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Archive for May, 2005

Broadcast Machine released

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

We’ve released a preview version of Broadcast Machine, the software that people can use to publish internet video channels on their website. We think it’s pretty cool, but we’re most excited to see what kinds of channels people will make with it. Spread the word and check it out.

And check out Tiffiniy’s quote in this Newsweek article.

Hippocamp’s “Pet Sounds” on Banned Music

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

Our new friend Aaron Swartz told me this morning that the Hippocamp album has been taken down, so I put it on BannedMusic.org. The album is real nice, and now there’s a new reason to download it: somebody doesn’t want you to.

torrent, Easy Download

And spread the word.

Music Can Teach

Sunday, May 22nd, 2005

Public school funding for music programs have been gettting cut over the past couple of years at the federal and state level — to some it seems obvious that the arts would be a logical department to get cut from public education when funding gets low. Hey, kids can make art and music anywhere. It seems this much is true. But, there is this important shift in education through music that is happening. I am sitting here at the “Free Culture; Phase 2” conference and most of the people here work with youth on projects that they find most relevant to youth and so a lot of these people have gravitated to getting kids to make music, radio, and videos. They are working in the non-profit sector and these nonprofits get funded by foundations. As public money gets spent less on music education, more foundation and bake sale money goes into educating kids to be active in making things that matter to them, capturing kid energy in ways that public schools are unable to do without the resources. This is a general trend in music education as recording gets cheaper and distribution gets cheaper and foundations agree that music is a good, cheap hanging strap. So, if public schools aren’t reaching out to kids through music and arts, then internet and technology, interests in bought-off mainstream radio, the influence of CD-R’s, young teachers with art skills and their supportive foundations are fulfilling that role — people are learning about music and society anyway and putting it on the air in a way that feedbacks on culture. Ultimately, music and art scales big with lots of young people, gets them motivated and participating in the larger, social, and political scene through art, active filesharing, distribution and technology. Given that, the many lower-income kids who don’t have access to computers and recording at home/community centers need school programs that resonate with them too because schools are way, way more ubiquitous than foundation music classes.

I found this interesting and somewhat ironic line in an article about music funding: California schools spent most of the 1990s flush with cash, and spending increased. But the dot-com crash about five years ago changed how much money the state was willing to spend on education, said David Kaun, professor of economics at UC Santa Cruz.”

Many parents who live in areas with less resources, who are working more, have less time to do fundraising drives are in need of resources to teach their kids through and about music. A mother wrote to ask if we could help out her son’s music program a bit. We can accept online donations here (donations will be donated to the school). She wrote: “My son is in the high school band at Mt. Pleasant High School in Mt. Pleasant North Carolina. As you are aware, schools are cutting music funding. Our school gets no money from our school system, making it very hard to continue the program. Our band is one of the top performing bands in our area, however we have resorted to using duct tape and tie straps to hold instruments together. Our band director is an incredible teacher, mentor, and friend to our students. He runs a top-notch program on a very small budget set by our band boosters. Our students pay a large fee to participate in band, and because of that we loose many great musicians due to financial difficulties. We are in need of having instruments repaired, new instruments, and band uniforms. Any assistance that you could give would be appreciated.” A few hundred bucks could help them get some new repairs and spread engaging curriculum with music and culture.

Pet Sounds remix album

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

Listening to this now: Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds. Very nice.

So what’s your favorite fast way for grabbing a ton of mp3s off a webpage? My new one is wget.

Hype Machine – Listen to what gets blogged

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

The fun thing about mp3 blogs is that you can play with them. Hype Machine looks at a ton of mp3 blogs and pulls them all into one monster playlist. It’s like listening to the iPod shuffle that the zeitgeist carries around in his pocket. You can get the songs as a podcast, or as an m3u playlist in iTunes, Winamp, Realplayer, etc.

Hype Machine

Check it out! And thanks to Anthony Volodkin for making this, and telling us.

Make some music, won’t ya?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

The song compilation project by Halsey Burgund, where he is collecting and sampling recordings of musicians saying “I’m a musician and I support filesharing” is underway and getting some great attention.. thanks Boing Boing. Halsey has since made a great web page that tracks the recordings he’s gotten. You can see it here. I encourage any musician in a position to make a recording, perhaps while recording some other music, to take two minutes and record this power-packed statement. Find instructions here. You could be doing a lot of good for yourself and independent music by shifting the debate to your thoughts on filesharing. Also, if you want to help out with the project but you’re not a musician, ask your friends or the musicians you like to make a recording. We’re really busy over here, so if any of you can help by finding email addresses of Chuck D and Patti Smith, Halsey would be psyched.

Alternative to FBI anti-piracy label

Friday, May 13th, 2005

You know those “FBI Anti-Piracy” labels they’ve been slapping on anything plastic and optical these days? Nick Schaffner (at 53×11.com) just made an alternative label for himself, and for other musicians who support filesharing, to put on their CDs. Check it out, and use it on your CDs if you like.

Artist Supports Filesharing

He’s looking for comments on the design and message. Feel free to post yours in his blog.

Indy music discovery tool

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

We do some work with, among others, super-coder Ian Clarke (freenet | dijjer) and his brother Andrew. They’ve been at work recently on a fun music discovery software tool called Indy. Try it out.

Indy has a big listing of free music that’s available on the web. When a user runs the program, it downloads some music, plays it, and asks you to rate it. If the rating is positive, it plays more music that people who liked that song also liked. If the rating is negative, it tries something different. It’s a simple idea, but what’s great is that it lets you find new music that they would have never would have come across before. From the musicians’ perspective, it gets their stuff out to new fans who really like their stuff, without any marketing costs (you can get your music onto the system here).

This isn’t just a big deal for a few individual fans and individual bands– this is the kind of thing ultimately changes the system. Why? Because the major record labels are essentially marketing companies; their control over the industry is based on their huge marketing dollars that they can use to run ads and pay radio stations to play their songs. It’s what keeps independent bands squeezed out of the mainstream. But when bands can reach fans just as easily with word of mouth and personalized recommendation software like Indy, they can compete with the major labels without the major label budget. That puts one more crack in the wall of corporatized music and gets us one step closer to a healthier music culture.

Conversate, instant discussion spaces

Monday, May 9th, 2005

Check out the new conversation thingy that we (the dhb team) just launched called Conversate. Check it out. You can read more about it at participatorypolitics.org. It’s sort of a different way to approach talking online– we think it’s a big improvement over group email and it’s been pretty useful to us internally already. We’re not sure where it’s headed, but I guess we’ll see what people think.

Broadcast Flag Struck Down

Friday, May 6th, 2005

Whoah! Court strikes down broadcast flag! That’s awesome.