solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

I’ve been thinking more about Google/YouTube’s new music streaming service terms – the ones that require your whole library, that require 320bps source, that require five year terms, and so on. I wrote about it last week, talking about how Google is letting the old labels dictate away crowdfunding rewards and the like.

But I’ve been doing more thinking since that. It’s been churning in my brain. And I’ve realised the five-year term, the 320bps requirement, and whole library thing have a combined intent.

And that intent is to take away literally every last music sale you might make. As in, every last music sale.

It’s not presented as such, of course. I think they want artists to think of it as radio that pays. But two of the big streaming service problems have been 1. quality (smaller concern) and 2. stability of material (huge concern). All the television streaming services, for example, have been plagued by shows getting yanked on and off and moving around. Customers find that annoying.

Meanwhile, you have the label involvement, discussed before. They were, from all reports, pretty tightly into this new set of terms. And one of the big problems for the labels the last several years has been the rise of indie artists. The crowdfunding/long-tail model has given indie artists something more to live on, ways to make money outside of the label ecosystem.

This solves both sets of “problems.” Think about it:

Google will have everything you do for five years, listen-anytime, at functionally CD quality. They’ll have everything, and they’ll have it first, at optimal quality. What’s that mean?

It means Google/YouTube Music service members will have no reason to buy any goddamn thing from any artist which is on the service. No more early-access advantages to entice crowdfunding backers. No more deep tracks on albums to discover. No more alt-takes, no more remixes, no more mailing-list exclusives – Google will have it all. Not exclusively, of course! But they’ll have it.

If I’m reading this right, then even if you hold out on them – you don’t upload some tracks, in violation of the agreement – if and when somebody else does, and they identify it as yours, they’ll add it to the service automatically. Tell me I’m wrong (even though I’m not) because that’s what this sounds like:

So even if you don’t explicitly deliver us every single song in your catalog if we have assets and they are fingerprinted by content ID to contain that music then it will be included to the subscription service…
        — Zoë Keating’s Google rep., in conversation with Zoë

Which means there’s no more reason to buy anything from you. No reason for anyone to deal with you at all.

Five years is a long time. There will be no long tail – at least, not for you. It’s all going to them. Five years is also plenty long enough to keep you locked in once you figure all this out. And five years is more than long enough to try to make this the new standard.

That’s the point of this whole contract. To take everything else away, and thereby, to reinstate a kind of 1971, one managed by making both unlimited internet distribution and piracy completely irrelevant.

I have to say – it’s brilliant. It end-runs around the post-scarcity environment entirely, by co-opting it. The pirates and illegal uploaders will make sure your entire catalogue is up there, even if you hold out, and it’ll be included whether you like it or not – it’s genius!

Meanwhile, they’re “giving the music away” so you can’t make any money on it, stopping you from being able to reward patrons and backers so you can’t make any money there either, and tossing you a sharecropper’s pittance in ad revenue as a reward. And even that is a pittance you can never hope to make on your own. You don’t – and can’t – have the numbers.

It’s a plan that takes away the entire internet/indie route as they understand it. It’s to make them – both the old labels and Google, in alliance – the only viable path. It’s a plan to make it so that once again, you have to go through them.

And we all know what that has always meant, don’t we?

Run. Run like hell.

Additional Reading:

  • #WeBelieveTheCellist

    This is Part Eleven of Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, a series of essays about, well, what it says on the tin. In the digital era, duplication is essentially free and there are no natural supply constraints which support scarcity, and therefore, prices. What the hell does a recording musician do then?

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
    Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

    solarbird: (molly-tired)

    A bunch of plug-in upgrades (not particularly wanted) that came in with some security updates (entirely wanted) may have hosed my digital audio workstation. I have earlier – and recent – whole-disk images I could revert to, but… that would be a lot of work to unwind.

    Some days make me miss editing magnetic tape with razor blades. Not many days. But some.

    I’ll be debugging all day, I suspect. Here, have a flower picture I took on Friday.


    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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    solarbird: (molly-kill-everyone-with-sticks)

    James Nicoll pointed to this post on Scripting News, wherein the author tells a story about a guy he hired who didn’t do any work, had to be fired, then sued on the basis of discrimination, all back in 1985. The author lays out this gem:

    [E]very time a company hires someone who is not a young male, they run the risk that the new hire isn’t there to work, rather is there to scam you.

    …and proceeds to deny that he’s advocating only hiring young white men. (The white part comes in later, in comments.)

    Here’s my reply, in case it doesn’t get unscreened:

    The statement that you made very much advocates hiring only young males, whether you want it to or not.

”[E]very time a company hires someone who is not a young male, they run the risk that the new hire isn’t there to work, rather is there to scam you.”

    The meaning of the sentence is that people who aren’t young men might just be scamming you, and that young males, by exception, are not out to scam you.

Young women need not apply: might be out to scam you! Anyone over whatever your definition of “young” age is need not apply: might be out to scam you! Risky! Young men, by contrast: not part of the problem; not out to scam you.

    What do you think this advocates?

    And yes, there is an implicit whiteness in this, by virtue of the point of “Roy” using civil rights laws to sue you. C.f. all the people in comments picking it up, and comments already made that “this scam only works because of protected classes.” You may not want to own that, but you put it out there.

The underlying assertion, of course, is bullshit. I’ve seen exactly this work behaviour out of your “young males” more than once. When I was at Microsoft in particular, I saw this a couple of times, and how your “young men” had to be so carefully nudged out the door to prevent them from being able to sue either. I saw your “young males” doing it when I was doing research in academia. It was project-destroying.

    But that’s not part of your story, now, is it?

    Stories matter. We tell stories for reasons, and we pick stories we think have meaning, and meaning we want to communicate. And yours, here, communicates certain things very clearly – whether you want to admit it or not.

    My only regret is failing to mention that exactly this thinking is exactly how Bitcoin’s Reddit forum had posted in their FAQ not to do business with people identifying as women online, because it was probably a scam.

    Awfully similar language, don’t you think?

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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    solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

    Finally – finally – back to recording and doing some music; Sunnie’s in today for what should be a pretty short session. Also, I did some comping work last night, after the latest round of carpet cleaning. (I’m about to admit surrender and call professionals in early on the sealed-off areas of the Lair. And I thought supervillainy was evil!)

    I’m going to PAX this weekend. I have unpleasantly mixed feelings about that, partly because of Gabe’s assholishness, and partly because of the whole long-term ramp-up in misogyny in gamers, which really pisses me off. But the way I look at it is this:

    I was here first, you fuckers.

    And I’m not yielding this ground. Not nearly that easily. So I’m going, because of All That, because Fuck You, No, I Was Here First, and I have the artefacts to prove it.

    And hopefully I can forget all that and have a good time, because I’m sick of everything having to be a political act of defiance.

    Well, that escalated quickly. I’m planning some shows, too, btw, but can’t talk about them yet. How’s your Wednesday?

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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    solarbird: (face-of-moe)

    I keep trying to see this bat’leth bagpipe and not think “keytar: the next generation.” And it’s not, it’s a generalised midi controller, and acts more like a guitar than a keyboard.

    But as much as they try to differentiate it from the keytaur, all I can think is KEYTAR KEYTAR KEYTAR.

    Or, you know, bat’leth bagpipe

    I still want to play with one tho’. If it’s actually any good, there should be entire bands made up of Klingons playing it in shows at conventions.


    bat’leth bat’leth bat’leth bat’leth bat’leth bat’leth bat’leth bat’leth KEYTAR KEYTAR

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

    a new book

    Apr. 15th, 2013 09:28 am
    solarbird: (asumanga-yay)

    Anna’s new book is out! It’s called Valor of the Healer (yes, spellcheck, because Carina Press is an American publisher, leave it) and you can download it right! now! for an eminently reasonable new-release price. And you should! Because I said so. Also because it’s good. And I helped make certain, um, possibly-seen-as-nefarious mechanisations work better.

    Yes, that does in fact mean I’m a consulting supervillain. SHOVE OVER, MORIARTY, YOU AREN’T THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN. Do you have a heat ray? No? Okay then. SHIFT IT.


    I am telling you guys, it is so much more fun being on this side of the spoiler wall. It is. XD

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

    solarbird: (molly-kill-everyone-with-sticks)

    I’ve been taking advantage of this little schedule break after Norwescon to try to upgrade my DAW from Ubuntu 10.04 LTS to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, because support for 10.04 LTS is going away this month, and also because there are a lot of fixes I need in later versions of Jack and Ardour, and Jack setup and building is so strange that even the author group says DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.


    It has been an insane nightmare. Had I not been working against a new hard drive onto which I had cloned my old setup, I would’ve been brutally screwed. Did you know 12.04 just bricks some machines – like, send-it-back-to-manufacturer brick them – at startup? Did you know 12.04 upgrade can and will render your machine unbootable? (That happened to me through the GUI; I had to re-image the drive. Also? The install disc for 12.04? I never even get to the first setup dialogue. Hangs.) Did you know that if you try to do a stepwise upgrade as per the instructions here that the tool you use to do it is hardcoded to look in the wrong place for the upgrade files, and that this bug is known and supposedly fixed but still happens to me?

    Shall I go on? Because I can. This is why I smashed an Ubuntu install CD yesterday out of frustration and rage. (See above.)

    Anyway, I eventually got the server upgrade path to work – it was literally the last route available, but it got me there, mostly. After putting my machine in a state which would leave it unbootable, it had the decency not to force a reboot, and after a few hours, I fixed it. This is also a known bug. If you upgrade in the GUI, you’re just pooched. As I was, except I was working off a new image, my original drives untouched, so I could start over.

    Even with all of the above, I’d currently be dead in the water again(!), except the 3.1.5 kernel I installed myself to work around a combination of kernel bug and ill-behaved USB external sound hardware which enumerates its own hardware incorrectly(!) is booting fine, and running fine, under 12.04. So I’m actually up and running! As of around 2am this morning.

    However, the kernel the installer wants to install is 3.2.0-39, and it panics at startup. That’s a later version, and I’m worried that this might bite me in the ass somewhere.

    Will it? Anybody know? Will 12.04 be stable under a 3.1.5 kernel?

    3.2.0-39 doesn’t even get loaded. Here, see if you have any ideas:

    Starting up...
    [0.929456] Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block (0,0)
    [0.929507] Pid: 1, comm: swapper/0 Not tainted 3.2.0-39-generic #62-Ubuntu
    [0.929552] Call Trace:
    [0.929594] [<c1561988>] fukkit I'm not typing all this in. printk, panic, mount_block_root, ? sys_mknod, mount_root, prepare_namespace, ?sys_access, kernel_init, ? start_kernel, kernel_thread_helper.

    The 3.1.5 kernel (same drive, same directory, same install, etc) launches fine.

    So even if I get this working completely, I’ll be looking at a new distribution next time. This is obscene. The fact that pretty much everything I ran into – once I got the drive cloned, where I hit other problems, such as grub insisting that I had no hard drives after booting from one of them and mounting three – is known, and that the core dev team is basically okay with that tells me I’m kind of done with Ubuntu.

    Mageia has been recommended highly. So has Mint, but I was later told Mint is just Ubuntu with a different GUI.

    Got anything to declare?

    Yeah. Don’t install Ubuntu.

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

    solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

    Tonight’s the night for The Cosmic Ray Show and our guest appearance! I hope you can make it. 8pm Cascadian/Pacific, 11pm Eastern. I’ll be dragging along a couple of hostages as backup chorus, too, which I need to do much more often.

    I was doing some testing last night and my shiny new hidef webcam? It’s a Logitech, and seems pretty cool so far. Except Google+ DISABLES IT INTENTIONALLY ON STARTUP. Along with all other Logitech webcams on OS X. They say in their FAQ that it’s just on 10.6.7 and earlier, but I have a later version of the OS than that, and they’re doing it here, too. I just want to punch them.

    (Seriously, I have to unplug it and plug it back in. I can’t even turn it back on unless I do. I don’t know what the hell they’re doing to it.)

    So, yeah, mmmmm standard definition, because Google Hates Macs And Also Logitech. I get the former, given the whole Maps kerfluffle, but not the latter. OH WELL.

    But if anybody knows a workaround, fill me in.

    See you tonight!

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

    solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

    Via John Scalzi: Random House is trying to adopt ALL the wretched, musician-bankrupting models of the record labels, and force them onto writers, all at once.


    John’s post, with all the gruesome details. The imprint is called “Hydra,” but it’s Random House.


    This is EXACTLY the model that labels have used to take ALL the money from the artists – ALL of it, so strings of chart-topping hits never “make money” and send artists into bankruptcy after years of below-minimum-wage returns.

    DO NOT BUY IN. RUN from this. Run from it, and STOP OTHERS FROM SIGNING.

    Seriously. This new model from Random House is the EXACT model musicians are trying to work around and recover from. IT IS BUILT TO STRIP MINE YOU FOR EVERY PENNY YOU EVER MAKE, AND MORE.

    There is no winning here; not just for anyone who signs this agreement, but every other writer trying to sell their work. EVERYBODY loses – except the imprint, of course. And eventually even they even lose.

    DO. NOT. BUY. IN. And tell others. This cannot be allowed to fly.

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

    solarbird: boring bit (boring bit)

    The ghost of Admiral Shack continues to fail me.

    I thought I’d already choked this guy to death.

    I mean honestly, how do you even get here? In an adaptor, I mean. With a cable it’d be easy, but adaptors are solid pieces of shaped metal. I didn’t even cheat to make this happen.

    You are in command now, Admiral Monoprice!

    place your bets

    I’m going to end up walking off the bridge in silent rage again, aren’t I?

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

    solarbird: (music)

    Today I get to do something new: mic a violin.

    A lot of people out there have posted techniques on micing violins in the studio, and you can read a lot of ideas a lot of different places, but most of them come down to variations on the several shown at this Michigan Tech page. I don’t have a $2000 microphone shown in the photos to do this with, but I have some decent mics. That’s not the scary part.

    The scary part is that most of these mic placements are quite a bit more distant from instrument than I’m used to using. Only one of them is really what I think of as close-micing; there’s a little to a lot of distance in every other one, which means there’s a little bit more of the room in every one. The space is going to be involved, as part of the instrument recording.

    Now, as regular readers of this blog know, I’ve spent a lot of time working on this studio. You might remember this 360° turnaround video I posted, showing sound baffles I’ve made and placed; but click on the DIY category to see lots more. The goal has been to make the room better in every respect – evening its reflectiveness out, quietening it, blocking more outside noise, all that – but it’s also been about making it at least theoretically possible to do medium-distance micing.

    Not this distant. But I may have a new project.

    You see, for Dick Tracy Must Die, I couldn’t distance mic anything. I tried; a little of the distance-miced bamboo percussion stayed in (mostly in “When You Leave“), but almost all of that album was either close-micing or direct input. For Cracksman Betty, I had a little more breathing space – but not much. Only recently have I been able to put more distance between instrument and microphone.

    Today’s the day I find out whether that all that work actually pays off. Can I really distance mic in here?

    I sure hope so, because I need to. Let’s find out.

    ps: I’ve been thinking of renaming this Supervillain Studios, instead of Criminal. I think it sounds cooler. Also, hey, I don’t just have a heat ray anymore, I have the Rainmaker, and multimonitor setups with mecha arms are pretty awesome – it may finally be worthy of the name Supervillain. Whaddya think, Minions?

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

    solarbird: (molly-braceforimpact)

    Remember all the things that got lost in the disastrous trip to Portland? Well, I’ve been replacing things, and the latest is the iPad that was part of the electronics set that went away with the flute and the rest of my backpack.

    And of course it’s arriving the one day that I can guarantee that we can’t be here – at least, for half of the delivery window – because Anna has a followup medical appointment where she’ll need to be sedated lightly, which means she can’t drive. So ironic!

    Which, of course, means you’re thinking, no, it’s not, you idiot. What is it with you and Alanis Morissette, don’t you know what classical irony actually means? Farfle farfle farfle farfle farfle.

    Except this is a re-order. The original order form gave me an initial delivery date on this same day. And I knew I couldn’t be here because of said medical appointment. That caused me to need to route delivery to the Apple Store, following directions from phone support. Those directions turned out to be wrong, and for bonus points, the actual delivery date for that first order turned out to be a week earlier. And all that was apparently harmless until it turned into CLUSTERFUCK OF FAIL and the iPad got returned by the store, and that one’s still lost.

    So Apple support sent a new one, as a re-order. And now this re-order’s new, actual delivery date is… back on the day when we’ll miss it.

    It literally is just so ironic.

    not that kind of irony


    I’ve ordered it held for pickup by the shipping agency instead. Let’s find out whether this, too, can turn into tasty, tasty irony. The setup is there! But I hope not. Fun’s fun, but c’mon. I want my toy. GIMMIE!

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

    solarbird: (Default)
    I'm totally declaring bankrupt pants on my friendslist - I haven't had time to play catch-up on it in a week or so, tho' I've given it a couple of shots - if there's anything you want me to see, please point me at it here.

    Also, the iPad's touch-capacitance screen combined with autocorrect got me to about three seconds short of throwing the fucking thing through a window today, so it's laptop time for me for a while. My skin capacitance isn't quite the same as yours. Resulting behaviours on iPad: normal, normal, normal, INSANITY-MAKING, normal. I want to be able to turn off auto-correction SO FUCKING MUCH THERE ARE NO WORDS.
    solarbird: (assassin)
    Livejournal has decided not to email me comment replies, so if I don't reply to something and you were expecting a reply, that's why. Sorry, it's not my fault!
    solarbird: (assassin)

    I swear to all gods, I did not fake that.

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

    solarbird: (music)

    Go check out this Wayward Coffeehouse update:

    It is with great sadness that we must now report that we have been told that the property owners are refusing to repair the building. Although as far as we know the damage is well within the scope of repair we have no control over this decision.

    But we believe in what we created with Wayward Coffeehouse and want fervently for it to continue. We have received your messages of support and encouragement and know that there is a need for Wayward Coffeehouse for the communities we embrace. We are reviewing our legal options in the matter and pursuing other means of reopening. But it is not an easy path.

    Click here to donate to the Wayward Phoenix Fund.

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

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