The Album, Reborn Digitally – Much, Much, Much Longer

  Many musical luminaries have warned that the MP3 single is the death of the vaunted album format. The idea is people will listen to single tracks instead of whole albums. Don’t tell that to Harry Pyle (seen at right, promoting the hard-edged stereotype of accordion players). Far from gravitating to the single, he’s made his album 453 tracks long. Kyle McDonald writes: Harry Pyle, a local musician near Albany, New York, released a collection of music called "The Vault" on June 4th. It is comprised of 8 "chapters" with approximately 50 songs each, for a total of 453 songs. …

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An Ableton Live-Friendly Remix: Martin Brothers Dancetracksdigital Contest with “Dum”

It’s amazing that, even today, relatively few artists release stems when they want to encourage remixes. A new remix contest with The Martin Brothers’ new track “Dum,” on the Dirtybird label, goes further, by providing not only individual stems, but a full-blown Ableton Live set, completely with warping parameters and even some plug-in inserts. That should mean just about anyone can pick up the track and start remixing – and, of course, Live is a big hit with the remix scene. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this, but coming from Dancetracks Digital, which has made a big impact …

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Fine Print: What Do Royalty Rates Actually Pay?

  As an addendum to the Last.fm story today, what are the actual royalty rates we’re talking here? They’re not much – precisely the reason musicians will have to get broadcast-style play counts to ever see anything worth counting. For instance, Last.fm makes the comparison with the BBC in the Wired story. The BBC has more hegemony than even a giant US ClearChannel radio station, and I suspect it’d be virtually impossible for an unsigned artist to see that number of plays. How little? Try $0.0005 per play, as Steve of sighup writes in comments. (I think that’s just radio …

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Metallica Attempts to Be Beloved Trent Reznor, Fails

Eliot Van Buskirk has, as always, terrific music coverage for Wired. The story this time: how Metallica’s Radiohead/Nine Inch Nails-style Internet release, free of DRM, seems only to make people angry. It gives a glimpse into how the Internet release could evolve over time, outside the aura of joy in which the latter two bands are enveloped. I can make the story short, though: In many circles, Metallica is no longer cool or never was cool. Lawyer make people MAD. Angry. Smash. (Apparently in addition to going after 60,000 pages of fans on Napster, Metallica doesn’t even like fan-made buttons.) …

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DRM Lessons: MSN Music Restores Authorizations Through 2011

Let this be a lesson to you, purveyors of online music. If you do DRM-lock digital music, be prepared to continue to support it well into the future, lest users rebel. Microsoft announced earlier this year that its MSN Music service, defunct now for some time and never terribly popular, would cease to function as of August 31, 2008. This would mean that people who bought tracks from MSN Music would no longer be able to authorize files to play on new PCs and devices. The only workaround: burn to CD and re-rip. Even on a relatively unsuccessful service, though, …

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Lala, Free Music Streaming, And Why Two-Tier Pricing is the Future

It’s clear that the new world of music listening involves more — more music, listening in more places, with more styles of music from more places in the world. So, naturally, it makes sense that we won’t pay per-album fees for everything we hear; even if you were addicted to your indie college radio station 20 years ago, that’s the case. (And I’ll be you didn’t buy everything you heard, though you probably bought some of it.) The question is, how to model those costs, so the people making and distributing the music make money. Make whatever argument you like …

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Another Free NIN Release: Give Away the Download, Sell the Vinyl?

Nine Inch Nails are back with another free release; this time, it’s an upcoming album release called "The Slip". And NIN continue to give us the kinds of formats we like, with the income this time coming entirely from physical sales: the music is available in a variety of formats including high-quality MP3, FLAC or M4A lossless at CD quality and even higher-than-CD quality 24/96 WAVE. your link will include all options – all free. all downloads include a PDF with artwork and credits. for those of you interested in physical products, fear not. we plan to make a version …

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Record Sales Up — No, Really, Actual Records

Eliot Van Buskirk of Wired points out that RIAA numbers show that records are on the rise again, after two years of declining sales. No, I’m not just using the old-fashioned term "records" to refer to something else — I mean records, as in vinyl, as in big round things with grooves that you put on phonographs. $22.9 million worth of retail value moved in records in the US alone — not a huge industry, necessarily, but nothing to be sneezed at, either. By the way, even though the CD industry is shrinking fast, $7.5 billion of CD albums were …

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Update: Warner Exec Just Brainstorming, Oddly Ignorant of Reality

Suggesting taxes in March makes Americans nervous — who knew? Photo: romanlily. Wait … crap. It’s almost April, isn’t it? It seems Warner exec Jim Griffin was unprepared for the rancor of the Interwebs, because he’s backpedaling on a proposal to create a blanket fee for ISPs on music. All of that was just part of a “dynamic conversation,” says Griffin in a statement, and “It would be unfortunate if a creative and fruitful dialogue were sidetracked by a rush to judgment about what was simply my own illustrative example of one of many concepts I have in this space.” …

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