Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” (updated)

cross-posted from the mind-Dumpster

So like I’m a subscriber to a mailing list organised by the Creative Commons, named CC-Lessigletter, a mailing list which is usually active during their annual fund drives (the fund drive is a requirement from the United States’ IRS to show that the 501(c) Non-Profit organisation has “popular support”). And the fun thing about this mailing list is how it promotes the Creative Commons cause; not by making ‘sales pitches’ urging ‘participation’ for the ‘public good’ (particularly your ‘monetary participation). No, they definitely do not shill; in stead they tell war stories, positive stories highlighting what the Creative Commons have done.

And this month’s CC-Lessig Newsletter (written by Creative Commons activist Fred Benenson) informed me that Radiohead has released a new album, “In Rainbows,” and is making it available as a download where you name your own price. And yes, you can name your price “zero pence”. Which is what I did since I’m practically broke thus why I’m volunteering at JiFFest this year 2007 for practically pennies.

I’ve downloaded the album, its a 48-megabyte zip file containing 10 drm-free high-quality mp3s. Wikipedia says that the songs are pretty good; I don’t know since I don’t have speakers at my workstation here. And you know what, when JiFFest pays me I think I’ll just buy me a copy of their Limited Edition Box Set. We’ll see…

update 12/20/2007 : And guess what? Radiohead managed to bag over €6 million from their “pay what you want” digital downloads program; apparently about 40% of the downloaders actually paid, and the average among them was about €6 or something. The exact numbers are in dispute, but the undisputable point is that Radiohead made quite a bundle.

But of course obviously it only worked because they were Radiohead. They already have a dedicated worldwide fanbase nurtured for over 12 years, and they were just ending their label contract with EMI. A rather thorough analysis you can read by checking out Wired’s coverage, with David Byrne interviewing vocalist Thom Yorke and talking about the future of music etc.

Mr Byrne also made an IMHO excellent assesment of business options for the contemporary musician in the digital age.

[David Byrne was vocalist of classic 70’s band Talking Heads, who made the song “Radio Head” from which the band got their name. Younger Windows XP users might recognize Mr Byrne’s name from the bonus audio track included with most installs of Windows Media Player 9 entitled “Like Humans Do (Radio Edit)”, from his solo album “Look Into the Eyeball”. Its in the My Music\Sample Music folder, filename music.wma (Buy the Album from Napster! /:)].

Meanwhile, as compensation to Radiohead for my enjoying their excellent, excellent music, I think I’ll buy the plastic-classic Audio CD (due for release worldwide sometime this month) instead of the Box-set; its just too rich for my blood :p

hat tip: boingboing.net

Upon listening to “In Rainbows”, a comment that came out (that I tend to agree with) was that ‘In Rainbows’ is a road-trip album; you could feel yourself travelling cross-country with your best buddies in an old sedan while listening to it. Or you should listen to it while travelling cross-country with your best buddies in an old sedan. Groovy, perhaps, in a word.

I spent my last days at JiFFest 2007 downloading Velvet Revolver’s two albums, Smashing Pumpkins’ return album “Zeitgeist,” three albums from the Kahvi Collective winter releases, Bruce Springsteen’s “Magic,” and an old casette I lost a few years ago: Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation Of…”.

And also “OK Computer”.

Searched The Pirate Bay, downloaded torrents using GetRight nagware edition, bandwidth capped at 80 Kbps (so as to not annoy other local network users). Except for the Kahvi Collective ambient electronics, which I downloaded direct from their site (Legally, I should add).

For those Jakartans still in doubt on wether to go with Fast Net‘s unlimited broadband service or not let me assure you, I was a very happy Fast Net user as was all of my JiFFest co-workers.

(If anyone from Fast Net is listening please, please, pretty please roll out your network at Puri Kembangan Raya…)

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a better explanation for my anti-Sony position

(warning: Not Safe for Work) I’m tired of Sony’s bullshit.So like recently I bought myself a Samsung C140 to replace the dying Nokia 5110 I had been using since I lost my Nokia 2300 (see my mind-Dumpster for more details).

There are a few brand-new Sony Erricson cellphones that are available cheaper in the Indonesian market, and they do tend to have the best price-performance balance at least feature-wise. So naturally quite a few friends have on occations asked me, “so why don’t you buy a Sony?”

I would usually begin my answer with, “Ideological reasons.,” and they’d ask just exactly what I meant with that and I’d blabber on-and-on with technojargon and people would just get lost.

Well this guy IMHO has a better wrap-up of what exactly is wrong with Sony: “Sony hates their customers.”

Its a shame though, how the company that invented the Walkman and the Betamax could become so high-winded and fearful of the open market; how they’re so obsessed with lock-in. One would think that bringing in a foreign CEO like Howard Stringer would cause enough cultural change that the company would at least stop fearing their customers and stop demanding that the customer bend to the will of mighty Sony. Well Dude, you’re not mighty anymore. D’uh.

‘Mighty’ Sony didn’t come this far, becoming a gigantic multinational company, by being this anathema with their customers, did they? I’d imagine Sony’s success in the past to come more from their innovations. Maybe they are dreaming that they can create these must-have electronic toys, and these toys would be so wonderful that no-one would mind if they put in these locks and cages so that once you went with Sony you’ll be stuck with them forever amen.

It doesn’t work that way anymore. It hasn’t worked that way for a long time. How can Sony not realize that vendor lock-in does not work anymore? If you want user loyalty, you gotta begin with building trust. I don’t trust you, Sony, and that’s why I’m not buying you.

Get me to trust you again. Open up. Then maybe, just maybe I’d just consider at least peeking your way again.

Originally posted at the mind-Dumpster

DVD Jon’s DoublePlay and alternative media players. And the accursed DBSL

In reply to Ars Technica’s Infinite Loop regarding DVD Jon’s DoublePlay, a venture to turn bypassing Apple’s Fairplay DRM into a business:

The second issue, making it possible to play songs purchased from the iTunes store on ugly, brown media players would definitely seem to violate the DMCA.

But would it still be considered illegal DRM circumvention if Jon implements it as a way to play legally purchased songs on non-Apple players?

What if as opposed to removing Fairplay from iTunes downloads, Jon implements a way for non-Apple media players to check for digital signatures already in users’ iTunes installation, and use the signatures to play back said media?

In a way, replicating how iPods interact with iTunes without removing in-media DRM and using independently developed non-Apple code

The real question isn’t even whether Apple Legal will “test” this in court, but whether there are any companies that want to be Johansen’s guinea pigs.

If one would suppose that we now live in the Bubble 2.0 era, could one not imagine this question as not being so rhetorical? Perhaps by selling DoublePlay as a high-risk, high-return investment; a ticket to enter the highly lucrative iTunes market? New players would be competing not with iTunes, but with iPods.

Alternative players can either compete with iPods on physical design, on features, or on price. And with all those cheapo MP3 players coming out of Taiwan…

A bit of back story: I encountered the Infinite Loop post via Copyfight. The Infinite Loop article covers a story I first discovered at CNN Money via Google News. Copyfight echoed some good (IMHO) analyses from Infinite Loop, but Infinite Loop’s Dvorakian style silo building language left a tinge of copper on my tounge. I had initially resolved to post this at Copyfight, but I got slammed into the DBSL wall several times, over and over again. After several physical meat-space punches into some nearby concrete walls and calming down (consequence of living in a 3rd world country, I suppose: cheapest way to get online is via a CDMA-1x RTT cellular provider (StarOne) with a Dynamic IP address) I resolved to post the reply at Infinite Loop. I guess I missed where its supposed to say that HTML replies would be properly formatted. Some more wall punching and yelling, and here I am at my FLOSS blog.

I’m still feeling very impotent and slightly angry. I just hope some of my message gets filtered from the noise.