Category: Music

Supreme Court review sought of $222K verdict in music piracy case


A woman ordered to pay $222,000 for pirating 24 copyrighted songs has taken her fight against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a petition filed Monday, lawyers for Minnesota native Jammie Thomas-Rasset urged the nation’s highest court to review both the fairness and the constitutionality of the fine.

The petition contends that the damages awarded against Thomas-Rasset violated her due process rights and was not tied to any actual injury suffered by the recording companies as the result of her piracy. Instead, by securing such a large verdict against her, the RIAA was hoping to send a message to other copyright infringers.

“Thomas-Rasset cannot be punished for the harm inflicted on the recording industry by file sharing in general,” the petition notes. “While that would no doubt help accomplish the industry’s and Congress’s goal of deterring copyright infringement, singling out and punishing an individual in a civil case to a degree entirely out of proportion with her individual offense is not a constitutional means of achieving that goal.”

Read the complete article at Computer World.

Scanning Device Enables Computers To Read And Play Sheet Music In Real-Time


Reading sheet music can be a bit of a drag. All those staves and notes and stuff—much better to have technology do the heavy lifting for you, so you can free up your time to watch videos of cats getting blowdried and babies doing kung-fu.

Read the complete article at The Creators Project.

Robotic 808 drum-machine

Read the accompanying article at BoingBoing.

Forget Gibson, let 3D printers do all the work

As anyone who owns a guitar can attest to, one of the coolest part of owning one is the origin story. Sometimes, you get air guitars that can play music, sometimes you get ones riddled with bullet holes (well, this happened to me, once), sometimes you have Jimmy Page’s old axe, sometimes you print one out. Wait, what?

Read more at DVice.

Actually, file-sharers buy more legal music than everyone else

A study has found that music fans who use peer-to-peer file sharing services actually purchase more music, on average, than those who stay completely legit.

The study by the American Assembly, a nonpartisan public policy think tank housed at Columbia University, found that file sharers purchase around 30 percent more music than non-file sharers. File sharers also have much larger music collections, naturally, with a big boost to their libraries provided by files they’ve downloaded without buying.

Read more at venturebeat.

Self-Playing Instruments And Visualizing Music With Fire [Q&A]


To us, machines are a part of our day-to-day existence and environment, but way back in the 19th century their presence wasn’t quite so prominent and their arrival into people’s lives was just beginning. Naturally they were treated with suspicion and intrigue. This sense of unease and burgeoning fascination with the emergence of technology is what sound artist Aura Satz explores in her sculptural pieces that utilize the physicalities of old technologies to look at our relationship to music and sound.

The idea of visualizing sound is prevalent in her work, whether she’s using the geometries of Chladni patterns like in Onomatopoeic Alphabet, the theremin, fire, or phonograph grooves, her pieces expore how sounds can be given a materiality, or a physical presence. In Ventriloqua the musician Anna Piva played Satz’s pregnant belly by capturing the electromagnetic waves with a theremin.

As well as visualizing sound in unusual ways, other aspects of her work like Automamusic, which you can watch here, explore the idea of autonomous sound devices, self-playing instruments that unsettle and astound with their mechanical music. Her work has a haunting, sorrowful quality that’s emphasized through the use of obsolete technology. We fired off some questions to Satz to find out a bit more about her work.

Read the complete article and interview at The Creators Project.

The Rolling Stones launch world’s biggest AR campaign for Grrr! greatest hits album

To celebrate the forthcoming release of Grrr!, the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary greatest hits album, the band, ABKCO Music and Universal Music have teamed with augmented reality specialist Aurasma to create the world’s biggest music AR campaign to date.

From today (20 September), fans can use their smartphones to watch the cover star of the collection, a mighty King Kong-style gorilla, visit famous landmarks around the globe. No less that 50 cities (one for each year the band has been around) and more than 3,000 locations are involved, including the Houses of Parliament in London, the Skytree in Tokyo, Sydney Opera House and, of course, the Empire State Building in New York.

Pocket-lint has been told that if, using free application uView, you point your iPhone or Android device at one of the tagged buildings, a virtual 3D animated gorilla will appear. The app will then give you the opportunity to pre-order Grrr!, which will be available from 12 November.

Read the complete article at Pocket-Lint.

Illegal music filesharing is now mainstream

If you’re like me and the vast majority of people in the UK, on Monday morning you discovered many people in your area risked legal action so that they could own Ed Sheeran’s music. That in itself is quite a discovery, but the first ever Digital Music Index also showed that there were 43,314,568 files shared in the UK, with the data being collected from people who used BitTorrent in the first six months of this year.

Of course, people have been laughing in the face of a criminal record for illegally downloading music for years, but this is the first time we could see where and what people were downloading.

The process of discovering who is popular in your area is unnerving. As you log on to the BBC site you’re presented with a sinister picture of Sheeran (looking as if he actually orchestrated this amazing piece of PR himself) and the question “Who is the most illegally shared artist in your area?”, above a box where you type in your postcode. The Sheeran/internet overlord shot gives the game away. Most of the filesharers inflicted his sultry laments on each other – Sheeran is the top illegal download in 459 of the 694 cities.

Read the complete article at The Guardian.

Technostalgia: 20 Misty Memories of Personal Computing

Comment:  Is it weird that I still use the interface pictured in number 19?

1. The Dial-Up Sound

2. You’ve Got Mail!

AOL’s email notification sound was positively Pavlovian for many ’90s netizens. It was confirmation that a) you had successfully connected to the ISP, and b) someone out there likes you.

Those dulcet tones belong to voice actor Elwood Edwards, whose wife worked for AOL in 1989. She brought tape of his other famous phrases — “welcome,” “goodbye,” and “file’s done” — into the office. The rest is history.

3. The Whir of a Floppy Disk Drive

In their prime, each one of these puppies could hold about 120 MB — great for storing a few documents or images; less great for large applications and games. Before CD-ROMs became the norm, you might need 10 or 15 disks to install one program.

Listening to the drive tick away while the progress bar drew closer to 100% was like Christmas Eve for anxious young nerds.

Read the complete list (and listen to accompanying tracks for number 1 to 3) at Mashable.

The Bruce Willis dilemma? In the digital era, we own nothing

Bruce Willis, the movie star, may or may not be amazed that he’s not allowed to bequeath his Apple iTunes music collection to his children. A Daily Mail story alleging this has apparently been disowned by the actor’s wife.

Whether the story is true or not, it nonetheless highlights one of the largely unspoken – and outrageous – realities of the digital age: ownership is disappearing.

Publishers of books, music and movies have always wanted a world in which consumers of these media must pay again and again for the privilege. And as content moves into digital formats, the entertainment is moving within legal if not technical reach of that goal.

The Mail’s story quotes a lawyer making a key point:

Lots of people will be surprised on learning all those tracks and books they have bought over the years don’t actually belong to them. It’s only natural you would want to pass them on to a loved one.

Natural, maybe, but a violation of the onerous terms and conditions that Apple, Amazon and the other “sellers” of digital content impose on their customers. Despite promotional language – in giant letters – with the words “buy” and “purchase”, you are only buying a license to use the material yourself, and legally that’s all. So, who inherits your library, under today’s system? Nobody, and that’s just wrong.

Read the complete article at The Guardian.