Music week, a British trade publication, has started a top-20 ring tone chart due to the popularity of ring tones in England. The market for ring tones is estimated at roughly 70 million pounds. Royalties from ring tones were 3 million pounds. Beyonce Knowles sold more than half a million ring tones. I wonder how you go about preparing mixes for cellular phones?
The Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) and Quebec-based Société du droit de reproduction des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs au Canada (SODRAC) filed a joint tariff application with the Copyright Board of Canada to determine a royalty rate for songwriters and music publishers for online digital music sales.
While an online royalty rate has not been established, CMRRA and SODRAC have already issued licences to online music services because they did not want to hold up the establishment of commercial services that would give Canadians access to legitimate music downloads.
I guess that’s another way of saying it is more important for the record companies to get some money in the pipeline first. After all, the artists can always get their money later. Assuming, of course, that artists get any money at all. The structure of payments to musicians has been relatively the same for over thirty years. Some say that it is fair, while others maintain that the system is out of date given the new resources of distribution and technology.
The most obvious source of revenue is by record album sales. In the case of these sales, artists receive a percentage of sales as described in their contracts. The current rate is 7.55 cents (U.S.) per track per album, making royalties from a record around ten percent of the wholesale cost. The requirement by the label to clear investment costs is usually paramount. It was tough for most artists to make a living when people actually purchased CDs. Most labels are trimming rosters to reflect the current market situation. Many artists just drop out.
You will find a very interesting discussion on ethics at the recording.org website. Apparently some of the site users decided to extract content from the discussion forums with the intent to repackage and redistribute the content elsewhere. Sound familiar? I often have debates with people about the ethics of downloading pirated MP3 files of commercial recordings. More often than not I hear the following defenses:
- “I’m not stealing… I’m just downloading”
- “Why should I pay for the cost of an entire CD when it only contains one good song”
- “If I like the song then I’ll go buy the CD”
Thank heavens for iTunes. At least there is a credible alternative to stealing music.
What about taking content from postings on forums? Is it theft? Does it erode the notion of a business transaction based on a revenue model? Is the poster entitled to copyright protection?
The fact that people would go to an online site and extract massive amounts of content and repackage it without permission is interesting. However, in the recording.org case there is some controversy. The site used to contain the following footer on every page:
Logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest © 2004 by Recording.org.
The webmaster removed the footer immediately after he had uncovered the attempts to extract massive content from his site. Given that the comments are the property of their posters was the action to extract content criminal? Was the action ethical? Do posters have any intellectual property rights?
Welcome to the Wild, Wild West of the digital age.
A number of musicians are crossing over into engineering and production these days partly due to the reduced barrier of entry into recording. There are some truly horrific outcomes when poorly developed musical talent meets poorly developed engineering and production skills. What happens, though, when good talent and good engineering and production skills fail to capture the magic of a musical performance?
I reviewed a CD project that a friend of mine had recently produced. The studio that was used in the production is fairly typical of more advanced project studios these days: good to excellent microphones, good to excellent preamps, good to excellent recording back-ends, good to excellent processors. The musicians were all first/second call calibre. The material covers top hits spanning pop and jazz standards. And yet, the presentation was surprisingly disappointing. The vocal performances were very flat and uninspired. The arrangements, although well executed, lacked energy. The concept of the project seemed lost as there was no original material and the cover songs were disconnected ranging from piano-centred jazz standards to guitar-oriented pop. The featured artist is female and yet, for some inexplicable reason, several of the songs use male vocal treatments exclusively.
I believe that it is way too easy these days to create technically perfect recordings and completely miss the essence of an inspired performance.
Still struggling with backlog in the studio. I have two projects that need to get finished by end of August to make room for new projects coming online in the fall. It looks to me right now that I won’t have both projects done before September which means delaying new work. I do fall into that category of producer/engineer/musician and sometimes using all three facets of that category creates a huge demand on time. Being a perfectionist doesn’t help either.
I had been hosting this blog off the whisperwoodstudios.com domain and I recently broke down and set up a distinct domain for the blog at richardcleaver.com. I will be making some substantial design changes over the next few weeks and I will be putting more focus into content as well. The net impact is that I have not been as consistent on blogging. Too much time spent on site transfers and setups.
I have been working over the past year on restoring a Neve console for use in my recording studio. You can review some pictures about the restoration activities here. Last night we received the second mainframe. We had already taken most of the parts from this second mainframe however there were a few critical parts that I needed to complete the restoration. These parts are contained within the relay bus network of the console. I checked them out last night and they are all in place.
I will strip the balance of parts from this second console and scrap the mainframe. I will tackle the balance of the restoration activities over the next year. These activities include recapping the board, upgrading certain components to ensure the best possible sonic performance and overall system testing. Sadly, I still lack the documentation that goes along with the board however Neve maintains the documentation and I can acquire the necessary schematics for the console directly from them.
Range of vocal singers:
- Soprano: Middle C (about 261Hz) to E above High C (about 659Hz), and beyond
- Alto: G below Middle C (about 196Hz), up to D above High C (about 587Hz)
- Tenor: Second B below Middle C (about 144Hz) to G above Middle C (about 392Hz), and beyond
- Bass: E (about 82Hz) an octave and a half below Middle C to Middle C (about 261Hz)
There are a large number of boutique guitar amplifiers. I had a chance to hear a Bruno. Very impressive amplifier. Tony Bruno custom amplifiers feature point to point wired circuits on custom boards or terminal strips, precision custom wound transformers, CTS pots, special US made caps, New Old Stock and Hi-End resistors, phenolic and ceramic tube sockets, stainless steel bolts and screws, heavy duty steel chassis, steel corners, finger jointed solid pine cabinets, 13 ply Baltic birch baffles, padded handles, premium or NOS tubes, and a choice of covering and speakers. The unit I like is the Underground 30. It is available in combo form as a 1×10, 2×10, 1×12. All for a mere $3,200 USD.
When I finally decided to put up a website for the studio I did not think that it would see much activity. I run a private facility with a small clientele. I thought that the site might be a convenient way to share information about some of the projects we work on as well as a way for some of our friends to keep updated on our work. I started this blog as a way to put my own discovery of information about pro audio and other items of interest into a digital form that could be archived and searched with a minimum of fuss.
I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised with the number of hits the site has been receiving.
Running on AdrenaLinn
I have been using the AdrenaLinn 2 to track basics for electric guitar. I have found that the amp models are very workable. Easy to get a good distortion sound printed. I do tend to be a bit of a purist on these things but when I compared the results of the modeled sounds to the actual sounds I was having a hard time justifying the setup work required to produce good sounding tracks with physical hardware. A bit of a surprise to me.
Last week I was doing live sound and the primary wireless microphone elected to go south. Much as I suspected the issue was improper handling and the cable had developed a short where it connects to the battery pack. I had the microphone repaired for a mere $15. I also took the opportunity to order a new microphone for the wireless system. The Countryman E6 Isomax EarSet provides high sound quality without the bulk and appearance of conventional headsets. The E6 clips around your ear, not around your head and they are available in four colors, Light Beige, Tan, Cocoa, and Black to blend with the user’s appearance. We’ll need to do a custom connector for our wireless system. I expect much improved fidelity and because the microphone is always at the sound source and not prone to dropouts as the user turns their head we should see an overall improvement in legibility.
I am tracking a lot of guitar lately and for one of the projects I am producing I really wanted to get some new sounds. I had read about Roger Linn’s new guitar pedal which is called the AdrenaLinn II.
The AdrenaLinn II is an effects processor for guitar, keyboard or bass that combines a number of features:
A beat-synched multi-effects processor:
- Tremolo, flanging, rotary, delay, random filtering and other modulation effects, including programmed sequences or filtered tones or note arpeggios, in synch to the internal drumbeat or MIDI. Also included are classic filter effects like auto-wah, guitar synth and talk box
An amp modeler:
- 24 models of classic guitar amps over the past 40 years, distortion boxes, a clean preamp, and a few original amp models
A programmable drum machine:
- A great-sounding beat box with 200 drumbeats and over 40 sounds
This was the most fun I have had on a guitar in years. Although I had booked a couple of hours in the studio to lay down some tracks I spent nearly 6 hours playing with all the different sonic possibilities from this pedal.
Inverse Square Law
I did live sound at church last Sunday and there were a number of issues that took place. The primary wireless mic began randomly emitting short, explosive bursts of crackle. Clearly a short in the cable assembly but no backup wireless system was available. We switched to a wired microphone for the second service. Much better.
However, during the second service we received a complaint that the overall sound pressure level was too high. One person apparently walked out due to the sound level. Of course we diligently adhere to a house standard which has been in effect for several years. My recommendation was to observe the inverse square law and sit further back from the loudspeakers if sensitivity to higher sound pressure levels is an issue.
Although more specialized, studio sound is much less stressful than live sound. There is a higher level of uncertainty in live sound. So many variables can impact the presentation of high fidelity in live sound and there is no second take. To be successful in live sound is to be completely and absolutely transparent to the listener. Better to never be noticed in live sound!