Digital Music... does it make you a little sad?

Discussion in 'Community' started by arn, May 1, 2003.

  1. arn macrumors god

    arn

    Staff Member

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    #1
    You know...

    I've jumped on board with the whole digital hub scene... I've ripped most of my CD's, gotten a digital camera, dv cam...

    overall, very happy with it.

    iTunes itself, I find very useful and friendly.

    But... in some ways I miss listening to an album. There is a value in the whole that isn't quite the same when you seperate out the songs. Also -- and this is something that I thought when CD's became big -- it's too easy to skip songs before giving them a chance.

    anyhow...

    just a few thoughts.

    arn
     
  2. vniow macrumors G4

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    #2
    Intresting topic..

    I feel that there are some albums that lose their whole coherence when you split them up, some artists go through a lot of work making sure the transitions between them are perfect and each song follows the emotion of the one before it but other albums are easier to split up into actual songs.

    I think with digital music we're going to see a new kind of album, one that can be split up into seperate songs with no loss of soul to the entire album so to speak, but it can also be listened to in its entirety from beginning to end and you can get a different feeling about it, not any better than seperate songs, just a different aspect of the music.

    I believe the album as we know it is going through a transformation to adapt to the needs of the digital age, only time will tell though...
     
  3. shadowfax macrumors 603

    shadowfax

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    #3
    Odd... i just had this argument with my dad (who has hundreds upon hundreds of CDs and still just uses his car CD player and 5 CD changer, in light of the fact that i am getting an iPod.

    I have to say, it makes it much easier for you to get lazy to just get lazy and only listen to the stuff you most want to, but my style with music players is and has been since before iTunes to get an entire album from any artist i want to listen to before i'll even listen to one of the songs on it. when i cue up iTunes, i select 1-2 albums by a single artist, and begin playing it through. i hate playlists. the only one i use is the "most played"--i don't actually listen to it through, i just use it to see my favs. listening by album is a great experience. i don't miss it. i still use it :)
     
  4. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #4
    I tend to listen to what I want some of the time and other parts of the time I listen to everything in order. I don't think the digital music age has taken anything from me. When I rip a disc I do the whole thing and not just the songs I like. The only thing it has taken is that warm full sound that LPs had. I hope that comes back with DVD-Audio and SACD. CDs are too tinny sounding.
     
  5. shadowfax macrumors 603

    shadowfax

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    #5
    lol. how can you stand mp3's? i'd have muuuurdered myself by now if i could tell the difference between LP and CD!
     
  6. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #6
    I never play MP3s on anything but my computer and in my car. Neither place has super quality speaker and the background noise of the car helps too. Also I rip all my MP3s at 320Kb/s.
     
  7. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #7
    AAC helps this problem, I'm very impressed with the quality even at 128, as an audio pro its been a real problem over the years, CD's sound crap to me, even through really good systems, I'm constantly having to compromise the quality of my work to hit a target format that has more to do with economics than musical quality:mad:

    SACD helps, as does DVD-a, but you still need the bit rate and the sample rate wayyyyy up there to get the quality up to 30ips 0.5" analog tape standards. (and yes I do know the sound comes from the imperfections in the system, I LIKE imperfection.... except in women)

    Still, having 3 days of music available on the iPod does have its good points:D
     
  8. iGav macrumors G3

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    #8
    The one thing that I will miss with the whole digital thing is the lack of a artwork and a product to hold...

    Some bands go to great lengths for the artwork design of albums (less so for singles).... To the extent of using special papers, special colours, varnish inks, die-cuts, etc etc... you end up with a product that feels worty of the attention that went into the creation of the album. And to some extent, the artwork also provides a visual image for the sound of the album... R.E.M.'s 'New Adventures In Hi-Fi' is one example... Thurston Moores 'Root' album is another....

    There's something cool about holding and exploring the artwork of a album... CD's were well on the way to killing this.... after the 'Big Art' of Vinyl....

    Downloading artwork and printing it from your Epson just isn't going to be the same... :(
     
  9. iWantAMac macrumors 6502

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  10. pivo6 macrumors 68000

    pivo6

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    #10
    You know, I haven't given it much thought but I do tend to just skip the songs i don't like, and listen to the ones that I do like. It does ruin the whole flow of what the artist was trying to do on his/her album. I don't think that you could listen to John Coltrane's A Love Supreme in just pieces. That whole album (3 songs) flows together.

    I am a bit nostalgic about the LP. I miss looming at the artwork, opening the package and hoping that there will be 18 minutes of music on a side, instead of 14. There's some great music from the past that will never make it to CD and hat's a shame. I have a jazz CD from Chalie Haden & Quartet West where on a couple of tracks they play there version of the song, then Charlie adds the original from vinyl, with vocal to the end. It sounds great to hear the bands interpretation of a song, then here someone like Billie Holiday sing here version right after.
     
  11. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #11
    The lack of feeling like you've bought something is a bad thing with digital music, I always make a point of reading the inlay cards on CDs just for the lyrics, production credits or other bits of info.

    That spured my interest in music further when I first heard about protools from reading cover notes on countless albums and I'm grateful for that everytime I turn on my mac. In the LE version, I finally had something I can work with audio in anyway i want instead of muddling audio togther with some bloated multi-windowed interface on some midi sequencer.

    The thing that bugs the hell out of me about digital audio is the damn gaps and skipping being problem!

    You rip a CD, could be dark side of the moon by pink floyd or Movement In Still Life By BT, anything that's mixed, it doesn't matter, the thing that matters is that when you listen to the CD, the tracks blend together perfectly. Convert them to mp3s and you've got clicks between the tracks.

    large mp3s, like live sets, especially VBR quality are awkward to skip through, I get audio drop out and the system can become very inresponsive when skipping a VBR file that's say, 70 minutes long for instance. There's also a larger than average gap after playing long files in iTunes and this has been mentioned as a serious annoyance for iPOD user who listen to a lot of long DJ sets or live concert recordings.

    Any compression is going introduce the gaps, what would work is a hybrid tag format :

    You create 1 long AAC or mp3 file from the entire CD, it only plays back in iTunes or on an iPod and instead of having say, 10 seperate files, you have 1 file with the breakpoints between the tracks marked out in the tags aswell as the seperate tracknames and lengths. They would show up as seperate files but they'd allow skipping between tracks without gaps aswell as fast forwarding through each track individually, much like a CD player works.

    I'd actually like to see apple create a hyrbid tag format and link it with the SHN lossless audio compression format, it would make for perfect audio reproduction aswell as save a little space over uncompressed audio.

    It's up to apple to solve the issues with long audio files, it's certainly not a problem if it's uncompressed AIFF.
     
  12. evoluzione macrumors 68010

    evoluzione

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    #12
    of course, i also feel a tad sorry for the younger generation that didn't grow up with vinyl. forntunately vinyl is making a comeback and has been for a few years now, and will continue too. i see it growing more and more, and cds becoming less popular now we have this online store going. vinyl rules. the artwork, the romance even. one band, Lemon Jelly, has made their cd covers look like LPs in the way the case is made etc, really slick.

    i for one will probably use the music store to buy cds i already have but are scratched up (if my disc doctor thing doesn't work on them). i do like to have something physical to look at, like the cd. having said that, most of the time if i listen to music it's from my 'puter. i guess i'll be buying a mix of LPs CDs and AACs.
     
  13. cc bcc macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I'm worried about the effect of charging on a per song basis. I have some cd's that only have like 6 songs, but very lengthy songs, Marillion for example. I also have cd's with lots of songs, 20 or more. How will these songs be charged? How will musicians react? Will they make shorter songs?

    Wouldn't it be better to charge per minute? Will musicians make longer songs then?

    I have no answer.

    Another thing not related to this is, would it be good if we could listen to any song in the store for up to four times for free, and if you play it the fifth time, you'll have to pay.
     
  14. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #14
    I'm worried about the effect of charging on a per song basis. I have some cd's that only have like 6 songs, but very lengthy songs, Marillion for example. I also have cd's with lots of songs, 20 or more. How will these songs be charged? How will musicians react? Will they make shorter songs?

    Wouldn't it be better to charge per minute? Will musicians make longer songs then?

    I have no answer.


    I think apple must stick to a 'song is a song' approach. Why would someone have to pay more than some kid buying a cheesy 2 minute pop punk tune from busted or good charlote because they want to listen to a NIN tune or something ?

    I actually object to paying more than £12 for any CD with less than 45 minutes of audio, regardless of what style of music it is.

    I bought the first linkin park album for £10, it seemed to be worth that amount but no more because it only had 38 minutes of music on it and a lot of the tunes were a total let down because there were no album length versions of the tracks, this alone proved to me that they're a pop act through and through but the songs (both lyrically and technically) on Hybrid Theory are generally very good so I didn't mind that much.

    (don't laugh, they sounded ok for a Nu Metal band until I heard their boring, formulaeic new material).

    Dirty Vegas on the otherhand had a definate difference between the album and single versions of their tunes, The album had over an hour of music on it, extended versions of the singles that had been released at the time and for £12 it was more than worth it.

    Once the service is launched in europe, if apple don't do their usually USA-centric pricefixing BS, we should be paying 60p a track in the UK. That means a typical album with say, 12 tracks is going to be just over £7. That's pretty good concidering it would be about £12 to buy the CD from most shops, maybe even £14 or so if the artist wasn't very mainstream.

    It all sort of balances out.

    The one thing I'm surprised no-one's mentioned yet, is the idea of using the purchased AAC files as collateral against purchasing the full CD directly from the label through the same means.

    Going back to the 12 track album idea, If I'd spent £7 on the AAC files for it and the CD Album retails for £13, why not be able to buy the CD Album for £7 including postage ?

    It would appeal a lot of people to use the AACs as a permanent digital version of the music for listening to on their mac, pc or iPOD but still have the phsyical album, cover art and all. It's as much a Psychological thing, People like to think they're getting something out of spending money, the music is the obvious thing you're getting but that's no more than bits, bytes and varying degrees of airpressure, to actually have the original CD in you're hand makes you feel like you've really bought something and that you're supporting the artist.

    Also it would be good for both the artists and record companies in several ways.

    1. They could judge which single should be released off an album next by the number of downloads, if they've got 100,000 people buying tracks 6 off an album and it's not been released as a single yet, it's a safe bet that releasing it as a single would not only make more people buy it through the iTunes store but it would do well in normal CD sales too.

    2. They get 2 for 1 sales on an album when you get all the tracks as AAC and buy the CD album. That's not only good for the labels figures, it's good for the artists royalties.

    3. Without the manipulation of radio and MTV on sales figures, NEW music should start pushing the pop crap aside and giving some real artists a chance, I can't see it being a huge change but if artists that wouldn't normally break out of the top 40 are now in the top 20, it's good for everyone.

    I'm only applying this to commercial music like pop, rock, rap etc...

    underground or obscure music is still going to stay where it is but more people should be exposed to more original forms of music as more of the independent labels sign up for it. If they can keep the cheesy perfecto stuff to a minimum and get some of the more cutting edge indie labels such as Warp, Rephlex, Talkin' loud, Ninja Tune, JBO etc... onboard, people who's current taste is dictated by the media because that's the only exposure to new music they have are going to shocked at the variety of really original stuff that's out there.
     
  15. zed macrumors 6502

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    Atlanta, GA
    #15
    Arn's got a point there....

    It is sort of a bummer in some sense that we are now able to pick and choose which songs off of which albums we want. I still think though that if the band is really good and manages to generate a strong fan base, that these people will still fork out for the entire album (and more than likely will still by the actual CD)

    Some CD's are done with such a good presentation (music, artwork, song flow, etc.) that you do not get the full experience by purchasing the digital files. (Radiohead's Kid A, for example). Or take, for instance, NIN's Downward Spiral. It is an album that was written, arranged, and mixed to be listened to from beginning to end. Arn is right.... with the most people just purchasing "closer" you will never hear the thought and emotion that went into creating a work of art that flows from beginning to end. Its kinda like looking at a piece of fine art with a telescope, while standing only 10 feet away.
     
  16. thrice macrumors newbie

    thrice

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    #16
    Thanks for the thought provoking question arn!!

    I'm currently a graduate TA at a university and I assist a prof. in his History of Rock class. I might have to bring up this topic with my students.

    Do I miss LP's: Yes, I too love the artwork and the packaging. With great artists/bands you really feel like you've purchased something special, somebody's creative child if you will.

    CD's were great due to increased durability (unlike LP's) and the booklet. It's a little easier to handle. Yes the artwork is smaller and that isn't great, but sometimes you get a lot more info in the bookelt than on an LP cover.

    Digital music: Well I have mixed emotions about this. Of course many of us that bemoan the decline of a physical "product" grew up in a time where that was all you had. I can't help but liken this to my younger brother and email/IM. he talks with his friends almost exclusively with these methods whereas I, tend to call my friends more often. I think that growing up during times where technology (either in music production/delivery or communication) differed contributes a lot to our perceptions of lose when formats...etc. change. Those people who started collecting music with Napster have a decidely different point of view regarding the format/quality/delivery of music.

    The ALBUM vs. the CD: A lot of my students differentiate between and ALBUM (a collection of songs artfully crafted and arranged in some type of logical order with the intent to create a larger work/experience) and a CD (a collection of songs that doesn't really have any noticable cohesion). I do too. While the delivery method for music will affect the end product, I think there will still be artists/bands who create ALBUMS. However, that's not to say that the basic elements of the album will stay the same.
     
  17. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #17
    Actually the $.99 a song is standard but the $10/album is the minimum price. Here's how they deal with long songs. On really long songs they will not let you buy the individual song you have to purchase the whole album. In some situations as with Pink Floyd Albums the album costs more then $10. Most of the Pink Floyd albums are $11.99 but albums like Dark Side of the Moon are $14.99. If you look at the Dark Side of the Moon ablum you will see there are two 7 minute plus songs that you can not buy it says album only.
     
  18. szark macrumors 68030

    szark

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    #18
    Well I still listen to a lot of albums, from beginning to end, even though they are ripped into MP3 form. I also make custom playlists, but I used to do the same thing before as a "mix tape." I don't really see much difference in the way I'm listening to music simply because it's digital.
     
  19. Warren macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2003
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    Chicagoland
    #19
    I think encoding my CD collection will help with forgetting about certain albums or songs. with 150+ cds some get forgotten (sitting at the bottom of a tower or buried in a booklet). But on the ipod or in itunes you can browse thru or search the entire collection with just a few scrolls or clicks.
    Equal oppurtunity access.
     

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