Summit Touts Open Source Hardware, Q+A with Co-Creators; Music Hardware?

Summit co-chairs Ayah Bdeir (left) and Alicia Gibb (right) are hoping to galvanize a community around open source hardware, from NASA to Arduino. And that could have an impact on music and audio – if creators of gear for musicians get onboard, that is. Open source software has proven itself in technological, economic, and cultural terms – it’s simply a matter of reality. This site runs atop free software nginx, WordPress, MySQL, and (Red Hat Enterprise) Linux; in music, we have Csound, SuperCollider, Pd, Ardour, JACK, Processing, and so on. Csound has even appeared on karaoke machines. These tools run …

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Free SoundCloud Sampling with Creative Commons Search, Player; Q+A

Creative Commons button. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Andy Melton. Finding samples and remix-able music — or advertising the availability of tracks you want to release for that purpose — has just gotten a lot easier. As part of a raft of improvements to the SoundCloud service – including some nice non-CC enhancements to search and tag browsing – the service has boosted integration with free licenses. You can now search for CC content, and the license is visible directly in the player, going beyond what even services like Flickr and Vimeo have done. You can add SoundCloud to CC-focused sites like ccMixter …

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iPhone Devs Get MIDI Keyboards, MIDI I/O, But With Some Strings Attached

Mobile devices are here, they’re powerful — get used to them. Now, could they just connect to the rest of your noisemakers and studio rigs? That’s the potential of new iOS SDKs for MIDI I/O and keyboard docking. But aside from some restrictions imposed by hardware support on iOS, what many developers are publicly wondering is whether a different path entirely will be most productive. Hot on the heels of Line 6’s SDK for their MIDI Mobilizer, a MIDI input and output connector for iOS devices, Akai is courting developers for its own music accessory. The SynthStation 25 is a …

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CDM and Creative Commons “Non-Commercial” Images

(CC) Giulio Zannol. Sampling and online reuse are enormously common in our culture today. But if you really believe in making some of that culture freely accessible, it follows you must also make free licenses explicit. Simply taking something because it’s there isn’t fair to the person who created the content, whose rights should come first, and it doesn’t help advance the cause of free content. If we want content to be more freely accessible, we need to give first priority to those materials explicitly licensed for free use. All of that is to say, we need to obey the …

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Signs of Change, Ingenuity in Music Distribution

Photo (CC) Clonny. Details on Flickr. With the weakened world economy, content in general faces plenty of gloom and doom. Advertising models are severely weakened. But, oddly, in the world of music, there are some positive signs that the shift to decentralized, online distribution might actually be going well — and maybe economic pressures are simply ensuring the parties involved find some way to make the adjustment. And music distribution is becoming wonderfully weird and diverse – maybe far more so than in recording’s so-called golden age, an era in the past dominated by racial division, predatory labels, and a …

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Pirating a Fundraising Album for an Italian Quake – Really?

Ligabue, one of the contributing artists, live in Berlin. Photo (CC) Matthias Muehlbradt. Sure, many issues around intellectual property are gray. But contributor Jo Ardalan has a disturbing story: what happens when a fundraising album gets pirated? Did illegal file sharing users know what they were doing — is there a need for a donation mechanism for these services — or is it really this bad? Apologies if this is old news – catching up during travel – but a question well worth considering. -Ed. We all know piracy forces labels, artists and developers to incur a huge cost. Recently, …

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Inside the Performance Rights Act, And Deciding Who Gets Paid on the Radio

Performers don’t get paid for radio play, even if writers do. Billy Corgan – yes, the Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan – is getting in on the issue, testifying to Congress. So should you be on Billy’s side, or the broadcasters? That’s a trickier question. Photo (CC) Andra Veraart. Policy, intellectual property, and changing business models remain hot threads to follow on this site as we watch the transformation of music distribution in the electronic age. This time, we welcome a new contributor to look inside the issues. Surprise: one radio host sides with the record industry, and the issues may …

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