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June 16th, 2005

When Stupid Math Wins

You know, I’ve written before about iPod and buying music from iTunes. I like it. It works for me. But the original reason I got an iPod wasn’t for the store – which didn’t exist at the time. It was to load up all of my CDs onto a little music player the size of a deck of cards.

Downhill Battle, a loose organization that feels the music industry is the devil (essentially), has come up with a number of anti-iTunes campaigns. Some are effective, like suggesting that Apple display how much money each artist gets from a downloaded song. But others? Not so much. This “iTunes per iPod” thing has been making the rounds again and I’m not quite sure why, given that it’s from April of 2004.

Their argument is that because a very small percentage of music on iPods is from the iTunes Music Store, the rest is probably downloaded illegally and that’s great because file sharing networks aren’t going away.

Uhm, yeah. I know the reasons why a formal survey on this haven’t been done but it seems like it’d be interesting to really find out how much music on portable music players that hasn’t been bought online, is pirated. Until then, Downhill Battle seems to just be jumping to conclusions based on threadbare statistics cobbled together with some 6th-grade math. On one hand, I like what they’re doing by promoting non-big label music. On the other hand, I sometimes think their usage of speculation detracts from their message.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Ghoulstock
DATE: Thursday June 16, 2005 -- 9:43:23 pm
The Ghoulstock Crew, a group of college kids who love rockin' out, is on a search for people interested in getting involved and having fun in the South Jersey arts community.

Right now we are working on a project to renovate and save the Harwan Theatre in Mt. Ephraim, NJ, from a larger corporation. At the Harwan we are hoping to sustain a music and movie venue that will act as an open space for creativity and sharing in our area.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in lending a hand, please contact You can also find additional information at and on


FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday June 16, 2005 -- 10:02:30 pm
What does an inappropriate post have to do with rockin' out?


FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday June 16, 2005 -- 10:30:56 pm
That has nothing to do with anything, but let the post stay -- the Harwan rules.

Of course, it would have made more sense at any of these Pings.

FROM: aanen
DATE: Friday June 17, 2005 -- 9:09:09 am
the whole issue about making downloading files illegal is stupid!! What's to stop me from loaning a cd to a friend? I have no way of knowing if he/she copied the cd or is sharing the songs with his/her friends through the internet. Unless they decide to tell me. I really wouldn't care. (there are exceptions)

What if you OWN the cd or tape? (remember those things) I have an old Def Leppard tape (Hysteria I believe) I used to listen to that has been lost somewhere in my room, so i downloaded the album off the internet. I could have easily (well maybe) converted the tape to cd.

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday June 17, 2005 -- 10:28:17 pm
I have to admit that I do actually own CDs with all of the music on my Archos.

And no, I'm not just saying that to keep the RIAA off my back. Really. If you scan it yourself you have control over max volume levels and sampling rates. I've tried d/ling MP3s and they are generally not amazing.

Yeah, it's not an iPod. I got a 20G Archos for $130 when it would have been three times as much for an iPod. And it's true that the Archos interface sucked. Miserably. RockBox solved that.

I do have a lot of songs on tape that, well, might be of dubious ownership. No idea how to get those onto my MP3 player.

Aanen (or others): how do you easily convert tape to CD? I'd love to know, having hundreds of tapes. I have a lot of self-created tapes that I want to preserve...

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday June 17, 2005 -- 10:29:11 pm
Okay. To answer your question more precisely: I did not purchase any songs online. They're all ripped. Off of CDs I own.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday June 18, 2005 -- 12:07:09 am
Merle -- There are a lot of tape/record-CD/MP3 tutorials out there. The basic gist is:

* hook source into line in jack of your sound card
* use a program like Adobe Audition (not free) or Audacity (free) to record from the source, making sure that the record settings and audio levels are proper (trial and error)
* Split the songs up and save them individually in whatver format you're going to use

FROM: Sammy Reed
DATE: Sunday June 19, 2005 -- 3:16:38 pm
Today, I happened to see the inner paper sleeve of a 1975 album. You know how those things usually had advertisements for the record label's other albums? Well, on one side of it it did, but on the other side, there was something quite different.
It's a big article about tape piracy. Remember when record companies used to show us how to spot a pirate tape, instead of the nonsense now where they tell us WE'RE pirates?
Anyway, as an example, they show pictures of 2 8-track tape covers - a legitimate Tom T. Hall tape and this cheap ripoff tape where they listed the names of Tom T. Hall and Johnny Rodriguez with a star beside the names, and elsewhere on the label, beside the star it said "Today's Top Hits simulating the style of your favorite artists".
Even the efforts of those times were not totally without bull, as evidenced by these words from the Phonogram article:

"The pirate only picks hit recordings, which means he supports none of the thousands of unknown artists legitimate companies carry at a loss in their search for the music the public wants to hear."

...which is funny because what if they did "support" the unknown artists by pirating their songs?
But even with those words the real doozy of the piece was this little "news story" they put in.

While many recording artists have actively engaged in promoting the fight against antipiracy by appearing before state legislatures and acting as witnesses in court cases, Jerry Lee Lewis has taken the bull by the horns.
John Polk, RIAA investigator based in Nashville, told a NARM antipiracy seminar, that Lewis recently pulled up to a gas station in the south and noticed a rack of pirate tapes in the station. He asked who owned the rack and when told that an unidentified man serviced it weekly from the trunk of his car, Lewis took the rack outside the station and smashed it. When the station operator asked him what he should do when the route man came and asked what happened to his rack, Lewis replied: "Tell him 'Killer' was here."

This is an interesting piece of memorabilia from how they handled copyright piracy then vs. now. It seems they ran out of "route men" to go after, and they wanna keep their jobs, so they gotta go after somebody.

FROM: Vovenheimerpeoplers
DATE: Saturday June 25, 2005 -- 4:15:36 pm
i have an ipod with only songs from MY cds. But i agree it is very easy to illegally copy songs. and if u love the artist that much, u should want them to be paid:-)

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 28, 2005 -- 4:09:33 pm
Ryan: you're right, and I've seen those tutorials. I've never gotten good results, though. White noise and EM interference makes even good tapes sound really awful (especially through headphones).

It probably does not help that my computer is next to five other ones, so the cords are all next to eachother. And I bet if I got a shielded wire it would help some. But the connector on my sound card just isn't high quality.

It would also help if I had a real tape deck. ;-)

FROM: Garr
DATE: Wednesday September 28, 2005 -- 12:28:09 am
What about the idiot record company execs who won't reissue old stuff, but will scream bloody murder if a diehard collector resorts to other means to get what they need for their collection. Hypocritical if you ask me. if they are not going to reissue something, then they deserve to lose money, I think.

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