Readers' Letters: Piracy made legal - how will *you* benefit?, and more...

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of

Thursday November 30, 2006

In response to Piracy made legal - how will *you* benefit?, Justin K writes...

Well we all know the answer to that question but it's great to see people talking about it.

The answer to my mind is to allow the major labels to do something for us for a change and let them prosicute anyone they want! Their days are numbered anyway so we may as well let them do something constructive in the interim. In their desparate rush to save there own asses they might actually help the little guy by creating a little fear in an otherwise indifferent society.

I have friends with gigs of downloads and while they are friends I constantly remind them they are also thieves!

These problems are best sovled by litigation unfortunately but every time you remind a "friend" that they are stealing from musicians it helps. Speak up for yourself because no one else will (except greedy record companies!)

Justin Keogh

C.E.O - Angry Little Man Records

In response to Record on a workstation - export to your computer. Could this be the best of both recording worlds?, Mr G writes...

You could also just switch off your monitor when listening to play backs- or do as I do and set up a 'hot corner' (mac) which then blacks out the screen!

In response to Why copyright is important to the 'small guy' musician, and why the music industry may get paid for your work while you get paid nothing., Volker Rogl (Project System 12) writes...

About copyright - what do you think about the creative commons license ?

It's especially for the small guys - also I ALWAYS have the copyright on anything I produce - isn't it?

The easy way is, just to burn your music on CD and sell it directly to your customers - and when it comes to airplay - sign up to become a member of GEMA!

RP response: Avoid Creative Commons licences at all costs, unless you know EXACTLY what you are signing up for, and why you are doing it. If you give away your rights under a Creative Commons licence, you can never get them back. You should never give up ANY of your rights, unless you are getting a just reward in return.

In response to Record on a workstation - export to your computer. Could this be the best of both recording worlds?, David Gotteri writes...

This is exactly how I work. All performances are recorded on a Zoom MRS1608 - I can then do a rough mix for quick export onto a CD.

I then transfer all tracks via USB to the PC where I can work on them more fully in the software DAWs.

The Zoom allows me to record rehearsals, gigs, etc on location (it has 8 simultaneous inputs) which I can then take home and mix in my own time on the PC.

In response to Why do old people listen to old music?, KW writes...

One important factor you missed, young soldier!

Most of the music today is NOT that musical. It consists of an average of 4 chords (maybe), mediocre (at best) performances, and oversaturation. So why does the younger set still dig the old stuff? The same reason why the older ones do: BECAUSE THE MUSIC WAS SIMPLY BETTER.

Placing fragile egos aside, just do your homework. Listen and learn, my young comrades. It's time to up the ante!

RP response: Yes, let's make it a challenge!

Who can be the oldest recording musician to get one of their RECENT tracks featured on Audio Masterclass?

The 'Upload Audio' link is in the menu bar at the top of the page. When you submit, tell us your age and when the track was recorded.

In response to Why copyright is important to the 'small guy' musician, and why the music industry may get paid for your work while you get paid nothing., Andre Le Broucke writes...

I totally agree with the point of the industry making money out of Small Guy's work is bad. A good formula is yet to be found. However I am all the way for free downloading and I tell you why.

Being a Small Timer I was always buying the albums years after the release if ever! With the oportunity of downloading suddenly I could not only have what I wanted but much more important I could now discover lots of new stuff and as an artist that actually changed my life. I make up for not buying the album on buying the t-shirt and going to the concert or something but me as a new fan would never exist if I couldn't have the songs in the first place.

Well to make it short that's it! A new formula is needed but free download is true democracy of thinking

take care

Boogie Dood Le Broucke

In response to Will your multitrack recordings be playable a year from now?, Bill Bromfield writes...

I would think that if a remix is desired, that you would want to start with completely dry wav files with no effects at all. Let the remixer do his thing with it.

If on the other hand you want to tweak a basically good mix then use the session and software it was originally mixed in.

In response to Play too loud and we'll cut the power!, KW writes...

Mr. Buckaroo:

You seem to overestimate your musical prowess, and confuse good loud music with crappy loud music.

You must keep in mind that we who are over 40 still like it loud and rockin'. (Ever been to a Who concert? I guess not.)

The difference, young and inexperienced soldier, is the QUALITY of music. Some of us simply prefer not to stick our head in a foghorn and run bobby-pins in our cheeks. We outgrew our self-destructive habits, and prefer Zepplin over Godsmack. Compare the two and do your homework.

If you get your head out of your oraface, you will also notice that a lot of the younger set would go with Zepplin any day of the week anyway.

My question is, is why they let you first graders write articles in the first place? Go to your room and shut-up.

RP response: Clearly it's still 'Eternal September' out there in Internet-land. How we long for October 1, 1993 to arrive. And by the way, 'orifice' is the word you're looking for.

In response to Record on a workstation - export to your computer. Could this be the best of both recording worlds?, Teacee writes...

This is a great way of recording, but it does require more time in the long run. The benefits are no computer fan running in he background, more stable recording, no computer freeze up issues, the drawbacks are smaller screen (unless you have A Roland V series or in my case a Roland MV8000 where you have a monitor connection) less intuitive mixing tools or plug-ins and smaller hard drive.

I plan to use my Roland Mv8000 more in the future, currently I am using a Apple G5 PPC Dual 2.5ghz 4GB of ram, two 250 gb Hard Drives, Apple Logic Pro 8 and Reason 4.0. The main difference I notice between my Roland workstation and the computer is, the Roland sounds better and has more punch without any effects added vs recording on the computer with no effects.

In response to How Do CDs Work?, Bill Bromfield writes...

If you're going to write on the CD, do so before you burn it and always use a fine point felt tipped pen with a light touch.

In response to Record on a workstation - export to your computer. Could this be the best of both recording worlds?, Rik Taylor writes...

I agree wholeheartedly. It is so easy to get distracted by the visual medium of music created by pc/mac recording systems. Workstations take away so much of the visual experience and make us use our ears again. It not only means that you listen more during the recording process, but you will find you play far more and loop far less and that can only be a bonus!

In response to Analog - not dead yet?, Tsilis writes...

I do agree with the sound quality and the headroom you get from the tape machines. However, various tape machines are calibrated with different biases, which means that you take your tape to another model or brand of tape player and it sounds different. I am not sure whether this applies to the master machines but definately with the multitrackers.

Another problem is the financial costs of maintenance; The services, the calibration and the subsequent need for changing the head (after some time) - which is V. Expensive - if you manage to find a new one in stock. At the end it's all sacrifices you do for the super sound that comes from tape, and if your pocket is big enough, then it's damn worth it. Long-live tape!

RP response: With an analog tape recorder it is essential to align the recorder to a calibration tape, and also bias and align it for the type of tape you intend to record onto. Having said that, many recorders were aligned at the factory for Ampex 456, which was pretty much the standard in its day. So you could buy a secondhand machine, load up a reel of 456 or equivalent, and get going. You would probably be OK.

In response to Why copyright is important to the 'small guy' musician, and why the music industry may get paid for your work while you get paid nothing., Tyler Jones writes...

I've had some of my creative works stolen recently. I attempted to get

copyright protection information from CRIA, but have not heard from them or recieved anything in acknowledgement from them. I am a producer on a multimedia level, but my main pursuits are in audio recording. I wish there was a place that sold or had the information available to keep track of

copyright material and had forms and the like, readily available.

Even a website dedicated to protecting artists and their works, would be a great thing, including the uploading of creative works by the "small guy" to be tagged and monitored. How does it actually work for us "small guys" to get paid and protect our work from being stolen.

I once read that it's unlikely that someone is out there to steal your music. But lets face it, with online pirates, hackers, and the like, looking to profit from something that isn't theirs, they'll do it regardless. As long as they don't get caught!

How does the small guy protect himself, without backing from the "BIG GUYS".

Do you know if there is dedicated encoding software that will allow

me to tag the music as copyright protected. I have encoding software, but it doesn't seem to want to allow me to tag it as copy protected. What is a DRM Licence?

The copyright issues are very important to me. But lets face it,

there is the thing called "the starving musician". And some people will take advantage of that!

As a "small guy", I've invested into my studio about $20,000+ over the years,I would at least like to protect my recordings and other creative works. And get compensated, where compensation is due.

I recenlty worked on a 5th album for an artist who also has 4 books, should he not belong to CRIA? How do you become a member? What is involved, in joining

the recording industry?

It's one thing to be creative, it's another thing to be able to be involved

in making a stronger Recording Industry. "Strength in Numbers", I believe the saying goes.

The little guys are sure to back the Big guys, if the Big guys are willing to back the small guys.

Instead of the little guys, basically giving their music away free, which is no doubt why everyone thinks that music as a whole deserves to be free, is wrong. The recording industry needs to include the "amateurs", or "small guys" in the process. I've been making music since the early 90's, and have not been paid for anything during this time, except what I charge myself.

I guess what I'm getting at, is that there is no real inclusion of the small guy in the recording industry, or at least as I can see it.

I created this website for a musician, and he allowed me a place to sell my own album on the BEHOLD link. If you feel like checking it out.

Coyright is important, but how does the small guy enforce it without backing?

RP response: Registering your copyright (see for info) is one thing, protecting it is entirely another.

We would love to hear from any 'small guy' musician who has successfully protected their copyright against infringment.

In response to Piracy made legal - how will *you* benefit?, Frank Jasmin writes...


I think copyright should be abolished if and only if we can trade anything we want for anything we want. I'd trade a brand new CD of my music for a brand new Porsche 911. Why would I pay for an Internet provider? Heck, he's making money selling advertising and he uses the fact taht people can download my music faster through his advertising.

Seriously, copyright is a must for everything or it should be banned just like trade marks should be banned. Why can't I sell Big Macs if my business is selling hamburgers?

The only way for music to be profitable on the Internet is for us force the ISPs to pay a small amount of money for every single music file that is transfered to one of their clients through their service.

In response to Why copyright is important to the 'small guy' musician, and why the music industry may get paid for your work while you get paid nothing., Vinvee writes...

It's quite clear that everything America and Americans keep losing is because they are unwilling to fight for what is theirs. The musicians must keep up the fight for what is rightfully theirs and stop being so complacent. We musicians just keep sitting on our asses waiting to "see what happens". It's quite obvious what will happen unless we get involved, write our congressmen, etc. If not, then just keep applying for jobs at fast food restaurants or go be a car parker at the mall. Yeah, that's a good idea. That will pay the bills. Oh yes and by the way, just put all of your music equipment on ebay, it is now worthless.

In response to Why copyright is important to the 'small guy' musician, and why the music industry may get paid for your work while you get paid nothing., Adrian Rowe writes...

How can I copy write my music if I live in the Carribbean? I don't think we have a Copyright law here.

RP response: Check here - You can use the service from outside of the USA.

In response to Why copyright is important to the 'small guy' musician, and why the music industry may get paid for your work while you get paid nothing., Robby Rocket writes...

This is similar to the Performing Rights Society and their 'tax' on the door reciepts from concerts. All bands have to fill in and complete the PRS Live Music Form regardless of whether their original material is published or not. The net result is that the PRS receives money from the little guy which is then distributed back to the big guys.

In response to Why copyright is important to the 'small guy' musician, and why the music industry may get paid for your work while you get paid nothing., Chris writes...

Here in Australia, our performing rights associations have blanket licencing for nightclubs and some other organisations, where the so that all musical works played by those organisations are covered, and the payments are divided up between members of the PRA's.

This is the only possible solution I can see for the scenario of ISPs being charged a levy for internet users' downloads. The PRA's or similar organisations would have to have some sort of blanket licence charge for every ISP and then the payments go back to the PRA's members.

The problem with ANY system of charging a levy to an ISP, though, is that who, in the end, would be paying for the levy? The ISP? I doubt it! So therefore, the ISP covers their cost by bringing up their prices. So then the user is paying the cost. That seems fair, right? Again, a big NO! Consider those people who don't download music. Should they have to pay part of a levy for something they don't use? And what about the people who have high-speed plans and download song after song, 24hrs a day?! The people who don't download music are covering their costs. Seems a bit unfair to me!

Personally, I think the world in general needs a good kick in the pants. There will always be piracy, just as there will always be robbery, murder, and any other crime. People just need to start treating them the same. Even I download the occasional song, or a few songs off an album, just to sample it. But if I like it I buy it, and if I don't, I delete the tracks I download.

In response to When to pan left, when to pan right, Pedro writes...

Drum panning is another nice example, so do you want to listen to it as if you were a drummer or as if you were the audience? Never mind, just remember to be consistent on your choice: if you pan your snare to the left, you whould naturally bring your ride and toms to the right, and most important, if you are using overall stereo micing, remember to be consistent, and also feel free to decide for what is best.

In response to Why copyright is important to the 'small guy' musician, and why the music industry may get paid for your work while you get paid nothing., DARRELL E. writes...

Making money in the music industry has never been easy. In the 1950's an artist or group could spend as little as a thousand dollars to have their songs professionally recorded. Gold records did not come easy back then.

Now with Wal-mart and other mass merchendisers,an album will be gold in less than 1 hour from it's release time. If I go to a local studio and pay $50 an hour for services, how good is the quality? Do you know the production costs for a major recording studio?

OK back to the home studio person. Even if I have the best sounding CD ever made my chances at getting Wal-Mart to carry it is slim. No way to get national exposure for my little project. Enter the internet and pay for download scheme. For every legal download there will be ten that is illegal. Face it, the only ones that will profit will be the large media organizations. It has been that way since the 60's and it will not change.

The music industry will always have payola somewhere hidden in the closet.

This time it just happens to be the internet. Just in case you don't see it coming- AOL owning most of the record companies as well as the internet download sites. As it always has been, mass media 1 Artist 0. There is one bright side to this I am thankful to say. We as home studio engineers don't have fancy videos and Wal-Mart to sell our songs for us and that makes us appreciate each other more. We recognize talent instead of falling for marketing schemes. We still have the ability to make our own musical choices instead of what's being put in front of us everyday.

Truth in music is more important than money.

In response to Record on a workstation - export to your computer. Could this be the best of both recording worlds?, Dav Byrne, Melbourne. writes...

Here's another way you could disassociate the visual and the aural when you're listening to a take, live or playing back - turn off your screen. It works for me. Especially when playing back mixes to the band.

In response to Piracy made legal - how will *you* benefit?, Scott Kane writes...

In response to Bart's hopeful call for unbreakable DRM I can only say, sorry mate, it's not going to happen. Sadly!! As a software engineer (and musician) I can assure you that as fast as we design an algorithm to protect it is broken by a hacker. We've seen it over and over again. In the software industry we have a saying "if protection can be coded it can be broken." Protection methods claiming to take X hundreds or thousands of years for a CPU to crack are rendered obsolete with each new processor generation. We need a far more powerful (and intelligent) system than DRM. Personally I favor an ISP tax where each ISP pays an organization who in turn pays the artist. In the modern era of computers this is no longer the admin nightmare of old that ASCAP etc faced. No need to just pay the big labels - it could be tied with copyright registration and barcode technology so that each artist gets the payment. This is already done to some degree via the likes of iTunes and some of the independent music distributors.

Scott Kane

In response to Piracy made legal - how will *you* benefit?, Samuel Sannie writes...

It is interesting to recall how many people rejected the idea of communism where the "hard worker" shared equally with the "lazy worker" who chose not to work! Well, we have a new kind which I see as electronic communism as far as the downloading of music is concerned.

This seems to have a root in the fact that a person can walk to a sub-way station, hear a musiciam play and enjoy the piece without any obligation to donate money. And in this particular example, it seems acceptable since the musician may be taking a chance here to either bank on the law of large numbers to make a few bucks or perhaps, be discovered by someone in the crowd.

A counterfeit of this idead, similarly has leaked into music listening, purchase and downloading on the internet, where "looters" feel they have a right to enjoy all of the music out there without paying for them.

Suppose you live in an appartment you don't own, and for which you pay rent. Suppose a stranger came in and started eating your food, using your bathroom, living there as if he has equal ownership to your personal property but paying you nothing in return. Would you even begin to consider this okay, since you don't own the apartment?

Why then if the music is mine should you want to treat me as such?

In response to A line array for guitarists? Or, could you handle a 4 x 4 x 12 stack?, Brad Petroskey writes...

In response to:

"A line array for guitarists? Or, could you handle a 4 x 4 x 12 stack?"

"The benefit of a line array is in its directional characteristics - it disperses sound widely in the horizontal plane, while tightly focusing it in the vertical."

This is not a benefit per se. Rather, it lends itself towards a better solution in the right application. In some instances it can be a shortfall.

"The result is that it delivers sound more effectively to the back of the auditorium than other configurations of loudspeakers."

Instead I would have to say that it delivers a more consistent level of sound throughout the auditorium as it bends the double distance rule. I was worried only about effectively delivering sound to the back of an auditorium wouldn't it make sense just to put additional speakers there?

Alright, now let's get into the real issues with this article....

Why, would ANY guitarist worry about projecting his rip your face off 5KHz boosted Marshall to the back of a room? Humor me for a minute. Why would a band would hire a PA company to provide even coverage to a venue which would include the guitar mix in the PA and then bring in even a full stack unless it s for decoration? What you get then is the FOH engineer taking the guitar out of the mix because it's already louder than his FOH rig that was designed to cover the room. I can make a little combo amp pointed at the back of the stage sound better than your stack from hell any day in a good PA. I bet the fans won't leave with their ears bleeding at the end of the show either.

Here's some more...

The act of simply stacking speakers together does not make them a "line array." It makes them a pile of speakers. A line array is specifically engineered to couple sound waves to form a cylindrical wave source. Distance between drivers is critical for this coupling. I'm quite sure that though your beloved Marshall stack really sounds great to the partially deaf ears listening to it that by adding more speakers to it just causes phase distortion and cancellation from the comb filtering that is induced. I really laugh when I see speakers in the same cabinet wired out of phase with each other too. Here's an idea to these folks...'RED BOX.' If you need to hear your guitar more I'll put it in your wedge which is aimed at your ears, not at your knees. But I won't go down THAT road any further.

Brad Petroskey

RP response: Thanks Brad. We tried a 4-stack of Hughes & Kettner Red Boxes but somehow it just didn't look the same :-)

In response to If you could make ONE change in your studio setup, what would it be?, Tom Ghent writes...

I'm sure that there is some benefit to the acoustical foam treatments available on line or at your local music store. However,most of these treatments do little or nothing to control the low frequencies which generate waves that can reach twenty to fifty feet in length.These are the ones which cause the greatest amount of phase and distortion problems that rob your recordings of their presence and punch. More often these thin wall and or ceiling treatments absorb only high frequencies and can result in dead sounding rooms, although they will help somewhat with the removal of early reflections. This too, can be good or bad depending on the size, shape, and material make-up of your room.

For little more than the cost of foam, you can build and install your own sound proofing, bass traps,and broadband defusers.Some example of these treatments can be seen under the"CASA PACIFICO" icon at my website

I'm sure that with a reasonble cash investment and a fair amount of elbow grease, you can construct yourself a recording environment which can put you in reach of the "sonic perfection" you seek. Good luck, Tom Ghent

RP response: It is certainly possible to make amazing improvements with materials you can buy quite cheaply at a builders' merchant. Of course proprietary solutions work as well, but they are more expensive. Either way is good. It depends on your budget.

In response to Record on a workstation - export to your computer. Could this be the best of both recording worlds?, Buster writes...

I'm currently trying to use a standalone system with a DAW called Reaper. (I'm thinking of switching to Reaper exclusively and this is kinda a transition procedure).

Actually, it's a pain. I record in the standalone (two Roland 1680's linked by software) and then record from the 1680's two tracks at a time into the DAW. I keep only a few early fx from the standalones that I like (no verbs or stuff). I add a clap to the end of each track before going into the DAW but still have probs lining things up. All in all, its quite time consuming. however, its a good way to force myself to learn the DAW.

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