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Converting MP3 to Flac good or bad idea?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by aurabullet, May 2, 2011.
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  1. Snag1e


    Labels do not equate to studios. I listen to a lot of stuff that was recorded in privet studios. I also never said I wanted labels to "go down" or "make cut backs" ...All I want is them to stop compressing the life out of music during mastering.....I am personally not going to support them until they do. 
    Likewise, music recorded in a privet studio could be distributed online, either for free, or for sale....many artists already do this actually. 
    You're right, CDs wouldn't be the same quality, they would likely be better quality, because they wouldn't be mastered absolutely HORRENDOUSLY.
    And again, while the label may set up shows / promos for some bands, there would still be shows without the labels ...look at any unsigned band...they still have shows...and once again, I never said anything about the labels going out of business. 
    The main reason that Artist want to be signed to a major label is simply money and popularity. I can't blame them for that, If I was in a band I would want to be rich and popular as well.
    Again, legality is a horrible barometer for morality. If you guys buy all of your music, great....some people don't though, and there is nothing wrong with that... (subjectively of course) [​IMG]
  2. Permagrin

    All true (afaik I didn't check on those obscure laws but every place has some old ones on the books still).

    I'm not really into morals or ethics I really feel that unless you're affecting someone else you go and ruin your life however you like.

    Originally this was about me and my problem with people I meet who think they're special and love music so much but they won't give a penny to artists as "everyone else is doing it and none of them have been prosecuted so it must not be a bad thing to do".

    When I first started collecting music, one of the few places that I could get music from was one of those boutique stores that sold $16+ CDs. Then I learned that it only costs 10 cents to manufacture a CD and I was like this is totally BS! Greedy corporate monopolists!

    But then I came to realize that it's all logical. As a business it's all about making money (just like being human, without the money tickets we'd be out on the street and die, survival mechanism, blah blah, etc.) so the less I have to spend and the more I take in the more I increase the chances that I will survive.

    Something about assuming intent where none exists will only make you a bitter, lonely person who will eventually die alone (speaking from experience).


    fabian005 likes this.
  3. kyuuketsuki
    Wow... you are really naive.
    1) Most bands out there, if you download their music online, chances are they are a part of a label. VERY few artists are private. Most artists are either part of a major label (Sony, Universal) or an indie label (too many to even think of listing). You are just kidding yourself if you think labels don't help. 
    2) You honestly think that major labels master tracks horribly? Really? Wow, I don't know what music you listen to, but most major labels that deal with good artists master their CDs amazingly. Each label treats their artists differently and each label has their intents. And if they are mastering properly, they shouldn't be compressing that much. Granted, I'm sure more than a few studios compress more than they need to, but that tends to happen MORE with indie labels, because they want to put more on one CD to launch their respective artists.
    3) You think every artist signs to a major label for those reasons? Clearly you have never worked in the entertainment industry or known anyone that worked in the entertainment industry. You can get all the freedom you want being alone, but you'll never have connections to certain venues of distribution and exposure. You'll also have to work that much harder to make anything happening. You'll also have to spend that much more, because studios, especially private ones are not cheap. Many bands are never heard because of such problems. Do you have any idea how many bands die off because of not being able to afford enough studio time to make a proper demo? Or to make a proper master disk for their first album? (The cheapest is approximately $50 per hour, where as a top rated studio can cost upwards of $100) Now that may seem like plenty of time until you realize to make a proper CD HUNDREDS of takes are usually needed to get it right. So to make lets say 3 tracks it could take an entire day. Lets say your day is 10 hours. That is $1000 right there, and that is not including the money it would take you to distribute your media, or to hire a proper mastering engineer to make sure that everything is perfect.  Jumping on the web? Well... there is hosting costs, sure you can distribute through torrent for free, but you still need a site to host your bands information and dates, otherwise no one will know who you are and thus, all of your work will be for nothing. Also after spending that money, why would you let people download your music for free? At this point you are losing money, and you won't last long. At the end of the day it is all about capital, and record labels have that. 
    There is a lot more to the entertainment industry than what you know or even realize. I used to be like you until I got to know people in the entertainment industry. My friend's father is an audio engineer, my friend is an unsigned artist under Armada music, and another friend who is trying to make it as a jazz musician. It is not easy. They lose work in a moments notice, and it is usually because of people like you who download music for free. I'm not saying you have to buy all of your music, but downloading all of your music is also a mistake.
    PS: A lot of those laws you were stating earlier are really archaic and never enforced. But downloading something for free that is not supposed to be free is stealing, which in every country is illegal. You may not be physically taking something from someone, but you are removing money from the pockets of the record label and artist. And you never know how much an artist is getting from record sales. Each label constructs their contracts differently between artists. So one artist may only get 5% while another may get 30%. Indie labels may be even more shifted towards the artists favor depending on the label.

  4. Permagrin

    This isn't directed specifically at you but you're the last one to post.

    Nothing you said answers the question, why do you feel that acquiring copyrighted music is not immoral (if you are a moralist) or should not be considered theft?

    Is it because the product is now available digitally which is so easy to transfer?

    Is it because the product can be easily copied on to physical media?

    Before CD writers were commercially available the only way to acquire music (other than tape to tape, etc.) was to walk into a brick and mortar and take it off the shelf.

    That's the same product that people now "steal" daily because they're unafraid of recourse because people are rarely prosecuted as it is so widespread.

    What's the difference? Walk into your local music outlet, grab some CDs, and try walking out without paying. Act surprised when they call the cops. "But, but I download music all the time for free off the internet and never received a subpoena. There's no difference! This isn't stealing!"

    That's where you (again, not the last poster specifically) are drawing the line.
  5. Snag1e


    1. Correct. Most bands are a part of a label, and labels do help bands get their music out to people who otherwise wouldn't hear it. I actually do listen do a fair amount of music by local and unsigned bands (much of which I bought from the artist at small local shows) , however I will admit that the vast majority of artist that I listen to are still signed to some kind of a label. 
    2. Really Really. I don't know if you have heard of "The Loudness War" or not, but If you won't believe what I have to say on that matter I will give you some links that illustrate it better than I can explain. I will say that many indie labels do use brickwall limiting to make albums "appear" loud just as much as major labels do (although I wouldn't say more).  The links below should be a good start to learning about the subject, although there are considerably more websights dedicated to it.
    3. Yes, recording can and most often is expensive...although it doesn't always have to be (especially for a mix tape etc) ...I have heard music recorded in small basement studios (that are far cheaper than larger professional ones) that IMHO sounds just as good if not better than many of the albums recorded in larger studios. Much of this again comes back to the loudness war, and improper mastering (links above).
    Admittedly I have never worked in the entertainment industry, I do however have several friends and acquaintances who are in small bands, and I have done, and helped do, sound at several small local shows, but that is the extent of my experience there. 
    4. (PS)
    Again, I feel that stealing involves removing the original piece, and not simply copying it. You are right, Steeling is illegal in every country, "piracy" is not illegal in every country however, simply because it is not theft.
    Blaming a decline on album sales soley on "piracy" is a ridiculous assertion, there are far to many uncontrolled variables that completely flaw any apparent correlation (again, including but not limited to progressively mastering albums hotter). I actually read an interesting article once that was arguing (quite convincingly)  that "piracy" was actually increasing album sales, but I don't know where to find it now.....
    Sure different artists get paid different amounts due to record sales, the $23.40 / $1000 is simply the average.
    I love music, and I am all for supporting bands that I love. I buy their merch at shows ect. I simply feel that there are better ways of supporting them that buying albums.
    Oh, and while I'd be down to argue this, this thread really isn't the place for it, and obviously I'm not going to win you over to my viewpoint haha =]. That really is good honestly, I'm glad that people have different Ideas and views on subjects, and I'm glad that you are informed and willing to defend yours. [​IMG] Please though, read into the loudness war, it really is a horrible thing....
  6. Snag1e


    I feel that acquiring copyrighted music is not immoral for the exact reason that I do not consider it theft. Simply that I feel that stealing involves removing the original piece or work, and not simply copying it. I would have not bought much of the music that I have downloaded (frankly I wouldn't have the money to), and I really don't understand how me possessing a copy of something that I wouldn't have bought in the first place harms anyone.  Walking into a shop and taking a album would be steeling because you would be removing the physical copy from the story, however you could download a copy of that same album, and the one in the store would still be there untouched.
    That is my view on the matter anyway. Props to you and your collection BTW, Physical collections are definitely cool, [​IMG] while I do buy some albums (mostly on vinyl), I simply don't have enough money to buy them all.... (unfortunately lol) =D
  7. Snag1e
    Sorry, I just realized that you don't understand what I am referring to when I say "compression" I am not referring to lossy compression such as MPEG etc....Audio CDs are limited at 80 minuets anyway, regardless how small in size the audio you are putting on them is. In almost every studio audio is recorded at at least 24/96, then dithered and resampled to redbook 16/44.1 for production. This is not what I am talking about, and this is just fine... according to the Nyquist Shannon sampling theorem the difference is inaudible for playback.
    I am referring to dynamic range compression and limiting. Many new albums are compressed to having less than 4 db of dynamic range, which is quite frankly unacceptable. Sorry for the confusion, I guess I should have made that more clear......
  8. danroche
    Sorry to drag this back up, but I just saw how my last post started this thread off on a discussion of the morality of music piracy. Below I will have my say and then step back off the soapbox:
    In simple terms, it goes absolutely without argument that piracy is having a significant and detrimental effect on the music industry. One can always drag up contrary evidence in small, tailored pieces, like one would due to dismiss global warming, but the evidence is damning.
    Below are some common excuses/defenses of piracy I normally see, and what I say when I hear them:
    1. "I only download what I wouldn't normally buy, or just want to try out"
    Let's assume for a second that you, miraculously, can handle your heroin. Do you think this is how the majority or even a significant number of downloaders think or operate? Also, how do you know any of the CDs you downloaded you wouldn't have at some point bought? Maybe you were "trying out" a new artist or album, but shouldn't that be something you would pay for? If I "try out" a new dish at a restaurant, I need to pay the bill regardless of whether I like what I ordered or eat the whole plate. The same should go for music.
    2. "I'm not taking physical product, so it's not stealing."
    I could make photocopies of a new book to distribute, and while I'm not stealing paper, I'm directly reducing the number of copies of that book that WOULD HAVE BEEN purchased. The supply/demand curve for CDs is not defined by limits in the supply of cheap, circular pieces of sand and plastic.
    3. "Artists don't get a huge percentage of what I'm paying, so they shouldn't care anyway."
    Since the beginning of time, cost models of the major labels have been built to offset sunk costs or losses from failed groups or CDs with the profits of successful ones. Every copy of "Nevermind" we purchased in 1991 was used, at least in some part, to offset losses from other CDs that year that DIDN'T sell, covering recording and promotion costs that would not otherwise be recouped. When labels lose the ability to hedge these bets, they SIGN FEWER ARTISTS and take fewer chances on new talent. They instead go for the 10,000th remastering of some retread classic rock catalog or the safest music one could imagine. Music gets boring.  Artists that WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE BEEN SIGNED are left in the club scene, so yes, they are impacted.
    4. "<introducing misinterpreted data to suggest downloading is helping music sales>"
    There's no shortage of people who will gladly mistake correlation for causation in making the case that downloading is having no effect on music sales. There was a study last year out of Scandinavia that suggested people who downloaded music were more likely to purchase music than people who didn't. People jumped all over this, using it as "evidence" for their cause.  The only problem is that the most likely explanation for the study was that people who liked music were more likely to buy AND download music than people who didn't listen to it altogether. There was nothing in the research that suggested that one behavior influenced the other, or that, in the absence of downloading, music listeners would suddenly stop paying for music altogether.
    5. "It's all about the quality of music being churned out today!"
    First off, let's look at self-fulfilling prophecies from item #3. Then, look at other data factors. If this were the case, we'd be seeing a drop in concert revenues exactly proportionate to the drop in CD sales. Also, one can't make the case, outside of normal "get off my lawn" curmudgeonliness, that music today is SO MUCH WORSE than at any point in the last 40 years that would justify the multi-year collapse we've been witnessing.
    6. "It's all about the loudness war!"
    Oh please. Ask any non internet audiophile what the loudness war even is and they can't tell you. To US the loudness war is destroying fidelity. To the average listener, I would wager to say it's a way they can hear music more clearly through their ear buds on a crowded subway. It's not the cause. I know we hate to think it, but the AVERAGE listener is going to want their music  loud. People like us on the forums aren't the average listener. Find me a collection of college students who have turned their back on the industry because of the limited dynamic range of modern recordings, and I'll eat my hat.
    rroseperry likes this.
  9. Permagrin
    ^^ Well put. :o2smile:
  10. kyuuketsuki


    I concur.
  11. TheDreamthinker
    what about:
    I am simply to stingy to spend xxx$ on CDs. You think mainstream artists like Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Beyonce, still need my financial support?
    I know many people spend 100+ $ on music CDs. AudiophileCDs of course shouldn't/can't be downloaded.
    In my case, there is no point in buying CDs as once on my computer, they start to dust in my room.
    Buying indie-label musician albums is supporting careers, which i can understand.
  12. kyuuketsuki
    You are supporting careers no matter what. More money for the industry means everyone wins. More bands can be signed, more cds can be produced and some of those indie artists can be signed to major labels and brought out into the open.
    I'm not a fan of piracy anymore. As I said, as much as I used to download, I stopped (though not entirely), and I try to buy more. The industry needs people to start buying again. Whether it be physical CDs, or simply digital music from amazon, iTunes or other sites. The collapse of the music industry is not an option, and trying to support the labels as well as the artists should be natural. Because even if you aren't supporting the artists directly, what about the sound engineers who help them record. Or their mastering engineers who prepare the tracks for distrobution. Or what of the arrangers (not every band arranges their own music). There are usually teams of people who help bring you the music you enjoy. The money from CDs has to be split several ways in order to support everyone. If Sony music went under, then they have 15 individual labels underthem that would cease to exist, or fall into financial strife. And then a lot of musicians would be SOL. If any of the big 4 went down it would be disasterous.

  13. TheDreamthinker

    You do have a point.

    1) would you really buy a 50Cent album?
    2) would you really support APPLE (at least i wouldn't)
  14. danroche


    But let's assume that Jay-Z and co. don't need your support - that's probably correct. When you purchase their albums, you are subsidizing artists across the label. When a major label has a stream of safe cash coming in the door from Kid Rock and Beyonce sales, they can go for more home run hits by signing new talent. More cash coming in the door leads to albums taking more chances, signing MORE new talent, and even if most of them flop (which is always the case, dating back decades) those that hit will continue to support additional investments.  And as a nice side-benefit, some of those albums that "flop" contain REALLY GOOD MUSIC, and end up, over time, being the next Big Stars, Velvet Undergrounds, etc.  In a world where labels can take these risks, some of these "flops" or small-market attractions may be allowed to take another shot at the basket.  A "Bleach" may lead to a "Nevermind" for example.   When the steady cash flow from the Lil Wayne discs dries up, labels need to become more conservative. Less new talent is signed.  More box sets of "sure hit" artists are churned out.
    And let's not change the argument and make this about CDs.  It's about music.  If you buy albums on iTunes or Amazon, you are paying for music, and that's alright with everybody. I agree that CDs are a dying media.  That doesn't mean my only recourse is to go download music for free.
  15. kyuuketsuki
    I do not enjoy rap, so no, but I'm sure there are plenty of people that would. I always buy DT, ATB, Steve Vai and the B'z. 
    I do not like iTunes, but I do respect that they are trying to correct the music industry's huge mistake of not fighting Napster, and instead take it over and make it a paid service back when they had a chance to use the internet to distribute earlier. They missed their chance, and now they have this mess.
    Honestly, I prefer Amazon, because really... that whole cloud player is a brilliant idea. I hope Google can measure up. Also Amazon is 100% online based. I also prefer other online distribution like HDTracks. There are a lot of choices. 

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