|Music & MP3 Information|
Building Your Digital Music Collection
The previous two Tech Tips took a look at eight basic features of portable MP3 players worth considering before laying down some serious money on one of these devices. Once you have a nice new MP3 player with plenty of space for music, you need to fill it up! There are several ways to go about building your digital music collection, and we'll take a look at a few ways to do so.
The first thing to address may be the term "MP3 player." Many of these devices play MP3 files, in addition to a variety of other formats. Many of the files available for download are actually in a format other than MP3, but the term has been applied to cover this whole class of devices, whether it is 100% accurate or not.
Create Your Own
There are numerous software titles available that make creating MP3 files from CDs (or other sources) a simple process. Most involve minimal input from the user once they have configured their preferences, and will take the audio and convert it into the digital format of their choice. During the "ripping" process, most applications will query an online database, such as Gracenote (www.cddb.com), and take care of the file naming and ID tagging needed to make storing, sorting, and accessing the files a snap with most players.
Some of these applications may already be on your computer. Microsoft's Windows Media Player (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/mp10/default.aspx) is one program that any Windows user already has that is more than ready for basic WMA and MP3 file creation. Just drop in your CD and click "Rip". Many other titles may have come bundled with hardware included with your system. For example, many optical drives ship with a copy of Ahead's Nero (http://ww2.nero.com/us/index.html) or a suite of software from Roxio (http://www.roxio.com/en/index.jhtml). Either will handle the DVD or CD burning they were intended for, but also have decent MP3 creation modules, as well.
There are a multitude of free, or at least free-to-try, MP3 encoding software titles, and a trip to your favorite search engine may provide a list longer than you care to investigate. Some names worth checking out include EZ CD-DA (Digital Audio) Extractor (http://www.poikosoft.com/), EZ MP3 Creator (http://www.linasoft.com/ezmp3c.html), and Virtuosa (http://www.virtuosa.com/index-php.php).
The great thing about digital audio files acquired this way is that they are yours to use on whatever device you choose. The same can not be said about files obtained from either of the next two methods to be discussed. The files obtained from legitimate download services are protected by DRM (Digital Rights Management), which restricts the use of the downloaded files to a limited number of computers and compatible portable devices, as well as protecting the songs from redistribution by the end user. The files are yours to use, but not as freely as you may want, and perhaps for only as long as you maintain your account with the download service.
Pay Per Download
There are two main types of legitimate online sources of digital music? those that charge you for each download, and those that require you to subscribe to a service on a monthly basis. They offer the same types of files, but take different approaches to suit your budget and music needs.
Apple's iTunes (http://www.apple.com/itunes/) may be the best known source for individual file downloads, thanks in no small part to the incredible popularity of the iPod MP3 player. What some may not know is that iTunes is not just for iPod owners, or Macintosh computer owners for that matter, but any PC compatible system can access the 99 cent downloads for use on their computer or compatible portable player.
Many other outlets offer digital music files for download, and even some mainstream brick-and-mortar stores have found their way onto the scene. Just as they have done with retail sales, Wal-Mart (http://www.walmart.com/music_downloads/introToServices.do) has managed to undercut the competition with their 88 cent music downloads.
Subscribe to a Service
Everyone is familiar with Napster (http://www.napster.com/) as one of the pioneers of file sharing, but they are back with a legitimate approach to music downloads. Although they do offer a program where you can download individual songs for 99 cents each, they offer monthly subscriptions for $14.95. This monthly fee allows for unlimited downloads, and could be the ticket for someone looking to keep their play list fresh on a regular basis. One caveat to this otherwise good solution is that the number of MP3 players supported is currently very limited. Also, once your subscription lapses, so does the ability to "access" your music. Basically, you are renting the songs.
Other subscription-based services are available, such as the one from eMusic (http://www.emusic.com/) that charges a monthly fee, but restricts the number of downloads permitted every month.
Choosing between a service that charges for every download or one that charges a flat monthly fee will most likely be determined by the volume of downloads one intends. If you only want a handful of songs every few months, it may be worth it to pay per song. But, if you intend to amass the ultimate collection of music ever known to man, subscribing to a service on a monthly basis is obviously more practical.
Whether through first-hand experience, or from the massive media attention, most people are well aware of other file sharing resources available on the Internet that can be used for acquiring MP3 files. Although the files are free, and users may feel they are operating anonymously, it may not be a safe means of acquiring media.
There are the obvious legal implications, as the RIAA has prosecuted file sharers for copyright violation (http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3497246), but there are other issues, as well. The integrity of the files being downloaded is not guaranteed, and people may wait patiently for a song to download only to find it is of poor quality, incomplete, or even worse? carrying a virus or trojan.
So, there are other pools of digital music, but swim at your own risk!
Filling your new MP3 player doesn't have to cost anything except the time it takes to encode the songs from your favorite CDs. But, paying for a download service is a sure way to have the songs you want as they become available and at a fairly reasonable price. These aren't your only options for acquiring digital music, but when taking other routes, proceed with caution.
Legend Vega Releasing New Pop CD
Legend Vega is scheduled to release her newest CD this summer, Personal Space. Fans characterize Legend's style as a cross between Mariah Carey and a female version of Ricky Martin. She was born under the lights of Broadway in New York City but raised to the beat of Salsa and Merengue on the hot sands of Puerto Rico. Legend Vega is an experienced singer, songwriter, and model. She has just finished recording her newest CD with all of her own material. Her mainstream pop style and her Latin background make her an excellent crossover artist for the U.S. market. Her album features a broad mix of pop music recorded in English but with many Latin influences.
How To Write A Song
Did you ever wish that it was your song playing on the radio? It could be. It is not that hard once you know the formula. With a little creativity, a little knowledge, a little luck and a good formula to follow, your song could be one of the next biggest hits. Songwriting comes easy for some, and is very difficult for others. I have actually written songs in my sleep, and immediately upon awaking, written it as quickly as I could get the words on down on paper. What I want to discuss here is popular songwriting, like the songs you hear on the radio. A good pop song, whether rock, country, middle of the road, is composed of two things: a catchy tune and some good lyrics. There is a formula that most great songwriters use to write great songs. It regards the structure used to write a song. Granted, it is music and it is art, so the rules are not hard and fast. But if you want to increase your chances of getting your song on the radio, it is a good starting point. Here is the formula. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. Write that down on paper leaving plenty of space between each word and this will be your script. Verse The verse is the part of the song that tells the story, the part that leads to the chorus. Each verse is usually different, telling a different part of, or adding to, the story. It usually explains how you got to the things you are singing about in the chorus. Chorus. The chorus is the part of the song that is repeated after each verse. The lyrics are usually the same each time the chorus comes around. The verse usually leads to the chorus, and the chorus is usually the pay off for listening to the verse. Does that make sense? Here is a lame example (you did not think I would give you my best work, did you?): (verse) My dog is sick, he's got a tick He's my best friend, don't let it end (chorus) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free (verse) My car broke down, just out of town It got towed in, but it's broke again (chorus) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free Now, if you would kindly stop laughing at my lame song for a minute, I want you to think about whether or not you understand my point. Songwriting is story telling. The verse tells the problems, the chorus expresses the results or the emotions. All right, now that you have that mastered, let's tackle the bridge. Ah, yeah, there is more to the song than the pain and the release. We need the diversion. That is what the bridge is; it is the diversion from the verse and the chorus. The bridge may have a slightly different melody to it, or it could even have a different rhythm or a different tempo (Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" did a great job on this technique). Let's go back to the lame song and add a bridge: (verse) My dog is sick, he's got a tick He's my best friend, don't let it end (chorus) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free (verse) My car broke down, just out of town It got towed in, but it's broke again (chorus) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free (bridge) Tomorrow is a better day, I've got a new truck on the way My dog just had a flea it seems, so once again I'll live my dreams (chorus) Oh, woe was me, can't you see Woe was me, but now I'm free The bridge offers a solution to the problems I was having. You don't want to leave your listener on the edge of suicide, you want to give them hope. Notice, I also changed up the wording of the chorus. This was done to reflect my new found joy. One more thing on formula. It can be anyway you want, but most verses and chorus come in lines of 4. So, instead of this: (verse) Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free (verse) My car broke down, just out of town It got towed in, but it's broke again it would be: Oh, woe is me, can't you see Woe is me, will I ever be free My car broke down, just out of town It got towed in, but it's broke again The same goes for the chorus. Again, if you are creative, do it however you want. But for a new songwriter, this gives you some guidelines to scratch out and start carving out your new creation. One more thing, do not make the notes to the melody so high that your fans cannot sing along. We are certainly all not Stevie Wonder.
Common Thoughts That Kill Inspiration
Do you sit down at the piano and feel anxiety or peace? Are you anxious to begin creating or does the thought of being at your instrument bring you a sense of well being? It all begins with what you're telling yourself. If you think that what you are doing is not good enough, it's sure to kill off that quiet little motor of inspiration.
Warner Music Executive Payments
"In human life, art may arise from almost any activity, and once it does so, it is launched on a long road of exploration, invention, freedom to the limits of extravagance, interference to the point of frustration, finally discipline, controlling constant change and growth." Susanne Langer (1895-1985)
Legal Music Downloads
On July 28, 2004, French Internet access providers and music copyright owners signed a joint national charter aimed at cracking down on illegal downloads and expanding the amount of legal music tracks available online (AFP). This is the latest in a series of moves taken across the world to combat music piracy as production labels see more and more of their profits being lost to illegal downloads of music files.
Beauchamp Brings Diversity to Music
Everyone has a talent. For Miami, Okla.'s, Brian Beauchamp, it's playing music. Beauchamp who began playing guitar in 1998 while attending college at the University of Oklahoma said he first played after borrowing a guitar from his friend, Jamie Neal. He now plays rhythm guitar and is lead vocals. For this he was nominated for the Payne County Line 2005 New Artist of the Year award.
Greg Koch Fender Guitar History
The Greg Koch Fender guitar began to take shape all the way back when Greg Koch was in the third grade. Greg cut out cardboard Fender Stratocaster guitars, then Koch used his sisters sewing machine pedal as a wah-wah. By watching, listening and copying what he heard on records he was able to advance quickly.
The Revolution has begun - and it will not be Televised The new Artist Development Paradigm
In reflecting on the world of the Music Business in 2004, there were some very profound and dramatic changes that changed the nature of the Music Business itself. 2004 will always be remembered as the year the 'Big Five' became the 'Big Four' and don't be surprised if you're reading at this time next year and we're telling you about the 'Big Three'! Beside the Sony/BMG merger, 2004 will also be remembered as the year labels utilized aggressively utilized video games as a marketing vehicle for the launching of many of their artists.
Guitar Practice (Part 2) - Does Practice Make Perfect?
You've probably heard the saying "practice makes perfect" and it sounds true enough, but is t really? We all know the importance of practicing a new skill in order to become proficient at it. This is especially true when it comes to playing the guitar, or any other musical instrument for that matter. But, practicing incorrectly can actually be a detriment to your progress.
Improvising On The Piano: Jazz Musicians Do It -- Why Not Other Styles?
Why jazz piano improvisation?
1959 Stratocaster Vintage Guitars
Mid 1959 Stratocaster vintage guitars have a slab rosewood fingerboard with white "clay" position dots. The fingerboard radius of this Fender guitar is 7.25". The bottom fingerboard is flat. Vintage Fender Stratocasters made July 1959 and after basically will have rosewood fingerboards. The neck now has a very thin "D" backshape, by the end of 1959 it gets even thinner.
Guitar Practicing or Guitar Playing?
Just because you're holding your guitar doesn't mean that you're playing it, and just because you're playing your guitar doesn't mean that you're practicing. There is a real difference and it needs to be acknowledged if you want to improve your level of playing skill. Some people say they have spent the entire day practicing their guitar when in reality, all they've done was sit in front of the TV all day eating cheesy poofs. The sad thing is that they really do believe it was practicing since they had their guitar on their lap next to their cheesy poofs all day. Most of us know someone who does this and we may even be guilty ourselves.
A Dying Cat And A Nylon String Guitar
"Music isn't just learning notes and playing them, you learn notes to play to the music of your soul" ? Katie Greenwood.
They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano... but When I Started to Play...
Remember the old ad that used to run endlessly in magazines and newspapers:
When Does Practice Make Perfect? Not Much Of The Time Unless All The Pieces Fit First
Often people receive a banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar or some other musical instrument as a birthday, Christmas or special occasion gift. There's glee and joy everywhere. The giver of the gift knows how much the receiver of the gift wants to learn this instrument and the receiver of the gift is ACTUALLY holding the coveted instrument in his/her hands instead of lusting for it down at the corner store or through the shop window. NOW WHAT?
Creating Within Limits
When I first started playing the piano I wanted to learn how to compose. The idea that I could create something tangible really appealed to me.
Flaming Guitars! Minarik Fuels The Excitement of a New Generation of Musicians
From the Telecaster to the Flying V to the Iceman to the Warlock, some guitar designs are forever branded on our consciousness, and now there's a new one: the Minarik Inferno X-treme. The body shape erupts in furious fingers of flame. If ever there was a guitar design destined to ignite the imagination of young players, especially boys and girls who want to rawk, this is it.
Pakistani Pop Music
Pakistan is blessed with talent and when we talk about Pakistani Music, you can never stop picking up one of the best Pakistani pop song uptill now because there are number of such hit songs nobody can judge the best one in past decades such as "Dil Dil Pakistan" , "Huwa Huwa", "Mehndi ki Raat", "Na Kaho", "Dil Haray", "Ankhain Milanay Walay", "Wakt", "Neeli Neeli Ankhain", "Jaisay Chao Jeo", "Garuj Burus", "No More", "Ankhoun ki Sagar", "Na Tu Aigi", "Addat" left the audience agape and many more. Our artists' are popular all over the world. Many new talented artists in Pakistan are still working hard to bring quality Pakistani music.
Music & Emotions: Can Music Really Make You a Happier Person?
How many times have you turned to music to uplift you even further in happy times, or sought the comfort of music when melancholy strikes?
Oh My Aching Head! Can Music Really Make You Feel Better?
We all know, if only instinctively, that music has a profound effect on us. If we didn't believe that music affects us then singing lullabies to calm children and help them sleep wouldn't be universal. In reality melody, harmony, and rhythm probably impacts the human brain in ways that are far more profound than we realize. We all know that an up tempo melody from our favorite performer stirs and energizes us just as a slower melody can help us relax or even prompt sad emotions from the depths of our soul, but did you know that evidence has been found linking the merging of melody, harmony, and rhythm with pain management?
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