The Digital Age - The Longtail, Audiobooks, Music, and those recordings left behind..

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Cleverboy, Nov 6, 2007.

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Future Proof: Digital distribution and the longtail

  1. Collections of original recordings will forever continue to vanish like stars in the sky...

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  2. Public digital archives will step in after copyrights expire (Archive.org)

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  3. Before the last content is distributed physically, there will come a watershed moment.

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  4. Work that dies deservers to remain a memory, what survives will deserve to.

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  5. The citizens/government will figure it out.

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  1. Cleverboy macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Location:
    Pocket Universe, nth Dimensional Complex Manifold
    #1
    It's interesting. 2-3 years ago, I found myself completing The Fountainhead, but with a challenging load of work before me, felt I needed an audiobook to get through Atlas Shrugged. No matter where I looked, I couldn't find an unabridged version of it. I remembered back to a sour-faced friend who recollected an abridgement he absolutelly detested, and forged on. I eventually found an unabridged recording... the only one at the time.

    It was in my local library, and only available on cassette tape. It was read by Kate Reading, an award winning narrator with an excellent voice and storytelling technique. Recently, in searching again, I found another version released by Blackstone audio in February of this year, narrated by Christopher Hurt. Before that however, there was a surprisingly gaping chasm. It even took significant effort through my local library network to obtain the cassette series. --And when I did... I set to work digitizing it.

    56 hours of flipping cassettes over, knowing I didn't really want to carry around and micro-manage the squadron of tapes. Many gigabytes of audio later, I had my compilation. It seems unique though. As a reading, it appears lost to time... the cassettes themselves falling apart, and the sound from each side of the tape, toward the end, beginning to interfere with one another. Not enough to render it unlistenable, but enough to make me thankful it only began to occur with very few tapes to go.

    I found myself in a similar position while listening to the end of the movie "Some Kind of Wonderful", staring Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson and Lea Thompson. There was a nice cover of "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You", recorded by a band called Lick the Tins. I loved it, but when I went onto iTunes, it was "expectedly" a non-starter. Amazon had the full-soundtrack album available, but I didn't want the whole album. --So, I immediately popped my DVD in my computer, and pulled the audio of the song from it using Audacity. It felt like a fitting version too... I like Masterson and Stoltz talk over the beginning, as the song faded up into full volume.

    Anyone else have any stories of bending over backwards to acquire music/audiobooks that seems a shame aren't available on iTunes or Audible.com?

    Sometimes I wonder how many of these recordings are tied up in red-tape, those decaying publishing rights being far too convoluted to translate to newer distribution channels, and questions regarding the "long-tail" of the digital era, being far too nebulous to risk the legal investment of tracking down the rights holders and establishing new agreements. With artists like Eminem still arguing that his publishing company does not have digital distribution rights, and suing Apple for selling his work... it seems a question as to whether a whole eras of recordings will be forever trapped in formats users will need to translate themselves... or whether someday this will all get "corrected", before some recordings vanish for good. More than a few people are waiting for the Beatles to be remastered and rereleased digitally. Until then, a whole generation is being presented with a march of the cover bands.

    I'm reminded often of episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation. Picard would be in his study, and he'd ask the computer to play some esoteric recording of a classical music piece. For those sharing files across bit torrent, and the like, and others getting together for "meetups", etc... doesn't it seem likely that many recordings, even moved to the digital landscape... without legitimate marketplace availability... will simply die one by one as private digital collections demagnetize or are destroyed over the years?

    ~ CB
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #2
    vinyl is the only durable format; all others wear out. we also have to consider whether or not there are any machines around to play our media -- some early multi-track digital tapes are useless because there are no machines to play them. heck, how many working wax cylinder players are there?

    so i guess works in digital format will persist so long as 1) people remember to periodically copy them, and 2) some widespread event (EMP blast? magnetic poles switching?) doesn't simultaneously wipe out all our data.
     
  3. Cleverboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Location:
    Pocket Universe, nth Dimensional Complex Manifold
    #3
    Yeah... see... it's going to be an ELE no doubt that causes most people on the planet to realize that the "Internet" is really just a bunch of computers sitting in various locations around the world. Personally, I keep forgetting that "digital" is not necessarily "immortal". "Backing up" to a hard drive a la TimeMachnie (as cheap as they've become), seems far more exposed to hazard than to CD technology. CDs aren't magnetically affected either, and can last anywhere from 50-200 years. At least there's that.

    ~ CB
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    i think that estimate is overly-optimistic.

    some interesting stuff here about the sound format standards for the library of congress.
     
  5. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #5
    Some record companies archive on a rolling programme, to optical storage in hi-res formats, they replace the storage discs every 5-10 years (depending on the company).

    However Zim's right, if an ELE hit and the aliens visit in couple of thousand years, they might still be able to play vinyl if it's stored properly, everything else is toast.

    Long term storage is 100 years +, after that it's archeology.
     

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