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February 2000
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Secure Music Is An Oxymoron
Article by Steven R. Rochlin
Click here to e-mail reviewer

 

  Virtually everyone knows by now that AOL and Time Warner have joined forces. We are on the verge of seeing a massive release of popular music delivered through internet. Of course it will also be delivered within a "secured environment" to protect the copyright holder (the Big record label more than the artist). i find this whole scenario humorous to say the least. Why buy the cow if the milk is free?

First we have the currently limited bandwidth of the internet, combined with the popularity of MP3, so that this new delivery system will probably also rely on a compression scheme as that of MP3. Therefore the sound quality of the music will not equal that of 16-bit/44.1 kHz CD standard. While this might not mean a thing to the general public, the true music lover looking for higher quality will be left out in the cold. While this is a grave situation, it pales in comparison to what i am about to share with you.

What if virtually anyone could get their favorite music on CD for free? What if i told you it would be at an acceptable sound quality level to the general public? What if i told you this system is already available and being used by many of my friends? Are you with me? Would you like to not pay for "this week's popular band hit song" that turns into next months one hit wonder... and next years forgotten band? What if i told you that most of you already have the system to do this. So what do you need?

Simply use a computer that is equipped with a CD-Recordable drive and their DSS satellite dish (though Cable TV is ok too). Virtually All CD-Recordable discs come with software to make a standard music CD playing on home, car, and portable CD players. As everyone knows, DSS offers many channel of commercial free music channels ranging from classical and jazz music to 70s/80s/90s and much more. With a simple output from your DSS dish to your computer you are now free to record all the music you can store. What? You want the most popular, Big Cash Cow bands all the Big Labels offer? Than look no farther than MTV and VH1 and record away! In fact sometimes the video is available before you can buy the CD in stores and therefore you can have the popular song on CD before all your friends do!

This is not rocket science. This is a simply hook up and record situation. You pay for the USSB, Dish Network and/or Cable TV and therefore you can record the signal they send. If recording it on VHS/Beta tape is legal, so is recording it on your computer's hard drive. In fact there are now quite a few "Digital VCRs" that record the programs you desire on to a hard drive (and one that will record on a state-of-the-art DVD-Recordable unit)! So if you follow my thinking here, soon we will also be able to make our own DVDs! But let us not get too far ahead of ourselves shall we.

Of course the major labels are one day going to decide upon some form of "secure" digital download. This "secure" download will quickly be decrypted and made insecure just as they did with the recent Microsoft version. As many of us know, the reason DVD-Audio was delayed was due to the ability to break the code used for DVD-Video discs. i content that no matter when the industry tried, there will be those who will find a way to break the code. Albeit through hardware or through software technics. 

Although the RIAA might read this article and claim copyright law violation, what is the difference between recording TV legally on a VHS tape or on a CD-Rom? i have the legal right to record the media in my home for personal use. Period. So i say again, why buy the cow if the milk is free. Once the public knows how easy it is to do the above, paying for the song over the internet will only be done because you do not want to wait for MTV, VH1 or whomever to broadcast the song you want to record. Of course all the really popular songs are on those music channels in heavy rotation so you will not need to wait very long.

Of course my DSS dish has been offering the Blondie concert for free all month. The CD is not available so... Or how about Much Music's rebroadcast of Woodstock? Or the Eurhythmics recent "Live by Request" live TV concert? Some of this music is simply not available on CD and therefore i can have the music and performance i desire. If they broadcast, i can record it. The Grammy Awards will have a few musical artists performing during their show. Maybe i shall record that too. Of course this is all for personal use, as commercial use is illegal.

So there you have it my friends. You can get just as good quality for free and you will probably be getting from these pay-to-download internet schemes. Is the sound quality equal to CD? No. While it is not CD quality, it is equal to that which the public is raving about (MP3 @ 128 k/Bits). Dare i tell you Dolby Digital is also broadcast and available from theses pizza-sized home satellite dishes?

To quote the technical ranting from the DirectTV Web site "Consider this comparison: Your modem can transmit information at up to 56 thousand bits per second. At DIRECTV, each of our transponders on the DIRECTV 1-R, DBS-2 and DBS-3 satellites can send about 30 million bits of information per second to a DIRECTV System, or more than 500 times what a normal PC modem can handle. This data transmission rate enables DIRECTV to retransmit detailed moving digital video signals to subscribers. DIRECTV and all DIRECTV System receivers employ MPEG-2 technology, the emerging world standard for digital broadcasts." So normal MTV-type music should not be a problem and come through without constrain unlike the long downloading time for uncompressed music via the internet. Maybe not "perfect sound forever", but how long do you really need to hear this weeks fave anyway? Of course on the good side, the 20+ channels of music give you a vast amount of glorious new music to discover! Now get out there and buy a cake of 50 CD-Recordable discs and...

Enjoy the music (Rage Against the Machine on Much Music's Woodstock review right now),

Steven R. Rochlin

"Yeah people come up
Yeah, we better turn tha bass up on this one
Check it

...Now face tha funk now blastin' out ya speaker, on tha one Maya, Mexica
That vulture came ta try and steal ya name
But now you got a gun, yeah this is for the people of the sun

It's comin' back around again!
This is for the people of the sun!
It's comin' back around again!..."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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