Mp3 and the future of Music Distribution
Hairy Larry Sounds Off
Mpeg layer 3 audio or .mp3 files bring CD quality audio to the internet. WAV files are about 11 Megabytes a minute meaning a three minute hit takes up 33 Megabytes. Mp3 encoding cuts this to less than 1/10 of the size taking about 1 Megabyte a minute. Downloading songs is now feasible, everybody makes 3 and 4 megabyte downloads. And the sound quality is excellent.
True video on demand may be years away but we have audio on demand now. Streaming formats like RealAudio and Vivo play songs as they download and have file sizes near 1% of the WAV file. Or for CD quality, download the Mp3. And if you want a permanent copy of the Mp3 file convert it to .wav and burn it to a CD on your CD recorder. Now you can play the song on any CD player. There is also an Mp3man, a solid state Mp3 player that you load from your computer and then carry with you like a Walkman.
Many sites offer top hits as Mp3 files. This is a new thing for the music industry and there have been some questions about the legality of these sites. Is a site that offers Mp3 files a distribution channel or a broadcast media? The answer is not clear. What is clear is that posting Mp3s of somebody else's music may result in you getting a letter from somebody else's lawyer. Unless you want to be a test case the prudent thing to do would be remove the files in question. If this is found to be copyright violation there are substantial fines and jail time for violators.
Over the long term this doesn't matter because efficiencies in distribution always prevail and eventually net distribution will be an important component of any group's promotion. At some point in the near future saying you do not want your song distributed over the internet will be as stupid as saying you don't want anyone to play it on the radio. Those that Mp3 will win. Net distribution will give these groups an edge that will result in them getting the hits that might have gone to the group that is refusing to allow internet distribution. Finally all popular music marketers will consider their net release as important a part of their marketing strategy as promotional air-play copies.
There is a free music movement, paralleling the free software movement that is gaining momentum on the internet. More information about this philosophy can be found at mp3.com and other mp3 sites listed below. I personally find many of these ideas appealing and plan to make as much of my music as possible available over the internet. I will also post many cuts originally featured on "Something Blue" with the songwriter's permission.
At Delta Boogie we take the issues of copyright infringement seriously. We don't feel that music should be distributed without permission of the copyright holder. All Mp3s posted on Delta Boogie are here with the permission of the songwriter. We feel that this is a good way to make original material available that you might not be able to hear on the radio. So you have the songwriter's permission to download and copy the Mp3s that you find on Delta Boogie for personal use. For commercial use of these songs contact the songwriter. After all, "We're only in it for the money." (FZ)