Archive for the ‘Music’ Tag

Brit-pop Singer Knocks Radiohead Donation Model

Some agree that the music donation model could spell a major reform for the music industry. But pop artists are, understandably, not on the bandwagon. Brit-pop star Lily Allen criticized Radiohead’s In Rainbows’ “you decide the price” social experiment, calling the group “arrogant” for the donation model.

“It’s arrogant for them to give their music away for free–they’ve got millions of pounds,” Allen reportedly said, reports NME. “It sends a weird message to younger bands who haven’t done as well.”

It gets better. “You don’t choose how to pay for eggs,” she added. “Why should it be different for music?” When you draw a direct comparison between a critically acclaimed record and a carton of eggs, you start to lose focus of your argument. Sorry, Ms. Allen. Once you have a record that fans decide is really worth the asking price, then you can have a more informed opinion.

“Try Before You Buy” Music Retail Model

I wrote last month that I’m a big supporter for the donation system because it lets the consumers decide how much an item is worth to them. With all the hype surrounding the (not-so-)new donation-based digital music distribution model being pioneered by Radiohead’s In Rainbows and Trent Reznor via Saul William’s Niggy Tardust album, there’s a lot of questions about what is the best way to guilt the listener into donating.

Many people I talked to ended up downloading In Rainbows and Niggy Tardust for free, and then went back after a few listens and punched in their credit cards. For Radiohead’s album, I paid $5 up front because I knew I was going to love it (and I was right). But for Niggy Tardust, I didn’t pay a dime, and I still haven’t made up my mind if it’s worth the $5, or if I’ll even keep it in my library (but I’ve only listened once).

If the record companies or digital distributors, like iTunes or Amazon, want to jump on the donation bandwagon, the system needs to be more structured. A good way would be to offer a free (or $1 upfront to cover bandwidth costs) one-week trial download, allowing the user to listen an unlimited amount of times during the trial, and then in a week choose to either delete it or donate a fixed amount or (preferably) whatever they choose. Nobody (except the RIAA) likes digital rights management (DRM), so perhaps the trial download will have DRM, and once the user donates, the DRM-free files can be downloaded.

So many people are pirating music anyway. This seems like a good step to getting consumers to pay for music again.

Donations Welcome (Will Jam for Food)

The concept of donations has practically disappeared from Western society. Nowadays the only business models supported by the idea of allowing the consumer to decide a product’s worth involves helping homeless people, museums or charities.

Unless it’s something we can pity, why pay if you can get it for free? Do we act this way because most things aren’t worth their price tags? Or is society, as a whole, simply too greedy to estimate a fair value of personal worth for the products they want?

Radiohead is hoping it’s not the latter. The band’s new album, In Rainbows, will be available directly though the band’s website Oct. 10 and in stores next year. Because the group has no label of which to pledge its allegiance, they can do such “whacky” things like allowing the consumer to decide what price he or she wants to pay. If you go to InRainbows.com, you can pre-order the digital version of the record, setting whatever price you think it’s worth. Whatever little amount you decide is more than they’ll make if you download the torrent.

Donation is the perfect barter system in theory. If a student on a tight budget is willing to sacrifice a meal and pay $5 for the new Radiohead album, and then John Kerry decides it’s worth $200 to him (roughly half the price of a haircut), then doesn’t it all balance out?

Maybe I’m just naive. Or maybe the 2004 presidential candidate really does rock out to Thom Yorke & Co… In an ideal world.

‘The Man from Burkina Faso’

I came up with a crazy chorus melody in the shower today, inspired by The Beach Boys. I’ve been listening to a lot of “Pet Sounds” and “Smile” recently, so I wanted to play with vocal harmonies.

What began as a three-person (my voice layered three times) vocal harmony ended up as something that sounds very similar to a kazoo. GarageBand can do some whacky effects.

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Mood predictor for iTunes

Smart Playlists in iTunes are incredibly useful, but require quite a bit of time and thought. Usually when I’m in the mood to hear a bunch of songs by a select few artists, I’ll manually pick out songs by those artists and drag them into Party Shuffle because the process of creating Smart Playlists simply takes too long.

Mood, a new “special playlist” in the same vein as Party Shuffle, would do all the Smart Playlist building for you. All you have to do is give it some clues by dragging in songs you definitely want to hear.

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