back to article Streaming tears of laughter as Jay-Z (Tidal) waves goodbye to $56m

This was a contradictory week for the music industry. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. On Wednesday, I attended the unveiling of an IEEE Milestone plaque to commemorate the invention of stereo recording in 1931 by the prodigious scientist-engineer Alan Dower Blumlein. The event was hosted by Abbey Road …

  1. StripeyMiata

    USA Price = $20

    UK Price = £20

    So we're paying £7 a month more, they can piss right off.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      too hard for them!

      to do a simple currency conversion. To them prices are just numbers, not cash in your pocket for food etc. like it is for us working stiffs. I bet they can't remember even handling currency!

      Call it 20 credits and we're good dawg!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Yes, for physical products it almost makes sense since the consumer protection laws on refunds and repairs are so much more stringent and long lasting than in the US and that doesn't come free of charge. But for non-physical items where the consumer protection is almost non-existent, "shipping" charges are identical since it all comes from the same server, only the VAT/Sales Tax should affect the final price. US prices are normally displayed sans tax since that varies by state and city while UK prices usually include the 20% VAT. Is that the case here?

      1. Eric Olson

        Sales Tax vs. VAT

        While it is true that there is a wide variety of sales taxes throughout the States, more often than not services are excluded from being taxed. Again, this varies by jurisdiction but it's pretty common to go to the mechanic, for example, and get an invoice that lists the parts and services, with the parts section containing a tax line while seeing none in the services section. So here in the States, I would expect to see a monthly charge on my credit card of $19.99... assuming I ever suffered some kind of traumatic brain injury to left me legally fit to handle my own affairs while being completely bereft of sense.

    3. JeffyPoooh

      Jay-Z and $56M

      In proportion to income or net worth, it's like you or me buying a TV.

      I doubt he is terrified and kept awake all night by the financial risk.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sign o' the Times

    That most of these talented musicians* seem unable to operate a pen.


    ** and this is coming from a drummer!

    1. Julian Smart

      Re: Sign o' the Times

      If the title of this comment is a coded reference, I'll make a wild guess that AC = Judy Parsons...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sign o' the Times

        Julian. A good stab but, alas, wide of the mark. I wear my genitalia on the outside.

        AC because I don't want everyone to know that I'm a drummer...

        1. lawndart

          Re: Sign o' the Times

          Even after all these years very few have guessed, Ringo.

  3. Sgt_Oddball

    And paid those likely to be fooled into forking out for this service actually own equipment capable of doing the content justice? Also what of us who like their music radio unfriendly?

    Small niche acts who in a couple of songs can demonstrate skill, imagination and talent (plus maybe a deft touch of cynical sarcasm) that pretty all of the big names trying to sell this to us can manage over whole albums of filler material for a single? (I'm reminded of a future of the left song. Shena is tee-shirt salesman "this song is dedicated to the merchandising manufacturers who made it possible, with their hard work, dedication and love of tote bags....")

  4. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't

    Like you say Dabbsy, the megastars behind Tidal have done better from streaming than anyone else - they are not in the long tail and have deep back catalogs. So for them, the micro pennies add up.

    The "new" record business is even less fair than the "old" one, because the "old" one was basically a socialist model. It used the windfall profits from Jay-Z and Madonna and redistributed them to support the Middle Class and blue collar artists: the "99 per cent". A lot of artists failed to recoup their advance but still enjoyed a lifetime in music. For example David Lowery never recouped but had a twenty year career thanks to a minor hit. That's better than twenty years behind a Tesco checkout desk.

    Lowery: "I know this is probably really confusing to you civilians. Am I really saying it’s better to be un-recouped as an artist? Yes it is. Quantitative finance geeks will see this as selling a series of juicy “covered calls”. Being un-recouped means you took in more money than you were due by contract. You took in more money than your sales warranted. And there was a sweet spot, being un-recouped but not too un-recouped. For instance I estimate that over my 15 year career at Virgin/EMi we took in advances and royalties equivalent to about 40% of our gross sales. In other words we had an effective royalty rate of 40%, despite the fact that by contract our rate was much lower)."

    This is no longer possible for a few reasons, one of which is that the superwealthy (eg Madonna) can break away and sign their own 360 deals, so the windfalls are not redistributed. The megastars backing Tidal say they want a fairer system, with larger payouts for all, and if they make good on their promises to invest in new talent may be they will achieve that. It takes a lot of commitment and I don't know if many of them have that.

    But we knock them (rightly) for sitting around and moaning about the unfairness of the world yet doing nothing about it. Then we knock them for trying to do something about it. The buggers can't win.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

      I'd feel more charitable if the Tidal crowd on that stage made music that I'd want to hear. Why would I want to encourage more of that that garbage? How could I trust these identikit-surgeoned airheads to promote original bands? Even Jack White is a has-been whose interesting work ended the day he recorded that bloody awful theme tune to a James Bond film... with a certain Alicia Keys, wasn't it?

      1. Stevie

        Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

        Agreed re: music I'd want to hear. Also, not sure I should be encouraging people who apparently forgot where their everyday clothes were and so turned up in underwear or last year's halloween drag.

        Still, apparently they could all find the writey end of the pen, so there's hope.

      2. Turtle

        @ Alistair Dabbs

        "I'd feel more charitable if the Tidal crowd on that stage made music that I'd want to hear."

        While I loathe the celebrities on display as much as anyone, I don't think that it's fair to let their music be a factor in this particular matter. I am not sure that what they are trying to do (whatever the fuck that might be) by means of this "Tidal" endeavor is dependent on the quality of their music, such as it is. After all, Beethoven could have been up on that stage and it would not make the enterprise any less moronic.

        It's also interesting to note that Alicia Keys' husband, "Swizz Beats", was the CEO of MegaUpload. So maybe that's a hint of what the Tidal investors are hoping to accomplish. I wouldn't put anything past them...

      3. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

        "I'd feel more charitable if the Tidal crowd on that stage made music that I'd want to hear. Why would I want to encourage more of that that garbage?"

        OK. We get it. But there are two things here, 1) liking/trusting the music that the people involved, and 2) the viability of their proposition that someone can do better than Spotify.

        "How could I trust these identikit-surgeoned airheads to promote original bands?"

        Because Jay Z has quite a good track record doing so?

    2. MrT

      Fairer system...

      ... wasn't that one of the reasons Kobalt was set up? An alternative to major labels and the way Sony/Warner/etc shackle artists by holding onto royalties already earned and using 'advances' as leverage for new contracts. I hadn't heard of it until I read this month's WiReD (*ducks for cover behind the Wikipedia users*). There's no need to reinvent the streaming model, but there is a need to reduce the hold that big labels have on the business side and to make sure royalties reach the artist in something like a reasonable time. This Tidal thing might do that, but it sounds more like a pension club for people wanting another yacht.

      1. JeffyPoooh

        Re: Fairer system...

        MrT "...holding onto royalties already earned and using 'advances' as leverage..."

        So the music companies don't give the artists their money, but simultaneously the music companies do give the artists other money in advance.


        1. MrT

          Re: Fairer system...

          It sounds backwards, but start with the premise that many artists don't get paid all their royalties, plus the big labels can take upwards of 2 years between sale/play to paying the artists. This article is a few years old but explains something of what is going on.

          WiReD has had older news posts about Kobalt, but the article from this month is not yet online. There was an example from Eminem's manager where he tested different payment systems on one of the rapper's songs. Each of the three writers went with a different company for payments, which should have been identical since they were for the same song. Kobalt came in far sooner, and the traditional companies were well over a year to pay. No artist can afford that delay, unless already well-off, so they will go to their company and ask for an advance on sales, maybe not realising their money is already there. The company then uses this advance to maybe secure a new contract with the artist.

          It relies on lack of transparency in where the money comes from and where it is in the system. The aricle was more about how Kobalt made use of data to open up that information to artists. I'm not in the music industry so have nothing more to go on than articles and what others say (though my brother-in-law is a singer/songwriter) - it probably doesn't work that way for big names, and there may be many different ways to earn a crust, such as mentioned earlier in this thread. It just seems unfair on the artists, especially anyone trying to start out.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

      WTF are "windfall profits"?

      And damn you Dabbs for making me watch this Youtube stuff in disbelief.

      The buggers can't win

      Probably the best meta-moan in the world.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

      Am I missing something?

      Doesn't un-recouped just mean that you royalties have not exceeded your advances?

      Conventional wisdom is that you enjoy a lifetime in music not by making royalties on music sales so much as by touring, selling merchandise, etc.

      And which "windfall profits" from Jay-Z and Madonna are we talking about? Was there a sudden unexpected surge in sales for these two artists? Or are we talking in general - during the iTunes time when the record execs were whining about only being able to afford to eat beans on toast due to "piracy"?

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

        "Doesn't un-recouped just mean that you royalties have not exceeded your advances?"

        Sales royalties, yes. There are other royalties that the record company cannot control.

        "Conventional wisdom is that you enjoy a lifetime in music not by making royalties on music sales so much as by touring, selling merchandise, etc."

        Conventional wisdom from ... who? People quoting 20-year old Steve Albini and Janis Ian articles on Slashdot? Or from people who have helped destroyed sales, who have absolutely no vested interest at all in telling you that artists should sell more T-shirts?

        Sales were once at a level that a sick artist didn't have to go on the road even though they have cancer, like Levon Helm had to:

  5. keithpeter Silver badge


    "...and some bloke called Fred-rick Nee-chee, who I think once played bass for Cher"

    Nietzsche and Blumlein in the same article: well done - a fair chunk of C20th history lies between those two. One worrying thought about all this cloudy interweb stuff was put into words by Nee-Chee himself when writing about his writing-ball: “our writing tools are also working on our thoughts”.

    Back to my CD collection before venturing out in the rain.

  6. David Pearce

    I wonder what the fee will be in Asia if it ever gets there? The UK price is 10% of minimum wage where I am

  7. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Bank Holiday?

    Usually Dabsy does humour.

    So why is this weekend's offering just a straight documentary?

    1. JonP

      Re: Bank Holiday?

      Usually Dabsy does humour

      Yeah? must've missed that week...

    2. Grikath

      Re: Bank Holiday?

      Because there are days when an event doesn't rate the usual dose of sugar in the vitriol?

    3. Fihart

      Re: Bank Holiday?


      I was just going to comment that his observation that CD quality's already available -- from CD -- tickled my ribs.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Bank Holiday?

        For it me, it was, "caped staircase acrobat", that had me guffawing. Shame they don't let you vote on articles anymore.

  8. Tezfair

    too old to care

    My first MP3 was don't speak by no doubt. Since then I have stayed with that format because it works well across all my devices. Sure there are better format such as flac etc, but for me, any new format will be ignored.

    As the digital downloads, etc, yep, brought a couple of albums in the past but are no longer accessible since the email address has long since gone (so has the ISP). Nope, for me, I will buy CDs as and when, in fact I recently realised I had a gaping hole in my collection and brought ELO greatest hits v1 &2 off ebay. Cost a tad under £2, unmarked. Now ripped to the server, wifes ipod, mobile and memory stick for the car.

    Stop reinventing the wheel and look at why people try and get around your protection.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: too old to care

      > Now ripped to the server, wifes ipod, mobile and memory stick for the car.

      If you are going to rip the CD for use by multiple people and also place it on a server (presumably not as a backup, a CD suffices, especially when unused otherwise) then why pay for it in the first place?

      Always reminds me of the article I read where Elton John bought eight copies of every CD he bought, one for each of the locations he required it - so easy to be honest when you are stinking rich.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Re: too old to care

        I rip to multiple locations, but I can only ever listen to one of them at a time.

        If you and your spouse jointly own a CD, is it copyright infringement to both be listening to it in different places at the same time?

  9. Denarius
    Thumb Up

    not alone at last

    Some-one else has stopped listening to what is laughably called popular music also ? Given how utterly dull, unoriginal and just plain noisy mass moosic now flogged to the insufficiently sceptical, I am surprised there is a music industry left to have these events. Given that in Oz ads now take up 30% of airtime, older multimedia are being ignored. Am I a pioneer, developing more refined tastes or just another grumpy old b*d ? No, don't answer that.

    Dabbsy, good write up of events. Appreciated the honest dislike.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: not alone at last

      Am I a pioneer, developing more refined tastes or just another grumpy old bastard?

      I've already decided it's okay to be all of the above, well before I actually become old.

    2. Cpt Blue Bear

      Re: not alone at last

      "Given that in Oz ads now take up 30% of airtime"

      They have ads on radio? I've never been able to put up with the "announcers" on commercial radio here long enough to get to an ad break...

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: not alone at last

      Ads on the radio? You've got jjj in Oz, no ads there.

      (Although I've mainly listened to them during the uk daytime)

  10. localzuk Silver badge

    Their explanation of lossless on their site...

    Is as nonsensical as the rest of the concept. Apparently, parts of music is "left out" to make an MP3 smaller. Weird.

    We live in a world where people buy crap headphones because of the name, so people don't particularly care about audio fidelity. The only people who really care about it are those who spend a fortune on their HiFi systems - and they aren't really the sort to buy streaming media. They look for AAD CDs and, quite frankly, vinyl. Not a large enough market, I don't think, to sustain an entire streaming company.

    That said, if they can really sell the "Jay Z" or whoever, names attached to it (like the crap headphones) then they may get the "idiot market" too...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: they may get the "idiot market" too

      Now you know why they are rich.

      The idiot market is by far the biggest one.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streaming? more like Steaming

    On a train yesterday that sat in a tunnel outside of New St Station (Birmingham) for the best part of 20 mins.

    It was interesting to watch the younger travellers in the carriage get more and more irate due to the failure of their music streaming service in that famed mobile 'not-spot'.

    By the end there were just two pairs of earphones/headphones working. These were being worn by people who'd populated their phones/mp2 players with music rather than relying on Streaming services.

    Being a skinflint I can't understand why 1) you want to pay to stream the stuff you probably have as an mp3[*] already and 2) you want to pay your carrier for data that you are streaming.

    It just don't make sense. Ok, I know about playlists but is it that hard to create your own. You have a brain don't you or has that over amplified bass killed it dead?

    [*] or can 'borrow' from a friend that does have it.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

      Playlists? I must be from the stone age.

      I reckon that on the whole, the people who made an album knew what they were doing, and the only playlist I need is one that plays all the tracks on a CD, in order.

      Surprisingly hard to find, though.

      1. WylieCoyoteUK

        Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

        Yeah, My car ignores my playlist order, it plays everything in alphabetical order by song title.

        Which dumbass thought that was a good idea?

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

          It never ceases to amaze me how backward car entertainment systems are when it comes to dealing with music over You Ess Bee. MP3 players had it all sorted out over 10 years ago and computer software over 20.

          Mine doesn't sort files and directories alphabetically or numerically, it sorts in the order in which they were copied to the storage device!

          1. chivo243 Silver badge

            Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

            Mine too! but there is some sub menu to change the default, but then you're sorting by another criteria, and changing it again requires drilling into a sub menu of one of the really small buttons next to the volume...

            On the other hand, my system also supports ithingy integration, and it just plays what is shoved at it...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

          Yeah, My car ignores my playlist order, it plays everything in alphabetical order by song title.

          Ah, a fellow Audi driver. I came to the same conclusion.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

            Yeah, My car ignores my playlist order, it plays everything in alphabetical order by song title.

            My Fiat has a USB music system powered by Microsoft. I can access an album by name or artist (because I file a separate directory/subdirectory for each album) and it will play the album in the correct order.


            At the end of the album, does it stop? No. Does it find the next album by the same artist, or the next artist alphabetically? No. It plays the bloody thing again... which tall-brained idiot that that one up?

            (Also, I occasionally have to switch things off and on again to make it talk to me, but I kind of expect that. At least I can leave the windows open.)

      2. BongoJoe

        Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

        I find it annoying when the original vinyl album's track order changed for CD and then it just sounded plain wrong

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

          >> the original vinyl album's track order changed for CD

          I'd forgotten about how they used to do this in the early days of CD. The worst offender for me was Thomas Dolby's Golden Age of Wireless. Even now, if I choose to listen to this album, I play it via a custom playlist that puts all the tracks back into their original LP order. Shame that the continuous joins and cross fades are impossible to recreate this way, but there you go: a perfect album ruined.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

      people who'd populated their phones/mp2 players with music rather than relying on Streaming services

      One would expect a spontaneous sharing experience to occur, no?

    3. localzuk Silver badge

      Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

      I use streaming almost exclusively as my source of music. However, I pay for it and I can pre-populate music to mobile devices for travel purposes. There's no need to be using mobile bandwidth for music!

      It isn't an age thing - its a "thinking things through" thing.

    4. Obitim

      Re: Streaming? more like Steaming

      Google Play...

      It allows me to upload my music and create a playlist on my PC - which will then work on my phone, but crucially, it will cache the tracks as well!

      PLus I have a couple of gigs of music on my SD card as well

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge


    .. to be reminded about Blumlein.

    Thanks, Dabbsy

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Here Here!

      Top bloke of the century (Tesla excepted, of course, as usual - he was a time traveller who got stuck in his distant past, so fair to leave him out).

      While stereo and PAL TV(I believe he was working on it at the time of the crash, amongst other things)

      he also invented the cathode follower - or amplifier to you and me, and the integrator, which he rather kindly dubbed the miller integrator.

      In short the man invented electronics, yet is less celebrated than Dr.Kanye-Z


      1. unitron

        Re: Here Here!

        The cathode follower is a particular vacuum tube amplifier (or more accurately, amplification stage) configuration, but by no means the only possible vacuum tube configuration capable of amplification.

        Blumlein, genius though he was, was born too late to have "invented electronics", something with which no one person can be solely credited anyway.

        But as long as we're talking about genius electronics pioneers who aren't as well known about as they should be, allow me to mention the guy who got patent trolled by RCA and AT&T

        and to recommend a biography of him

        Man of High Fidelity: Edwin Howard Armstrong

        by Lawrence Lessing

        The high fidelity part refers both to his stubborn adherence to his principles and to his having been responsible for wide band FM radio.

  13. cduance

    Word perfect article

    I usually like theregister articles but this article is a masterpiece. Every word is precise and true and I might actually have to read it again.

    The fact that they charge double for the service and I imagine pay artists double too means that they have maintained the % royalty making their accomplishment absolutely zero apart from the extra monetary value added to their 2.7Bn dollar net worth. Anyone streaming a higher quality audio service is just going to eat up more of users data tariffs costing users more too.

    Not one of them plays an instrument so musician is a bit of a long stretch as a description. All they have built is a way to suck more money out of people that probably don't have much to start with in order to buy more flashy cars

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Word perfect article

      >> article is a masterpiece.

      Thanks, mum. I'll be back at 6.

      To be fair, several of these artists do play an instrument: Jack W plays guitar, Alicia Keys plays piano and Kanye West plays with himself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Word perfect article

        To be fair, several of these artists do play an instrument: Jack W plays guitar, Alicia Keys plays piano and Kanye West plays with himself.

        Hahaha, that really made me laugh - excellent :).

        I have been long enough around politicians to have developed a serious allergy for bullshit, and just the word "energy" was enough to start the itch (well, OK, it may also be an upcoming flu, it's doing the rounds).

        What makes me wonder is how people actually arrive at that point where they become incapable of detecting a difference between their imagination and the real world out there. I've seen it with politicians, bankers (well, OK, both those parties may have actually never near reality to start with) and almost any Microsoft executive and people involved in marketing, but really? There hasn't been a single person during the setup of this outfit that has asked questions about, well, money?

        I am willing to bet that the person who has flogged them this idea is already planning to short the stock as soon as it floats, because float it will. A deception at this scale will go all the way before it sinks with investor's money.

        1. defiler

          Re: Word perfect article

          "What makes me wonder is how people actually arrive at that point where they become incapable of detecting a difference between their imagination and the real world out there."

          Dougal. Have you been studying the diagram like I said?

      2. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Word perfect article

        Kanye West plays with himself.

        That's not an instrument.

        That's a tool. And used by a fool.

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Word perfect article

          Kanye West plays with himself.

          That's not an instrument.

          The skin flute is one of the oldest and most widely played musical instruments.

          1. Montreal Sean

            Re: Word perfect article

            "Kanye West plays with himself.

            That's not an instrument.

            The skin flute is one of the oldest and most widely played musical instruments."

            Ah, but to be properly played as a flute it requires a second party to be involved...

            1. DJGM

              Re: Word perfect article

              ""Kanye West plays with himself.

              That's not an instrument.

              The skin flute is one of the oldest and most widely played musical instruments."

              Ah, but to be properly played as a flute it requires a 2nd party to be involved ... "

              And that's where his big arsed missus comes in!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Word perfect article

              Not... if you are Kanye West!

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Word perfect article

              > Ah, but to be properly played as a flute it requires a second party to be involved...

              It can be a solo act if the artist is sufficiently flexible, but is indeed likely so be more [con]strained

      3. fearnothing

        Re: Word perfect article

        That last one would be 'tool' rather than 'instrument' then.

        Ah snap, someone already got there. Have an upvote.

      4. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Word perfect article

        Kinda adds a new interpretation on 'imma letchu finish'

        pass the brain bleach

    2. John Savard

      Re: Word perfect article

      I liked the article, especially the bit about Blumlein, but I think that saying every word is true is going a bit too far. I'm rather sure he was exaggerating about Madonna.

  14. Fink-Nottle

    HiFi vs Premium

    Tidal is offering two subscription levels, HiFi (lossless FLAC) and Premium (AAC 320). This seems disingenuous as according to sensible HiFi forums there is no audible difference between these two formats - or, if there are differences, they are rare and extremely difficult to pick up.

    If there is a noticeable difference in sound quality it seems likely that this is due to the quality of the streaming service rather than the encoding. I love the smell of snake oil in the morning ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HiFi vs Premium

      Well, you know the target audience then. Following the principles of plutonomy, the upper level is for those idiots that buy those stupidly expensive cables to carry digital signals. They don't care about cost, they care about the hype.

      The problem I have is working out who the "lower" end offering is aimed at. I can't really see anyone who'd prefer this over just buying CDs or getting MP3s from Amazon (rather than from iTunes which tends to be twice the price)..

    2. WylieCoyoteUK

      Re: HiFi vs Premium

      Where can I get a subscriber list?

      I have a $1000 HDMI cable to sell them....

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: HiFi vs Premium

        Must be useless if it only costs $1000. I give you , an absolute bargain at only £7,599.95 (approx $11,340). It features "Composilex 2 insulation technology, which minimizes the triboelectric noise produced by conventional insulation material", whatever that is.

        1. Zmodem

          Re: HiFi vs Premium

          pro audio hardware uses usb DAC, which sends binary packets of the original audio file, pioneer DAC amps start at £400 or so

          RCA and XLR cables will all be replaced in 10 years with usb DAC

          1. Zmodem

            Re: HiFi vs Premium

            RCA and XLR cables have frequncy loss, and need more strands to handle the watts of decibels passing through so they do not clip

            USB bandwidth gets updated every few years so can have more and more ASIO channels with backwards compatibility for future use

            when DAC is domestic, surround sound will be 20.1 etc

            1. Zmodem

              Re: HiFi vs Premium

              you will find out DAC is the futue when £4000 surround sound AV amps are in currys, and not £90 HDMI`s

        2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: HiFi vs Premium

          Excellent find, and directional too:

          IMPORTANT: Please observe the correct cable orientation during installation. The cable is marked with an arrow "→" which indicates signal direction. e.g. Bluray/DVD → AV Receiver→ TV/Projector

    3. Zmodem

      Re: HiFi vs Premium

      if you brought a decent stereo you would know mp3`s sound like bollox, any hi hat will sound like its been passed through 10 multi band compressors, while bass is non-existent

      most shops just sell transcoded wav and flac files transcoded from mp3`s which is why most people cannot tell the difference

      ripped a cd to a mp3, and press the direct source button on a amp and pass the audio through an EQ and the mp3 will sound like bollox the louder you have it

      1. pffut

        Re: HiFi vs Premium

        For some reason (despite bass is comparatively 'cheap' to encode), encoders tend to filter out the lowest bass.

        Maybe because the expected play-back equipment typically is bad at reproducing it anyway? (Thus sucks to be using better gear...)

        With the proper encoder you can choose to keep it though. At or above 256 kbps ABR, my ears can't really tell the difference (occasional passage in occasional tunes can give it away) between a well encoded mp3 and the raw wav, played through decent/good equipment in a quiet environment.

        Since 95% of my music listening is in the car, I find that 320 kbps mp3s, given good settings on the encoder is good enough >>for me<<. If your ears are better - kudos to you

    4. Naughtyhorse

      Re: HiFi vs Premium


      hi-fi forums

      do you see what you did there?

      1. Zmodem

        Re: HiFi vs Premium

        Hi Fi forums are full of nerds who make drum & bass, they talk the talk, but all know nothing, so they use a sample cd instead

      2. Fink-Nottle

        Re: HiFi vs Premium

        > do you see what you did there?

        who did what where? By definition, a sensible forum.

  15. SVV

    Top Marks

    Great article that neatly explains why this is so ridiculous.

    And references to Frank Sidebottom and an obscure pun based on a track from the first Fall album too - nice to know this comes from from a writer who also has tastes beyond the ever diminishing pool of "global superstars" (Also liked the Daft Punk putdown too - weren't they briefly top ten material about 15 years or so ago?)

    1. JC_

      Re: Top Marks

      (Also liked the Daft Punk putdown too - weren't they briefly top ten material about 15 years or so ago?

      What cave were you living in in 2013? "Get Lucky" was huge and is a pretty catchy tune - check it out with Stephen Colbert and tell me you don't like it :)

      1. Sarah Balfour

        Re: Top Marks

        @JC I can't fucking stand it - Daft Punk est très merde!

  16. Cliff

    Frank Sidebottom and Mickey Mouse?

    I had no idea what you were talking about, then played the 'Alicia Keys' clip. It slowly pans through the standy-up pop people... and then I nearly wet myself giggling. Spot on, that's exactly what their love-child would look like.

  17. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Fred-rick Nee-chee

    Wasn't he playing in the same band as Imma-Nu-eel Cunt? No, that can't be right....

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Fred-rick Nee-chee

      Great fill-o-suffers rarely work together in the same band.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Fihart

      Re: Fred-rick Nee-chee

      Actually a rather rock-literate reference to Jack Nitzsche ace arranger and (like Cher) Phil Spector alumnus.

    4. A Ghost

      Re: Fred-rick Nee-chee

      Don't forget RudewigTittgenstein

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Fred-rick Nee-chee

        And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart

        I drink therefore I am... (Etc)

  18. Stevie


    Chanting doggerel over samples of someone else's work makes one a musician in exactly the same way as swapping an arm on a Goons Wonkshop miniature makes me a sculptor or bolting a trunk rack on my old TR6 made me an automotive engineer.

  19. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Thumb Up

    Top banana!

    Excellent article Dabsie. From the delightful and well-deserved praise of a boffin's boffin (do we have these anymore?) to a nail-head critique of the nonsense that is music streaming.

    It could have been an Zog internal monologue, before medication, of course.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only good thing it has going for it is FLAC, but why would I want to stream at that bitrate?

    Keep it as a local copy or achival copy but to use it for streaming just seems excessive.

  21. iMhere

    Well the launch may have been BS, but get a hold of yourself Alistair, you can sample this free for a month which I have been doing for a few days.

    It is a very expensive service no doubt. But, I don’t consider the launch, rather quality and catalogue. I doubt anyone can fault the quality, it sounds like a CD. And yes I have listened with a good DAC with Grado Labs headphones and through Airplay to a Denon amp. Both work well.

    In terms of the catalogue, there is nothing I have searched for that I couldn’t find. We also need to remember that you can download albums for off-line listening with this, not just listen to streaming playlists. So, one you have discovered, you can have the album for as long as you subscribe to the service.

    The only downside for me is that I would not normally buy enough CDs per year to equal the subscription price. I have to weigh up if the price is worth the convenience. However if I keep the service, I will download and listen to albums I normally wouldn’t, enhancing my music experience.

    The press for Tidal also lead me to find it’s competitor Deezer which I am also trialling. I may well keep one of these two, I just wish the were a bit more affordable…

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ iMhere

      "So, one you have discovered, you can have the album for as long as you subscribe to the service".

      And you think that's a GOOD deal?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funniest. Review. Ever.

    You Sir, crack me up every time.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    I recommend, the GNU supported streaming service

    Uses kind of a model of scrobbling your tunes as you listen to them, and recommending similar stuff. Many advantages:

    1. free

    2. ogg (free-as-in-freedom codec)

    3. lots of artists looking to be discovered

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He died because the morons in government, instead of keeping him somewhere safe from bombs like Bletchley, sent him up in a bomber to do tests. Because they didn't understand what he was. And now it's 2015 and, perhaps I should apologise a bit for banging on about this again, but our cretinous government still doesn't understand the importance of looking after and cultivating our top scientists and engineers. Example: graphene, discovered here and exploited in the US. The money proposed to be pissed away on getting Londoners to Birmingham a bit faster is going into holes in the ground when it could be used to do something practical to develop a high value economy.

    (I say Government; it isn't any one political party, Heseltine was making this point, about failing to capitalise on British research, very loudly in the 1990s.)

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Blumlein


      though to be fair to the powers that were, the man was also barely literate. Rejected by... RI, IEE?? on this account.

      Many decades ago there was a great article about him in the back of 'wireless world' apparently went to a very progressive school where the kids were encouraged to devise their own curriculum, so he never took an english class in his life!

      still a dreadful waste.

  25. Juan Inamillion

    A right giggle

    Actually I almost spat out a mouthful of mixed nuts at "...and Kanye West plays with himself." Didn't see that coming <fnarr>.

    Superb article.

    As someone who for most of his life worked in the music biz I really identified with all that rhetoric. And I learned all about Blumlein and his techniques when I had my first tape recorder at 14 years old... <sigh>

  26. Tony Green


    For anybody with any interest in great engineers, Robert Charles Alexander's 1999 biography of Blumlein is a must-read.

    A truly inspirational life.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Blumlein

      I met Robert Alexander at Wednesday's event. I think a new updated edition of the book is in order.

  27. Mage
    Big Brother

    glued together out of a squeezy bottle

    Worth reading just for this.

    Streaming also has no privacy, like downloads they know who you are. But worse they know when and where you are.

    Broadcast Radio may not have "On Demand" selection, but it's free and anonymous. For listening to whole albums worth (which is advantage of 1948 LP invention) buying a CD is better. It's anonymous, don't need Internet connections and after the first time it's free.

    Buying single track MP3s is like buying 78s (worse as they had a B side), existing since about 1898 and could be HiFi by 1936. 45s Replaced 78s in 1949.

    So now they want us to rent the music and uniquely identify us, and also when and where we listen?

    Streaming Music Services are something the Characters running the show in Brave New World or 1984 would have been proud of.

    I'll stick to CDs and making my own MP3 playlists for the phone (or laptop into HiFi). The cheap £5 CE legal MP3 FM Transmitters handy for using a good portable FM Stereo Radio with Satellite / TV Set box / Laptop etc music (works to FM tuner in Phone too).

  28. cambsukguy

    Don't use streaming myself

    The charges seem to be a lot of money per month to play music.

    I have a Nokia and they have a streaming system with tons and tons of curated music channels for free all the time.

    One can even store the music locally - with limitations on how many songs you can store.

    But still, free, a big difference.

    And, unlike other free services (of which there are many apparently), it has no advertising at all.

  29. tentimes

    Would rather have a download on demand lossless format

    So I can download anything I want in WAV format and use it how I want.

    You can currently get this from Beatport/HTFRD etc, but they have a very limited catalogue. I want ALL music available from ONE place that I can download in lossless format and keep. I will pay for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Would rather have a download on demand lossless format

      That would be Amazon. It has very good download rates, but latency can be a bit high - around one to two days I find.

  30. Teiwaz

    Great article, gave me a really strong mental image.

    Then I watched the video clips, started to feel queasy, remembered why I don't watch awards ceremonies.

    Just to get it straight, the guy dressed as the gimped up reanimated corpse of mickey mouse was the object of the sidebottom reference, right?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Great article, gave me a really strong mental image.

      Deadmau5, yes. In a row of Deadhed5.

      1. A Ghost

        Don't get me started on Deadmau5

        Ok, you already did. Your fault.

        Joel seems like a pretty cool down to earth guy in real life. He holds his fame well, and I do believe that he genuinely loves music and making it and performing it, so good on the guy for that. He's not a phoney or a fraud, I don't think. He might be milking it (or stealing all the cheese) so the rest of us don't get a look in. But you won't find any personal animo(use)ity from me to our furry little friend in question.

        However, I can see you are all waiting for the 'but' bit. Here goes.

        However, the guy is probably the most talentless and mediocre musician/performer/writer I can think of in the last 20 years. He takes it to another level. The fact that people actually buy his mediocre nonsense only baffles me as much as the fact that people actually pay to hear him play, as a DJ (Disc Jockey), none the less. Not only is he a talented and exceptional weaver of beats and B lines in his role as producer, he can also jockey the discs too! He's your all round renaissance little furry fella alright.

        But it doesn't end there. He has a line in producing VST software with the likes of the legendary Steve Duda, none the less

        Now, let's be clear about this. Steve is actually a bit of a genius coder and developer and designer. His music is pretty good too, and he runs a very successful software company called Xfer, who are about as big as they come in the VST plugin game. I guess they must be buddies.

        Nothing so far leads me to believe that mr. mouse is anything less than all round stand up guy who would actually be quite fun to 'hang' with and probably a 'whole' lot more interesting and deeper than your common or garden 'janet jackson tits oot fer the lads' types.

        Can you see where I am going with this? No? Good! That's the point.

        The point is, that he makes god awful music, of the most mediocre type. Actually no, it's not mediocre, that would imply that it is fair to middling. It isn't. It is juvenile, dire, horrid and pathetic. I'm telling you how I really feel now, and it's only one man's opinion after all, but anyway, let me put all my eggs in that basket.

        Let us not forget that apart from being a kind of silent co-developer along with Steve Duda, he also 'beta-tests' for certain companies. That's right. He gets it before you do. I bet they sort the bugs out when they bite him on the ass, not like the rest of us mere mortals that have to wait 3 years for v3.5 only to find, they didn't sort the bugs out after all. He's got his cake, and he's eating it! Can you see how this all works?

        I won't even go into the fact he drives a Mclaren F1, and is actually rather good looking as well. Not to mention a bit 'swarthy' and also a bit 'edgy' with all those tattoos. And while we're about not mentioning things, let me not mention that he also has a bit of license to actually behave like a total arsehole, when that is how a lot of people treat him a lot of the times. Somebody actually posted a video on a pretty big producer/plugin forum about how much of an arsehole he was. The video showed some numbskull fuckwit going up to him and nudging him, totally invading the space of a person he didn't know, and insulting him to boot, but expecting some kind of piece of him for the privilege. In mr. mouse's defense, I think he acted quite honorably by not decking the guy on the spot. Yet someone felt aggrieved enough to post this private encounter on a public forum. So yeah, I wouldn't blame the bloke if he was an out and out rotter to those he just met or wanted to tap into him to feed on his fame. Yet, he seems perfectly good natured to me.

        However, his music is still worse than bad. Don't just take my word for it. Listen to it yourself. Listen to what other learned producers have to say about his output. You won't find one of any credibility citing it as anything better than mediocre, whilst most of us just call a spade a spade and say 'god it's awful'.

        "Really where are you going with this?"

        Well, nowhere really. I guess I've said what I wanted to say without getting too carried away with it all. Joel seems like a lovely bloke, head screwed on in the right way (ho ho ho) despite his massive unexpected (to him probably more than anyone else) success.

        Don't ever criticise him on a public forum though. You will be called 'hater', yes, 'hater', no less. One that hates. Oh and you will also get loads of people that don't 'hate' him, but take the time to say 'dude you posted on a public forum just to hate on the guy, why take the time, go outside and smell the roses and do something with your life, don't be bitter', whilst adding later that they too, 'don't really like his crappy music very much'. So there you go. You will be savaged by 'fans'. You will be savaged by people that are most certainly not 'fans', but take the time none the less to magnanimousely (sorry) stick up for him.

        Also, you will get people that don't like his music at all, but still take the time to say they don't like his music, but they would never take the time to point that out on a public forum because they are too busy smelling the roses and not 'hating'.

        You can't win.

        You can do anything you like. But just don't point out his music is, what were the words I used to describe it earlier? "Dire" and "pathetic" should be enough to get the point across. I'm obviously not a fan. But let's not all kick a guy when he's up! So mr. mouse, where did it all go right?

        Someone somewhere will get this post to him. He'll probably even set up an account on el Reg just to comment in (animal?) person. At least someone anonymousely pretending to be him, will. I would expect nothing less.

        We live in an age of mediocrity, where the most mediocre are the winners. A lot of those mediocrities are not very nice human beings, but if I ever saw Joel or Steve out, I'd get a round in for them, not cos their music is great, but just coz they seem to keep some kind of level head in a world of insanity. For that mr. mouse has my most deep hearted respect.

        Now, what we do about the rest of society that think it's ok to listen to his music, is another question. We need to start with some kind of list.

        I think Joel gets a bit of a hard time all in all. But even if his music is bleeding diabolical (gawd knows what his Disc Jockey sets are like [shudder]), he obviously is no mug when it comes to designing VST plugins. Maybe he shouldn't give up his day job, or maybe he should get a new day job. Who knows? Who am I to suggest?

        The enigma of mr. mouse lives on. And so did I.

        As idle as a piece of cheese...

        [DISCLAIMER: To anyone that has seen any deadmaus thread on any producer/plugin forum, this was an attempt to out irony their irony. I may have succeeded in that, maybe not. Hopefully this won't spark 20 pages of replies of why my irony failed, and why I shouldn't hate, and how his music is not so bad after all...]

  31. phil dude

    CDs, DVDS, locally everytime...

    I think of streaming as "leaving the radio on". For the music I actually like it is locally archived. Ogg, Flac, or occasionally MP3 if it arrives like that.

    Very glad this cheap Moto-E LTE supports 64GB SDXC. Still p*ssed off that Google REFUSES TO ALLOW EXT4 formatted cards - it saves space!!

    I'm still beating on that door to see if I can get enough folks angry enough that the native Linux file format has been disabled for Android. This is why GPL is important to humanity.

    Not joking (but still miffed).


  32. A Ghost

    These people are out of their tiny minds

    High on life and good times and lord knows what else they are drinking/snorting/smoking.

    It's time for them to put down the pipe!

    It's hard to express what utter contempt these fools are held in (though you did a fine good go at it dabbsy), by the majority of 'normal' musicians/songwriters. Now, I'm not playing the 'oh they have no talent' card here. Even though they have no talent. They are loved and fawned on by millions of people that believe them to be geniuses. Kanye for one is doted on by black and white and male and female alike. They've drunk the Kanye (c) Koolaid and they're not about to change their minds now.

    I'm massively into hip hop and soul btw (now called r and b for some strange reason). I write it, I record it, I produce it, I engineer it. And that's about it. The music industry is a fathomless pit of deceit and nepotism and gangsterism. And I want nothing to do with it. I don't blame these people for having no talent, because it is debatable that they do, but I do blame them for their total bread head get ahead at all costs, my bank balance is bigger than yours, conspicuous consumption, egotistical messiah complexes. Don't trust one of them.

    But the masses lap it up. Ok, they don't have much choice because they've narrowed the industry down to them and a dozen of their mates. But people could go looking for new music - it's everywhere - but they don't want to pay for it. And there is no one outlet for selling music - they are ALL a rip-off. You were better of with the old model and selling your soul and hoping you got lucky. It's interesting the viewpoint of someone like Chris Randall from Analog Industries and his little essays and rants on the subject - about how it is easier now to make a living from being involved with the 'music' industry. But he did include the girls in the cloak room who give your ticket in that equation, so I don't know what to make of it. I think he was being serious and trying to prove a point.

    The point is, there is no music scene anymore. It's dead. Hip hop has become a spiteful and hollow caricature of itself, but the people at the bottom and middle rungs are so engrossed in the bling blang magic spell that they can't see the gold for the chains! They want it so bad. Any criticism is 'oh you're a hater'. For fuck's sake, this is the mentality of grown men and women we are talking about. I wouldn't even care if the music was any good, but it's not, and I love hip hop deeply, but that world has gone. It got replaced by gangster rap and that has never disappeared, it's just become more glamorous to hide the fact that thuggery still rules the day. Look at Suge Knight, believing himself to be untouchable. We will see how untouchable he is now.

    It's gone to their heads. These people are a laughing stock. Like with today's political system and politicians, there needs to be a cull, all across the board, no prisoners. Scrapheap for the lot of them. But that will never happen, they run the show now, and it looks like it's not going to change any time soon. People are so disenfranchised. Never before being so much without hope. Sheer frustration and anguish spilling over. People turning on each other left right and centre, attacking those closest to them and even those trying to help, because the real targets are locked away some where on a shiny pedestal out of reach. It's ugly out there. Real ugly. Allow me to quote the good doctor:

    "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

    I continue to hone my craft. To see the work of my lifetime come to fruition. To see decades of practice and hard work and research in the field, finally pay off. It's a beautiful thing to reach self-actualisation in a field like this. Those bastards aren't taking that from me. I'll continue to be a no mark, a nothing, a nobody, ploughing my lonely furrow, shunning other musicians (because too many of them have lost their heads by this point), and certainly anyone in the so-called 'music industry'. I'll carry on working and developing my website where I just give it all away for free, from my sound design to my samples, to my songs. Take it, have it, rip it off! None of you believe you should have to pay for it anyway, and you'll steal if if you can easily get away with it. I can't do anything about human nature. I'm hoping on some miracle happening or the mercy of the few that will keep me afloat, but I'm not banking on it. But I'd rather be my own man - a mad boffin in his secret songwriting laboratory - then suck on the titties of these parasites on humanity.

    I think I'll stop now as I'm just getting warmed up, and I need to be careful this doesn't turn into a blind rant, worthy of the good journalist himself. Good one Dabbsy old chap, you just said what a lot of us were already thinking. One of the rare platforms to voice these concerns (don't try doing it on a producer's forum, because er, well, it's full of a very small minority of successful producers, who will accuse you of being deranged [accepted] and/or jealous of their 'success' [wtf?]).

    More articles like this please! Five stars out of five! And funny and witty to boot. Well done.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: These people are out of their tiny minds

      >> These people are out of their tiny minds

      Why cannot I not get Alvin Stardust out of my head?

  33. IGnatius T Foobar

    Back to the bad old days?

    This seems like a bunch of greedy record companies and overpaid shitty pop artists trying to return to the bad old days when distribution was super tightly controlled and you had to pay out the wazoo for everything.

    I don't know how they expect "tidal" to make any money when the rest of the world has moved on.

    1. A Ghost

      Re: Back to the bad old days?

      Exactly! They won't use it. They'll grab illegal mp3s where they can, or get a dump from their mate's laptop/phone etc.

      I'm actually ok with people doing this, btw, as a content provider. I don't have the greedy unrealistic expectations of the big cats and the few that have gangstered in to control. I have everything to lose. But still, I think it's a great concept, music should be free to do what you want with when you've bought it. Even give it to a mate or two. But someone somewhere please pay for something!

      But it's ok. They won't and now we are seeing the first days of the final days of the death throes. Jazzy JZ will still be around, but I'm hoping to pick on the corpse of the dead body that will be left in the main. No one has made a go out of this internet thing yet. Quality of music has suffered as a result. This is not debatable. It is agreed time and time again across the whole board.

      Go onto some of the big producer forums and plugins forums. Most people are total freetards. There is so much high quality stuff out there to start with anyway, but still they want more. I've had hundreds of thousands of downloads of my stuff. Not one person contributing anything. And about 0.0001 percent taking the time to say 'thanks', where as 10 times that amount of people (who also got it for free) took the time to criticise me because they weren't happy with what I had done! This is not uncommon, and pretty soon most of the freeware devs say fuck it. I'm not even a developer, but the same rules apply. And people can be downright nasty and vicious with it too.

      I support people copying and giving away my music, and it is still not enough. They want the whole shebang for free. With pretty pink pastry on top, just for them. They will use all kinds of psychological tactics from passive-aggressiveness to outright abuse. I couldn't give a shit about any of them any more to be honest. And I say that will no bitterness or malice in my heart. I pity them really. And the music industry is dying as a result. 10 years, it's gonna be a barren wasteland. No new forms of music invented and no new scenes. They are crippling it.

      It's like the music industry said, ok, we can't have it all our way, but we will embrace, extend and extinguish what you have with the likes of kanye and jayz and the rest of them. They were given that platform, they didn't just take it. We need to drag apple into this argument as well at some point, but it's so tired, and I'm so tired of it. It's not working, and it's not going to work. People will continue to make crap music, and those that buy into the dream and buy the ticket for the concert and the t-shirt and the vodka will make it worthwhile for those in power. The rest of us will still be bitching about it. Or, like the don quixote I am, tilting at the windmills. Of course I'm deranged. Who fucking wouldn't be. It's a nest of vipers from the very bottom to the very top.

      But there will be a reckoning.

  34. A Ghost

    What would I like to see?

    Ok, I've had my little two minutes hate/rant. All very well and good. Congratulations if it made any sense.

    So what can I possibly offer as an alternative to the millions of people constantly bitching about this? I'm not sure. Let me give it a go.

    I speak as a songwriter - someone that writes all those 'ooh babys' and 'la la las', and makes up the chords that still go G/C/D and back again, just like they always did, and I'll even chuck in an Em there to break the boredom in the middle 8 (like that hasn't been done before).

    I speak as a producer/arranger. I even construct the strings and the pianos and crazy electronic synth sounds that I have spent a whole week designing. Yes, a whole working week for one sound. I'm no Anne Dudley, that's for sure, but I give it a crack and hope the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    I speak as an engineer. At some point you will have to figure out why your CD masters are quieter than the competition. You will have to understand concepts like compression/limiting/equalisation, plus many more. Each one of those takes years to master, though no one ever truly masters it, because the goal post keep moving. You learn to live on your wits. I'm not a great engineer, but I can create enough sonic space with my hi pass filtering and know when to use compression/expansion/limiting/clipping at the appropriate moment.

    So, what would be a good model to make some cash out of this, assuming your stuff can pass basic muster?

    The ideal would be micropayments, but that ain't ever gonna happen baby. Too many people want to control it and micro your micro dawg! There's no standard. People have made half-hearted attempts, but I don't see this every happening, ever. Micropayments would be great. All those has been washed up bands with drug and alcohol problems, could get a few bucks a month towards their habits just off the old pissed up nostalgic youtube crowd. Don't expect Google to do anything other than leverage and screw the artists. So no go there then. No alternatives to youtube at the moment, so that is a big part of the crippling there. Apple have crippled it, Google have crippled it. Microsoft would cripple it if they got the chance.

    The next good idea, in the light of this harsh reality (we are already pretty limited by now by the top players who want not to just control the music/income, but the advertising related to that that they see as an even bigger cash cow, which is why they are playing this game to the death and it's getting dirty), would be, some kind of new centralised database for ALL music. Everything. No exceptions. This is it. You make/made music? You put your music into this database, anyone can download anything they want at any time, as many times as they like, and we give you a Micropayment! Let me just have another toke on my crack pipe here, I'm almost warmed up!

    This is so obviously not going to happen for so many reasons, not the least being infrastructure (can be overcome), cooperation between interested parties* (might possibly happen), technological abilities (would take a lot of work, but still feasible). But the biggest reason this won't happen is because of vested interests**, be it the new money or the old money in the game. They have legal rights to that, backed up by heavy weight lawyers. You can bring your nice new ball to the nice new playing field, but if they don't want to get their kit on and get their boots dirty, who's gonna make 'em?

    So that is why it won't change. It's not that it's not possible. It is. We are into the realm of spite here. You do realise these people love music so much that they would rather watch the whole lot go down the pan for everyone, if they thought they were missing out on their oh so god given entitled rights (cash)?

    I suppose at some point someone is going to accuse me of trying to start some kind of communist revolution by stealth with all of this. 'Pretty soon dude, we'll all be wearing red and driving ladas, and there'll only be one type of bread in the shops...', kind of thing.

    Time for another rock. Exhales slowly...

    It's just a madcap idea, I know, and it will never happen, but just think of the feasibility of it. One central database for the whole connected internet, available via http, ftp, iphone, laptop. We don't even have to include video at this point, coz that will just exponentiate the development as well as distribution costs - no go for now. And all the big companies could agree to take part, it could be done, but they would have to relinquish some control over what they already have. This is why I see it not happening. I've oversimplified things and glossed over others.

    Have another Congratulations if you made it this far.

    I don't know any musicians that are happy with any model for the 21st Century. But we are still new into the game, and as far as I can see it, the sooner this old model dies and something new can take its place, the better. Nearly everyone I talk to at different strata in the game has a different viewpoint and can't see further than their crack tinged nose. That is why I have given an idealistic, utopian ideal of something that I see as possibly, maybe, someday, having a cat's chance in hell of working. No one's really getting paid anymore in this game, but some are getting a bit more not really payed anymore than others, if you follow my drift. It's a massive pyramid scheme only held up by fluff and dreams. They feed on the dreams of the young and their energy, they feed on the failure of the old and the fact they have nowhere left to go except the old knacker's yard for washed up producers, next to the Fletcher Memorial Home.

    It's ok to feed. People want to give. There really is a massive ready built infrastructure here all dressed up with nowhere to go. But people don't like having the piss taken, and want something, anything back in return. I'd even be happy to give guitar/keyboard/songwriting lessons, along with computer building and software training specific to audio/music, all in return just for not being called a ponce and a drain on the state. But no. I can't even get paid in self-esteem and will be forever made to feel like a parasite on those who go out to do real jobs and pay their taxes. I'm veering off on to another tangent now and taking this argument to an albeit related, but decidedly less good natured place. It always comes down to politics in the end. Welcome to the jungle.

    Mama don't let your kids grow up to be cowboys, or something like that...

    *Interested party I define as both musicians/engineers/producers/writers, even label owners.

    **Vested interest I define as the behemoth record companies (all three of them) and lawyers etc.

    [Glass icon coz that's what my pipe is made out of]

    1. Disko

      @A Ghost

      upvote for a fine rant there! Consider this pint an advance on your next production ;)

    2. Mike VandeVelde

      "centralised database for ALL music. Everything. No exceptions."

      It was called Napster.

    3. IGnatius T Foobar

      Re: What would I like to see?

      Except for the fact that micropayments already exist. Upload your music to YouTube and monetize the account. Micropayments start coming in immediately.

      I'm not saying that YouTube is the ultimately perfect micropayment architecture, but they've gotten it right more than anyone else so far.

  35. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "If you are going to rip the CD for use by multiple people and also place it on a server (presumably not as a backup, a CD suffices, especially when unused otherwise) then why pay for it in the first place?"

    He bought it because he wanted to. The music industry would want him to pay, then pay again (probably double price) for the mobile, pay a 3rd time for the ipod, and probably no way to pay for a copy for the memory stick... nevertheless, whether the like it or not, this falls within fair use (the wife's ipod being the only questionable one, but it is still use within the household after all.)

    "Always reminds me of the article I read where Elton John bought eight copies of every CD he bought, one for each of the locations he required it - so easy to be honest when you are stinking rich."

    He can if he wants, but in all honesty, it's fair use to buy one copy and make sure copies are at the locations he's using it.

  36. WylieCoyoteUK

    you probably have misjudged

    For a start, he is quite an astute businessman, which is probably why he has igored this.

    Most of his money had been made producing for others, and he makes huge charity donations.

    You should probably investigate more before dismissing someone.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: you probably have misjudged

      He's certainly a good source of unintentional comedy gold. Whatever happened to IAMAUTO?

      And his appearance on NASA's Curiosity webcast? Amazing.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      or not

      you were right first time dabbsy, he's a twat

  37. MJI Silver badge

    I still think it is funny

    That Jay Zed lost out to a games programmer on a house.

    Well done Notch

  38. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


    I think this is supposed to be my generation's thing (maybe I just miss out) but I think I'll just stick to buying CDs for as long as they're around.

    Fortunately for artists, despite all this downloadable and streaming music nonsense, the internet also made self-publishing and distribution of physical media much more likely to succeed.

  39. thx1138v2

    Nobody ever said...

    it took any brains, talent, or anything else to be famous for being famous - the ultimate gig.

  40. Epobirs

    I realize I'm older than the target demographic for the service, but when I saw the lineup on that stage I told another person nearby, "I'd pay a one-time fee to never hear most of them ever again."

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      I would pay the premium rate to stop them from recording in the future.

      1. Disko

        now there's a kickstarter project waiting to happen - just label it as exclusive, i bet there are a million hipsters who would gladly buy into "I paid for this band to not be published so they would never be mainstream, and only I can ever listen to them."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I realize I'm older than the target demographic for the service, but when I saw the lineup on that stage I told another person nearby, "I'd pay a one-time fee to never hear most of them ever again."

      Spotify should address this demographic with adverts based around their "Swift-less" music service. I certainly saw this as a positve point for Spotify!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alan Dower Blumlein




    1. Marco van Beek

      Re: Alan Dower Blumlein

      Really? You slag off an article about someone who contributed to everything you listen to, with that excuse?

      Tell me? Hired and female sound engineers recently?

    2. Disko
      Thumb Down

      ...millions of women engineers and we get the broken one

      ..with the PMS level stuck at 11. Where's Jen?

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Alan Dower Blumlein

      Great stuff, guys!

      - Bogbrush

    4. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Alan Dower Blumlein

      time of the month love?

      back off the caps!

    5. Benjol

      Re: Alan Dower Blumlein

      Upvoting because I'm assuming this is humour

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alan Dower Blumlein

        Hope its humour ... otherwise its from one of the people who wrote on the Guardian comments section on the review of the BBC MicroMen program that the sexist BBC had written Sophie Wilson out of the story and shown an entirely male design team at Acorn!

  42. Anonymous Coward


    I'm perfectly happy with Magnatune, thank you so much. Good music and the artists get a fair percentage in all cases. Downloads available in lossless or lossy formats of your choice too! Evenything I personally want in a music service.

  43. Mummy's 'ickle soldier

    CD Quality

    Bought DVDs. Ripped them to FLAC. Saved them on NAS I can access from anywhere with an Internet connection. Done!

    £20 p.m F**k you Tidal!

    1. Kubla Cant

      Re: CD Quality

      Tidal is revolutionary in offering “CD-quality” downloads

      No it isn't. I regularly buy CD-quality downloads from Presto Classical, and have been doing so for some time. I'm sure most online music retailers offer a similar service. Presto Classical also offer "Studio-quality" downloads, but I haven't got the audio equipment (or the ears) to justify the extra cost.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nostalgia ain't what it used to be...

    Funny how valves sound better than transistors, analogue sounds better than digital and vinyl sounds better than ripped music.

    Anyway, the real problem is that the music business has still not figured out that if they want to stop piracy, they have to stop the reasons for piracy, and the biggest source of piracy is that we consumers think that because we have a CD, we also have a right to the same content for MP3, mix tapes, etc.

    What they need to do is to take a leaf out of the software industry and separate the copyright from the delivery method, but to be honest, they have left it so late that to do it now would be to admit they are flawed.

    What I can't figure out is why anyone still needs music publishers are record companies any more? You can self publicise on YouTube and Twitter, have downloadable content on your website, hire a PR person to push your image, and increase your exposure, and get to keep 100% of your sales.

    On, wait. What would Simon Cowell do if that happened? That could be worse....

  45. paulc

    Blumlein... true hero...

    is there anything he didn't have a dabble at?

    his list of inventions is truly awesome...

    resonant slot antenna, long-tailed pair, single groove stereo recording...

    such a pity he was lost so young...

  46. corbypunk

    not just mainstream music

    the article gives a slant that its just mainstream stuff available. just on a quick search i`ve found unknown uk indie bands such as the lovely eggs and protectectors, through the likes of hawkwind, gong and robert wyatt. Even anti capitalist CRASS can be streamed! as one punk rocker once said "ever get the feeling you`ve been cheated?"

  47. corbypunk

    the article and posts make it seem like it`s only really mainstream stuff available. just a quick 5 mins search i`ve found uk indie unknowns the lovely eggs and protectors, through hawkwind, gong and robert wyatt. Even anticapitalist crass and propagandhi are on here?!? as one punk once said "ever get the feeling you`ve been cheated"

  48. A Ghost

    corbypunk, I did make the point that there is a lot of good music out there if you are prepared to search. Some are, but most don't.

    This game was always inhabited by ego inflated buffoons (think Gary Glitter), and nothing has really changed. Whilst a few of those contributed to the pop world and brightened up our drab lives, so many more wrote songs that tug on those heart strings, that can't quite be pulled by a 40 minute symphony let alone a 3 minute verse/chorus/verse/chorus.

    Those people are still around. There's no easy way around this. That stuff is always going to be hard to find. From now on. Especially. It was easier before, in a way. I still haven't made my mind up with it all. I'm quite hopeful actually of getting my stuff out there. Hope dies last, as they say.

    But track down the essays by Chris Randall of Analog Industries on this kind of subject. He talks a lot of sense and knows what he is talking about. He'd rip my shit to pieces if he ever bothered to read it. And maybe quite rightly so. I don't know. He even made a critique of the famous Steve Albini 'essay' that does the rounds. Yet Steve talks sense a lot of the time too. I just point people to the 'Why you've got no chance of making a living out of music' on the Sisters of mercy website. Yet they make a living out of touring even if they are not recording. But then again, it is another myth that musicians can make money out of touring these days. It costs far too much and unless you are Genesis selling dreams of yore to soon to die aging hippies (nowt wrong with that), you can't really break even by the time the ticket agencies and managements and whatnots have broken your whatslefts, so to speak.

    It's a jungle alright. But that's another argument for another day. I'd love to see someone like dabbsy tackle this, though, through his semi-irreverent sheen of semi-humor, semi-diatribe type of thing. It's all very well looking into the finer mechanics of it all, but it's always going to be a toss of the dice, no matter what, and you takes your breaks where you can find them, kind of thing.

    This was just a very refreshing piece to read, and funny as well. It did no harm to anyone, and maybe got a few minds rolling. It's a serious point, but even with the internet, the very places where you should be able to comment freely on stuff like this (without being abusive or ill-mannered) are the very places you can _not_ comment on this. Hence my little rant. I think the thing that Alistair showed up more than anything else though, is how much of an incestuous little piss pot this has all become. And it fools no one any more. These people can not be allowed to carry on much longer and will be culled one way or the other. I think he was just pointing out the sheer absurdity of it all really. Kind of anti-satire. They are the satirists, but time for a little reality now, if that makes sense.

    I'll quit while I'm ahead. Thanks everyone for making my Easter weekend a little brighter.


  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll stick with spotify till the bitter end. I do hate the greed of these "artists" who often don't even write their own music and lyrics . Another streaming service this time set up to ensure they get even more money makes me want to put a bullet in societies head.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Gibs me Dat....

    Nuff said....

  51. 1goncat

    Tidal is cheap thrills

    It's not about the biz, it's about the audio quality. Mp3s are ear garbage. They're damaged sound files & they can damage your hearing. All these dopes walking around with earbuds today will be walking around with hearing aids in ten years.

    20 bills/mo. is peanuts for CD quality streaming. I used to spend that in a week on discs. Now I can rip & rec as many tracks as I want.

    But if the scratch is all that matters to you, just think of all the money you'll save in ten years as the hearing aid market explodes...

    1. A Ghost

      Re: Tidal is cheap thrills - NO!

      I don't often call troll. But in this case - You really are going to have to do better than that.

      A truly pitiful and pathetic attempt, that I doubt even you will try to defend, beyond another 50 words and some name calling probably, to boot.

      There's an art to doing what you are trying to do baby, come on, don't insult the rest of us that on the odd occasion, try to have a bit of fun at others expense.

      'Very Poor', like Vic and Bob would say. 'Very Poor, indeed'. I'm going to check your posting history. Joel, is that you?

    2. Stevie

      Re: Tidal is cheap thrills

      " Mp3s are ear garbage. They're damaged sound files & they can damage your hearing. All these dopes walking around with earbuds today will be walking around with hearing aids in ten years."

      You have data to back that up? mp3 music has been around for more than a decade already so one might expect to already be seeing a spike in hearing aid sales.

      This is most timely news. I had thought that hearing could be damaged only by blasting music really, really loud. I had no idea the eardrum finds these "damaged music files" toxic in and of themselves.

      Of course, I've been smacking my drums with loud music for yonks. I've got tinnitus, a recent addition to my portfolio of interesting diseases, but the ENT tells me that it is probably caused by inflammation in my jaw.

      Maybe I should tell him about my mp3 habit and ask about this convincing "damaged music encoding format = damaged eardrums" theory.

      I wonder if you can undamage mp3 files by playing them through gold earbud wires with magnets wrapped round them?

  52. Stevie


    It would seem that the world has come full circle since the Stereo/Mono Compatibility panel on the back of Tubular Bells warned "This Stereophonic record cannot be played on old tin boxes no matter what they are fitted with. If in possession of such equipment, hand it in at the nearest police station."

    Music-lovers today seem to be absurdly proud of getting music out of a phone with a sound quality below that delivered in 1965 by a three transistor radio knocked up from the parts in my Phillips EE20 kit.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Explanation for the price, if the succeed

    Veblen good. Check the Wikipedia article with that name.

    They should offer a $100/month option and a $1000/month option, one for Gold quality and the other for Platinum. Hey, it works for cables :)

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