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D_I_G_I_T_A_L  M_U_S_I_C

This hip web site with a digital music focus was founded by Hotwired staffers Adam Powell and Jeff Burchell together with a group of Bay Area music writers and producers.

A nice collection of well-written articles and FAQs addresses many of the technical issues involved in creating and posting your own MP3s. A better destination than many higher profile tech and news sites if you want to know what makes the MP3 format tick.

Get Paid to MP3

It was only a matter of time before someone came up with this one...
Following in the footsteps of companies like and, Los Angeles-based says it will pay surfers whenever they listen to music on their computers. You ready for the unlimited income earning opportunity of a lifetime, kid?

read article.


Opponents of Napster seem to always eventually gravitate to this site, run by the Tabloids, an Oakland based rock band. Angry about piracy on Napster, the group attempts to rebut the arguments of those who think file sharing is justified and provides links to instructions on how to make Napster bombs.

Contrary to what the folks at this site will have you believe, a trojan horse is a malicious program intended to give another user control of your system or do something equally diabolical. A napster bomb (for now) is a silly little file that makes annoying noises.

You shouldn't confuse the two.

Ogg Vorbis Development Continues

The makers of open source audio format Ogg Vorbis vow to keep going, despite the untimely death of sponsor iCast.

With the future uncertain for MP3, Ogg Vorbis is seen as the most likely successor to the popular file format.

read article


Web-based search tool that allows users to search both Napster and Gnutella. Searches won't run as quickly as they would using the real thing, but who's complaining?

A quick fix if you've been banned or your network administrator frowns on Napster.
You'll be able to search newsgroups for MP3s as well, often a productive way of locating hard to find tunes.

Napster for Video?

It's something people have been talking about for some time. Something the Movie Industry has been obsessing over for the last five years. And something that may just have arrived... The ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon video card is capable of capturing near DVD quality video reports indie musician/napster chronicles site

Of course, it may be a little early to start talking convergence. Video files take up a huge amount of space, and video transfers take way too long - even using a high speed connection. Not to mention the fact that the inevitable legal battle with Hollywood is likely to make the Napster case look like Little Johnny vs. Greater Podunk City Council.

If you spend any time at all surfing digital music sites it won't be long before you run into a site like this one. Most sites like this are fan run, or perhaps more correctly anti-fan run, and operate under a simple guiding philosophy that can be summed up in exactly two words: Metallica sucks.

The heavy metal band's decision this summer to pursue legal action against Napster has had serious (and perhaps unexpected) consequences which have been watched closely by many artists and performers unsure what to do about Napster. Band drummer Lars Ulrich, in particular, has been singled out by anti-fans, for statements he has made in the press and the public role he has played in the controversy.

You'll find plenty of anti-fans here as well as all sorts of ways to express your rage, most of which are legal.

The Official Unofficial Gnutella Site

Programmer Gene Kan's unofficial Gnutella site has rapidly become a center of activity surrounding the open-source application.

An excellent stop to pick up some of the basics on installing and using Gnutella, discuss performance issues on the site's message boards and otherwise get a feel for a program that might be the next file-sharing app to hit the cover of Time Magazine.
One ominous note for entertainment industry lawyers plotting the extinction of file sharing on the Internet:

In the 24 hour period following the news that US District Court Judge Marilyn Patel had ordered Napster shut down, traffic at this site spiked, with sever logs recording nearly a million visitors.

Getting to the source of Open Source - Sourceforge

community of programmers dedicated to the open source movement with close emotional ties to geek news site Slashdot. In the news quite a bit over the last year. Gnutella got its start here, FreeNet lives here as well.

A good place to learn the basics about Linux and other goings on the progressive side of things on the Net.

If you're curious about the philosophical underpinnings of the open source movement take a look at Eric Raymond's The Cathedral and the Bazaar, one of the most cogent examinations of the open source phenomenon we've come across yet. O'Reilly has published Cathedral (along with a number of other titles by Raymond) but for now you can read it online for free.

Ich bin ein MP3
Fresh off its peace accord with Universal, is reminding people that it too has a network of international web sites, albiet on a slightly smaller scale than established e-commerce giants like Yahoo. With an email campaign and a blizzard of press releases the company is encouraging people to stop on by. The network includes a German language version of the site (Who could possibly resist A Spanish version (Alterinva y Hip Hop y Rap). And a french version - downloadez vous le MP3!

Tellingly, however the ads on all versions of the site are still in english, as are instructions for doing things like downloading MP3 players and configuring them.You have to wonder what the average French person will make of instructions like "For the most precise functionality, you will need a separate ripper and encoder."

Most of us find this stuff hard enough to understand already.

Survey says its time for a survey - Webnoize

Boston-based research group specializing in detailed statistical analysis of trends in digital music and entertainment. Responsible for several of the reports supporting Napster's argument that file-sharing is helping (not hurting) the recording industry.

Also hosts the annual Webnoize conference in Los Angeles, attended by a growing number of movers and shakers in the digital entertainment biz as well as reps from the industry establishment. This year attendees were treated to a fireside chat with Shawn Fanning and Bertelsmann Prez Thomas Middlehoff along with a blitzkrieg of new product demos and pitches by aspiring players.

Hackers in the middle - Nullsoft

Few companies have played as important a role in digital music as this Arizona based gang, led by programmer Justin Frankel. The group behind the hugely successful WinAmp MP3 player is also credited with coming up with several innovations you'll recognize if you follow digital music at all closely - the revolutionary Shoutcast plug-in for WinAmp, as well as the source code for the original Gnutella.

In 1999 America Online bought the company, as part of a long-standing strategy to dominate content on the Net that eventfully culminated in the AOL-Time Warner deal.

There is good reason to think AOL regrets the decision already.

The Free Music Portal -

This San Diego based site drew fairly heavy traffic in the summer of 1999, comprised mostly of visitors interested in finding information on file-sharing applications.

A fairly easy to understand collection of FAQs and How-to's addresses technical issues involved in setting up and using file sharing applications like gnutella and napster. Zeropaid can be a good source of info, but sometimes falls a little short of the mark.

The Secure Digital Music Initiative

As a matter of course, Napster's success has accelerated the recording industry's effort to protect copyrighted material using a variety of techniques including watermarking, encryption and other strategies - all of which are encompassed by the industry's high profile Secure Digital Music Initiative. (SDMI)

While this desire to protect content is perfectly understandable from the point of view of a copyright holder, from a technical perspective it is unlikely that such protection will provide anything more than a temporary fix for the problem.

Because even the most foolproof encryption must eventually be unlocked for an audio file to be played on a computer, there will always be a weak link in the equation, a point where a clever hacker can exploit the specific weaknesses of any given security system.

Given the level of emotion surrounding Napster, it is likely that a significant number of people will devote much of their spare time to cracking whatever encryption the industry devises. Rather than providing the permanent fix the the recording industry hopes for, it is much more likely that the next few years will see a continuing game of cat and mouse between hackers and the recording industry.

The industry will continue to spend untold amounts of money developing secure formats. Hackers will continue to spend untold amounts of time breaking them. It is unlikely that this scenario will directly benefit either music fans or the recording industry.

The Campaign for Audio Visual Freedom of Expression

Many people are concerned that the recording industry's battle with digital music companies like and Napster will have a lasting effect on the Net and on our rights in future, particularly the right to privacy. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the nonprofit digital rights advocacy group made famous by well known digerati like John Perry Barlow and Esther Dyson is one of several major rallying points for the opposition.

If you want to get involved, The Campaign For Audio visual free expression,
the group's official response to challenge posed by MP3, is one place to pick up some information and express your support. Be advised, however, that the focus here is less on file-sharing and MP3 than it is on related issues like DVD encryption and the Secure Digital Music Initiative.

Michael's Minute
http://www.mp3 .com/news/minutesArchive.html

Long before Shawn Fanning came along and celebrities like Courtney Love and Chuck D decided to speak their minds about the digital music scene, CEO Michael Robertson was one of the most visible and outspoken voices in the digital music scene. Not one to be shy about expressing his opinions, Robertson has created both considerable publicity for his company and plenty of enemies in the recording industry with his blunt (attackers call it self-serving) criticism.

If you're serious about following trends in digital music, you'll want to keep an eye peeled for new postings on this area of the site. Older columns Robertson wrote are archived in full back to 1998, making this a good stop if you want to explore the roots of the current crisis. http://www.mp3 .com/news/minutesArchive.html - Daily Digest

If your day revolves around the latest digital music lawsuit news and the ups and downs of sites like Napster and Gnutella you'll probably find this daily bulletin from entertainment news site interesting reading.

A well written and entertaining roundup of top stories in digital music includes links to many important stories appearing around the web. A nice addition to's generally excellent coverage of the entertainment industry.

The Lawful Fruits of their Creativity *

It didn't take long for RIAA lawyers to convince US District Court Judge Marilyn Patel that Napster was up to no good. The sequel pits the RIAA and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) against, makers of Scour Exchange

Arguing that services like Napster and Scour deprive performers of "the lawful fruits of their creativity" industry lawyers filed suit against the company in US District Court.Some feel Scour's chances of fending off the recording industry may be even better than those of a service like Napster. In large part this is because Scour offers access to a wide range of content not limited strictly to MP3 files.

Read the RIAA's official position

Examine the evidence the industry's attorneys will present, from screen shots of an illegal copy of Gladiator located using the service, to a listing of recording artists whose copyrights the RIAA claims have been infringed.

What? Us? Pirates?

Read the official surprised response from Scour.

* The Scour story continues to unfold. See file-sharing/scour

The official cyber-presence for the recording industry. Read the official response to applications like Napster and Gnutella. Peruse press releases and court documents from the Association's ever-expanding collection.

Metallica is not amused: Metallica v. Napster

April 2000 - The heavy metal band Metallica, in the studio to record a song for the Mission Impossible II soundtrack, is astonished to learn that copies of the song have appeared on Napster before the group has even finished work on the song.

Napster users all over the world are listening to the track "I disappear" even as the group discusses how the final cut should sound.

Entertainment attorney Howard King files suit against Napster on the band's behalf. Among the charges are accusations of massive copyright infringement and illegal use of digital recording devices.

In an unusual move, King also accuses Napster of violation of the RICO statutes, a sweeping set of laws passed by the US Congress in the late 1980's to combat the activities of organized crime. Ironically, the crisis is foreshadowed in the band's own history. Metallica owes it's own early rise to popularity among metal fans to word of mouth generated by bootleg copies of the band's "No Life Till Leather" demo tape.

Declaration of Independence - Oh Hole!

May 2000, New York City - Musician/Actress Courtney Love, tells an audience at the Digital Hollywood online music conference she will no longer distribute her music through traditional music industry channels.

Instead, Love says she will distribute her band's material online. The lead singer of the grunge band Hole and the star of movies like the People vs. Larry Flynt and Man On the Moon offers a detailed critique of the recording industry's system of artist contracts, which she suggests are grossly unfair to musicians.

Making good on her pledge, Love makes a limited number of unreleased recordings available for download at her site in MP3 format.

The full text of Love's speech is available on the Salon site.

They came, They saw, They sued us silly - /0,1151,12406,00.html

It was to be expected that the entertainment industry would react negatively to this Canadian web site that for a brief period of time rebroadcast programming intercepted from the American Networks, including broadcasts of National Football League games.

iCrave hoped to take advantage of a loophole in Canadian copyright law that allows the retransmission of broadcast signals, with the provision that such material not be altered in any way.

Guess who won?

Tracking the MP3 Menace - MP3impact

Brooklyn-based news service covering developments in the distribution of MP3 files and other audio file formats, run by Sadiq Bello.
Aimed at recording industry executives, the site also publishes a weekly listing of the top ten most pirated MP3s. You knew somebody out there had to be keeping track.

Recording Industry Ass'n v. Diamond Multimedia

If you're curious to know how all of the hubub around Digital Music got started, you may find this 1999 MP3 case enlightening.

Worried that the spread of MP3 could an impact on the music business (a relatively mild way of putting it, as it turned out) the RIAA filed suit two years ago against Diamond Multimedia, the maker of the Walkman-like Rio mp3 player, seeking an injunction barring the distribution of the player.

The courts do not buy the RIAA's argument that devices like the RIO should be illegal. Two years later hundreds of similar devices are on the market. Digital Music Summit Video Archive

This annual event hosted by in San Diego for each of the last three years has quickly established itself as a focal point in the emerging digital music community, attracting representatives from both the recording industry and companies like Napster, i-drive and e-music as well as attendees from hundreds of lesser known sites involved in the field.

The entire two day webcast of the summit is archived in full at the site. Although the webcast quality is spotty at times, much of what's here is nonetheless well worth watching.

Tune in long enough to hear Michael Robertson discuss his vision of the music industry's future and listen to discussion of the metrics at work behind the Napster phenomenon.

Wired News Audio Spin

Often animated discussion of the digital music beat produced by Wired News Features analysis of developments in the industry and breaking news stories.

Wired reporter Brad King, is a frequent guest, as are many names in the recording industry and digital music. A good source of balanced, intelligent commentary on daily news stories which are often mishandled by major news outlets unfamiliar with the realities of the technology involved.

Download or stream (recommended) in MP3.

In-depth reviews of digital music penned by Steve and Teri Baldwin. This sites aspires to a level of literary quality rarely found at most fan-run MP3 review sites.
One intriguing sample snipped from MPX:

"Like a postmodern Zappa, Big Poo takes a simple, visceral theme - a dog's hindside - food and evacuation - a dog with a monstrous head - and twists it into an astonishingly symphonic ode replete with varispeeded gregorian amonies, surprisingly inventive chord changes, and ruminating strings set a surrealistically innocent, childlike musical track.'

Baldwin, a former technology editor with Time Warner's now defunct Pathfinder, is also the creator of ghost sites, a popular underground site which provides amusing commentary and links to abandoned web sites.



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