Saturday Summary 014

This is my first separate weekly post of links and news: it’s number 14 because there were thirteen earlier posts that were joined on to my series of pompous essays (still known as Monday Musings). The main themes I’ve picked up are iCloud and its implications, and some developments in DRM for live music. Blogs on VampireFreaks can’t be linked to by post, so this is just a link to Caustic’s blog. I was initially wanting to link to the third post down, ‘Social Networking For The Antisocial Artist’ but the two subsequent posts are also excellent. Mr. Fanale’s views on the dynamics of a specialised scene/ genre are especially insightful, and he is generally a very erudite and intelligent man (and a hell of a producer/ performer, regardless of the slightly lukewarm review I gave his latest). The amazingly talented Tara Busch is writing the soundtrack for a science fiction film her husband Maf Lewis is making. You can follow her progress on her blog. James Beaudreau is a very talented and creative guy, with a musicianly approach to the recording process. His perspective on the history of the art is fascinating. Contextualise yourself as a cultural agent, instead of just trying to flog your stuff. Excellent advice. Two more excellent and thought provoking posts from the ever helpful Live Unsigned blog. Barry Dallman is a very funny man, all the more so because everything he says is the unembellished truth. It seems that most weeks I have to report the death of someone who’s made an important contribution to the history of music: this week it’s producer Martin Rushent, whose main contribution for me was his work with the Stranglers. On the bright side though, the brilliant Leonard Cohen became the recipient of a major Spanish cultural award. I’m not too sure how significant this is: it’s certainly not the big story regarding iCloud, and a revenue share will be going the way of some of the big indies. The main story is that the majors were bought out for so little: once again they’re looking for handouts on the strength of their back catalogue, without doing anything to engage with the new environment, or even attempting to get themselves back into the actual business of distributing music. This is a thought provoking take on the implications of iCloud: the argument essentially seems to be that iCloud is intended as an Android killer. This hadn’t really occurred to me, because I don’t live in a town, and reception is such around here that I’d never consider streaming to my phone a viable option. The other reason much of this doesn’t apply to me is that much of the music in my collection isn’t available on iTunes, which means that Scan and Match won’t work for me. However, I’m sure the thrust of this article is correct: the majors sold Apple carte blanche, which they are going to use to encourage people to get old music for free by whatever means, and buy new music from the iTunes store. Hopefully at least this will help the majors to curl up and die, but much as I like their gadgets I have no more love for Apple as a music corp than I do for the old major labels. An interesting perspective on fan funding, slightly at odds with the views of some of the DIY musicians I know. Fingerprinting technology to enable the identification of live recordings: this has potential good and bad applications. Making sure people get credit and royalties is a good thing, but I can see how this could be used as a stick to hit fans with. This is entirely negative: Apple have patented a technology whereby venues and promoters could transmit a code by infrared that would prevent Apple (or other participating) devices from recording. Device hobbling is a short termist strategy, subject to easy contravention from the people they’d really be wanting to stop, and serving only to annoy ordinary music fans. It also has worrying implications, in terms of sharing the power for organizations and individuals to hijack our portable devices by remote control.


  1. Apple’s hubris is really getting out of control and I don’t think it will do them any favours. When contemplating the purchase of a portable recording device I am unlikely to choose the option that includes a remote third party disable switch when I can get a product without this “killer app”.

  2. Agreed. Although Apple’s devices have an incidental rather than a primary function as recording equipment. Which basically means they’re going after the casual ‘record it for the memories’ people, not the real bootleggers, who will have more specialised kit.

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