Heartbleed! Deezer! Sonos! Deeeeeeeeeezer!
Ok, that’s enough of that.
We’ve got big news this week. We also talk about the news (no, the other news). We also talk about bleeding hearts. And heartless capitalism.
- Eastbound and Down: We’re taking on Knoxville’s digital media entrepreneurs in MediaWorks | Back Porch Group
- Samsung Partners with Deezer for Galaxy Streaming Deal | Billboard
- AT&T + Beats Music
- Underwhelming Start to iTunes Radio Lights Fire Under Apple | Billboard
- Business Matters: How Amazon Could Have ‘Tens of Millions’ of Paid Streaming Music Subscribers Instantly | Billboard
- Download Sales Are Already Down 13.3 Percent In 2014… | Digital Music News
- The Innovator’s Dilemma
- Google Play Music adds built-in Sonos support on Android | The Verge
- Exclusive: this is Android TV | The Verge
- Amazon Fire TV
- Think different – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (direct link to grammar discussion)
- J&R Music World Closing | Billboard (correction: the company was always called J&R Music World)
- Walmart to Cut Its CD Stock By Nearly Half | Billboard
- Colbert Will Host ‘Late Show,’ Playing Himself for a Change – NYTimes.com
- 21 times Stephen Colbert has dropped his act and been himself – Vox
- Heartbleed Bug
- The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now
- With a Web built on free code, Heartbleed bug magnifies online world’s messy nature | CJOnline.com
- Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore | Gadget Lab | WIRED
Today we welcome special guest Tim Kappel of the law firm Lassiter, Tidwell, and Davis to talk intellectual property, equity crowdfunding, the JOBS Act, and just exactly what would happen if song pluggers in the 1920s used the same lingo as today. On the news this week: Facebook buys Oculus VR, Disney buys Maker Studios, Popcorn Time does a disappearing act, and we say goodbye to an old friend.
- From Kickstarter to Facebook: the full Oculus Rift story | The Verge
- Facebook’s Virtual Reality Play: Oculus | On Point with Tom Ashbrook
- If you back a Kickstarter project that sells for $2 billion, do you deserve to get rich? | The Verge (published after we recorded our podcast)
- It’s Official: Disney Acquires Maker Studios For At Least $500M | TechCrunch
- Club Penguin – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Popcorn Time Shuts Down, Then Gets Resurrected by YTS (YIFY) | TorrentFreak
- Download Popcorn Time here (for now): http://popcorn.cdnjd.com/
- Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive Popcorn Time » Lefsetz Letter
- Last.fm Pulls Out of Radio Streaming, Plugs in YouTube | Billboard
- Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Crowdfunding exemption movement – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Tim’s great article about crowdfunding and patronage: “Ex Ante Crowdfunding and the Recording Industry: A Model for the U.S.” by Tim Kappel
HiFi over WiFi. This episode of Conversely we rant about Neil Young’s Pono music player, a string of recent acquisitions by Beats and Spotify, and we wax rhapsodical about SXSW of yesteryears.
And since Mike kind of forgot to say this during the Pono section, here’s one really important reason why Pono doesn’t matter: 192kHz audio is bunk. Well, not technically, since it obviously has some uses, but when it comes to music, there really is no need.
See, there’s this thing in digital signal processing called the Nyquist rate. The Nyquist frequency of 192 kHz audio is half, or 96kHz. In other words, if the sampling rate of a FLAC file played through the Pono is 192 kHz, the audio output will include all frequencies up to 96 kHz.
Well that all sounds well and good, except that you can’t hear it. Human ears typically max out at around 20 kHz – anything above that is essentially a dog whistle, a sound that might be reproducible but you really can’t hear it. And as you get older, your hearing range shrinks, especially for men.
CDs were designed with this in mind. They have a standard 44.1 kHz sample rate at 16 bits per sample. This faithfully reproduces frequencies up to 22.05 kHz, which covers the entire spectrum of human hearing.
In other words, there’s really not much need to sample audio any higher than 44.1 kHz. So why does Pono go up to 192 kHz?
Well some people say that while we can’t hear those higher frequencies, we feel them. I say this is bunk, and most experimental evidence says the same. Others will say that those higher frequencies are inherent in all sound – for example, a violin actually creates some very high overtones that get lost when we record/playback at lower sample rates. I say this is bunk too, as the vast majority of frequencies we associate with music fall within our normal hearing range. Moreover, our brains likely can’t process those sounds, and certainly don’t feel them as part of music.
But here’s an even bigger reason 192 kHz audio is bunk: almost no music whatsoever is recorded at these frequencies. Most digital audio workstations – the ones used in every digital studio in the world – use standard sample rates of 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz. They are capable of higher, but few musicians chose to use those higher sample rates, as it bogs down processing, taxes disk storage, and is generally just unnecessary, especially given that CDs are ubiquitous and they are fixed at 44.1 kHz. Even if Neil manages to license the original bit-for-bit audio masters of your favorite records of all time, they’ll still be 48 kHz.
There’s a case to be made for converting analog to digital at higher sampling rates, but at the end of the day, you’re probably playing back at much lower rates.
Here’s another thing: most audio systems can’t reproduce frequencies higher than standard hearing ranges. They just aren’t designed to do that. The Sennheiser HD 800 headphones, their top of the line cans priced at 1500 bucks, are rated for frequencies between 14 Hz and 44.1 kHz, with topline frequency response at 51 kHz. And while they can impressively reproduce audio from 96 kHz source, this means that even the best headphones in the world can’t reproduce the sound of 192 kHz sample rate audio.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of increasing audio fidelity – MP3s and AACs really don’t sound very good compared to lossless sources – but I can’t make any real case for the level of audio in the Pono. Give me lossless versions at 48 kHz sampling, 24 bit, and throw a decent DAC into the iPhone, and I’ll be a happy man.
- Beats Music buying Topspin Media – latimes.com
- Spotify Acquires the Echo Nest | Billboard
- Beats Music Raises $60 Million in Funding | Billboard
- Rdio Will Drop The Echo Nest For Music Recommendations Post-Spotify Acquisition | TechCrunch
- Hypebot thinks this might be Rdio’s new data source: Musikki
- Neil Young’s Pono Kickstarter Campaign Passes $1.3 Million In One Day – hypebot
- Pono Music – Where Your Soul Rediscovers Music by the PonoMusic Team — Kickstarter
Today we welcome a very special guest, Courtney Fabio of Ringleader Artist Management (yep, that’s Mike’s beautiful wife!). We discuss the lack of heroes in the music business, the depravity of comments on the internet, and the Songwriter Equity Act of 2014.
- Ringleader Artist Management
- Anderson East
- Anderson East’s new album on PledgeMusic
- Digital Music News article on Songwriter Equity Act of 2014 that spawned our conversation today about heroes and villains
- New Legislation Seeks to Modernize Copyright Act to Benefit Songwriters | Billboard (a much better article about the Songwriter Equity Act)
- Brian references our episode with John Cantu and Paul Steele about how music is a business that is really a hobby
- Copyright Act of 1909 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Copyright Act of 1976 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Section 115 Reform Act of 2006 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Musicians Sing for a Cause That’s Their Own – NYTimes.com
- OpenAura Launches, Musicians: Claim & Monetize Your Digital Presence – hypebot
- Brian manages the band Unspoken, a Christian band that happens to have the same name as a death metal band from Norway. Here is their messed up Last.fm profile.
Thanks for listening!
Sixteen billion dollars. That’s what Facebook paid for Whatsapp, and it’s only one of the strange numbers we talk about on this episode of Conversely. Other topics include beavers, underwater basket weaving, the proliferation of cheap manure, electric space vehicles, arachnoid robots, Tony Iommi, bitcoin gambling, mobile fibrous infrastructures, and the onset of angle dangle disease. Clearly delirium has set in.
- Spotify, Pandora and Other Streaming Music Services Will Never Be Profitable, Says Study – hypebot
- Digital Music Subscription Services: 2013
- Spotify seeks to hire U.S. filings expert as bankers eye IPO | Reuters
- Shazam-Branded Music Label On the Way
- Warner Music Group and Shazam Announce Landmark Strategic Alliance – Shazam
- Episode 22, in which we talk about Lyor Cohen’s 300 Records
- Episode 23, in which we talk about Shazam’s success in television
- Why Facebook Thinks WhatsApp is Worth $16B. | MIT Technology Review
- Why Rakuten Bought Viber – DailyFinance
- Things that are cheaper than whatsapp
- Twitter / jherskowitz: 1 WhatsApp. “@AlexPham: Will …
- Back in June of 2012, the CEO of Whatsapp wrote this: Why we don’t sell ads. We’ll see how long it takes Zuck and Co. to tear that one apart.
- Google Fiber Blog (SAVE US, GOOGLE!)
- City of Nashville’s economic development outlook doc, which Google Fiber points to as evidence
- More info on Google Fiber, including pricing
- And here’s that thing that Mike forgot about SXSW
Holy crap. That’s all we really have to say today.
And now for the show notes:
- Why you should be scared of Comcast and Time Warner Cable merging | The Verge
- Comcast says Americans don’t need superfast gigabit internet service | The Verge
- Chattanooga Gig: Your Gig is Here.
- Comcast Corp Summary | OpenSecrets
- Shazam Set To Raise $20 Million At $500 Million Valuation – hypebot
- Shazamable Super Bowl Broadcast Drives Engagement – Shazam
- Shazam Is Driving $300 Million In iTunes And Amazon Sales – Business Insider
- Barnes & Noble Fired Its Entire Nook Hardware Engineering Staff – Business Insider
- Showrooming – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Amazon Flow makes searching for items a breeze with an iPhone – latimes.com
- Apple’s earnings report at Asymco
- Flappy Bird online game: Why Dong Nguyen had to kill his perfect creation.
- The Graph That Changed Me — Launching UX Launchpad — Medium
- These items have happened since we recorded:
- New Jersey slaps MIT Bitcoin hackers with subpoena — and they’re fighting back | VentureBeat | Dev | by Eric Blattberg
- Open letter calls on MIT to do more in Tidbit’s legal battle – The Tech
- Letter to MIT community regarding support of students behind ‘Tidbit’ – MIT News Office (good on you, Rafael Reif and MIT)
Today we welcome Mark Brown from Round Hill Music Nashville. We talk publishing, especially the way technology has changed the publishing world (or hasn’t). And we discuss big data, big money, big butts (we cannot lie), Mr. Big (no not really), and big business (don’t we always?).
- Round Hill Music
- Nashville newcomer Round Hill Music adding songwriters | The Tennessean
- Lyor Cohen Unveils 300 Partnership With Twitter During Midem Keynote | Billboard
- Lyor Cohen On New Twitter Partnership: ‘We’re in the Business of Discovering Artists’ (Q&A) | Billboard
- Stanford’s Entrepreneurship Corner: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, JOYUS – Gut, Data, Gut
- 500 Startups Adds 3 From Music Tech: Rapt.fm, SoundBetter and i3zif – hypebot
- Merch Sales App atVenu Opens to the Public, Raises $1.1M… | Digital Music News
- Former Warner Music exec allegedy embezzled over $1M | New York Post
- SONOS – Face Off – YouTube
- Watch: The Beatles’ historic debut on the Ed Sullivan Show on its 50th anniversary | Consequence of Sound
- The Beatles discography – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Good times indeed. Today we’re joined by special guests John Cantu and Paul Steele of Good Time Inc. We discuss crowdfunding, crazy people, the GRAMMYs, more crazy people, and Prince (see, I told you…. crazy people).
- GRAMMY.com (The Winners)
- Last week’s episode where we predicted winners (fast forward to the lightning round)
- Prince Targets Facebook Users in $22m Live Concert Piracy Lawsuit | TorrentFreak
- Our 2014 predictions episode
- Ellie Holcomb’s Very First Full-Length Record! by Ellie Holcomb — Kickstarter
- Mike’s response to John re: crowdfunding
- The Crowdfunding Site Indiegogo Raises $40 Million – NYTimes.com
- Music Tech Developers: Crowdfund New Features With App.net’s Backer – hypebot
Courts strike down FCC net neutrality regulations, hilarity ensues. Woo! This episode we also tackle the declining teenage demographic on Facebook, the imminent launch of Beats Music, we start a new segment in which Brian tells a story (storytime, boys and girls!), and Shawn drops a great idea on us.
- The wrong words: how the FCC lost net neutrality and could kill the internet | The Verge (if you read only one article on Net Neutrality, make it this one)
- What you need to know about the court decision that just struck down net neutrality (GigaOm)
- Marc Andreessen talks about the pros and cons of net neutrality and the need for innovation (GigaOm)
- A VC: VC Pitches In A Year Or Two (Fred Wilson)
- Who Killed Net Neutrality? : The New Yorker
- Payola – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Government Tech Problems: Blame The People Or The Process? : All Tech Considered : NPR
- Series of tubes – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- iStrategy report on Facebook
- Beats Music Enters Online Streaming Market – NYTimes.com
- Beats Music arrives January 21st, family plan exclusive to AT&T customers | The Verge
- Correction on the Beats Music family plan: 5 accounts across 10 devices for $14.99/month, first 90 days are free
- User Onboarding | A frequently-updated compendium of web app first-run experiences (this is the Netflix onboarding, which is fantastic)
- How To Download Music | Unlimited Music Downloads | Cricket Wireless
- Death Of Nokia’s ‘Comes With Music’ Shows That ‘Free’ With DRM Is A Losing Proposition | Techdirt
- Correction: Beats has $60 million invested in it, according to the NYT article above
- Jimmy Iovine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You see, the thing about using free tools like Google Hangout is that you can’t really complain when it doesn’t work quite as expected. Sadly, throughout this episode, you’ll hear Jonathan echoing, and we really have no explanation for that. We apologize in advance.
- Still Just a Fad? Vinyl Sales Surged 30.4% In 2013… | Digital Music News
- Internet radio service Pandora launches ads in cars – latimes.com
- Apple App Store Topped $10 Billion In Sales In 2013, $1 Billion Just In December – Forbes
- Of bits and big bucks | Asymco
- Twitter / asymco: Media guys have it all wrong. …