Category Archives: drm

Greg Gillis’ Girl Talk kicks music in the ass

Girl Talk Toronto Spin Gallery
Girl Talk Toronto Spin Gallery 2

At the $5-or-more level, buyers can choose to download the album in [DRM-free] MP3 or FLAC format, the latter being exact copies of the original source files without compression. Also included is a single MP3 file featuring the music without track breaks. Link Moar


mp3 or flac?


flac is for wankers



Audio compression algorithms work by taking out extraneous data (likemicroseconds of silence) from the raw source data file reducing the total file size. Lossless algorithms like FLAC or winzip for that matter, studiously make sure that all of the original meaning down to the last bit can be recovered. MP3 goes further by also taking out, unrecoverably, some extra data from parts of the sound file that the human ear can’t actually hear resulting in substantially further file size reduction. For really low-bitrate mp3 compression (like 128bit or less) the algorithm is starting to take out some parts of the sound that the human ear can tell the difference, just a little bit.

Essentially however, the differences between good high-bit-rate mp3 (like 192bit VBR) and completely lossless compression like FLAC are largely imaginary.

Not that true-blood audiophiles aren’t willing to pay gobs of money all the time for imaginary sound differences all the time.

These people are wankers.

mp3 is also more widely supported by every media player everywhere. FLAC not so much.


whodathunk. damn it’s really hard to decide which track to send. they’re all really really good!!


OMG holy crap ya!

Why has this turned into a music blog all of a sudden? I dunno, but file under Girl Talk Doesn’t need bill C-61 to rock you.

Now go download the crap out of this album
. And pay for it.

Ironic for what’s basically a hyperkinetic schizophrenic cyclone mashup of past factory-produced hits in a nuclear blender of awesome, this album is both 100% the future of music… and a future that is wide OPEN.

Girl Talk is a two-fer another example of alternative (PWYC) business model that will probably be wildly successful. And of course, he’s long been the poster child of fair-use in mashups and sampling.

Photos: Greg Gillis / Girl Talk live at Spin Gallery in 2006. Moar.

How to support real (music) artists with or without “strong” copyright reform

copy left

  1. Don’t buy DRM infected media. This includes CDs, DVDs, protected iTunes files, Microsoft Plays for sure (which by the way, usually doesn’t). DRM is a pain in the ass, you don’t need it and if Canada’s new legislation passes unamended, by accepting DRM you effectively void any privileges of how, when and where you might access your media unless explicitly authorized by the rights holder (effectively you do not own any media if it’s DRM infected).
  2. Do pay for music.
  3. Buy digital music in un-encrypted formats e.g. mp3, flac. With these formats all your the fair-dealings (called fair use in the US) allowances apply including time-shifting, format-shifting, being able to play it in more than one device etc.

  4. Go to shows
  5. Even in the hey-days of the CD, many bands still made all their income from touring and t-shirts rather the pittance of CD royalties. Buy tickets, go to shows and it’s a great way to discover new bands too.

  6. Buy the merch At the show buy something from the merch table. Buy anything: a tshirt, a record etc. Typically the band will be getting 100% of your money when you buy something at a show.
  7. Buy Analog media if you enjoy the pleasure of owning a physical artifact of your favourite albums, buy the vinyl! More fun to play, they sound great and vinyl is making a huge comeback. You can’t digitally encrypt analog media either.
  8. Buy indie not major labels the indies aren’t suing anybody, and for the most part, the music is better anyway

photo by pwac

How the new Canadian Copyright bill fails Canadians

As reported everywhere, Canada’s industry minister introduced a new copyright bill yesterday. And it’s no good. However, assuming we need “reform” at all, there are simple changes that could go a long way to fixing it.

The most important of these would be a qualifier on “anti-circumvention”. In the current bill, any circumvention is automatically an infringement no matter the purpose, no matter how trivial the circumvention. Why anti-circumvention provisions are necessary at all is a dubious proposition to begin with. However, if we must have make this simple change: make circumvention only a crime if done for the purposes of infringement.

The way the bill is written now it gives media owners, and anyone who encrypts anything carte-blanche to over-ride all fair-dealings exceptions build into the copyright act.

Meanwhile the so-called “reductions” in penalties to infringers are fairly ridiculous. The “limited to” $500 penalties are per infringement. Any kid with a thousand song ipod theoretically liable for up to $500,000. Jesse Hirsh has put it well, describing the new legislation as criminalizing a generation of Canadians.

Why do we need “long overdue” copyright reform in Canada at all? Look at what the last 10 years shown us in, for example, the record industry. It’s shown us a steep decline in the revenues to top-40 manufactured hits and warmed over franchise brands pushed through old mainstream channels. Meanwhile the total amount, quality and variation of independent media and music has absolutely skyrocketed.

In the last ten years, the music industry has at last stepped away from it’s failed experiment with technical protection measures. Amazon, Itunes, emusic, zunior (in Canada) and every major label are all now offering DRM-free options. Why are we enshrining protection for these technologies based on 10-year old assumptions of how the industry would evolve?

The good news is that the bill has only reached it’s first reading and there will be time for revisions before the second reading in the fall. It’s important that you make your voice heard. Get behind the facebook group, keep an eye on Micheal Geist, and talk to your MP.

Jim Prentice was once known as a populist. He may find sense yet. There is still time for our country to take off the proverbial knee-pads and step away from the US media industry lobby.

DRM is the lock, this is the lock-in. Early frustrations with AppleTV markII

What you can (and can’t do) with iTunes and Apple TV rentals


“I bought Robocop last night and was excited to watch it when all of the sudden iTunes crashed and poof, no ‘Robocop’ when I reopened iTunes. I guess I could call Apple and get a second chance to download it but at this point I’m too depressed.”

“DRM just makes the whole “rules” thing so tedious.”

“I have a Mac Mini essentially working as an AppleTV. Being locked out of HD content because it is not an actual AppleTV is rather annoying.”

“My head is spinning… back to BitTorrent.”

“why can’t life be simpler?”

Oh it can, it could have been much, much simpler. What the music industry has figured out already: drm-free downloads that Just Work wherever and however we want to use them, I can has it RIGHT NOW from bittorrent, or I can be happy to buy it for a reasonable price straight from an online retailer I know and trust – if such a format was only for sale.

They may think they are, but the movie studios are not even competing with the downloaders yet.

The apple TV mark2, is the best product we’ve seen yet for protected digital video content. After it fails, the studios will finally go the way the music industry went.

Sony drops DRM

Like the Pope himself deciding, after all this time, to try on a rubber, and not days since I suggested it wouldn’t happen until the last blue ray was prised out of their cold dead hands, Sony (Sony!) BGM has announce plans to drop DRM* on their music.

OMG. hallelujah.

And just in time as Canadian policy makers take a breather on considering Canadian copyright policy after we just narrowly avoided enshrining DRM into law. That would be redundant wouldn’t it. Thank you Mr Geist.

*Glossary: Dreaded rights management is a collection of expensive, complicated and ill-conceived technologies originally conceived for the sole purpose of actually preventing users from using the very same media and gadgets and operating systems** that vendors and studios were trying to sell them. NOT-dreaded-rights-management represents the newly emerging industry standard that heralding a return to common sense, and business-model intelligence, and maybe -just maybe- the belated salvation of Big Media

**read as: MS Vista, the OS that DRM built. oops.

Previously on DRM on this blog

And then there was one, Warner Music drops DRM

home taping is killing the music industryFollowing EMI, and Universal, Warner is the next and now second-to-last major label to drop digital protections and offer it’s whole catalog of digital music DRM-free though the Amazon media store. This is a big win for Amazon and one wonders if Itunes will follow.

The lone holdout? Of course, the company that practically invented the term incompatibility, good old Sony. No doubt Sony will smartly abandon DRM sometime just after the last Blueray is prised from their cold dead fingers.

The other elephant in the room: Is this just a desperation play by Warner? While independent music is flourishing in the market like never before, the majors are all getting killed by the internet. So who cares about major labels business models anymore? Well those back catalogs are certainly worth something, and somebody’s got to do the hard work of marketing and promoting top40 “artists” to the slower, possibly bulging, end of the bell curve.

Meanwhile Kudos to Warner Music’s execs on this call. You can clearly tell a hawk from a handsaw. You might just make it yet. [and please slap some sense be talking to your friends across the hall in Warner’s television and film divisions kthx.]

Link: 3 down, 1 to go: Warner Music Group drops DRM

Goodbye DRM, you won’t be missed

The slow death of digital rights” – The Economist

Radioheads success is just the latest signal that DRM is dying a welcomed if unanticipated early demise.

iTunes Plus DRM-free tracks expanding, dropping to 99 cents” – Ars Technica

There’s now no reason to buy any other kind of music. I just thought I’d point this out.

And of course, there’s always been eMusic who’s been selling flat rate drm-free indie music for the better part of a decade now.

Highdef and DRM-free TV and movie distribution is only a matter of time.