Music

It was bound to happen

Token Music, https://www.tokninc.com/, is launching a way for music artists to securely sell a portion of their royalties to their fans using blockchain tech – FST (Fungible Security Tokens) as opposed to NFT. https://toknmusic.medium.com/prepare-for-the-alpha-5508353d4523 has details for how you can join them.

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Killing The Blues

I don’t buy a lot of CDs, primarily because I just don’t have (take?) the time to enjoy them the way I used to but I finally broke down and bought Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. It’s a T Bone Burnett production so it’s pretty … well, weird. It’s a duet album and their two voices mesh so nicely, it’s almost spooky, but how weird to bring together the lead singer from Led Zeppelin and THE bluegrass warbler of our time? If pressed, I’d have to call it roots music (or roots revival if you’re looking for a Wikipedia entry). Composers range from The Everly Brothers (for what’s probably the most popular cut on the disc: Gone, Gone, Gone), to Gene Clark (The Byrds fame), Tom Waits, Sam Phillips (no, not the record producer who discovered Elvis but the woman who wrote Taking Picture which was on the last episode of The Gilmore Girls) and Rowland Salley, better known as the bass player for Chris Isaak. And that’s why the title of this post is Killing The Blues, because, right now, it’s my favorite cut from the recording. Once I had a chance to read up on the music on the CD, I listened to Rowland’s own recording of that song. They’re very different from each other and I think the contrast is a really good indicator of T Bone’s production values and perspectives. This Youtube video is a good introduction to the collaboration.

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Trade CDs, listen to music

Just heard about LaLa on KNTV, the local NBC affiliate (they do a pretty good job reporting on local technology news which is why I gave the link to their technology section instead of their main page).

Anyway, Lala does a couple of things. First, it let’s users trade CDs — the physical discs. They provide mailing materials and take a fee for each trade they facilitate (something like $1 for their services and $0.75 for shipping). Second, they have “radio stations”, not unlike Live365 and ShoutCast. I’m not sure how one goes about setting up a radio station but there are lots out there. To tune to a station, you simply select it. You need to have Javascript enabled and, pops a window that shows which song is playing and you hear music. It doesn’t look like it’s possible (yet) to play Lala radio stations outside of your browser (thereby obviating use with my SqueezeBox, it still looks interesting, though, and I think I can figure out how to piece together a URL.

I’ve only just started playing with it so, as I know more, I’ll post more.

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Squeezebox from SlimDevices

Well, after looking at it for about 2 years, I finally picked up a Squeezebox from SlimDevices. Why? Well, I find myself listening to more and more of my radio over the Internet. Almost all of the stations I listen to broadcast over the Internet (with the exception of KKUP. And I get to listen to stations like RadioParadise.com, KPIG, Cities 97 and KCRW — stations that either don’t broadcast at all or don’t broadcast in my area. Not to mention the likes of SHOUTcast, Live365, RadioIO and even RadioTime.

I wasn’t too happy with the SqueezeBox until I hooked up some decent speakers to it. I dug out my old Altec Lansing ACS-45s (see this page (and, yes, I know it’s a product page for El Salvador — I couldn’t find anything for North America. I guess that’s because they’re, like, 5 years old). Now, I’m really happy! Excellent sound!

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SONY music CD DRM installs uninstallable software

(This courtesy of Rod Begbie’s Groovy Links.)

Mark Russinovich of SysInternals fame, maintains a weblog where he discusses technical topics and posts generally useful information he finds while investigating the various technical topics he follows. He’s not given to flights of fancy or fallacy, which is why I’m posting this. In this entry he details a search he undertook on one of his own machines when he ran his Rootkit Revealer. It seems there were some hidden processes and device drivers that he didn’t remember ever installing! Turns out that the Digital Rights Management software on one of the music CDs he’d played, using the software that came on the CD, installed all this stuff. It’s a fascinating posting, from a technical detective standpoint as well as a DRM information perspective. Well worth reading, even if you can’t follow the technical details.

The upshot: Be very careful but especially when it comes to DRM.

Update, November 3, 2005: The San Jose Mercury News reports today that Sony has released a patch to address the hidden software. Registration may be required to read the story but I’m sure it will show up elsewhere, too.

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High quality music downloads

MusicGiants is a relatively new music service. Launched September 29, it features music encoded with Microsoft’s Windows Media Lossless format, which, according to Microsoft, ensures that there is no loss in quality over the original. The service costs $50/year and $1.29 per track, although they waive the yearly fee if you give them $250 for downloads. Yes, it requires that you use their client software, something that I find unfortuntate but, still, to get legal high quality tracks without having to worry about an actual CD, it’s probably worth it. Myself, I still prefer to actually have the CD in my hands but I may sign up just for grins.

See this article on BetaNews for a review.

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