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An observation on internet music listening

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  • An observation on internet music listening

    Every once in a while I come across some mention, usually lamenting, of the fact that a lot of people these days tend to listen to music on Youtube more than anywhere else. The stated reason this is bad is often the sound quality on Youtube.



    I agree with this, most of the time Youtube audio is less than great. I don't spend much time on Youtube in general, but when I'm there it's usually to check out some song I don't have myself.



    This evening I had a sudden urge to listen to a song I hadn't heard in a long time. For some reason it popped into my head. Where do you think I went in search of it? Youtube of course. Despite the less than stellar audio quality, if there's a song I want to hear, the ONE place I KNOW I can find it is Youtube. Sure, I may be able to find it in better quality somewhere else, but usually I just want to find it quickly and listen (often so I can refer to it in a forum post).



    It's an interesting phenomenon. When it comes to my main music listening, I prefer higher quality formats, but when I just need to listen to a song right now, it's always Youtube, and I don't even spend time trying to find the best quality version on Youtube, it's generally the first video I find that is just the normal album version with some static image showing.



    You'd think there should be a similar Mecca one could go to to find any song at any time, that wasn't based on a video format. But I guess at the end of the day, the Dead Kennedy's said it best: "Give Me Convenience, Or Give Me Death".
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  • #2
    Welcome to the Internet, where convenience always tops quality. I'm told that there are ways of getting good quality audio with YouTube, but other than original content, occasionally, nobody bothers. Besides, when you're not paying to listen to music that should be paid for, you should be satisfied with what you can find as long as it serves your purpose at the moment.



    I recognize that you're more likely to find a really rare commercial recording on YouTube than on iTunes, but if it's fidelity you want, check the pay-for-play sources first. At least some of the money you pay for the download goes toward the creators or their lawyers.
    --
    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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    • #3
      Mike,



      I don't think it is just the internet. In the world we live in (USA) convenience (and quantity) usually top quality.

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      • #4






        Quote Originally Posted by rjt
        View Post

        Mike,



        I don't think it is just the internet. In the world we live in (USA) convenience (and quantity) usually top quality.




        I think people have shown that over and over (cassettes, for instance). There's no doubt. What is nice, however, is that if you wish, there's still high-end stereo systems with blu-ray DVD players as alternatives.



        I also want to say that I'll listen to high-resolution MP3s over cassettes any day of the week. That's not even a contest sonically. And as a bonus, you can share MP3s to a friend half a world away in a matter of seconds. I say great.



        BTW, you can find a lot of stuff on Spotify or similar things like that, and that sounds better than YouTube.
        Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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        • #5
          I find Youtube is the best way to find a rendition of a tune I want to learn, especially one that's been often covered or where the original artist has played it differently over the years. I'll do this even if I have the original on CD already. I don't buy downloads; if I like something I'll buy the CD. Old fashioned, I guess, and this could change. I haven't found a good site where I can buy singles, paying per download rather than by subscription. Yeah, I know, iTunes -- but apple software always messes up my computer, iTunes in particular. And then there's Amazon, but despite trying 4 times with 3 different computers, it NEVER works, and never does what it says it does, and I always end up paying $1.00 to find out it doesn't work. (It's been a couple years, maybe I should try again.)



          I firmly believe that artists deserve to be paid for their efforts. For artists who are happy to distribute their material for free, well good for them too.
          learjeff.net

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          • #6
            I love YouTube for its library of live performances (and to a lesser extent official feature vids) -- and also because it's a good way of sharing music with others with a relatively clear conscience. YT gives content license holders a number of avenues for infringement mitigation (some would say too much and that they bend over backward to Big IP, to the extent that live, original music posted by unsigned musicians themselves have been put on copyright hold by Big IP robots filing automated holds claiming that the content was actually something else).



            Because FB, blogs, and even many or now most forums allow YT video embeds, YT vids become an important node in true viral propagation of music culture outside the commercial/critical apparatus.



            But... for me, for listening, there's no question, it's my subscription service, currently the all 320 kbps stream MOG, which delivers unlimited amounts of music on demand to my desktop for $5/mo and to my smart phone for another $5. (The phone's 3G and I'm on a tiered pay data plan, so that means basically 'loading' the phone while I'm at home on my WiFi so as not to incur data charges or incredibly long load times. Although I have the option of either low b/w .3gps or full 320 kbps Mp3s.) I know some folks feel they can discern 320's from the real thing, but I haven't been able to in double blind tests (although I was shocked to find that I could tell the diff -- on one very familiar track I use for listening tests -- between 256 and 320 kbps with some statistical significance. It was very, very close, though, I did it by locking into tiny differences in high hat sizzle).


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            The chorus seems a little weak... I think it needs more lasers.

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            • #7
              Youtube audio was real bad early on.
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              • #8
                I still say streaming audio on sites such as youtube should be seen as at best a sample of the full experience one would get from a better format and a real sound system. mp3 is like crippleware in that it's not fully functional. Unfortunately people get used to the lesser quality until they don
                "Everybody loves you when you're six foot in the ground."
                ~John Lennon

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                • #9






                  Quote Originally Posted by rjt
                  View Post

                  Mike,



                  I don't think it is just the internet. In the world we live in (USA) convenience (and quantity) usually top quality.




                  Of course that's true. It's also why we have so many fast food restaurants. People do go to nice restaurants once in a while, though.



                  While high resolution audio on hard media has been pretty much of a flop, there are some opportunities to hear it via the Internet. These tend not to be the hit songs, though, but rather back catalog material, classical, jazz, or independent releases, rarely something esoteric like people like to put up on YouTube.



                  The reason why low bit rate MP3 became the norm was because of a lack of storage. Early portable music players has as little as 32 KILObytes of RAM and people wanted more music rather than better fidelity. Now that you can put 32 GIGAbytes in your pocket, and don't have to do your downloads at 2400 bits per second, that's no longer an excuse.



                  And part of the darn problem is that so many people have become accustomed to the sound of data-compressed audio that this is what sounds normal to them. I read about a long term study, I think at Stamford University, where over an 8 year period, the number of people they tested who preferred music with MP3 compression over a higher resolution increased at a level greater than chance.



                  Neil Young is pushing high resolution audio and is backing a system that has a few record companies interested. It's called something like Pogo (but I know that's not it) and has its own player, which may be the stumbling block. Anyone following this?
                  --
                  "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                  Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                  • #10






                    Quote Originally Posted by learjeff
                    View Post

                    I don't buy downloads; if I like something I'll buy the CD. Old fashioned, I guess, and this could change.




                    I'm old fashioned, too. I listen to the radio, mostly classical music over the real radio, and other things that I like over Internet radio. It's not so bad because it's rare that I actually concentrate on the music I listen to. Which is not to say that I don't absorb it, it's enjoyable in the background and every now and then I stop what I'm doing to pay attention to a song. So it's doing what it needs to do, at least for me.



                    I'll confess - I bought one download, once. I wanted to send a birthday song to a friend via e-mail. I was on a trip, didn't have access to my own collection, and I couldn't find the original by Jimmy Murphy on line, so I had to settle for paying 99 cents for Robbie Fulks' version. It brought a smile to my friend.








                    I haven't found a good site where I can buy singles, paying per download rather than by subscription.



                    The business model of web sites that host high resolution audio file tends to be either by subscription or for albums. So much of the money that the legitimate "singles" download sites take in goes out to paying royalties that none of them are making any money.
                    --
                    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

                    Comment


                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by blue2blue
                      View Post

                      Because FB, blogs, and even many or now most forums allow YT video embeds, YT vids become an important node in true viral propagation of music culture outside the commercial/critical apparatus.




                      Yeah, tell me about it! You may (or may not, if you don't care) have noticed that my AES show report is unusually late this year. It'll be done today or tomorrow - things like a house guest and a storm distracted me. But more of the equipment manufacturers are no longer making up press kits. I have to take notes to remind myself that I saw something rather than having a piece of paper, a disk, or (what I like best since I can re-use them) USB thumb drive with info and PICTURES. Today's press kit, more and more, is a card with a URL on it, and sometimes when I go there there's nothing about the product I saw at the show. But there are short videos on YouTube about it that someone (thanks, Harmony Central) have posted. I guess I'm old fashioned, too, I like text, not a 1 minute video, when I'm reading or telling about a product.








                      But... for me, for listening, there's no question, it's my subscription service, currently the all 320 kbps stream MOG, which delivers unlimited amounts of music on demand to my desktop for $5/mo



                      That's pretty cheap. What kind of content do they have? I donate $25 a year to two Internet streaming radio stations that play what I like to hear, Hopefully that helps them keep doing what they're doing. Most of it is 128 kbps MP3 which, to me sounds like a cassette without the flutter, which is just fine.



                      These days when I record a concert for reference (not for pay) with a pocket sized recorder, I use 320 kbps MP3. But if I'm being paid for the recording, somehow my conscience won't let me record anything but 24-bit PCM, though I still use 44.1 kHz sample rate.
                      --
                      "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                      Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

                      Comment



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