Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy Clear Channel



Archive.org is a platinum mine of music, movies, videos, texts, lectures, podcasts and et cetera, available for free download on the internet. Yes, free download. I don't even know what all is there yet because I've been busy downloading classic rock and roll tunes, most of which I have never even heard before.

Everything on Archive.org is in the public domain, meaning that the copyright has expired. Record companies, and book publishers, sell such material all the time. Record companies own the original tapes from the original recording sessions and so can produce high quality CDs. With book publishers, there is expense in printing and sometimes they pay for new translations. But anyone can publish War and Peace or Huckleberry Finn if they want to. With music, anyone who owns a recording can reproduce it after the copyright is expired.

People who download music to Archive.org have the option of putting the songs into a collection. For instance, many of the Beach Boys hits are in one big collection. There is also html code provided whereby you can "embedd" the collection into your web site, as I have tried to do here with someone's collection of instrumental Rockabilly songs.





Somebody downloaded a whole lot of Rockabilly instrumentals. If you click play it should just keep playing them, about 100 songs, although with my computer I have to restart it now and then at the end of a song. The whole collection can be played through at nice player that accompanies each collection. This collection is here. Each song can also be downloaded in mp3, or vogg format for playing through cell phone apps.


Archive.org is a little hard for me to find my way around in, but my searches within it are always turning up little gems, like Brenda Lee singing some of her hits in German,  or the DeZurik Sisters, also sometimes called the Cackle Sisters, who apparently were popular when radio was king. They are or were very talented vocalists and do a lot of yodeling music, yodeling in harmony even, but also throw in strange sound effects using their voices. I guess it was their shtick, their gimmick. Much of their music at Archive.org was recorded during live radio broadcasts and the audiences went wild for them. In the case of older recordings like theirs, or music recorded from 78 rpm records, the person who posts it often has cleaned up the music using new digital technology, and it sounds pretty clean, but still sounds like old music, too.
The DeZurik Sisters

I've also come across a good bit of rock and roll recorded in European countries, original music and covers of American songs, which provides interesting insights into what was going on over there, then.


Archive.org is like one big public library of the internet. It's like Project Gutenberg, or Librivox.org, where literature in the public domain is available for the edification of anyone, anywhere, who has access to the internet. You can bet that some Capitalist somewhere is trying to come up a way of privatizing Archive.org, and that when he does a bill will be written to make it illegal which will be quickly approved in congress, which is filled with Neoliberal politicians who as soon as they can get away with it will privatize public libraries and public schools and school libraries and public parks and swimming pools and the forest and the air and the water and anything else they can find to privatize, but so far, Archive.org is still there, and it's free.



Free Music On The Internet: A short history, short and sordid



There once was Napster, but the record industry and a few rich musicians like Lars Ulrich and other members of the heavy metal band Metallica and rapper Dr Dre put an end to that with copyright law suits. 

Using Napster, or one of a few other "file sharing" sites, people could download songs from other peoples' music collections over the internet. It is still debated whether Napster hurt or helped record sales. Many musicians sided with Napster and there are instances of groups like Radiohead that were propelled to stardom by Napster.

But even Napster resembled Top 40 radio in some ways, because most people had in their collections songs that had been Top 40 hits. Although you'd find exceptions here and there, it was mainly a way to get music you liked but had never bought.


As for Top 40 radio, anyone who turns on a car radio knows that the Clear Channel corporation has ruined listening to music on the radio. Clear Channel, so says its web site, operates 850 stations in 40 countries. It owns radio stations coast to coast now, often several in one listening area, and those stations play a limited list of songs they have paid copyright fees on. You hear the same few songs day after day, coast to coast.

That might be OK for someone who listens to radio for a few minutes on the way to work, but for someone like me it means that radio is a vast wasteland of sameness, of torturous, mind-numbing repetition, and I truly believe the people who own Clear Channel should be lined up and shot, after having been convicted in a fair trial in a court of law of a crime that carries the death penalty, of course, and assuming the trial takes place in a jurisdiction that uses the firing squad as a means of execution. (Note to Clear Channel: This is copyrighted material. Use even excerpts, even in a memo to your law firm, and I will have you in court on two minutes.)


Besides Clear Channel, there is National Public Radio, through which some British Broadcasting Corporation news programming is fed, both of which are OK if you don't pay too close attention, and there is religious radio, most of which consists of two big networks. And once in a great while you come across a little independent, locally owned station, about which I will be writing soon, such as WNDN in Farmington, NM, "The all Indian blow torch of the Four Corners.






.

No comments:

Post a Comment