Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise: Celebrate Mozart by ignoring Mozart

There’s been lots of noise around Mozart’s 250th birthday…or maybe he died 250 years ago…I forget sometimes. Anyway, I came across this via The Bad Plus’ blog.

Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise: Celebrate Mozart by ignoring Mozart

As I once wrote, if Mozart were alive today, he’d be dead. If you really want to celebrate Mozart’s world, Mozart’s culture, Mozart’s life, you would ignore the man himself and listen to music by a living composer.

Sony doesn’t get it part deux, or is that DOH!

If you need another reason to believe that Sony has lost all touch with internet reality, dig this page that I got when trying to follow a link to Sony’s Connect Music store :Sony Connect:.

Internet Explorer only. I love this language:

You don’t seem to be using that particular browser at the moment, so, unfortunately, we’ll have to part ways until we support the browser you’re currently using or you upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer.

Even if I wanted to upgrade to the lastest version of IE…I CAN’T, because I use a Mac. Microsoft no longer suppports IE for Mac. (See this page for more on that.) Really that is fine with me, but you would think that since Sony is trying to sell stuff that they wouldn’t want to prohibit a noticeable percentage of internet users from even accessing their site.

According to this page, IE 6 was 82.46% of the market in Dec. 2005. According to Scratch My Brain stats, IE is used by no more than 35-40% of SMB readers. I know there is a big difference bewteen the whole internet and SMB readers, but SMB readers are probably music buyers, and Sony is trying to sell music, but at least 20% (probably closer to 50%) of us can’t come to the party. No wonder their business model is dying.

Indieish : Music Selections from the Creative Commons » CC Artist Scott Andrew dumps CD Audio Format

Indieish : Music Selections from the Creative Commons » CC Artist Scott Andrew dumps CD Audio Format

This post on tells of an artistss dumping the audio CD format in favor of selling mini-CD-r’s full of mp3s, or maybe even flash drives, at his gigs. I like it when people shake the paradigm and see what falls out.

If people are just going to rip the CDs and listen on their computers or portable players anyway, why not give it to them in that format to begin with.

The first issue for me is bitrate. What do people want? I have taken to ripping stuff at 256k, and that is what I am selling at my Pepper Enterprises mp3 Store. Lots of folks are still using 128, I think.

I figure that if I am going to go to the trouble of making a physical disc I will give folks the best audio quality posssible, and let them decide how lossy they want to get.

I really want to go to an all download- no disc set up, but then what do you sell at the gigs? Especially at my level, gig sales can account for a large portion of sales.

What are your preferred ways of buying music? Would you buy a disc of mp3s? A thumb drive of mp3s?

Ken Vandermark in AAJ

There is a new article on Ken Vandermark posted on All About Jazz today.

I really dig Ken Vandermark’s work. I like the way he surrounds himself with great musicians, and then constantly works the music so it can develop.

“It’s all been motivated by the fact that I really, really love to play the concerts and want to play as often as I can, A) because I enjoy it – actually, that’s the main thing, is that I just love doing it and B) It’s necessary to developing the music I want to play.”

I also like the fact that he is interested in figuring out a way to make creative music economically sustainable. I think he is still searching for answers on this front, but it is definitely valuable research.

Continuing to work as he’s done before means continuing to learn how to “have the work sustain itself through concert attendance or record sales or whatever it is that’s connected directly to the music… how to get the music to succeed economically on its own terms.” Early experience began with hanging posters in clubs. He then discovered, in a pre-Internet world, the power of mailing lists. Now that he is more established, he can concentrate on the traditional currency of the jazz musician: making recordings and getting people to come to performances as he feels that “the music itself explains itself when it’s seen live. The problem is getting people into the room.”

High Rhythmic Energy With a Puerto Rican Flair – New York Times

Papo Vazquez in the NYT (free registration req.)

His Carnival in San Juan CD is one of my favorites.

High Rhythmic Energy With a Puerto Rican Flair – New York Times

Everything about Mr. Vazquez’s music demands attention. Even when sitting in the middle of big-band brass sections, Mr. Vazquez, a presence in New York Latin jazz since the 1970’s, stood out: he made a quick and ready intelligence bristle in each note. … — Mr. Vazquez seems to want to give his own band the tense, ecstatic feel of a constant moña.

His septet, Pirates and Troubadours, which played at the Jazz Standard on Tuesday, doesn’t perform Cuban clave rhythms. Active off and on for about 10 years, and too seldom heard for the thrill it generates, it builds on the rhythms of bomba and plena music, African-derived just like the Cuban rumba, but with different patterns and different drums.

Carnival in San Juan

Wired News: The Year of Living DRMishly

Wired News: The Year of Living DRMishly

High-end audio companies are already running into difficulties with DRM.

Steve Vasquez, the founder of ReQuest, which makes ultra-high end streaming audio networks for homes, says his company struggles with the limitations of DRM-protected audio files.

“We have an open system that can stream off a server to another house, but the DRM mechanism doesn’t recognize that possibility,” Vasquez said. “We have clients who have multiple units in one house and multiple units in multiple houses who want to be able to use music in those devices as well as portable ones. DRM is a limitation that limits innovation.”

A similar system made by Sonos creates a mesh-wireless network that connects up to 32 remote amplifiers with music stored on a home computer, but the company hides music bought through Apple’s iTunes store, according to co-founder Thomas Cullen.

“We don’t want to taunt them,” Cullen said. “The best thing we can do is hide iTunes songs so they don’t get an expectation they can play them.”

Ninety percent of his customers own iPods, according to Cullen, and many call in after first buying the system, wondering where their iTunes songs are. But after the company explains it is Apple’s DRM that prevents the file from playing, users universally respond that they will go back to buying CDs that they can then rip into non-DRMed audio files, Cullen said.

“Today, if you are buying a device, you are buying into an ecosystem.”

“Consumers shouldn’t have to think about DRM,”

Those are good, but Cory Doctorow nails it:

Cory Doctorow, a science fiction writer and former spokesman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, believes technology companies will eventually decide that entertainment companies’ demand for DRM is hurting their bottom line. That’s when truly innovative gadgets will become available, he said.

“No one can sell more gadgets by saying ‘do less with your gadget,'” said Doctorow.

The entire article is worth reading.

Werner breathes new life into debate on the death of jazz – The Boston Globe

Werner breathes new life into debate on the death of jazz – The Boston Globe

…a neighbor visited Werner and started naming jazz musicians he liked — all of whom play smooth jazz. Werner sent the neighbor home with some authentic jazz CDs, including one of his own, and the neighbor reported that he liked some of it — Miles Davis’s ”Kind of Blue,” in particular — but that Werner’s had been problematic. He’d been trying to build a fireplace in his living room while listening to Werner’s CD, and found the music a distraction.

”His main complaint about it was that it was so interesting that he had to stop and listen to it. And that’s where jazz musicians are all misguided: They’re making CDs under the assumption that someone’s going to listen to them. These people are buying something [so] they can put it on and then spackle.”

That’s not the gist of the article, but it’s a good line. The whole article is a good read.