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A Lark Ascending

Is streaming technology saving the music industry?

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Just now, Scott Dolan said:

At any given 5-15 year period in the age of recorded sound has 20-30% of it simply disappeared? 

And even if it did, why would it now in the age of cheap and massive storage, high speed internet, data service, etc. ? 

Well, physical copies certainly won't disappear.  But I don't trust that everything that's currently available to be reliably available forever.  80% or more, yes, probably all safe (so maybe my 20-30% is a bit high -- maybe it's more like 10-15%).

In any case, it's not some NON-trivial small number of recordings (like 2%).  As Jim eluded to before, companies come and go all the time, and so do agreements.  Not, not most of them (I realize), but who's to say that something semi-obscure won't be in the next batch of stuff that doesn't seem to be "accessible" any more, for whatever reason.

I agree, the great majority of "popular" jazz recordings will probably be accessible via streaming for decades to come.  But how much stuff that has only ever come out on CD once (or maybe twice), might either never be available -- or maybe be available for a time, but then in some huge acquisition, be easily excised because the costs don't outweigh the benefits.

For instance:  How many movies and TV series have been on Netflix for quite a number of years, only to disappear.  I'm not on Netflix, mind you, but I've read about that numerous times (meaning a couple times every year, for several years now).  It's not boatloads of material, but it's not a non-trivial tiny amount either.  It used to be a really good, art-house-oriented video-rental store would have TONS of films that I understand only a fraction of which can be streamed today.  Maybe 75% of all of Hitchcock's sound-era films can be streamed today (I don't know), but it was just 28-ish years ago that I remember going around to every video-rental place in the small town where I went to college (population 30,000), and collectively in that tiny town, I personally binge-watched 80% of Hitchcock's sound-era films, JUST FROM WHAT WAS IN THE 5 VIDEO-RENTAL STORES IN THAT TOWN OF 30,000.  In a much larger city (back then), I could have probably rented 90% of them, I'm betting -- which is probably WAY more than you can stream on-line now.

The music holdings owned and license by huge conglomerates stand the best chance of "survival" -- but that still leaves a ton of lesser-known stuff, that's more likely to get the axe at some point or some of it, at least).  How about Charles Tolliver's or Billy Harper's great 70's recordings?  Most of Woody Shaw's studio dates are probably safe (most were on major labels), but how about all the live stuff? - and there's TONS of *live* Woody Shaw, close to a dozen CD's (give or take, hell it might be 14-15, I've lost count), just off the top of my head -- but most of THAT hasn't been on majors.

Maybe my CD collection is overly obscure, but off the top of my head, I would fear a disproportionate part of it (maybe 25%?) might easily never be on any streaming services, or be available for a time, with some portion of it suddenly disappearing at some point.

Yes I'm pulling numbers out of thin air, but I'm deliberately NOT trying to be hyperbolic and suggesting the majority of the 3,000 CD's I own would suddenly disappear from streaming services.  But you can't tell me with any certainty which part of it will disappear (on-line), and I do think some of it will -- and which "some" is the big question nobody knows.

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Plan B is a good idea.   Keep a physical and digital copy stored locally and upload a copy to your favorite streaming service for cataloging and retrieving.   I've had uploaded material disappear from Amazon so I don't assume that once uploaded, forever uploaded.   Just last year Amazon purged most music uploads - and after requesting they don't delete my music, I still lost about 10% in the cloud.  It was older music not available in their store.   I am weary that I get the less compressed codex too. 

I love the benefits of streaming 'my music' for all the reasons stated above.   One of the neat features of streaming is the statistics it provides.   I have purchased enough music for my lifetime.   If I were to listen 24/7/365 it would take me over 20 years to hear each tune once.   It's because of this that I have become selective in what I own.   

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Rooster, consider this: I can tell you none of it will disappear with the same amount of certainty that can tell me that 10% or more will. 

It’s all speculation at this point. 

Either way, physical copies can be lost, stolen, rendered unplayable, etc... that’s why I personally don’t see the logic in making it seem like potential loss is exclusively attributable to digital/streaming media. 

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qumran6jars.jpg

Now available for music storage!

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I think I'll keep my cds and my hard disc backup of music on my computer but I can see streaming music and "capturing" rare material that I worry might disappear. 

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6 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Well, physical copies certainly won't disappear.  But I don't trust that everything that's currently available to be reliably available forever.  80% or more, yes, probably all safe (so maybe my 20-30% is a bit high -- maybe it's more like 10-15%).

In any case, it's not some NON-trivial small number of recordings (like 2%).  As Jim eluded to before, companies come and go all the time, and so do agreements.  Not, not most of them (I realize), but who's to say that something semi-obscure won't be in the next batch of stuff that doesn't seem to be "accessible" any more, for whatever reason.

I agree, the great majority of "popular" jazz recordings will probably be accessible via streaming for decades to come.  But how much stuff that has only ever come out on CD once (or maybe twice), might either never be available -- or maybe be available for a time, but then in some huge acquisition, be easily excised because the costs don't outweigh the benefits.

For instance:  How many movies and TV series have been on Netflix for quite a number of years, only to disappear.  I'm not on Netflix, mind you, but I've read about that numerous times (meaning a couple times every year, for several years now).  It's not boatloads of material, but it's not a non-trivial tiny amount either.  It used to be a really good, art-house-oriented video-rental store would have TONS of films that I understand only a fraction of which can be streamed today.  Maybe 75% of all of Hitchcock's sound-era films can be streamed today (I don't know), but it was just 28-ish years ago that I remember going around to every video-rental place in the small town where I went to college (population 30,000), and collectively in that tiny town, I personally binge-watched 80% of Hitchcock's sound-era films, JUST FROM WHAT WAS IN THE 5 VIDEO-RENTAL STORES IN THAT TOWN OF 30,000.  In a much larger city (back then), I could have probably rented 90% of them, I'm betting -- which is probably WAY more than you can stream on-line now.

The music holdings owned and license by huge conglomerates stand the best chance of "survival" -- but that still leaves a ton of lesser-known stuff, that's more likely to get the axe at some point or some of it, at least).  How about Charles Tolliver's or Billy Harper's great 70's recordings?  Most of Woody Shaw's studio dates are probably safe (most were on major labels), but how about all the live stuff? - and there's TONS of *live* Woody Shaw, close to a dozen CD's (give or take, hell it might be 14-15, I've lost count), just off the top of my head -- but most of THAT hasn't been on majors.

Spot on. It's not any technical limitation that will cause streamable/cloud-based music and movies to suddenly disappear, it's the whims of fewer and fewer huge multinational corporations who suddenly decide that something isn't profitable enough to bother with anymore. 

Consider: when AT&T acquired Time Warner, there were plenty of indications that this would not be a good thing for TW. The attached screenshot is but one data point of many similar ones. In short order, the new sheriff put in charge of the newly-reorganized WarnerMedia has pulled the plug on the highly-regarded video streaming service FilmStruck, which was home to not only Warner's huge library of classic movies but also the Criterion Collection. Oh, they say they will be rolling out a "new, improved" streaming service in the near future, but given the well-documented arrogance of AT&T, no one will be surprised if the more obscure and less-popular stuff has been pruned, because who really needs niche product that's only marginally profitable, anyway? Meanwhile the Criterion folks are left high and dry and trying to figure out next steps to rehome their streaming catalog elsewhere. 

All of which is not to say that one should completely forswear the cloud (or technology in general for that matter). But use it with clear eyes and no illusions. Anyone who advocates completely discarding physical copies under one's own control in favor of digital files on a remote hard drive owned by someone else is going to eventually wind up very, very upset. Such an argument reminds me of people who use "it's all on the internet now" as a straight-faced rationale for decimating library holdings. No, it's not, and even though it may well be in the future, your access can still be instantly revoked as the result of a business decision, and if you don't have your own set of backups, there's not a damn thing you can do about it.  
 

delanytweet.JPG

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9 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

??? Absolutely, which is why I said this:
 

But let me ask you, How do you manage, store and locate anything in your collection now? For example, is your collection in alphabetical order, genre, era? Let's say I come over and you tell me about this CD/LP that you bought 30 years ago, and haven't listened to for 29. How quickly and easily would it be for you to find it in your collection? 

I send you into the stacks with a compass, 4 condoms, and three days worth of provisions.

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Always a treat to hear from Dana Delaney! And to have a The President's Analyst reference dropped! 

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I've sometimes been thinking of what to do the day when Jim A can no longer raise the funds for covering monthly or yearly server costs. Could the contents of the whole forum be sold on hard copies (or maybe downloads) for future reference? Right now, the whole forum is the equivalent to 'streaming', right? Would anybody pay for that, and if so - how much? Would it even be possible from an intellectual properties perspective? 

When the BNBB was going down, I started to do a backup of the whole site with some kind of software. I may have had 25 percent or so covered when the forums disappeared. But except for some browsing during the following month, I've never looked at what I managed to save again.

Edited by Daniel A

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When Lois shut down the forums at Jazz Corner all of that went bye bye. 

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On 11/13/2018 at 5:36 AM, Scott Dolan said:

Could you please give an honest answer now? 

ok - I can find just about anything; partly because I have an unusually good memory, so I am lucky. Artist CDs are by genre and then in alphabetical order. "Various" cds are more problematic, but I have the blues/country/jazz separated by category. 

LPs are not in much order of anything, but I don't have that many left. 

It's a challenge sometimes, but I have already done 3 major projects with this collection,

Edited by AllenLowe

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On 11/13/2018 at 10:38 AM, JSngry said:

Always a treat to hear from Dana Delaney! And to have a The President's Analyst reference dropped! 

I posted that in another forum, and after a bit of discussion, someone finally responded "You guys are burying the lede! The important takeaway here is that Dana Delany's a fan of THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST!"

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So Dana Delaney and I have that in common. Should we ever meet, I'll be sure to use that as an opening conversational gambit. :wub:

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Food for thought (particularly the bit about streaming being essentially a surveillance-based ad delivery system, something that is often glossed over):

The Last Format

Streaming is just the latest stage in a corporate evolution. From the early 20th century, each new musical format claimed somehow to “liberate” consumers, while really binding them more to the industry: The 78 record promised music without the strain of having to perform it yourself; the CD promised a better listening experience, with more control over playback and distribution. Innovations in music technology only tricked fans into shelling out more cash. The mp3 seemed like the final stage in format history, allowing listeners to enjoy and share music in common, without having to buy a physical object. From a capitalist standpoint, all it did was pave the way for the latest innovation, streaming: the industry found a way to capitalize on the idea of unfettered access and the end of ownership. Maybe fans don’t own the music anymore, but the companies, as they remind us, always did.

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What ads? The only ads are on the free version of Spotify, there are none on Apple Music because it is subscription only. 

I mean, it sounds like a wonderful bit of “the Capitalists are coming to take away our freedom” nuttery. But in reality it doesn’t jibe with...reality. 

Edited by Scott Dolan

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If they have your data, you'll get the ads one way or another.

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Unless you’re one of those people who have figured how to be totally insular on the net, aggregated data will get something to you, somewhere. I see all kinds of little things here and there that I know can’t be random.

Can I “prove”? Not with my skill set. But nobody collects you data as a hobby, just sayin’...

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Understood. 

But, I pay for Apple Music through my iTunes account. 

So unless they “surveil” me through that account and somehow send me ads...somewhere else? It ain’t happening. 

Does the ad thing happen? You better believe it! But via paid streaming? I’d be interesting in seeing proof of that. 

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I have zero faith that any of my aggregate data does not end up being used for targeted ads (or news) of some type. Maybe that's an overreaction, but until solidly and independently  proven otherwise, that's my expectation.

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I get that, and for the most part we've all seen ample evidence of that being the case.

My point is that I'm not seeing how it is even possible with streaming, outside of the free version of Spotify. 

For example, the Apple Music interface is clean and simply. It starts with a white screen and nothing more than a search box. I search, it give me results for that artist. I choose an album and listen to it. Only thing I see now is the album cover, tracks, info blurb, and at the bottom of the screen other albums from said artist, and occasionally albums from "similar" artists. 

That's it.

So surveil away. I have no clue how ANY relevant information will come out of that. 

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The front end interface might be clean, but without the back end data, nothing happens.

Apple may be doing nothing with that back end data, not even internally. I wouldn't give anybody the benefit of that doubt, though.

For the record, I'm not really "upset" about that either. The fight for absolute data privacy was never really fought from any position other than a retroactive one, and here we are. "They" got the data, and it will be used. C'est la vie.

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Yeah, but what data? The artists I listen to? I highly doubt them knowing my appreciation of Tyshawn Sorey will help them target any ads at me.

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Generic data, location, etc. Maybe general music taste, maybe not. Definitely browser info/etc, browsing history, perhaps. Probably no one thing, just aggregate data that is either sold or used internally.

When I started webbing on windows 5(?), I set it so that I could screen every f-ing cookie that tried to get placed on my machine.  That worked for about a year, and then it got overwhelming. Now I just clean everything up every  few weeks, and the stuff that's on there is just stupid. and that's with a browser setting to allow neither "3rd party" cookies and "tracking".

I also gave up on "private" browser sessions, because I definitely saw signs that they are not truly private. So, you know, whatcha' gonna do? If you want privacy about something, don't go to the internet with it, simple as that.

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