Students balk at free online music –

Students balk at free online music –

As a student at Cornell University, Angelo Petrigh had access to free online music via a legal music-downloading service his school provided. Yet, the 21-year-old still turned to illegal file-sharing programs.

The reason: While Cornell’s online music program, through Napster, gave him and other students free, legal downloads, the e-mail introducing the service explained that students could keep their songs only until they graduated.

One of these days they will realize that people want to be able to use the things they legally acquire (music in this case) in whatever manner they choose. If they aren’t free to do that they are more likely to acquire it illegally, because then there are no rules.

There’s also the problem of compatibility: The services won’t run on Apple Computer Inc. computers, which are owned by 19 percent of college students, according to a 2006 survey of 1,200 students by the research group Student Monitor. In addition, the files won’t play on Apple iPods, which are owned by 42 percent of college students, according to the survey.

This is also stupid. I use Macs, and I hate it when someone sends me a link to a news story with media, and it is on MSN, and I can’t watch it because they don’t support my OS. We are way too far into this technology for that to still be an issue. It is not about compatibility, it is about controlling consumers actions, and that is wrong.

It is equally wrong, (and stupid in my opinion, but probably not that of their accountants and stockholders) that iTunes Music store purchases can’t be played on any portable players other than an iPod.

Sax and drums – recent CD purchases

I picked up three excellent discs on my most recent CD buying spree.

back to the circle

rip tear crunch

Dave Rempis and Tim Daisy sound great together. The addition of Anton Hatwich and Frank Rosaly, on Rip Tear Crunch, simply increases the options for making great music. I had the real pleasure of getting to play with Dave and Frank the last time I was in Chicago, and I got to hang with Tim a bit on that trip as well. They are all wonderful musicians, and beautiful cats. I highly recommend both of these discs.

palm of soul

I have had the pleasure of hearing Kidd Jordan with Drake and/or Parker (and others) in New Orleans on several occasions. The music on this disc suprised me. It wasn’t the continuous noise/energy assault that I was expecting. It is fiery at times, but also very sensitive at times, and melodic throughout. Although, in all honesty, even Kidd’s noise/energy stuff has melodies all over the place too, there are just several of them happening at once, usually. This disc is definitely worth checking out. If you don’t have any Kidd Jordan recordings, you should, and this is a great one to start with.

Universal overhauls CD packaging

Is this a sign of the coming apocalypse? Is a record company actually changing to try to meet the desires of a market?

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Universal overhauls CD packaging

Universal Music Group is introducing three tiers of packaging in Europe, also including deluxe and sturdier versions of the standard case.

It expects the basic CDs to sell for about £7, the standard for about £10, and the deluxe – offering bonus CDs or DVDs – for around £14.

The Guardian version of the story.

Contemporary Music’s Hope Is Writ Small, Not Large – New York Times

A nice NYT essay. Subscription required if you follow the link. I quoted some good parts below.

Contemporary Music’s Hope Is Writ Small, Not Large – New York Times

Recently I heard pieces by 12 American composers at two events. The American Composers Alliance at the tiny Thalia Theater played music by people hovering around middle age or beyond. The names at the Counter)induction concert at the equally tiny Tenri Cultural Center averaged about 35.

None of these 12, I think, will ever have festivals devoted to them. Their chances of big commissions by major symphony orchestras or opera houses are equally dim. They have been, or probably will be, recorded, the making of CD’s having become such a user-friendly cottage industry. Judging by their program biographies, all seem to have first-rate musical educations and many teaching jobs.

Posterity does not beckon. There may be no entries in future music encyclopedias. Scholars will not pore over their techniques or the cultural contexts of their lives. Yet these composers are obviously devoted to their work, and to one another’s work as well. A lot of them know exactly what they are doing. How high they aspire I don’t know. I hope their aspirations are more on the order of personal satisfaction and the collegiality of fellow artists than of fame.

This may sound like a sad story, but it is not. That these concerts go on — indeed, thrive — tells us that music as an art keeps moving through time from generation to generation, from language to language and idea to idea. Such progress is usually unremarked by the serious music lover who looks to a Thomas Adès or the next grand premiere for signs of advances in music.

I suggest that it is my 12 men and women who keep music going. Any true lover of baseball will understand. We cherish the skills — indeed, the art — of players at the highest level, but we also feel that the essence of the sport is in the sandlot pickup game, or softball in Central Park. The most satisfying afternoons I have ever spent were not in Yankee Stadium but in minor-league parks in cities like Indianapolis or Richmond, Va.

Music at the highest levels is to be honored and sought after; mediocrity is no prize. But supreme talent can also be a victim of its own success. Size does matter. How many famous pianists have I heard with reputations big enough to command full houses at Carnegie or Avery Fisher Hall who would be so much more effective in spaces seating 500 or fewer? Music is a business, and if you can sell more tickets, you do. The Metropolitan Opera House is bigger than it ought to be because, economically, it has to be.

Indeed, intimacy is one of the prizes our 12 composers have won, though sometimes, I’m sure, in spite of themselves. Concerts like the recent ones at the Thalia and Tenri are invariably played by young musicians of astonishing skill and evident devotion. No one is in these kinds of events for the money. The waiving of fees is a common practice.

At Tenri loose chairs are pulled up around players in one corner of an art gallery space. Anyone who remembers the cinematic history of the Thalia will know how small it is. When I first started covering this kind of event, more than 25 years ago, I usually came away with a sense of having heard very talented people who were frustrated, forlorn and isolated. I hope I have learned better. Certainly these composers, musicians and audiences are at a distance from New York Philharmonic subscription concerts or Great Performers at Lincoln Center. But there is a community here, a kind of musical village, that is taking care of itself very nicely.

There is a quota of aspiring students at these events, a critic or two, a handful of the curious, or just plain admiring concertgoers. But more often than not, the composers and musicians onstage are being received by their colleagues sitting in the audience. A few weeks hence, perhaps in another place, the people onstage will be sitting in the audience, and the people in the audience will be up there playing.

We are still pretty well hypnotized by the big event, the international reputation and the march toward future greatness. This mentality has also caused us to misuse the word “provincial,” which now implies “limiting” when it might more constructively mean “limited.” Being limited need not mean being less sophisticated, less proficient or less intelligent. Small communities can do music’s work at a high level without management or press coverage.

I don’t pretend to understand how the Internet proliferates music as widely as it does. I do know that it is promoting many individual tastes for individual audiences. This makes the prospects for our 12 composers very promising. True greatness will always pursue universality, but it is the very good and the local that keep music’s blood circulating.


Artist’s role in creativity

This quote was on my Google homepage today:

Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.

Andre Gide
French critic, essayist, & novelist (1869 – 1951)

I find it is true, that the less I try to control the creative process, the better things usually turn out. I often visualize getting out of the way and letting the music flow unimpeded.

Byron & Bang on a Can, plus 8bb

I got an email today from a guy that works for Cantaloupe Music. They just put out a Bang on a Can/Don Byron CD called A Ballad For Many. I haven’t heard the whole thing, but there is a sample track up at Check it out, it is interesting. At times it sounds like eighth blackbird playing prog rock.

Speaking of 8bb, I just picked up Fred and Thirteen Ways.

fred cover

13 ways cover

Great music. Chamber music in the classical sense, but fun and exciting in a modern sense. In the interest of full disclosure, Matt Albert (the violinist/violist in 8bb) and I are related. Our fathers are cousins…or something like that. If we have met, we were both very young. I should have kept better in touch, maybe I could score some free CDs. No matter, they are definitely worth buying (hint, hint).

Simon Reade: A life-work balance for artists can be achieved

This Guardian column touches several issues that are familiar to me. Balancing the demands of an artistic life and a family is something I deal with daily. He also makes the good point that without other life experiences, we have nothing to make art about.

Guardian Unlimited Arts | Arts features | Simon Reade: A life-work balance for artists can be achieved

Ravenhill is probably right to recognise that, for him, a family would be a burden on his creativity. But who is he kidding when he claims that his life is all art and nothing else? His claim that abstaining from life is good for your art just doesn’t add up. Life feeds art.

Some other good lines:

I have been able to plough a furrow of childlike creativity in my work. I believe that people younger than me, particularly children, have a clearer and more valid world view than my generation (I’m 40 this week); certainly more so than the older and so-called wiser people who should have known better than to leave us a legacy of impoverishment, pollution and war. The adult world is childish, foolish. A child’s world is passionate, glorious. Through theatre we can recapture that vestigial idealism in all of us.

…without the fuel of life, artistic inspiration will run out of juice. In short, it will be all work and no play. If you’re an artist, you enrich the lives of others. Your own life, therefore, needs to be enriched to start with.