“Piracy is the new radio”

Or so says Neil Young on cnn.com:

“My goal is to rescue the art form that I’ve been practicing for about 50 years,” said Young, whose Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career spans six decades, from Buffalo Springfield to his rich solo career to his work with Pearl Jam and beyond. “The problem is that there’s no alternative.”


Industry-standard MP3 files have only about 5% of all the sounds that were contained in the original recording, which is called a “master.” Because high-def music files are significantly larger, Young described a system that would allow the device to download it while the user is asleep.

I’m not sure exactly what “industry standard” mp3 files are, what bit rate, file type, etc, but 5% seems a bit on the low side. I would assume that the 5% includes the sounds that cannot actually be picked up by the human ear that are immediately cut off from the compressed audios sound. This isn’t to say it makes it better, just a comment on it. An uncompressed audio file, such as WAV file types, are generally 12 times larger than their 192kbs mp3 converted file, this is true. However, there is lossless and there is uncompressed and the trick is to not strictly use an uncompressed file, but to use a file that can and will be unwrapped in software to contain all of the bits perfectly while still saving space.  Where am I going with this? I don’t know, but it would appear that without telling us their formats for uncompressed audio it is hard to make a judgement call about what they are proposing as a system that downloads while the user is asleep. WAV is big, but it’s not exactly YOU’RE DEVICE NEEDS TO DO THIS WHILE YOU SLEEP big. Obviously the more albums you are downloading the greater amount of time you will need, and I suppose it is all in relation to a song on iTunes/AmazonMP3 currently downloading in about a minuet, depending on your connection. So sure, maybe for full albums it’ll take a little over an hour on a decent connection, but we have software that can already do things like this, all we need is the content. It’s not about building a new system, it’s about using the systems we have in place that we are used to and are finally fucking comfortable using and offering the content. The whole world is not going to disconnect from iTunes because there is a new high quality system in place, or some proprietary device that can hook up to a single minded database somewhere. The devices are meaningless, and will eventually become trash as newer, smaller, cheaper, higher capacity, faster units become available. It’s the way of technology. At the place where we are now with mp3 players the space is not available for completely uncompressed music formats. Media players have been moving more towards flash memory, which is fucking expensive at the moment, and as time moves on it will eventually drop in price but I wouldn’t expect it any time soon. With a 32gb flash device you would probably be able to hold somewhere between 25-64 albums in FLAC format, which is more than fine for some people, but for the elitists who WANT the uncompressed formats, they also want their whole libraries in their pocket as both scatterbrain effect and to show off. I know I do, and 64 albums isn’t enough. But the content would still be nice to have and I’m sure there are a number of us who would happily buy the music now, enjoy it on our home systems that have the capacity, speed and time to acquire all the tracks, and wait for the portable market to catch up. One other thing, if you put DRM in it, you’ve fucked everything and no one will trust a god damn thing you ever try to fucking do again. But I wouldn’t suspect Neil Young to go down that route.

“Piracy is the new radio,” said Young, whose music has long had a rebellious streak. “I look at the Internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone.”


Apple Presses Pause on High-Def Music