Monthly Archives: April 2004

New Creative Commons License

I have mixed feelings about the new Creative Commons Music Sharing license (info here).

As a producer of music who uses samples extensively I want as much music available to ply my trade (legally) as possible. As a world citizen I’d like to see people with a real talent for that make great, explicitly derivative art.

But I also understand that a lot of creative people, especially those with a true talent for composition and performance want to keep some control over who does what to their original artwork.

In the end, having the choice for the artist is the most important thing so I’m really not all that torn — I’m just pretending to be for the cameras. You know, election year posturing stuff.

The fact is, I was begging the CC folks to make the non-derivs license as explicit as possible because I was (and still am) positive that many musicians use the non-derivs license not realizing they are restricting remixes, even non-commercial ones.

Now, between the explicit split between the Sharing license vs. the Sampling license a composer and performer can have little doubt what their choices mean.

It’s Free, It’s Open, It Almost Works has posted a tutorial on Audacity that actually makes it seem usable.

I’m not a huge fan of the open source mixing program. I mean I would like them to succeed, I just don’t feel like being their beta testers and they seem to be in an eternal state of needing that. When I’m knee deep in a project I don’t like it much when the computer crashes and I lose work — no matter how good the cause.

Sure Audicity is free, platform agnostic, a community project, etc. etc. But if I were honest with myself I like paying for music software. I like the contract that says: my job is to pay you, your job is to make software that works.

The real price of Audicity is the guilt.

I don’t want to just download Audicity and use it. People worked really hard to make that thing work as well as it does and if I find a bug I want to help them isolate it, reproduce it and (since the source is available) debug it. And I’m just not in the mood to do that when I’m in the throws of a mix. Or trying to capture my emotions in sound. Or just screwing around. Or ever.

I looked at the source and it’s pretty clean. I’ve very seriously considered contributing source to the project and if I ever set aside a few months of my life to do that then I will feel better about using it and help make it better.

But as of this moment I have enough tools in my audio pallette. I don’t feel like making a debugger one of them.

iTunes a Success!! (right?)

iTunes is big fat smashing success! 50 million downloads! Everybody wins!

Leave it to Downhill Battle to point out this nugget: By the most generous accounting that are only 21 songs per iPod. Uhuh. On a device that holds 10,000 songs.

Moving the RIAA prosecutorial/persecutorial industrial complex on to the Internet will not work. They won’t go for any solution that doesn’t include their vig.

They don’t get it. They never will.

Another Convert

I post this in the unlikely event that there is actually a reader that I don’t share with beatmixed:

Matt is making the leap from vinyl to digital.

Along the way he’s posting some great finds in laptop DJ’ing setups and configurations. There’s a lot of stuff out there folks, way more than I could cover so I’m grateful he’s walking through some of these fires before lil’ ol’ me.

Coming Soon: Chronic Dreams

I’ve kind of been in a hole lately finishing up work on my next Magnatune release (as “fourstones”) called “Chronic Dreams.”

The music on this album has been called “groove soaked ambient chill” and that’s mostly fair. However, it was important for me that there be “songs” on this album so I was blessed to collaborate with several Magnatune luminaries who actually know how to do that kind of stuff (and sing too!).

Of course all of the music on “Chronic Dreams” will be licensed free for non-commerical, derivative use.

Just for the record, this will be a “calling card” album for me since it has a lot of really personal material. This is the closest I have ever come to expressing the sounds in my head and heart.

Thanks to all the VT readers and participants for the support. A lot of what I’ve learned from you has gone directly into the making of this album. (But that’s the last time you’ll ever hear me say that.)

More details as the release date gets nearer….

Most Bestest Hostess

The constant drone of the question lingers on:

What is a cheap music software program to get started with?

My own answers have always been tortured and filled with with hems, haws, except-fors, caveats and emptors and the like. Well after months of keeping an eye out I’ve decided on a recommendation:

Cakewalk’s Home Studio (For sale at $89.99 here and Guitar Center.)

Boring. I know. But when I go down my feature list and prioritize by price, functionality and learning curve that’s what comes out. This might come as a surprise to some friends and colleagues as I’ve spent a fair amount of energy bashing Cakewalk (and their flagship program Sonar) for years now. And there are major areas of concern, namely: stability and lack of VST/VSTi support.

VST (and VSTi) support is handled nicely for another $49 for Tonewise’s DirectiXer which has gotten extensive usage with Cakewalk products in the field. (There are free ones but they don’t do the job of playing and organizing that Tonewise does.)

On stability the best I can say is to hope for best and back up often. This is especially hard to remember when in the throes of divine inspiration but that’s when it’s especially important to keep hitting Control-S.

On the plus side, once you get a DirectiXer-like utility, you can interact with just about every plug-in out there, include the vast ocean of fantastic free VST and DirectX plug-in effects including the outstanding free Soundfont player sfz. Also available are huge array of free DXi/VSTi software synths, not to mention support for ReWired apps like Live, Reason, FL Studio, etc. Plus ACIDized loops, etc. etc.

In other words, when you get this package the answer to “Can you work with …?” is always “yes” whatever the end of the question is.

There were a lot of contenders and I’m happy to discuss my findings with anybody on a “want to know” basis.

Updated Waves Mastering Book

Not that I’m plunking down $80 right now but I am very, very curious what is actually in the updated Production-Mixing-Mastering book. One thing for sure, they know how to pitch it:

Achieving a fully professional sounding mix using a home computer wasn’t possible only a few years ago, but a virtual studio setup that rivals the capabilities of the “big rooms” is now reality.

True dat.