to this article the service is even worse for artists. I’ll likely continue with my case-by-case decision making when it comes to the CD/download debate, and eventually it’ll likely tip towards downloading.

*The entry title is a quote from David Byrne during one of the conversations.

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November 21, 2008

Two Interesting Articles.

First, an article from Pitchfork about the latest iTunes version which has the Genius feature. This feature looks at your music, sends that information to Apple, and Apple then makes music recommendations when you play any song and also enables iTunes to take a song and create a mix from that one song out of your collection. This article discusses how this leads to the categorization of us, the music listeners. I think it’s a very well written article, and has a genuine point. The internet sometimes tends to make us less social, less free. Gee, why talk to other people about what kind of new music to check out when Apple does it for us? This is why I still insist on making people mixes, even if maybe they don’t care for them. It’s my way of directly sharing with people new music they may not have heard. I’m being musically social with my friends. Furthermore, the article mentions how life, for some, is all about taking photos so you can post them on your Flickr or Facebook. Look at this insane picture the article links to. I’ve been to shows with people who just seem to take endless pictures. Even I have been victim to it a couple times, and then realized how stupid it is. It’s like my principle of never getting drunk at a concert. I want to experience the music and nothing but the music. I rarely take pictures in general unless I go somewhere special that I may never go to again, like San Diego. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon three times, and only during the first visit did I take pictures. I never bring a camera when I am hanging out with friends. I want to experience them in the moment, not them in picture form later sitting alone at my computer.

Second, here is an article from the Onion A.V. Club by the relatively well known writer Chuck Klosterman. It’s his review of the new Guns And Roses album, Chinese Democracy, which you can hear on Myspace. I have not listened to it yet, though I definitely plan on it. Apparently it’s being well received, which I am glad for. I always liked GnR, but I think it would be terrible if Axl Rose wasted all that time, effort, and money for a shitty album. Anyway, this article is so well written, and I really wish I had become a music writer when I read something like this.

June 25, 2006

iPod <3 Blue Oyster Cult

I have a job where I can listen to music. I type for 8 hours a day. It’s easiest to just put my iPod on shuffle rather then having to sit and figure out an album to play or whatever. I have currently 10,222 songs on my iPod. Out of this, there are two Blue Oyster Cult songs. Within 175 songs while on shuffle, my iPod played both of them. I thought this quite weird. I have three versions of “Wow And Flutter” by Stereolab, and it played two of them. I own one Billie Holiday double disc album, and it played two songs from it. So, I can’t help but wonder how the hell shuffle technology works. I did a search on google, and both Newsweek and the NY Times had articles on this subject of iPods having a “preference” or “mind of its own” to play “favorites”. Apple refused to explain their algorithm, but insist iPods are unable to have a mind of its own.

Anyway, I wonder if any one else’s iPod seem to “play favorites”?

October 14, 2005

Music is tied to weather.

Having my iPod, with its inherant instant indulgence, proves once and for all that during weather like this the music I listen to changes. Why, hello Siouxsie & The Banshees, Radiohead, R.E.M., Tori Amos, Wire, etc. It’s been awhile! How are things?

July 28, 2005

What does “Sean Radio” sound like?

Today while in my car I had my iPod on shuffle. This is, in order, what it played:

1. Future Sound Of London – Vit Drowning/Through Your Gills I Breathe
2. Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
3. Thomas Newman – Six Feet Under Main Theme (Rae & Christian Remix)
4. Doves – The Man Who Told Everything
5. Deep Dish – Morning Wood
6. The Postal Service – Recycled Air
7. Kittie – Brackish
8. Dr. Dre – Light Speed
9. Jem – Finally Woken
10. The Beatles – The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
11. Tricky – Hell Is Around The Corner
12. Elton John – Where To Now St. Peter?
13. Coldplay – God Put A Smile On Your Face
14. The Fiery Furnaces – Inca Rag/Name Game
15. R.E.M. – Radio Song
16. Pink Floyd – A Pillow Of Winds

Pretty cool, huh?

July 24, 2005

And everything changed.

Got my 60 gb iPod finally. I’m so happy.