Rozovian’s Music Log

www.ocremix.org/artist/4795/

Posts Tagged ‘steam’

Ninja Consumers

Posted by Ad on March 27, 2012

Finland’s allegedly trailing way behind our neighbor Sweden in consumption of streamed and downloaded music. I don’t believe that, I think it’s just a difference in behavior that accounts for the over 30% difference.

I may have mentioned having attempted to buy Logic 9 on the App Store, but was unable to actually pay. The store only accepts a bunch of credit cards, which I know better than to get. After some correspondence with Apple’s customer service (who politely/robotically suggested, repeatedly, that I should just get a credit card), I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. So far, Logic Express 8 serves me fine, and when that fails, I can move to a different DAW. I’ve heard good things about Digital Performer, I’ve been looking at Ableton Live for live performance reasons, there’s always the very affordable Reaper, and beyond those a myriad of other options.

What bothered me the most is the lack of a PayPal option in Apple’s stores, as it’s an option in the US but not here. That’s what I use to buy stuff on Steam and Bandcamp, it’s a very convenient payment options that Apple seems to allow in other countries. Having to get a credit card is a hoop I might jump through if there was no other option. But that’s not the case. There’s other software… and other means.

My theory on piracy is that there’s three types of pirates: pirates of convenience, pirates of economy, and pirates of ideals. Pirates of ideals are the free-culture hippies that think information shouldn’t be locked up and everything should be available for free. Not sure to what extent I agree with them, there’s freedom of information acts on one side, and indie artists’ earnings stolen by labels and royalty-collecting agencies on the other. Pirates of economy are the ones who can’t afford the stuff they pirate, or who just don’t want to pay. In the developing world, I support this attitude. Get stuff, use stuff, build business and education. In the developed world, there’s certainly a lower class that may not be able to afford to keep up with the music and movies their more affluent neighbors consume, but the majority population can afford the 10 bucks an album costs these days.

Still, the most interesting type are the pirates of convenience. These include brats with a runaway sense of entitlement as well as lazy ppl who just want stuff in the most convenient way possible, and probably further still in… some direction. I use Steam because it’s convenient. It’s the ultimate combination of store, personal library and networking tool. I’ve used other means of getting the stuff I wanted… because it was convenient.

The thing is, pirates of convenience may well pay for their stuff (even to the point where they aren’t pirates anymore) if they get it without jumping through hoops. Bandcamp does this well. With a clean interface and a few clicks, I buy music and support the artist. I typically listen to music by my friends, released on Bandcamp (or ocremix), but if I wanted something else, Apple’s iTunes Store is among the last places I’d buy from. No credit card, no PayPal option, no way of paying short of buying a dozen of those iTunes Store cards from Apple Stores irl. Considering there are music stores out there that attempt to sell stuff released for free (eg free releases from Bandcamp, ocremix albums et al), I feel safer getting music from a place where I know the wrong ppl aren’t profiting from the artists’ work.

Despite speaking from a very limited experience with music stores, I think the main reason Finland’s trailing in music downloading/streaming is in measuring the wrong thing: only purchases and streaming services that are being tracked by the music… tracking… ppl. There’s YouTube (-to-mp3), there’s torrents, there’s a lot of ways to get music besides iTunes, Spotify, and whatever else was tracked.

It’s not like Finns are tech-illiterates. It may actually be the opposite. That’s why I don’t think my ISP blocking The Pirate Bay is gonna stop ppl.

Two more things, mostly unrelated: I’ve got a plan/idea/design for a movie/tv-show site, one that includes a way to make money from the site. There’s just the problems of convincing advertisers, and to consolidate shows and movies into a single service rather than have each studio and network demand special treatment/jack up prices for their catalogues or otherwise make their own services… thus driving ppl to the quasi-legal link sites and torrent searches instead. Tho for a single-network service it might work, too. Maybe I should just patent my idea and sit on it, then sue anyone that came up with it independently if they get big. That’s apparently how the big tech companies do it. If only game devs could do the same with to get CloneVille (as in Zynga) off the map.

The other thing is my new album plan: my old music as a free album… or album series. We’ll see. I think I have four tracks being worked on atm that fits my old methods, so they’re candidates for this album. Any proper album would be a later concern, now I’ll just focus on finishing random tracks and giving some extra attention to my few thousands of old tracks.

Posted in music industry, the internet | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Web TV Ideal

Posted by Ad on February 28, 2012

It’s the future. I sit down in the living room and turn on a fast-starting computer hooked up to a big screen and speaker system. I go to a library of the shows I usually watch. A few shows are locked behind a password-protected menu so kids can’t get to them.

I select a show, old or new. The computer remembers which episode I watched last, and even if I had to stop watching mid-episode. By default, I get the standard audio, but if I want a more cinematic experience, I can select a more dynamic audio track, or if I’m watching late at night and the rest of the house is asleep, I can select a less dynamic track. I can just as well select a commentary, official or fan-made, or a different language dub, or opt to have speech, music or sound effects muted or solo.

I’m on my work computer, writing emails or something. I have a show playing in another window. I have subtitles on so I can multitask and at a glance get what any given line of dialogue is about. I need to listen to a some audio a friend and/or coworker sent me, for a music project. I pause the video, listen to the audio.

The film/TV library lists my top films and shows. I can order these on physical media if I want to. They contain more special features, like behind-the-scenes material, a copy of the script, the soundtrack… Upon ordering this, those special features also become available in the library.

I’m abroad. The connection isn’t great. I select lower quality video and audio. I’m watching it with my new friends, and as they might not speak English well, we have subtitles in their language as well as in English.

A new movie is coming out. I have a premium account, so I get to watch the movie without ads, on the day of the release, wherever I am. I have a professional reviewer account. I get to watch movies before their release. Anyone can write a review, and it can be formal or just a thank you or “f u” to the director. There’s some moderation of the reviews, so ugly language isn’t visible to minors, and amazon-bombing events can be filtered out.

The school I teach at has an education account. My students get to remix any film or show online through the library – and to associate their trailer with their own user accounts.¬†Regular users can do the same, except they to buy the show or film. They can, for a slight further cost, make a fandub. Each time someone watches a fan-made trailer, or listens to a fandub, reviewer commentary, or anything else that’s user-generated, the users involved in making this additional material are also paid. Several songs from my album have music videos based on shows and movies. The music comes from Spotify or a similar service partnering with the video service. When one of those vids are watched, I get paid slightly, the music video editor get paid slightly, and the ppl who made the original video get paid slightly. I don’t know the exact amount of money, I just know I get money when ppl watch it.

I watch the news. I don’t know what’s going on so I’m not looking for a specific story. I don’t care about celebrity deaths and scandals, so I skip to the next news story. I watch a tech news show made/sponsored by Toyota. Naturally, it has a lot of Toyota products. I can skip to any individual story in the episode. The show still gives me a positive idea about Toyota, so they don’t mind me skipping through.

If I didn’t have a premium account, I could still watch stuff… ad-supported. These aren’t intrusive pop-up ads, they’re more subtly colored and fit right into the design of the library application, each library skin has it’s own ad color coding. Imagine the choice between white on black, or black on white. That can do a lot to make an ad less intrusive. Likewise, some weeks, select shows are sponsored (ie otherwise ad-free) by select companies. This week, General Motors wants me to watch the timeless classic Transformers. Then I log in and the ads disappear.

I look at my account balance. I’ve seen all of Stargate SG-1 before with this service, so all those episodes are free to me. I’ve bought all of Babylon 5, so those episodes are free to me. This month, I’ve been watching old Mythbusters, and am billed for them, a small fee for each episode I’ve watched. Once I’ve watched 75% of episodes in a season, the rest becomes free. My subscription to the service is split between the service and the shows I already own. Just because I’ve seen Firefly a few times doesn’t mean there isn’t a slight amount of money going to its owners at the end of each month when views and payment are calculated.

Holidays are approaching. I can gift movies or seasons of shows to friends and family. I have some gift credits available. This is how the services lures more users to it – credits for each purchase, that I can only use on other ppl. There are always collections available for purchase, whether r not you want the physical media for it. During the dark months of fall, they were cheap for me. Now they’re cheaper still, as gifts.

My wife and kids are associated with my account, and I can watch any of their purchases/gifts from my account, and they can watch mine. There’s a limit to how many accounts can be associated to one another, tho a friend of mine has loads of kids, most of them in their teens, so they had to request a few more association slots for their accounts. The service likes these association things, it tells them what families watch. A single episode can be watched a dozen times in a week, simply because multiple users watch the same show.

Just like a family can be associated with one another, so can roommates. With a fixed number of slots, and some tracking to make sure ppl who live together are more closely associated than random friends, you don’t get to game the system and create a link of ppl who all watch each other’s purchases for free. However, the system is by design slow to react. I spend a few weeks in the US, my family remains in FInland, but we all have access to my shows and films.

Some time in the future, when I die, my purchases are transferred to my kids’ accounts. probably not everything, but perhaps the most viewed half. If they didn’t have those items listed, they do now. If they do, lower-rung items are added. This may work with a tracker for the kinds of shows and films they like, so that my fantasy ¬†geek daughter gets more fantasy films, and my documentary geek son gets more documentaries.

It’s the present. Illegal streaming and downloading is illegal, and commercial services aren’t convenient. Audio is overcompressed, or has too much dynamics to sound good on low listening levels. Movies are available on disc half a year after they come out in local cinemas, which is a few months after their US release. Sales are arbitrary and I am not informed about them. My DVD collection is sizable, but DVD is getting old. I haven’t found Pitch Black anywhere. Where’s Steam for video?

Posted in television/movies, the internet | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Mass Defect

Posted by Ad on December 15, 2010

A copy of Mass Effect recently appeared near one of my computers. It said it worked on Mac. It kind’a did. After a couple of hours trying to figure out the problem, I think I’m sure it’s the graphics card. The game allegedly runs fine of an nVidia-MacBook, but not on my Radeon-iMac. And obviously not on my pre-Intel Radeon PowerBook.

So what bothers me about this? That there’s no official Mac version? That it works on some macs and not others? That it took me hours to figure this all out? Yes to all applicable, but the last one more than the others.

The game and the audio works just fine, but the 3d parts of the screen turns white and a lot of models are missing. I saw vistas of space and empty chairs in the intro, then a quick whiteout and flashes of the geometry. Said white flashes might be effects, since they managed to obscure just part of a hallway at one point, but once I turned too far the whole world went white again. Not the HUD, just the world.

On a related note, we have a lot of snow outside. They say there were these things called ditches than ran across the lawns. I have no idea what they’re talking about.

Anyway, missing models and a big whiteness. And there are instances where I found myself probably in a corner with the camera inside some thing, outside the geometry. There I could see something, but it was pretty weird and abstract looking. And dark, so probably just the other side of the thing I was looking through.

I might have spent 2-3 hours on figuring this out, trying different settings and seeing if the same problems persist, googling how to tell if the firmware is up to date and how to force an OS X 10.5-compatible updater to update on 10.6, rendering issues and how to access the graphics card’s settings, getting all kinds of support forum posts and torrent links in all that searching. And it all leads me to a simple solution:

I need to steal that laptop.

Also, I came across probably dozens of threads with ppl stating these same problems, or similar. On that note, some Radeon-OS X compatibility problem could explain the weird texture things happening on big ships in FreeSpace 2. Or did I solve that with some vSync thing, I don’t remember.

And to address the piracy issue, I’d buy a Steam licence if the game would work for me. It’s just 15 euros. BioWare, do you hear me? Make an official Mac version available, or leak a Radeon-compatible Cider version or something. Keyword: Radeon-compatible.

Post title refers to defects, not defecting. It’s punny in writing.

Posted in computers, the internet, video game industry | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Entitlement

Posted by Ad on November 4, 2010

From time to time, I google myself. It’s interesting to see what crops up then: a mention on a blog, listed in “listening to” references, youtube video clones, free download sites…

As I don’t have anything commersial out there, I don’t have a problem with any of this, but it has me worried. When I release an album, one I wanna earn some dough with, who’s to say it won’t end up uploaded everywhere so everyone can grab everything for free?

The internet is changing. Content creators have to come up with new ideas all the time to get money. Donations, merchandize, concerts, licensing… While some pirates may be pirates of convenience who would pay if it was easy enough – take Steam as a great example of how to deal with pirates of convenience: make buying _more_ convenient – others are pirates of economy or entitlement – they wouldn’t buy at all. Why should they get for free what I worked hard to produce? Spotify kind’a does the same with music as Steam does with games, it makes it convenient. Which reminds me, I should get Spotify. I need new music.

From time to time I deal with ppl with an inflated sense of entitlement on ocremix’ forums; people who expect to be good at music because they have good software, and expect to get their remix posted on ocremix because they made it. Why should they be any different from the ppl who spent years learning to make music? It’s unfair! Well it would be: it took me about a year of learning on ocremix before I got a remix posted, and that was after 5-6 years of making music. Was I annoyed at my first NO? Yes I was. Did that put my sense of entitlement in check? Yes it did. Would it be fair if any n00b with an audio file could get their stuff posted there? No it wouldn’t.

Because a lot of ppl grow up in a world where mom and dad get them whatever they want, and mom and dad have vague jobs somewhere out there, ppl might not make the connection between work and earnings. So ppl grow up with the idea of money as this thing that ppl just have. Not good.

I’ve been thinking about money a lot. With the world economy (and especially the US economy) dropping into the toilet, I looked up all these economy things I never cared for before. I realized there is no money. Money is just a promise of labor, or a proof of labor, depending on how you wanna look at it. Everyone has to work for something to get something. Back in the day, you’d farm your land, you’d get food. Or someone else would farm their land, you’d make them shovels and plows, and you’d get food. Money is the middle man. They give you money for the tools, you give them money for the food.

If I make music for you, don’t I sort of work for you? Shouldn’t I then get paid? Who’s supposed to pay me?

Posted in music industry, the internet | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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