Who Are These People?

...so who are these people... these uploaders and downloaders?... where are they 'coming from' 
and where is all this music going?

here's the intro to one...

and here's where the people
who have checked out this site
have come from...


anything like what you expected?
not me...



Show me the Money

The music industry does like to insist that filesharing - aka illegal downloading - is killing the industry: that every one of the millions of music files downloaded each day counts as a "lost" sale, which if only it could somehow have been prevented would put stunning amounts of money into impoverished artists' hands. And, of course, music industry bosses' wallets. But we won't mention that.

 read more about this fascinating chart 
as part of the refreshing reality check at:




The Death of the Death of Music

Music is amazing. It's power to soothe, pleasure, define, inspire, communicate and motivate us can rival that of food, sex and creation stories. It may be the most beautiful thing we created as a species.

Coming at a time when some of our other habits and choices are killing off entire species of plants and animals, the Industry's assertion that Downloading is Killing Music is a chilling thought. Who among us would want to be responsible in any way for the death of this priceless gift of the ancestors?

Fortunately, it's not true.

Music is not dying. Music is thriving.

- There are more people playing more kinds of music now than there have ever been in the history of the planet.

- More new musical instruments have been created in the last 50 years than in the last 5 centuries.

-  More money is being spent on music - on concert tickets, ring tones, music lessons, instruments, performing rights, MP3 players, soundtracks, recordings, band merchandise, etc - than ever before.

- More people are listening to more music more often than ever before- in their cars, on their MP3 players, on their computers, in the supermarket, restaurants, gyms, on elevators and in hotel lobbies as well as live
performances, CDs and yes, even vinyl. 

- There are more ways to make money from music now than ever before, and more possibilities for unprecedented access to existing and potential audiences.


Reports of the Death of Music have been highly exaggerated.

Music is not dying. Music is fine. Music is actually doing quite well, thanks very much.

When the Industry formerly known as Music claims that downloading is killing music, what they are really saying is that CD sales are declining and they want you to think it is because of evil downloaders and their fellow travelers, who hate musicians but love their music so they steal it.

They are acknowledging, if only indirectly, that their sons and their daughters are beyond their command. They are not only criticizing something that they can't understand, they are lobbying governments around the world to make their lack of understanding law. Perhaps they believe that if they do, then the times will stop a'changing.

I have a different hypothesis.

I suggest that attempting to impose an industrial way of doing things on a virtual environment is doomed as doomed can be. If anything is dying here, it's a business model so far past its' stale date that it's now a bio-hazard.




What Be Found Among the Pirates, Billy?

An astonishing, unbelievable universe of music. Music you never dreamed of and music you barely remember, from the ancient of days all the way to once upon a time called right now.

It's not hard to find some of the titles by some of the Major Artists that the Industry is so upset about but in my Time among the Pirates, these tracks and these Artists, that are so clearly Owned, are found on a minority of sites and are actually a minority interest.

Just like all the other music out there on all those sites.

What's a minority interest in this case?

Several dozen live concerts by 10 Years After. Thai surf bands from the sixties. English Folk fundamentalists from 40s and 50s. Bulgarian techno. Old dub plates. Old Egyptian pop music. Classic polka collections. Pre-WW2 radio shows. Military music. Music from merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels.

Ethnographic recordings of songs and languages from around the world. Classic books in an audio format. Speeches by Martin Luther King and Gandhi. Mashups. The newest tracks by bands so cool nobody you know has even heard of them yet.

Some of it has "fallen out of copyright" and into "the public domain" - ie- even the extreme extensions of the statutes of limitations in the Bono act have run out. Some of it has been recorded and uploaded with both the permission and even encouragement of the musicians involved. (http://www.archive.org/index.php)


The list, like the beat, 
goes on. 
And on. 
And on.

Most of it has two things in common.

1) It's free- yours for the time it takes you to download it and to type a quick thanks to the person who's made it available, and...

2) You couldn't buy it if you wanted to- it may never have been for sale, or it's been out of print for years. Maybe it never made it to the country you live in. Maybe only a few hundred copies were ever made.

What it adds up to is a global archive of sound- an imperfect history of recorded music since the dawn of recording to tomorrow morning. It's a strange and beautiful virtual library of music that only exists online.

Volunteers have put countless hours into digitizing music that the Industry was never interested in, or lost interest in and/or won't make available because their business model fails at 'niche level'. Many pay the storage costs for their collections each month out of their own pocket. Anyone who finds music they feel they own and don't want to share on one of these sites has only to ask and it disappears. 

There's been no plan, no central body, no organizing meetings and no money has changed hands. It's chaos, in the true sense of that word- a complex open system of music available to anyone with access to the internet. 

Thanks to these music freaks and geeks, anyone who is curious can hear the sound of the world singing.



Whose music is it, anyway?

It's been 20 years since a wise old poet/printer/street musician named Tim Lander and I sat one misty night in the MacDonalds on Granville Street, and he told me it was his sense that human beings needed music in a very powerful way... and that given how many terrible things seem to be happening all the time these days, music was the only thing holding us together. and getting us to the next morning.

I remember his words because every day since, as I look around, they have rung more and more true because music seems to be everywhere. Sometimes softly, just loud enough to nearly fill the emptiness in the aisles at the supermarket and echo down the canyons at the mall. It's in cars at stoplights, throbbing at volume levels that seem surreal even from a distance.

There's music in all those earbuds running up from Ipods at the on the bus, on the street, on the plane - music as a wall, a separator to create some semblance of personal space where none exists, to keep reality, even our internal reality just far enough away to seem safe.

Music is amazing. It may be
the most beautiful thing we
have created as a species.

When we celebrate life, we do it to music. When we bury our dead, music walks with us. When we think no one can understand how we feel, music reassures us someone does (or did). When we want to dance, music says "Yeah!". It's power to soothe, pleasure, define, inspire, communicate and motivate us rivals that of food, sex and creation stories, and like these other fundamentals, it is a commonality among human communities.

All god's children make music and listen to music. Music has been an open source project for thousands of years. Generation upon generation of musicians, composers and listeners have listened, learned, created, taught and otherwise contributed to the creation of a universe of sounds, traditions, styles, theories and possibilities. Every day of the way, musicians have been travelling, playing, listening and copping licks, hooks, melodies and verses from each other and taking them another heartbeat further.

We live in a time when it's possible to access music- both in live performance and recordings - from all over the world and we can listen back to recordings more than 100 years old. The music we hear today is the source code for the music of tomorrow.

Music is a heritage we all everyone of us have created together, had our fun with it and in our turn, we welcome new generations into that unbroken circle... the first to have grown up immersed in this incredible listening experience. They are the most sophisticated musicians and listeners in human history. The music their children might make is beyond imagining.

Who does music belong to?

I think it belongs to all of us...
but I don't think any of us own it.




Music Festivals

..... from the sixties
to the new millenium,

music festivals are your
best entertainment value!

...that Sunday line-up would definitely
have got me out of the house...

that's a pretty nice day in the country

for $5, even if it probably did run late
and you had to go straight to work
on Monday morning...

10:30 til dawn...
what's not to love here?




I Don't Get This Either....

Why is it that the maximum fine
for stealing an entire CD
from a record store
is $1,000,
but downloading one song
from the internet
can lead to a fine
of $10,000?





Another Thing Killing Music ?

are you listening more
and enjoying it less?

this fascinating post
might explain one of the reasons why...



I Don't Get It

Why would anybody


for a second

that the Music Industry

is spending millions and millions of dollars

on lawyers and lobbying

and all that

because they care

so much





Van Morrison about the Biz...

Sam Sutherland: At a time when the "record business," as it existed when you were forging your career, is crumbling and conventional wisdom forecasts the end of physical records and the decline of the album, what's your sense of the future? You've continued to sell albums despite those gloomy prophesies. And your catalog is built on albums that would appear to draw strength from strong thematic and musical pillars.

Well, that is a loaded question. The music business is not the music business. They do not care about music, never will. The days of [executives such as Atlantic Records co-founder] Ahmet Ertegun are gone and there is no one there to take his place. ... They try to brainwash people into digital. The younger kids are fine with downloads, but there is ... a world of people out there who know the value of a CD. It's the very best value for money entertainment there is.

The record companies are too lazy to manufacture CDs. That is their problem. And they have signed too many people who cannot sing and do not understand music in the least and this is the way record companies have caused their own demise.

To the young people: Be your own boss, be your own agent and be your own manager. This way you cannot lose. Oh, and be your own producer lest you fall for the fad of a big-shot producer who could change your song according to his vision, not yours. How could they possibly know what your intuitive vision is?

for more on from this interview, or more Van period,
check out: http://vanmorrisonnews.blogspot.com/2009/03/msn-interview-out-on-slipstream.html



Taking It to the Streets

I didn't know about the audio technician's one year old.

I swear.

God, I feel awful.


Time Among the Pirates


I don't remember the first time I had sushi, which is strange because as food goes, it's a long way from the solid Anglo fare I grew up with and yet now, years later, that vinegared rice under the right pieces of raw fish still rocks- or soothes- my world like none other...

I don't remember the first time I found myself at a site where there was music one could download either, and yet for someone of my aural sensibilities, it would prove to be a turning point of similar magnitude. When it comes to the sound of the world, the princess and the pea has got nothing on me.

I'm not sure where this sensitivity has come from, but I do know it's become more acute with every passing year. Perhaps it's the years of earning my daily bread as a professional listener, programming and presenting musicians. Perhaps it was trying to learn live sound engineering. Maybe it's a legacy of a life truly blessed in terms of the live performances I've been a part of or maybe it's part of what comes with being BiPolar 2.

Writing this tonight, beside a lake in Muskoka, I'm surrounded by the sounds of wind in the leaves of the birches and maples, the soft lap of little waves on the sandy shore while a couple of miles away an occasional car roars down the two lane highway. Further away, but much larger and basso profundo, a big train is moving through the night, maybe loaded with ore. A chorus of crickets drones on while out on the lake, two loons are calling... once in a while a duck wakes up and relocates and every once a while, a single mysterious sizable sploosh comes off the water.

In a place like this, listening can transfix me, stop me in my tracks, in space and time. Listening becomes sensual, a pleasure, delicious and soothing, almost erotic as the filters so vital for walking through more urban space slip away for a while...it is, I'm sure, why I can seem nocturnal to some. I like the balance between the visual and aural that comes with the night - here, a bonus round of pleasure; in the city, a neccessity.

Neccessary because sometimes sound makes me physical ill, rattle my nervous system like a rock in a tin can and make it all but impossible to think or act on anything except the wish to escape.

The thunking of an electric clock of the cheap clank of one of those wind-up alarms. I reference it against my heartbeat, and then both against my respiration rate. There's a slide show from all the many boneyards I wander in different places around the world. I consider myself as soil, and how sooner or later that change is coming...

The humming of the ballasts and tubes of that cheap flourescent light that illuminates contemporary office life sets off a discourse somewhere in the centre of my skull, like the tip of a Black and Decker drill heading south.

Music that doesn't agree with me is maybe the worst... live, it's something like being strapped into an electric chair during a brown-out. At the supermarket, airports, elevators, dentist offices, it does what music always does. It possesses me.

This sensitivity to sound is one of those double-edged blades, sometimes a gift and sometimes an affliction. One develops coping skills and strategies. Lives with it. Sucks up the snide remarks of "morning people", who never feel quite as close to god as when they're looking down on someone else.

If I sound a little snippy, write it off to decades of listening to the pious platitudes of people who confuse conformity with virtue. These days, my days and nights are my own again. Music no longer helps me earn my daily bread and while life is different when there's no paycheck month to month, there's something to be said for music being a pleasure and a blessing and a source of wonder again, and nothing more.

Given this feeling for sound, and the rebirth of an old love for music, even I find it odd that I don't remember the day I first fell down the rabbit hole and landed in a sonic wonderland... out among the pirates, on the frontiers of the Great Global Audio Archive.

- to be continued -


Be Mine... Forever

Copyright law was originally designed to give some protection to the original creator of a work. Tom Bell, a law professor at Chapman University in California, created this graph to illustrate how copyright terms in the United States have evolved....

"The first federal copyright legislation, the 1790 Copyright Act,
set the maximum term at 14 years plus a renewal term of 14 years.

The 1831 Copyright Act doubled the initial term
and retained the conditional renewal term,
allowing a total of up to 42 years of protection.

Lawmakers doubled the renewal term in 1909,
letting copyrights run for up to 56 years.

The interim renewal acts of 1962 through 1974
ensured that the copyright in any work
in its second term as of September 19, 1962,
would not expire before Dec. 31, 1976.

The 1976 Copyright Act changed the measure of the default copyright term
to life of the author plus fifty years.

Recent amendments to the Copyright Act expanded the term yet again, letting it run for the life of the author plus seventy years.

All but the first of these statutes extended copyright terms retroactively.

The chart includes data relating to the 1962-74 interim renewal acts and shows the retroactive effect of the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act to reach back to 1923.



Did you know how much government
and industry cared about writers
and musicians and all the other artists?

I had no idea.



Police and Thieves

Think this is a little extreme?

How about this recent news?

Student ordered to pay $675,000 US in downloading case: "A federal jury has ordered a Boston University graduate student who admitted illegally downloading and sharing music online to pay $675,000 to four record labels.

Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., admitted in court that he downloaded and distributed 30 songs."