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ARSCLIST  June 2009

ARSCLIST June 2009

Subject:

Re: Virgin Sacrifice

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 06:38:12 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (166 lines)

Hi Jack:

Your situation is somewhat unique, perhaps so unique that there is not even a niche market for it in 
the modern download world. However, you raise a good point -- all the material that is currently out 
of print, sometimes called "long-tail content." I've argued numerous times on this list and in other 
forums that all of it should eventually be available as downloads. There is, however, some cost 
involved with digitizing old material and some masters are forever lost. The biggest block, though, 
to getting the more obscure stuff online is copyright laws. Stuff stays copyright in the US far too 
long, especially if it's out of print. I've argued that there should be a requirement for copyrights 
to last beyond what the rest of the world finds reasonable, that the material should have to be in 
print in a common consumer format or the copyright expires. If you didn't have the copyright laws, 
much much more variety of material would be online for legal download, put there by fans and 
collectors or a guy willing to sell his amateur transfers for a quarter or a dime a song. It would 
be great for consumers because it would probably drive download prices down, as well as offering a 
"longer tail" of obscure sub-genre stuff than is now legally available.

Your point illustrates the main weakness of the current music business model, and it was also 
touched on by Mike Biel about record stores in the years before they all collapsed -- a lack of 
variety is widely toxic to the business. It causes a general dissatisfaction among the more 
mainstream consumers ("who cares, there's nothing new or interesting there, just the same old 
stuff") and stymies those who want to "go deep in the stacks" and really learn about a genre or 
artist. A sure way for a stores buyer traffic to dry up.

Finally, my point wasn't about unique collections like what yours obviously was (since you were able 
to sell it). Hence my sentence about Black Patty and Shaded Dog disks and McIntosh equipment. My 
point was about what most of us have for collections, myself included. Roomfuls of heavy and mostly 
worthless stuff, shelves of common records and CD's, boxes of common and/or not-good-condition 78's, 
with a subset of a small amount of the volume that's truly valuable. As time goes on, many of us 
will find that even this subset won't raise enough dough for our survivors to dispose of the mass of 
dumpster fodder. And I think these dreams of libraries, universities and archives suddenly springing 
up to collect and preserve all this are pipe dreams, given likely economic conditions and general 
cultural disinterest in anything "old" going forward.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jack Palmer" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:59 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Virgin Sacrifice


> Tom,
>    I certainly qualify as an old man.  I'm even older than Mike!  But even if I was willing to 
> download the music only I could not obtain the artist and the music I want.  It is only available 
> from old 78s.  Most of it has never been released on CD or even LP.  So where does that leave me? 
> Either look for the old records or forget the music I want to hear?  So my choice is looking for 
> the records.  And I enjoy it.  I have met so many interesting people and traveled across the 
> entire US looking for the music.  I can't travel anymore due to health problems but I still check 
> out several mail order lists and on line listings.  I feel I am doubly blessed.  I get to hear the 
> music and I also have the original artifact that the music was issued on.  You have to be a record 
> collector (of any age) to know what it is like.   Jack
>
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 6:41 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Virgin Sacrifice
>
>
>> Hi Mike:
>>
>> No offense, but your attitude about downloads shows your age. There are definitely a few "kids" 
>> who want a houseful of dusty objects, but I respect just as much the person who is collecting the 
>> MUSIC, not the THING, in which case an iPod full of downloads is more MUSIC in a more convenient 
>> place than ever existed before. Now if only that music were in full CD quality or better instead 
>> of lossy-compressed ...
>>
>> Since we can't take either one with us, it might be more merciful on those we leave behind to 
>> leave a single computer drive and iPod vs. a house of moldy things to be disposed of. On the 
>> other hand, if it's a house full of minty Black Pattys, Shaded Dogs and McIntosh amplifiers, 
>> perhaps the survivors will forgive the clutter as the cash rolls in from selling it! But this 
>> isn't usually the case.  I think there are guys on this list who appraise giant piles of shellac 
>> and vinyl all the time and will report how worthless many acres of this stuff is, so mainly it's 
>> a burden on those left behind unless they share the love of the stuff or own a carting business.
>>
>> As for used bookstores, except for my strange inclination to collect first edition hardcovers of 
>> certain mainstream books about politics and journalism, I've had much better luck and saved tons 
>> of money using AbeBooks. So once again, the Internet wins. Aside from books about music and the 
>> record business, I've stopped buying altogether due to lack of space. Library trumps wallet 
>> nowadays.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:30 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Virgin Sacrifice
>>
>>
>> From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Maybe it's an age thing, but I can't see any reason for physical stores
>>> for music since Amazon took off. I haven't bought a book or CD from a
>>> physical store in probably a decade now.
>>
>> To a certain extent that is similar to me, especially when I am home in
>> Kentucky, far, far away from any record stores with just a small
>> non-discount bookstore in town.  Constantly when something is discussed
>> in these forums or I otherwise hear about something available, I check
>> on Amazon and a couple of other places and ZIP, I click and buy.  The
>> problem is not being able to combine shipping in the marketplace area,
>> which raises the price considerably when buying several things that the
>> same vendor offers.
>>
>> But that being said, when visiting Leah in NYC we always try to drop
>> into Acadamy Records, Book-Off, Strand Books, and a neat remainder book
>> place we found in the Village, and we usually leave these places with
>> too many things to carry, so I usually drive there.  Then there are the
>> special events like the semi- and annual sales at places like the
>> ARChive of Contemporary Music that Leah and I hit this afternoon.  We
>> crawled out with almost 100 one dollar LPs, almost 50 two dollar
>> LaserDiscs, and some 50 cent 78s including two Chaillapin Opera Discs,
>> Jazz at the Philharmonic Vol 4 on Disc album 504, Artie Shaw plays Cole
>> Porter on Musicraft album S2, King Cole Trio Capitol album B8 with an
>> extra disc, and Tetrazzini on the vinyl Heritage Series 15-0001, and
>> some other stuff including two Hoffnung books.  (The sale continues thru
>> Sunday, so if you're in the NYC area you might want to check it out
>> http://www.arcmusic.org  )  And then there's the Jazz Record Bash on Fri
>> and Sat, and everybody will be there.  And then there's the Antique
>> Phonograph and Record shop in South Jersey we went to last Saturday
>> while in the Phila area and got a couple dozen 78s there.
>>
>> There is nothing like being able to handle and inspect the records,
>> including the ones you don't buy, which can't be done on the internet
>> nor in mail auctions.  While 78 collectors have been using mail auctions
>> since the 1930s, most of these collectors have also gone thru tens of
>> thousands of records in stores, so they get to know what the details are
>> in the actual records.  I know I have looked at more than a million
>> records over the years. This is an important learning experience for
>> collectors.  When the rock collectors started having access to mail
>> auctions in the late 70s in Goldmine and other magazines like it, I
>> noticed that the majority of rock collectors had never really gone thru
>> piles of thousands of records, and usually knew nothing about the
>> records themselves.  Reading the articles in these rock collector
>> magazines, looking at what they mistakenly called "discographies", and
>> the auction lists themselves, showed how ignorant these rock collectors
>> were, even the "experts".  All too often they had never looked at any
>> records that were not already in their collection.  They didn't know
>> labels, pressing plant styles, matrix numbers, etc.  Obvious conterfeits
>> were snapped up like the real things by them if they ventured out to a
>> record show.
>>
>>
>>> And downloads trump even that because not only are they convenient,
>>> they are near-instant gratification.  Now if only full 44.1/16-bit
>>> downloads would go down to 99 cents or less per song and be
>>> commonplace, we'd finally be at a reasonable "new paradigm."
>>
>> So if these "collectors" now stick to just downloading things, that
>> might leave the real artifacts for us real collectors. I'm not
>> interested in paying for vapor, which is all a download is.  We did use
>> some free streams as source for some of the music in Leah's documentary
>> because most of the music was added while I was in New York and my
>> records were in Kentucky.  I do buy plenty of CD reissues of 78s, so I
>> am not a purist who insists on having the 78 even if it is impossibly
>> rare.  But if the reissue is on a CD or a download, I will go for the
>> CD.  You are not a record collector if you go for the download.  (In
>> Leah's documentary, Kurt Nauck discusses the difference between music
>> lovers who just want to listen to the music, and record collectors who
>> want the record and also might listen to the record.)
>>
>> Mike Biel   [log in to unmask]
>>
> 

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