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[P]
A Proposal for a Copy Optimized DVD Audio Format

By MichaelCrawford in Op-Ed
Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 12:00:34 AM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)
Music

I got to thinking about something after setting up the Ogg Vorbis and cdparanoia tools on my Mac so I could back up my collection of two hundred compact discs to a few DVD-Rs.

I'm writing to suggest the community work together to specify a standard for the format of DVD Audio discs that will be Free as in Freedom. There are a couple of competing standards proposals for DVD Audio discs that have the advantage of higher audio fidelity than Compact Discs (sampled at, say, 24 bits instead of 16) and that can hold more minutes of music, but it's quite clear that the companies behind the standardization efforts consider copy-protection their first priority.

You can be sure that the very finest minds in cryptography, mathematics, physics, optics and electrical, mechanical and software engineering are working together, and working very hard, to make sure that when 24-bit Britney Spears DVD Audio disks hit the stores that they won't end up on eMule the very next day, in fact not even within the next decade. I don't think a very serious effort was made to ensure that the DVD Content Scrambling System was entirely secure. I also don't think that mistake will be made a second time.

Could there be a better way?


Many musicians actively promote the copying of their music. AGNULA Libre Music is an archive of music that is not just free to share, but free to change - the tracks must have the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike or EFF Open Audio License to be hosted there.

What sort of DVD Audio format would AGNULA's musicians like to distribute their music on? (AGNULA stands for "A GNU/Linux Audio Distribution", Free Software tools for music recording, production and composition.) How about DVD disks that are optimized for copying, whether it be through burning physical copies or sharing on the Internet?

What I envision is a disk format that is rigorously specified so that it will work reliably in the simplest embedded devices like car dashboard and home stereo players, but with completely unprotected Free Lossless Audio Codec files on them.

The reason a formal standard is needed is so that bit-for-bit perfect copies of such a disc could easily be collected off the file sharing networks, even if no one individual was sharing their whole disc. Realize that DVD-R discs hold 4.7 gigabytes, so not many people are going to leave their entire music collections on their hard drives.

There needs to be a standard so that it's completely unambiguous just what one means when one says "Copy Optimized DVD Audio disc". It's that clear specification that will make embedded players and perfect peer-to-peer network copies possible. A disc containing such files could be popped into your home stereo DVD player and made to play, copy and share with no more user intervention than hitting a button.

A DVD can store a lot of music in FLAC format if it's just 16 bits, but FLAC can store samples up to 32 bits. The greater storage capacity of DVD will not only allow Copy Optimized DVD Audio music to sound better than CDs do, but allow more channels than stereo's two, to provide surround sound or a separate channel for each performer. They would sound like one had front-row seats to a live concert, including the faint echo off the back wall of the concert hall.

(I just discovered how to make cue file backups with FLAC so I can also back up my collection in a way that enables me to recover damaged CDs faithfully. I've lost several CDs to bad scratches and even a couple to my dog who likes to chew things that shouldn't be chewed.)

While most people can't hear the difference between 16 and 32 bit audio, higher-resolution samples enable one to edit audio tracks without loss of fidelity. Mixing audio tracks and applying acoustic effects loses numerical precision each time it is done. Starting with larger samples enables the final product to retain a true sixteen bits of real precision. Thus artists could encourage other performers to mix themselves into a track in such a way that it still sounds good.

But here's the key: each file will be named in a way that's optimized for file sharing, with artist, album, title and track number right in the filename, and with all the right metadata already embedded in the file when the album was mastered at the studio. To share Copy Optimized music you just direct your peer-to-peer filesharing application to your DVD drive so it will share what you're listening to, have your friends copy the tracks onto their computers' hard drives, or else burn them copies of the whole DVD.

But wait: there's more! The DVD disk itself will have a metadata file in its root directory that will specify the contents of the entire disk. My idea is that one could make a bit-for-bit reconstruction of the whole disk just by grabbing this one metadata file and then looking for the tracks on the file sharing networks. This file would be one or two kilobytes of XML that would have each track's metadata as well as its Secure Hash Algorithm checksum so it can be uniquely identified over the net.

Music labels that offerred such DVDs - and there are music labels which encourage copying - would host the metadata files for each of their albums on their websites in much the same way as many Free Music sites now host Bit Torrent files. (Don't have Bit Torrent yet? Download it right now.) The music labels wouldn't have to offer music file downloads if they couldn't supply the bandwidth or technical expertise, because those who possessed the DVDs could supply the actual bits.

It is extremely important that the Copy Optimized DVD Audio format be rigourously specified in a technical document that has passed through an extensive review process. That will encourage embedded player manufacturers to support it, just as they have begun to support the Ogg Vorbis format. Perhaps all the aspects that have to do with networking, like the contents of the disk-spec metadata and a standardized way to share Copy Optimized DVD Audio disks over the Internet could be specified by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Importantly, the disc and file metadata would explicitly specify a license, even if it's just "All Rights Reserved". Creative Commons already explains how to mark an MP3 with its license. Most musicians don't know that if they don't explicitly supply a license, they implicitly forbid others to share their music. It's important to make the terms of music licenses just as rigorously clear as they are for Free Software. Easy to use Software tools for marking and verifying music file licenses are provided by Creative Commons.

Many audio players already offer networking capability, for example to stream Internet radio. Imagine if you will: the Copy Optimized DVD Audio Format would enable networked audio players to recognize the license of each track and, if it permitted copying, share it on the peer-to-peer networks as long as the disk was inserted.

Now, imagine what this would do to the copy-protected form of DVD Audio. On the one hand, you could get very high quality recordings of all the top pop stars that way. On the other hand, if you wanted to listen to the same tracks on your portable player you would have to pay separately to download copy-protected files from a commercial music download site, or maybe there would be some process of obtaining a license online that could transfer a low-quality file from a DVD to a player in such a way that Warner Records' intellectual property rights could be preserved.

Or, you could listen to indy bands who really are a lot more creative and forward thinking than the tedious crap that the big record labels and the Clear Channel Radio Monopoly continuously force upon us, and you wouldn't have to deal with any expensive hassles to listen to it on your portable player, in your car, to burn to regular CDs for your antique players, or to share with your friends or over the Internet.

I assert this would prevent copy-protected DVD Audio from succeeding in the marketplace. Maybe the industry consortium behind the present standardization efforts wouldn't supply the metadata to discourage copying, but I expect they wouldn't get very far if no one would buy their damn copy-protected discs. In the long run I expect they would remove the encryption so they have some hope of selling anything at all.

I'm very sorry but I have an awful lot on my plate and I simply don't have the time to organize and run a standards committee. I could help, but I also don't have the background required to write a proper standards document: technical standards are notoriously difficult to get right, with the cost of failure being products that don't always work reliably, often leading to disastrous failure in the marketplace. (I can promise I will write a CD ripper that's a lot better to use than any that I've tried so far, and place it under the GNU General Public License. Frankly I cannot comprehend what anyone finds appealing about iTunes, it drives me bananas and is buggy as all get-out.)

On Eating One's Own Dog Food

I want to explain why the Copy Optimized DVD Audio format is important to me personally. You see, I am a musician. Not a professional one, not yet, but that is my goal. I feel I must make my music as free as the wind.

If you like piano music, you can download my album Geometric Visions. It's just in MP3 format but now that I finally have an Ogg Vorbis toolchain set up I'll go make Oggs, maybe they'll be there by the time you read this.

I once had a very proprietary license notice on my music but I spent over a year contemplating copylefting it, ever since I discovered AGNULA Libre Music. It was a painful decision, but I finally took the plunge just this very moment: while working on this proposal I took a break to place my entire album under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5 License.

I've been learning Lilypond so I can publish the scores soon. I'll be copylefting them, the source code to my music, as well.

I'm not the only one who feels this way. For example, Kuro5hin member Dac Chartrand is a Montreal music producer who owns the new record label Trotch. Dac's a pretty forward thinking guy as he offers free downloads of some of his label's music and actively encourages those who purchase his CDs to share them. Trotch's launch party is on September 8th at Sapphir's Mix Thursday at 3699 St-Laurent, Montreal if you're in the area.

The band Fitehouse published the Fitehouse General Public Music License (PDF) that was inspired by the GNU GPL in that it requires one to supply the source to recordings along with any copies. In this case the "source code" is the raw, unmixed studio tracks from which the recording was created, so that one could mix one's own version of a song.

The first FGPMLed song is "Running Scared" which appears on their EP The Bomb. At the bottom of that page are links to ten uncompressed WAV files of about fifty megabyes apiece, being the original studio recordings from which Running Scared was mixed.

A Call To Arms

I feel, and many musicians agree, that to copy music isn't wrong. What is an awful crime is that Music, the very heart and soul of our culture, has somehow become the property of a few huge, faceless corporations who use it only to serve their own greedy ends. We must work together to free this beautiful creature, our Music, from its chains.

Intrepidly,

Michael D. Crawford
crawford@goingware.com

Tilting at Windmills for a Better Tomorrow.

Copyright 2005 Michael David Crawford. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

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Poll
Is it Wrong to Share Music?
o It's Wrong Not To. 91%
o Copying Music is Theft. 8%

Votes: 48
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Ogg Vorbis
o cdparanoia
o I could back up my collection of two hundred compact discs to a few DVD-Rs.
o Free as in Freedom
o eMule
o AGNULA Libre Music
o free to change
o Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike
o AGNULA's
o Free Lossless Audio Codec
o FLAC can store samples up to 32 bits
o how to make cue file backups with FLAC
o music labels which encourage copying
o many Free Music sites now host Bit Torrent files
o Download it right now
o they have begun to support the Ogg Vorbis format
o Internet Engineering Task Force
o Creative Commons
o how to mark an MP3 with its license
o Software tools
o indy bands
o forward thinking
o big record labels
o Clear Channel Radio Monopoly
o GNU General Public License
o that is my goal
o Geometric Visions
o Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5 License
o Lilypond
o Dac Chartrand
o Trotch
o launch party
o Fitehouse
o Fitehouse General Public Music License
o The Bomb
o crawford@g oingware.com
o Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License
o Also by MichaelCrawford


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A Proposal for a Copy Optimized DVD Audio Format | 137 comments (68 topical, 69 editorial, 0 hidden)
No Michael (2.50 / 4) (#3)
by maxsilver on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:33:41 AM EST

This article is pointless. You tell us that that companies should implement an open Audio standard. That is a nice thing to say. The interesting bit would be if you told us, why they should do this, or at least described some technical innovation that would allow some files to be copy protected, and others not.

Just face it, the future is copy protected. There will be an eternal battle between the DRMing and the OPENing.

My opinion: May the best man win. I've already got the complete Billie Holiday collection, what more will I ever need?

We Shall Crush Them With Our Numbers (none / 1) (#12)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 05:01:55 AM EST

The reason that people still listen to Clear Channel and buy Britney Spears albums is that the artists that are really worth listening to these days don't get airtime or commercial promotion.

But if one knew that one could get the very best sounding music by searching for Libre DVD-Audio tracks with one's filesharing client, and that one wouldn't get in trouble by doing so, then I think it wouldn't matter that big businesses won't invest in the Indy bands. They'll get the exposure they need through the Internet.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

O LOLZ (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 05:14:11 AM EST

Crush them eh? Did you forget that this country is a nation of sheep? Do you seriously expect us to believe that there are no artists with industry push that are worthy?  

People like yourself, that would actually use the word "libre" without snickering or who think that ESR is/might be god, are in an extremely diminutive  minority.

Another massive fallacy you seem to have wedded yourself to is that Indy music isn't already vastly popular (albeit with the 20-something set). I don't see the Arcade Fire or Iron and Wine or any other of a million so-called Indy acts getting airplay/record deals etc. (even if it is due largely to college radio and word of mouth).

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

But why? (2.33 / 3) (#32)
by maxsilver on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 05:35:48 AM EST

I was on MySpace the other day, and I saw this really pretty latina girl asking to be my friend. I said, sure, why not, she is pretty after all. It turns out she was some R&B singer, and she had like 5000 other MySpace friends. There were lots of cute pictures of her, and as I was looking at them, her music started playing. I thought to myself - hey not bad, and I copied two of her songs to my hard drive.

In effect, without any Record Labels or companies or anything, I got a couple of songs from a self-promoted artist.

I'm trying to fit in an Audio-DVD into this equation somehow - I fail. The medium for the indie band is not in the form of DVDs or CDs or any physical material. I may have bothered downloading that girls songs, but I would never have bought an Audio DVD of her. I like MP3 quality, I do not want to recompress large songs, and I hate slotting in CDs into my PC.

You are stuck in technology, and totally missing the point of music.

Let's go back to the MySpace example. Imagine a group of 4 early 20s men had sent me the message, with a picture showing them posed in front of a guitar with the typical alternative rock hairstyles. I would have instantly dismissed it - simply because I am not interested in these type of people. Young men do not interest me, hot latina girls do.

Music is about entertainment. There is no "quality" specification with music. I hate House Music, others love it. I like country music, most of my country people have never even heard of it. People like the genres because they are entertained by it. The entertainment has nothing to do with the music, and a lot to do with the aura around the music.

For example, a person who wants to feel cultivated and cultured will enjoy classical music. It makes him feel how he wants to. A teenage girl who wants to be out dancing and partying will listen to hip hop. In each case, you cannot quantify the quality of the music - you can only rate it based on your own personal markup scale.

It is the package that sells the music. If it is file-shared or not, if it is DVD or CD or MP3 is irrelevant. The important thing is that it entertains.

A good musician is like a good blogger. The format of his medium, or the super-hi-quality of his audio is not relevant at all. A good blogger will cathc peoples eye, and his audience will grow. The same with a good musician. Once you have a large enough audience (who actually like you), you can convert the audience into dollars.

The record companies do the same thing. They promote certain artists, and they sell certain "images". It is the images that the people buy, not the music.

So it does not matter if you say that the commercial music available today is crap - it was never the music that the people bought.

[ Parent ]

I'm confused (2.80 / 5) (#4)
by forgotten on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:48:45 AM EST

Just when did Britney Spears sign up to your record label?

Believe it or not, most muscians don't want their music traded freely online! Courtney Love doesn't count for much, you know. An unknown garage band putting mp3 on the internet will dump your Libre format as soon as they get a "real" contract faster than you can say copyright infringement lawsuit.

--

You're confused indeed (3.00 / 3) (#112)
by schrotie on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 08:31:20 PM EST

Believe it or not, most muscians don't want their music traded freely online!
Most musicians - indeed the vast majority - are hobbyists. Most of those have no idea about free as in anything but beer. I venture to say that most of those wouldn't mind their music being shared. Quite the opposite I assume. You know, being creative is twice as much fun if people notice your effort.

Sure you are talking about the professionals. You probably don't even regard puny amateurs (like me) as real musicians, right? Surprise, surprise: most professional musicians - indeed the vast majority - has shitty jobs like the hopeless task of teaching some poorly gifted wise ass (like me) to play some instrument; or playing crap they themselves hate on my wedding. Because those folks love music anyway, they have their own projects, lots of those rather interesting - and obviously professional - but without much hope for profit. I venture to say that quite some of those professionals would also like their music to be shared. It's a situation that is very similar to that of programmers with shitty day jobs who create shitty garage stuff like Firefox or Kuro5hin in their spare time.

And there is another factor that will persuade many musicians free their music: an incredible revolution happened during the last decade. Namely electronic music hardware became laughably cheap. The only thing that remains expensive if you want to set up your own studio is the software and the room. But with free software you only need a moderately fast PC and a 200$ sound card to make multi-track recordings. You can even compose arbitrarily complex scores with a midi sequencer (go get a 100$ sound card with 8 16-channel synths on board - this makes 128 sound font enabled synths. Not enough? Get another of those cards.). Add a drum track with a superb drum sequencer. Put that on your monitors and simultaneously record 8 tracks (or 16 if you buy another of those 200$ cards) with an amazing multi-track recorder/mixer. You'll have all that software talk to each other and synchronize perfectly. And all running on a Kernel patched for real-time tasks so that you don't get those nasty skips. I assume you can buy something like that, but it would be pro-stuff and cost a fortune. I might write an article about all that some time.

Anyway, if you receive so much - using such superb technology for free is rather humbling - you start feeling that you might want to give back some.

Have you ever created something beautiful?

[ Parent ]

You, my friend, are a genius (none / 1) (#113)
by hummassa on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 06:44:32 AM EST

Anecdote time: I am acquainted with approximately 200 (good) musicians.
  • Five of them have a band signed (with Sony Music Brasil IIRC) -- huge (Jota Quest -- made the top album twice or thrice in the last 8 years)
  • Another 20 of them are professional instrument teacher (acoustic guitar, piano, drums)
  • Another 60 of them are professional nightclub/bar/restaurant players (of which 20 have "day jobs" too)
  • The rest of them are amateur, but excellent musicians.
Of all the above, only the first five would not love to freely distribute their creations and even them once did freely distribute their creations, so that they could be known, and get signed...


[ Parent ]
audio fidelity (2.00 / 2) (#5)
by jsnow on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:51:04 AM EST

Increasing the sampling precision to something more than 16 bits is just one possible dimension of improvement, and it probably won't make much difference. It might make more sense to increase the sampling rate and use more than two audio channels. (I'm not sure how flexible ogg vorbis is for these kinds of things. Almost everyone (myself included) just uses 44.1 khz stereo with 16 bit samples, because that's the best quality audio they have access to.)

More channels, more minutes (none / 0) (#10)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 04:58:08 AM EST

I think that five-channel surround sound would likely make the most difference because it could make the listener feel just like they have a front row ticket to a show in a concert hall, including the faint echo off the back wall. DVD-Video already provides this; just ask someone what it's like to watch a Hollywood blockbuster on a Home Theater, as compared to a regular TV, even one with quality stereo speakers.

A standard compact disk can hold at most 72 minutes of audio. My understanding is that they chose that value in order to fit Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on a single CD. But most concerts last much longer than that, so what one has to do is supply two or more CDs in a single package. A DVD-Audio format could trade off fidelity for time, so you could easily put a three hour concert on a single disk.

Don't get me started on what diehard classical music fans would think of a symphony orchestra recorded to 4.7 GB of lossless FLAC audio with 32 bit samples. I don't think it even matters if they couldn't hear the difference - they'd swear they could, and they'd pay the price.

I didn't say in my first draft, but maybe I'll add it, but what's important about having more than 16 bits in your samples is when you're going to edit and mix the files. Most editing operations lose precision, so you need a higher sampling precision so that you end up with at least sixteen real bits in the final result.

Those who license their music with the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license allow derivative works. One might want to remix the music to suit one's own purposes, for example to remove a singer (who could be in their own track) and add oneself as the singer. Providing samples at more than 16 bits allows the music to be remixed without losing noticable quality.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Whoop-de-fucking doo (2.33 / 3) (#8)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 04:50:44 AM EST

Your alternative concept is - and will remain - just that. Until you've reached the level of a Sony or Phillips you will have no standing in determining new formats.

Let's speculate a moment that these discs actually started coming out. There's no compelling reason for artists to support it. There are already DVD-A and SACD standards out. Your *cough* Libre *cough* format adds a third. This will necessarily relegate their discs to some no man's land in record stores and will never make it to Big Box retailers. What you have done is create a solution looking for a problem.

As far as "defeating DVD Audio" I don't see it. You're going to need months to years to develop a spec that a working group will have to agree on. DVD-A has been in the channel for years already. The Dual Disc is gaining ground even though it isn't a true CD format.

If your goal is to reduce copy protection I think we're all better served using our politicians and initiative statutes to have retailers put copy-protected music sources in their own ghetto inside the stores with clearly written signs stating what they can and can't be used for. That would have a more deleterious effect on sales than trying to force open a new standard.

You're also forgetting that this is a standard that would further impoverish small labels since most of them can only support CD's *now*. A choice for this format, should it ever come to exist, would just be a money sink for them.

The ultimate problem is that for this to work it would have to be in some behemoth record company's best interest to do so (derailing Sony?). Since companies tend to do things for business reasons and not out of spite I have my doubts that you'd get a major label to sign on.

You'd also need to find a way for people to get paid from this format as musician's really don't like eating pet food in their later years.

BTW WTF is wrong with LAME and EAC ripping?

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice

I Don't Represent the Big Record Labels. (none / 0) (#21)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 05:18:09 AM EST

I don't give a flying fuck if Sony doesn't want to distribute Michael Jackson this way. I don't represent Sony's interests with my proposal.

What I want is that when I make higher quality recordings of my piano compositions, and record new ones, I can distribute my music in such a way that it can be shared more reliably, and with higher audio fidelity.

Those who download music - and you know, music downloading is popular these days - will soon learn to look for the mark of quality in a p2p download, the FLAC files or whole-disc metadata shared in a bittorrent fashion as I describe.

What I'm saying is that Michael Jackson will find it difficult to compete if everyone starts listening to indy bands because they can get better downloads that way.

I don't think it matters if the big labels don't support it. I calculated earlier today that a Quality 5 Ogg Vorbis track costs approximately two one-hundredths of a cent to store on DVD-R media. It costs less than a dollar to have your CD pressed in lots of a thousand. DVDs don't cost a whole lot more.

I think that when any garage band can have their music distributed this way for an investment of only a couple grand they will invest, because encouraging the sharing of their music is the best way to get new fans to come to their live performances.

I also don't expect the record stores to either care about or profit from my proposal. I expect these will be sold either directly by the indy labels or by the bands themselves, through their websites.

Next.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

No shit (none / 0) (#30)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 05:31:54 AM EST

In fact, I'd put it even more succinctly - you represent no one other than yourself. You want to release your music as 24 or 32-bit WAV, AIFF, whatever - knock yourself out. But what you're calling for is a new codec on top of a new format.

What you have completely failed to do is take into account that no one in the industry *that isn't a major label* can afford to sign on to this concept of yours.

Oh yes, and blahblah I know exactly what FLAC is since that's all I download. Did you think you were the only person that knew what it was?

Vorbis is still a lossy codec and as such has limited usefulness for high quality audio.

"I think that when any garage band can have their music distributed this way for an investment of only a couple grand they will invest, because encouraging the sharing of their music is the best way to get new fans to come to their live performances."

What, precisely, makes this any different from bands that put their music up on the web now?

"I also don't expect the record stores to either care about or profit from my proposal. I expect these will be sold either directly by the indy labels or by the bands themselves, through their websites."

Relegating your concept to an intellectual wet dream.

Here's the bottom line: you are clearly naive about the music industry and how it works. Unlike you, I've worked in the industry (albeit somewhat peripherally) for years. The internet and file sharing do play some small part (particularly MySpace and various fan and social sites). However the biggest part is word of mouth. That means touring and it means making nice with radio stations and clubs.

There are ways to make a positive difference, I don't see this as one of them.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

hifi - whatever (none / 0) (#82)
by NaCh0 on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 08:25:02 PM EST

You don't have the right kind of gear in your musical garage to get better sound quality than found on a CD.

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]
No one gives a fuck about audio quality (2.00 / 5) (#34)
by zenador on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 05:51:04 AM EST

Have you looked around lately?

Everyone either has an iPod or wants to get one because they're easy to use.

For 99.99% of people those 128 Kbps 50-Cent Mp3's they got off Kazaa are good enough.

CD's and DVD's for audio are going to be completely irrelevant in a couple more years.

I Offer a Counterexample. (none / 0) (#39)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 06:49:35 AM EST

I care, myself. I don't download p2p music much anymore because so few of the tracks I get sound good. It's not hard to hear aliasing in them. I really do prefer to buy the CDs when I can find the music I'm looking for. I only download when I can't find a CD.

But that's just me. I'm not the counterexample I offer you. This is:

From the page:

Welcome to the Live Music Archive. etree.org is a community committed to providing the highest quality live concerts in a lossless, downloadable format. The Internet Archive has teamed up with etree.org to preserve and archive as many live concerts as possible for current and future generations to enjoy.

So you see, it's not just long-hair audiophiles who want lossless, hi-quality audio. These people are just like you and me. They just want their music to sound good. I think they'd be pretty stoked to have discs with 32-bit music they could just pop into their stereo and only have to press "Play" to listen to.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Um.. what? (none / 1) (#86)
by zenador on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 12:43:03 AM EST

You do know that site you linked to contains practically nothing but Grateful Dead mp3's right? I don't want any of that shit.

I think that most people, myself included, want their music in an easy to manage format like mp3. Discs are a pain in the ass and nobody wants to deal with them anymore.

[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#116)
by Nasarius on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:44:55 PM EST

I've probably been trolled, but whatever.

You do know that site you linked to contains practically nothing but Grateful Dead mp3's right?

First of all, they're mostly FLACs and SHNs, not MP3s. That's the whole point of archiving lossless music. Second, Grateful Dead is by no means the only archive.org-friendly band. Bela Fleck, Billy Bragg, Derek Trucks, Hank Williams, moe, Warren Zevon, Robert Randolph, and a whole bunch of shitty jam-bands are up there. If you want more variety, check out the less legal trading sites like dimeadozen.org or thetradersden.org.

[ Parent ]

The point is (none / 0) (#129)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 07:28:07 AM EST

that Crawford mentions etree.org stated this in the grandparent: "...it's not just long-hair audiophiles who want lossless, hi-quality audio.These people are just like you and me." It appears that the previous poster was showing the hypocrisy of said statement since Deadheads *are* long-haired audiophiles and aren't like the rest of us (even those of us with long hair). Zenador was also pointing out that other than mp3's other formats are a pain in the ass to deal with.

Most people aren't interested in shitty jam bands.


"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Choice (none / 0) (#126)
by Kadin2048 on Fri Sep 09, 2005 at 02:02:24 AM EST

A standard like this could bring choices to the market. There are people who want better quality, I know because I'm one of them. I don't bother with P2P downloads because honestly, I'd rather sit in the relative silence of my computer's cooling fans than listen to an MP3 encoded at 128kb/s.

I realize I'm in the minority here (I know this since the market isn't catering to me), but that doesn't mean that there aren't enough people out there who want high-quality music that we shouldn't bother thinking about it, as long as we're listing things we'd want in a music distribution format.

In a post higher up in the chain I pointed out a way I thought this could be possible, simply by having the metadata file that's at the heart of this proposed format be able to contain pointers and hashes of different versions of each song. If you were an artist and only wanted to release your song at 128kbs, more power to you. But if you wanted to get wider exposure and please a more demanding audience, you could make it available at 128, 256, FLAC, and straight PCM. Put all the appropriate bittorrent links and file hashes in the metadata container, cryptographically sign it so people know the files are yours, and send it out.

It's not like having multiple versions is impractical. Take a look over at allofmp3.com -- they sell MP3s by the megabyte, and you can pick your bitrate and format as you download. They encode the music on the fly if it doesn't exist already, and then you download.

[ Parent ]

Name an artist that would find this useful (none / 0) (#130)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 07:29:40 AM EST

They might as well post WAV or AIFF files. Unless it plays on today's gear without modification this is merely a masturbation fantasy - without any of the good bits.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
I'm Serious About This. Let Me Explain. (1.66 / 6) (#35)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 05:54:37 AM EST

I think there is a crying need for a standard such as I propose, but I can't do it myself. It's not just that I don't have the time, but that I don't have the background required to produce a technical standard that would result in players such as you could use in a car or a home stereo - players that don't need a PC with a desktop operating system.

Embedded players, specifically. I've done enough embedded programming to understand the importance of rigorous standards documents. I expect I could help, but I've never done anything like this before.

But I thought there were some people who could find someone to implement my idea if I told them about it. I sent my first draft of this to Chris "Monty" Montgomery, creator of the Ogg Vorbis digital music format, Eric Raymond, founder of the Open Source Initiative, Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons and Montreal music producer Dac Chartrand, owner of the Trotch record label.

I thought it would stimulate valuable discussion to share it with you too.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Why is there a "need"? (2.60 / 5) (#36)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 06:06:27 AM EST

What exactly do you hope to accomplish? Who will it help (other than to feed your ego)?

Are you completely unaware of the various alternative channels out there now?

Lastly, why would any of those people have anything necessarily meaningful to say outside their own specialty?

For someone in one of the richest, most vibrant musical scenes in the world (along with tremendous support for all kinds of music) you sure don't seem to have a grasp of all that's going on around you.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

ESR is a pretender to the throne (1.83 / 6) (#37)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 06:12:09 AM EST

A couple people posted comments below that offered the mistaken impression that I'm an Eric Raymond fan. That is absolutely not the case. I copied ESR in my original email proposal not because I think he's a great guy, but because I acknowledge that he's influential. He has the ear of big business in a way that Richard Stallman does not.

I'm very sorry to have to say that, but them's the breaks. Stallman makes it pretty clear that he'd like to see Raymond's head on a pike for stealing his thunder. A lot of people give him crap for that, but I think he's absolutely justified, and I'm behind Stallman one hundred percent: it's "Free Software", not "Open Source".

Unfortunately, there are very few Free Software advocates to be found among the companies that manufacture high-fidelity home stereo systems. That's also why I feel Monty made the right decision to relicense the Ogg reference source code from the original GPL to its present BSD license: proprietary software companies wouldn't otherwise be unwilling to support ogg in their products.

Now, while I back Stallman over Raymond, I hasten to point out that even Stallman long ago recognized the need for moral flexibility in fighting a bloody war: the reason what was originally called the GNU Library General Public License was created was that many developers were hesitant to use the GNU standard C library glibc because they worried they'd have to GPL their own code. Many wouldn't use it even on their own boxes for fear it would get out someday.

Now that Free Software has become widespread, Stallman renamed the LGPL to the "Lesser GPL" to discourage its further use. It had served its purpose, but was no longer needed as far as the Free Software foundation was concerned.

Thanks for letting me clear all that up.

Oh yeah, one more thing while I have your attention...

It's GNU Linux to you, Mister.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


I don't mind the gpl (none / 0) (#66)
by army of phred on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 01:24:36 PM EST

heck much wonderful stuff is made available with that license. Still, the world has to eat, and if someones going to charge for bits then who am I to argue?

I don't like that software patents exist, as they put monopolies on obvious ideas that garage programmers could independently think up, and I don't like the copyright police doling out punishments far in excess of the crime. But if intellectual property could be protected without those evils then I'd be more supportive.

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
[ Parent ]

More importantly he is irrelevant (none / 1) (#81)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 07:39:22 PM EST

to music, as are all of the people you've thus far contacted.

The way you've gone about this you may as well have gone to Berklee to study computer programming.

This is worthy of a diary since it's so poorly thought out, not a story (regardless of how it ends up in voting).

When proposing new standards one must show needs, markets and problems solved. You haven't accomplished any of those things. You haven't even determined if this spec would be stereo or multi-channel. Nor have you addressed how this would combat ,let alone make any headway against, the SACD and DVD-A formats.

You should pull this until you've thought this out. As it stands you're effectively thinking aloud.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

No, I'm looking for input (none / 0) (#99)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 03:11:04 PM EST

I felt K5 would be a good place to get input on how to improve my proposal so that it will have all the things you need.

I think it's having that effect.


-- "You're not as big an asshat as everyone seems to think." - Kurosawa Nagaya.


[ Parent ]

It might be, but the proper place to do it (none / 1) (#103)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 09:46:09 PM EST

is in a diary.

Scattershot, thinking aloud posts shouldn't be on the front page no matter who you are. Count yourself lucky that people here are either clueless or like you so much that they'll put anything you defecate up on the front page.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Businesses, clue in. (1.50 / 2) (#67)
by conner_bw on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 01:43:43 PM EST

Consider a disc that, embedded within, are digital licenses that allows devices to play/copy/share.

For example, a disc could have 40% "Libre" content and 60% Copyright and the consumer device handled the rest. This is great promo, is flexible to the needs of artistic producers, and solves the problem of ambiguous copying because, let's face it, no matter how much you encrypt it, someone will hack it.

Why waste your time & financial resources researching methods that will be circumvented for much cheaper? If the consumer device already "knows" what it can and can't share - doing it  for you - lazy people won't try. If an artist wants 100% sharing rights enabled, done. If they want 0% sharing rights enabled, done. Who needs fancy encryption?

Of course some people might move the files to less than favorable sharing paradigms, but what's to stop them now? They do it anyway, all the time. Such a format removes and legal ambiguity from the process of culture swapping, and we move on towards the future, everyone wins.

Something to consider...

Who the hell are you talking to? (2.00 / 2) (#88)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 06:17:46 AM EST

If you think WEA sends people to K5 to get our pulse on "what's really going on" then you're clueless.

Since you apparently run a small label you know damn well that small labels don't tend to release anything other than CD's anyway - largely because they can't afford to support any more formats than vinyl and CD (not to mention the near complete lack of a market for anything else). That won't change with this new "format" either, especially if it needs a whole new codec.

Talk about a solution looking for a problem.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

I was talking to my own ass (none / 0) (#92)
by conner_bw on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 09:55:11 AM EST

Haha, just trying to contribute to the article. Don't really know this dude other than he linked me on Goingware and I thanked him for it by sending out some promos cuz it gets TROTCH a reasonable amount of random traffic. If ever a new format does spring up, it would be nice to implement whatever the hell I am blathering about. But, personally, i'm happy with CD.

[ Parent ]
Why a new codec (none / 0) (#125)
by Kadin2048 on Fri Sep 09, 2005 at 01:51:35 AM EST

I'm not sure why this demands a new codec. There are lots of good codecs out there already. FLAC, Ogg, heck given todays storage devices uncompressed PCM is fine. It would be silly to reinvent the wheel and come up with a new codec for this new format, which is really nothing but a package or wrapper, a put-together of existing technologies in a novel way, which is then standardized and promulgated for adoption.

Here's how I see it: the metadata is XML. The audio files are whatever format the artist wants to release, depending on the medium (online or physical media). The "format" is just a codification of the XML metadata file and physical disc folder structure. It gets burned to disc and read from the disc as regular data by a PC. As long as the format was fairly rigidly defined, this could be implemented in hardware devices which are really just headless PCs running Linux (like an XBox type of thing).

All the technology is off-the-shelf. The effort is just putting it together and then marketing it to users and content producers as something they'd want to use.

[ Parent ]

Did you read the same article I did? (none / 0) (#131)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 07:31:55 AM EST

He's the one asking for it, not me. Not that any of this wankery matters anyway BECAUSE NO ONE HAS BOTHERED TO TALK TO ANY MUSICIANS ABOUT THIS. It isn't a tech problem.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Enforcement? (none / 0) (#124)
by Kadin2048 on Fri Sep 09, 2005 at 01:43:15 AM EST

How would you enforce the "copyrighted" licenses?

DRM doesn't work without specialized hardware and end-to-end encryption, and even then you can always record and re-digitize it from the analog world. Besides, the encryption will almost certainly be broken eventually, since it's inherently insecure (the end user must have both the algorithm and the key, somewhere).

The only enforcement mechanisms are political -- legislative and judicial -- the technological mechanisms are just there to provide a layer of "due diligence" so that the later court cases can show that the music companies tried so hard to protect their property from the evil pirates.

The music is all going to get out, all going to get shared eventually. The only difference between copywritten music and copylefted stuff is the legality and the ensuing response to people who have copied it.

[ Parent ]

What a capital plan! (1.71 / 7) (#68)
by Pooping in Urinals on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 01:56:08 PM EST

Now every asshole with a guitar will be able break free of their highly limiting recording format and record their version of the "Free Software Song" on their 486 running Linux. Clearly, we've bulldozed the major limiting facotor in Free music.

"...[T]he first midget amputee getting bukkaked by 20 japanese buddhist monks and I bet your gonna say 'well thats what the miscellaneous column is for.'" -- army of phred

My ten year old Mac runs linux, I'll have you know (1.25 / 4) (#70)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 02:19:32 PM EST

My 8500 was a 150 MHz PowerPC 604 (not even a 604e) but I upgraded the CPU to a 350 Mhz G4. While OS X does not support it, a patch is available. I was dismayed it so slow to be unusable. OS X is noticably slow even on my Blue & White G3, and that model is supported. I can't even use XCode's text editor to mark up HTML files because of the lag between typng a character and seeing it appear.

Yet my 8500 is the one machine I never turn off except during lightning storms, because it's my home LAN's internet gateway and Samba fileserver. It works just great, and is quite performant running Debian Sarge and a 2.4.x kernel.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Stop spamming your shit. (2.40 / 5) (#71)
by Pooping in Urinals on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 02:23:24 PM EST

The only possible reason you could be posting all this tangentially-related garbage is to whore links to your site. Fuck off.

"...[T]he first midget amputee getting bukkaked by 20 japanese buddhist monks and I bet your gonna say 'well thats what the miscellaneous column is for.'" -- army of phred
[ Parent ]

Regarding Your Proposal (2.25 / 4) (#72)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 02:56:51 PM EST

You can kiss my hairy ass.

When you work as hard to write a story as I did to write this one, I think others will welcome your links that illustrate the relevance of your story to your personal experience as my links illustrate mine.

You think I'm just whoring links? Did you even read what I wrote? Right in the middle of writing this I licensed my music to the Creative Commons equivalent of the GNU General Public License.

I did that not because I felt that I had something to gain, but because I felt that I had something to give. I did so because I felt it was the only right thing to do.

It's people like you that give K5 a bad name and drive away the legitimate members. Come back on another day when you have something positive to contribute to the community.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Jehovah's Witnesses (3.00 / 4) (#90)
by geekmug on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 06:36:19 AM EST

All they want to do is give spiritual enlightment, and all people want is for them to go away.

And, nothing about the GPL or CC licenses waive your right to vanity. Seeing as you picked the "attribution" variation of the CC license, and somewhere you made a topical comment about "it's GNU Linux," you clearly care about that sort of thing. The wind doesn't care if I know its name or where it came from, so your music (nor this article) is "free like the wind."

Next time you want to pander your music, make better music.

-- Why reinvent the square wheel?
[ Parent ]
Oh no (none / 0) (#118)
by mikepence on Wed Sep 07, 2005 at 12:51:28 AM EST

They want much more than that. Don't get me started.

[ Parent ]
What we really need (none / 1) (#69)
by Eight Star on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 02:00:47 PM EST

I like this proposal, but we should remember that as long as we can hear music, we can copy it.


Top neurologists are working on that too: (1.33 / 3) (#73)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 03:12:33 PM EST

One day, encrypted Windows Media Audio will be streamed directly via fine implanted wires directly into the hearing centers of your brain in such a way that the sound can be experienced but not captured.

This will require genetic engineering of the entire human race, as of course one might try to record the feeble signal from the implants. No, copy-protection will be implemented into our neurons so that at no time does Britney come under threat of having her chart-topping hits listened to without being paid for.

An early implementation was demonstrated by The Phone Company in The President's Analyst starring James Coburn, the coolest of them all. I'm pretty sure I saw the DVD once on Amazon. Check it out.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Why do we need it... (3.00 / 2) (#77)
by joto on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 04:10:02 PM EST

Most DVD players already support a standard DVD with a bunch of mp3's on it, in one or more directories. Is there anything wrong with that solution?

Ok, flac is a good alternative. And so is ogg, musepack, and others. Building an embedded chip that can decode at least those 4 alternatives can't cost much these days.

Well then, there's your standard.

Wouldn't need to fabricate anything (none / 0) (#127)
by Kadin2048 on Fri Sep 09, 2005 at 02:14:09 AM EST

You wouldn't need to build anything. The decompression requirements of almost all those formats, I'm nearly certain, is well within the power of the embedded systems-on-a-chip that you can buy from TI, among others. (I'm sure all of the big semi companies have similar products.)

Basically it's an entire x86 motherboard and processor on a single piece of silicon, with connections for RAM, PCI, ATA, clock, etc. Although you'll want to make optimizations, basically the same software that you make to run on a desktop PC will run on one of these. Program storage is usually in flash memory.

It's not necessary to fabricate a custom IC to decompress every new codec; you just give it the right software. This is how Apple added "Apple Lossless" format to the iPod retroactively, the decoding is handled on the device's main processor, all that was required was new firmware. (Of course these retroactive changes are limited by the power of the device's processor -- one reason I've heard they didn't use FLAC, for instance, was because they didn't have enough overhead in the processor to do it on the original models and they wanted one format for the product line. Hence the Apple Lossless format, compatible with nothing.)

I don't want to make it sound too simple, because it's not -- embedded systems take a huge amount of time and effort to get working right -- but it's not necessary to have custom ICs fabricated for every new codec you want to decompress.

[ Parent ]

Irrelevant unless in all players anyway (none / 0) (#132)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 07:44:01 AM EST

and I guarantee you Phillips and Sony will go after any manufacturer supporting any new codecs with a vengeance.

The problem really is that Crawford has conflated a number of issues without really knowing the issues or their relationship to each other. One problem is multi-channel audio sans DRM. Given current conditions that is an impossible feat on standard players so even if possible it is a long, long road. Another is getting attention for less well-known acts - the problem here is that there already are functioning infrastructures that work well. Crawford just doesn't know anything about that because he didn't bother to research this piece.

The big pieces that Crawford touches upon are radio and media monopolies, distribution (near-)monopolies and major labels business structures and ethics. The problem is that these "solutions" don't address any of those things. There are some solutions - and perhaps I'll bother to write about them at some point - but these aren't it.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

TRANSHUMANISM! (1.11 / 9) (#85)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu Sep 01, 2005 at 11:40:48 PM EST

nt

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
Hilarious (2.90 / 10) (#87)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 06:11:28 AM EST

This is likely to make the front page without the author having done a lick of research. Nothing about or from anyone in the music industry (other than two miniscule examples), not even a paltry link to downhill battle.

This leaves us with three possibilities-  K5 has become a bunch of sentimental idiots in the wake of Katrina, that tech-heads here are so incredibly arrogant that they don't need to know what the fuck they're talking about as long as it involves technology in the slightest possible manner or what we have here is a cock sucking contest of the highest order.

Crawford writes as if the last 30 years never existed. That the DIY movement and labels never happened and that it was impossible for independent (Small "I") musicians could get their information out. This is far from the case.

From WFMU to KFJC, KALX and others there is a vast array of college and community stations playing a huge variety of otherwise unheard music. As if that weren't enough entire online communities have sprung up to support any number of types of music. This is without mentioning the vast web of underground electronic music and punk infrastructures. Just because something isn't readily apparent (mostly because the vast majority of people are too lazy or just don't know anything other than major label releases) doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Ultimately though, artists that you listen to deserve and need your support - not just your listening to them (even if that means only buying their merchandise or paying to see them live in concert).

A call to action that doesn't emanate from, let alone include, those who would be the most impacted by it - the musicians themselves - is asinine. These "chains" as it is put are only on those that choose to sign with major labels.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice

DVDs are good, but where do they come from? (2.66 / 3) (#89)
by dimaq on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 06:28:17 AM EST

think for a moment that both CDs and DVDs were developed exactly because there is a market for commercial, retailed music and movies. taking that into account your proposed format will never see the light of day.

Honest question (2.25 / 4) (#97)
by NaCh0 on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 02:51:05 PM EST

Do you collaborate with JonKatz of slashdot?

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
No, but I knew one once (none / 1) (#98)
by MichaelCrawford on Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 03:05:46 PM EST

He's not the same jon katz who use to work at alladdin systems (now allume) of watsonville, california, the publishers of the stuffit compression application?

I knew him once, but not well. He was a friend of a friend. I always wondered if he was the same guy as the slashdot writer.


-- "You're not as big an asshat as everyone seems to think." - Kurosawa Nagaya.


[ Parent ]

Missing the point (none / 1) (#106)
by cdguru on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 01:52:58 AM EST

I think, as others have posted, you have missed the point.

You have correctly determined that music in a physical distribution form gets around one of the huge problems that face people today. If you have a broadband Internet connection and understand now to use it, you can get all the music you desire. If you do not, you are pretty much restricted to record stores and Columbia House music club.

While it might be nice to assume that all the relevent people are connected and using the Internet, but that is not the experience of retailers today. We all heard about how brick and mortar stores would be closing and replaced with web-only retailers. Yeah, we've seen that happen all right - those guys with the sock puppet really know how to read the tea leaves.

So, a physical distribution format is necessary to reach all of the consumers. OK, you figured that out. Good.

Sadly, while you would like to distribute your music freely, many artists do not agree. Even in cases where the artist might agree, the rest of the people and organizations involved in the distribution process probably do not agree with freely allowing redistribution.

After all, distribution is where it is at - people can only listen to music that somehow reaches them. What you (and many others) fail to consider is that without the ability to distribute free music to everyone there is still the possibility for people to sell "freely copyable" music through their distribution channel. This works really nicely for people that do not have a high-speed Internet connection or do not know how to use it. Therefore, I suspect what you are going to see is that should copyright erode there would be nothing to prevent Wal-Mart or even Sony from packaging up "free" music, putting it on CDs or DVDs and selling it in stores for $10 or $20 each. Just like their other music media.

Now the idea of creating a physical format that (a) isn't necessary for the well-connected Internet-savvy technophile, and (b) actively promotes a philosophy that degrades the position of people in the distribution chain seems like it is a non-starter as a physical format. Sure, you might be able to get some indy band to make their discs this way, but it is unlikely to go much beyond that.

What would make sense is a format that somehow either eliminates all physical distribution or enhances the position of people involved in physical distribution. Failing to do that, you aren't going to get anyone, anywhere in the distribution of music interested.

If you can listen to it... (2.66 / 3) (#107)
by skyknight on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 10:56:10 AM EST

then there is no crypto in the world that can stop you from doing as you please. Short of secure hardware from end-to-end, spanning disk to speakers, ripping high fidelity copies will always be possible.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
While that type of thing (none / 0) (#109)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 04:14:34 PM EST

is being worked on, you could still sample what's coming out of the speakers anyway and re-digitize it. It's all a matter of what the public will buy.

Regardless, it will be quite some time before people are clamoring to get rid of their cd's. I can actually thank Sony & co. here because DVD-A and SACD actually work against each other (despite being designed for different purposes and market segments).

If Crawford had talked to audio experts, musicians and industry people (to come up with a spec) he just might have had something. Instead all we have is some guy's stillborn wet dream.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Nobody's listening to what I said (none / 0) (#110)
by MichaelCrawford on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 05:09:34 PM EST

Of course I'm going to consult experts. But before I do I felt I should discuss it among my colleagues to develop a proposal that goes into more detail than what I have posted above.

I've posted this repeatedly here, that I submitted this to invite discussion, not as an actual specification.

Richard Stallman got back to my mail to him. He sees the potential of this, but is hesitant. One thing he's clear about though is that he understands DVD Audio is just a vehicle for DRM. He says we must defeat it.

I'm going to work up some kind of prototype, but not this week, I'm too busy.


-- "You're not as big an asshat as everyone seems to think." - Kurosawa Nagaya.


[ Parent ]

And as I've stated repeatedly (none / 0) (#111)
by destroy all monsters on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 12:28:29 AM EST

discussion is best and most appropriately done in a diary.

I can't think of anyone that's commented that thinks DRM is a good thing. On the other hand that's part of what has killed its adoption. Ditto with SACD.

What concerns me is that how you've gone about this dooms any legitimate chance at change by sucking up all the oxygen.

Like the Open Bios project I see little good about this other than the fact that your intentions are good. However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that.

Your idea of a new format is a poor one I think as is that of a "copy optimized" format. Re-purposing a current format with non-drm lossless codecs are something that people might be able to get excited about and actually be functional. However to do so this is precisely the wrong audience. The best thing to do is to discuss with open source lossless format devs how new codecs (if needed) might work. The weakest point that the industry has is in DVD-A and as such makes a drm-less multi-channel solution *on current hardware* appealing.

Anything other than that and you're just barking up the wrong tree. Anything that's going to require manufacturer assistance *will* fail.  

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Manufacturer Assistance? (none / 0) (#123)
by Kadin2048 on Fri Sep 09, 2005 at 01:38:02 AM EST

I don't see anything about the proposal that would require manufacturer approval. Part of the draw, IMO, is that it doesn't require any specific manufacturers of anything -- it uses commonly available commodity hardware. Specifically a PC and its DVD or CD drive, either -ROM or -R.

Perhaps calling it 'copy optimized' is a bit overzealous; it might just serve to antagonize more conservative (if that's the right word) artists who have a knee-jerk response to "copying." It's fine for now, because it helps show what the project would be all about, but I think further down the road a less antagonistic name might be chosen.

I guess perhaps I'm agreeing with you -- anything that requires manufacturer assistance will fail. But I don't see why this project would require that, at least in the initial stages. It's mostly just a novel use of existing technologies, with some tieins to software (P2P) which is predominately OSS anyway.

[ Parent ]

So then who does this help? (none / 0) (#134)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 07:51:28 AM EST

For a format to work it has to be ubiquitous. That means industry push for anything other than pre-existing formats. So what's the point?

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Hah! (none / 1) (#114)
by CaptainZapp on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:26:20 AM EST

then there is no crypto in the world that can stop you from doing as you please.

Maybe no crypto, but you can pour tar into the ears of every inhabitant of the planet (the eyes too, otherwise they may be able to rip off the visuals). You may start in the US, since it seems simpler to bribe politicos in exchange for political favors and then exchange this clever scheme on the rest of the world.

Another option and just one step away from what they are doing now - criminalizing their customers - is to kill everybody.

Damn powerful copy protection, I dare say.

[ Parent ]

I find it endlessly amusing... (1.50 / 2) (#115)
by skyknight on Mon Sep 05, 2005 at 10:38:39 AM EST

that people think that politics in America are more corrupt than in other places in the world. In fact, politics in general are monumentally corrupt. Period. America just makes a particularly juicy target. This mentality is not all that different from the way that you see the gory personal details of celebrities being smeared across the covers of tabloid magazines. Everyone loves to see the big person get a black eye and a bloodied lip. It makes them feel better about themselves.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Copy-Friendly Audio DVD Format exists already (none / 0) (#117)
by Parity on Tue Sep 06, 2005 at 04:57:47 PM EST

Data format DVD.
With ogg and/or mp3 files on it in top directory.
Players should play contents in ASCIIbetically order.

There is no technical reason whatsover to use anything else.

FYI (none / 0) (#120)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 07:07:58 AM EST

There are a number of Windows programs that will allow you to burn CDDA files onto DVD - and they should read back properly on any DVD player interestingly enough.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
RTFA (none / 0) (#121)
by wurp on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 10:25:52 PM EST

That was my opinion at first, but now I agree with MC.  While the standard would be mostly trivial, it is still important to standardize, and his notes about requiring a license are important.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
i have the squirts pretty bad at the moment (1.12 / 8) (#119)
by Friedrich Dionysus on Wed Sep 07, 2005 at 03:15:30 PM EST



Sounds like a great idea to me. (none / 0) (#122)
by Kadin2048 on Fri Sep 09, 2005 at 01:27:05 AM EST

I think the GPL/FOSS community is about ripe for something like this. A few years ago I would have probably disagreed, and said that a community effort wouldn't be enough to create an effective standard, but now I think it might just be doable.

This reminds me slightly of a discussion I read on Slashdot a while back, discussing whether it would be a good idea or not to create an 'open source DRM.' The question was whether the OSS community should attempt to participate in the design and creation of DRM in a constructive way, in order to better influence its final form. Frankly I wasn't so hot on the idea, it seems to me that once you've accepted the idea of DRM (which is a flawed concept from the beginning, although I won't delve into it here) we as a community have already lost. But, the idea was a valid one.

I think this is a much better solution. Let the record companies produce their format, which will only play on approved hardware. Instead of simply bitching and moaning about how much it sucks, we can offer an alternative -- an actual, well specified, open format, which will play on inexpensive commodity hardware (a PC).

On the surface I think MDC's idea -- for the physical format, just use a data disc with the audio files and a separate metadata file containing the hashes (could also have album artwork, etc.), for the "networked" format, just distribute the metadata file -- would work well. There certainly isn't very much that's new there from a technical standpoint. The novel thing is the integration, and the "united front" it would require.

Something like this I don't think could be born from the amorphous cloud that is the FOSS movement without assistance. It would need someone willing to take on a strong leadership role, who was willing to become the public face of this format and push for its standardization and use.

As I see it the first thing to develop and standardize would be the metadata file. After that, the physical disc format and structure. After that, it would just be a matter of getting P2P client programs to recognize the metadata file and search for files based on it. Then, you could start 'selling' it to users.

I think it would be a mistake for the format to hang too heavily on any specific subformat (Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, etc.). The format of the music files themselves should be the choice of the artist. What would be nice is if the metadata file had the capacity to store hashes for multiple versions of a specific song. E.g., when you buy a physical CD you get them as AIFFs, but the metadata contains information and hashes on the AIFF, FLAC, Ogg, and MP3 versions. That way if you send the metadata file to your friend, they can go online and download the more compact versions, while still being sure they're receiving an authentic file.

Also, the metadata files should be able to be cryptographically signed, so that artists can be ensured that fans know what work is theirs and what really isn't. (It would prevent someone from taking a metadata file and changing the pointers and hashes to correspond to some other songs, while still saying they were the original artists'.) This could be a real feature for independent artists, whose greatest assets are their name, reputation, and fanbase.

Anyway, I think it's a great idea, one I would love to see come to fruition.

Solves no problems, serves no purpose (none / 0) (#133)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 07:48:37 AM EST

Sure if you OSS guys want to code just to do it (Open BIOS anyone?) knock yourselves out. But you're all coming from it from the wrong space. There aren't *any* musicians looking for this. It is entirely cost-prohibitive to produce anything other than cd's and (and this is a big "and") there is no need to do anything other than print on the cover or the disc what the uses of said disc are to be.

This whole concept is dumber than dirt.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Dumbest fucking idea ever. You, sir, are a moron. (2.00 / 3) (#128)
by the77x42 on Sun Sep 11, 2005 at 02:46:16 AM EST

You come out up with an idea for a lossless physical medium that is supposed to be free. What artist in their right mind is going to pay for the production of said physical disks and just give them away?

Why would they do this when they could just post the AIFF files online and give those away for free with a fraction of the overhead? Post them to eMule, shit I can download a DVD in few hours!

Why are you bitching about this in the first place? If you are a true audiophile, you are going to go out and buy the DVD Audio and have 24-bit audio -- you aren't going to download the free shit off the internet anyway. You can do this now, and it's only about $20 per disk!

What it boils down to is that you want free DVD Audio disks. Well, fuck, Michael Crawford, you're a goddamn moron. Why not instead just coax artists to post their shit onto the internet in a lossess format that won't degrade over time and won't take up any space on my record shelves? Why the fuck would they make a DVD out of it and give it away? Why the fuck does this article exist? AM I MISSING SOMETHING????


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

You are MCGREW! (none / 0) (#135)
by garlic on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 05:29:11 PM EST

I claim my $10.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.

My Promised CD Ripper now under way (none / 0) (#136)
by MichaelCrawford on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 11:44:59 AM EST

As I promised in my article above:

I can promise I will write a CD ripper that's a lot better to use than any that I've tried so far, and place it under the GNU General Public License.

Work has began on it a couple days ago:

I'm still working out the features and UI, and will start coding this Saturday. But I want the website to be genuinely useful, so in parallel with development, I'll be writing articles and HOWTOs on the general topic of digital music, starting with today's Why You Should Back Up Your CDs.

I'll be writing it in C++ using the ZooLib Cross-Platform Application Framework. My initial release, still a few months away, will support Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux for both PowerPC and x86. BeOS and maybe Mac OS 9 will follow soon after.

Thank you for your support. -- Mike


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Again (none / 0) (#137)
by destroy all monsters on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:31:42 PM EST

What makes it better than EAC and LAME? With specificity please.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
A Proposal for a Copy Optimized DVD Audio Format | 137 comments (68 topical, 69 editorial, 0 hidden)
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