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Topic: Wake up and participate in your future

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Wake up and participate in your future

    Dear friends,

    Cycles are a way of life. A benefit and curse of aquiring age is learning to detect patterns which lead to predictable outcomes. This is the reason baby learns not to touch an iron, and that a man learns any hot chick in a miniskirt who approaches him in a hotel bar and says \"Want to take me to your room?\" is probably a hooker.

    I am an old enough man to have purchased and used instruments from Moog. I studied composition on a Buchla. And before you ask me to tell you about walking to school both directions in the rain, please also consider my participation here and in mainstream publications like Keyboard, ProRec, Stage Research, and my long history of support for sample developers here. I am not a person who rejects progress. My personal goal, being a musician and producer of expertise over many years, is to see that the lessons I have learned become buttons we can now push and get a result. I exchange information freely with anyone who is dedicated to building musical tools. I try to reveal any information that is not a confidence, legal or those that exist in the beaten way of friendship, because I believe we should lift our knowledge base.

    I have tried to share production expertise here, with only the hope that others share and we all grow. My time gets somewhat compensated, because I have had the opportunity to participate in some very exciting developments that benefit all of us.

    Lately, I have beaten a loud drum on the subject of Content Copy Protection, the idea that a sampler should have options for a content developer to lock access to recorded waveforms. My position is that although there are some valid and cohesive points favoring CCP, the severe rollback of functionality required to implement \"total lockdown\" is unbearable. In this state, sampled content is editable only in the virtual domain, not the physical. Without access to the physical samples, nonlinear editing of waveforms is impossible.

    Furthermore, financial resources do not exist which would enable a sampler manufacturer to replace this technology within the CCP paradigm. To do so would literally involve building an application, such as a Sound Forge or Wavelab, or more powerfully, a Vegas or Samplitude, WITHIN THE APPLICATION. Since all of these applications and more unnamed ones have several years and millions of dollars of development already accomplished, one can see the reason that waveform editing in samplers has always been diverted. In fact, Sound Forge sales were driven by SCSI sampler users in its eary days, and it was a defacto choice for sampler owners who used PCs. Likewise, Mac based hardware/software combinations have existed for years...the hardware to pump the engine, and the software to edit the waveforms.

    People in a position to financially benefit from CCP have attacked my reasoning, my veracity, my ability to think, and have even suggested I am losing my mind in an effort to distract you from hearing me.

    As I have said, I am a man of some age, enough to see patterns that have repeated in my lifetime.

    Having been priveleged to come of age with synthesizers, I can reveal a pattern to you which you can see repeating itself--one which is larger than CCP. In fact, CCP is the symptom, like a dripping nose, of this larger disease.

    The musical instrument market is a niche. Its survival has always depended upon one thing: Being able to sell musical instruments to people who are not fully expert at using them. The Bach Stradivarius, a mainstream, pro-grade trumpet, isn\'t available for $1200 because pros buy it. It\'s available for that price because junior high parents buy thousands of them and store them in closets when the kid decides to join the drama club instead. The pro gets subsidized on the back of the legions of junior high hopefuls.

    Here is an example: If you are a GigaStudio user, chances are you DON\'T use the full feature set. But you subsidize that feature set, which then satisfies the power user and the soundware developer\'s ability to break ground with the toolset. When they do, it trickles down in the form of knowlege and products for you to buy. Everyone moves forward, because the subsidy is bearable and it benefits the entire market.

    Now it\'s being proposed that the majority of the market is better served by imposing upon the smaller power user segment, locking the tools he wants away and providing them only to the sample developer, in exchange for the ability of that sample developer to serve his broader market more profitably. The larger market hopes to benefit from a Reaganomics-like trickledown, where its prices might drop, and its choices might increase as a result of this tradeoff.

    But do not, like my colleagues who try to discredit me, be lulled into believing there are no costs.

    Patterns.

    Eric disagreed with me that software synthesis broke a logjam in the availability of decent tools. But I disagree with him, and beg everyone to look at the facts. Mainstream synthesis--that is, synthesis and sampling that an average musician or producer could afford, started going to hell in a handbasket from the Korg M1, forward. The first victim was Yamaha\'s next-generation of DX synths. Because the M1 was so good at knocking off \"sounds,\" and because it had a set of grainy, but 16-bit effects on board, it changed the market almost overnight. Proteus. U-series Roland. V-series Roland. Suddenly, no one was building synthesizers any more, because it was much more profitable to build ROMPLERS. By building a ROMpler, like all these hardware products were, one could sell an engine, then dole out the sounds $100 a pop on cards once the user got tired of his music sounding like everyone elses. Yes, some programming was available for these boxes, but like Soft-ROMplers today, all of this programming lies in the virtual, post sample domain, where realtime mapping and DSP conservation take precedence over nonlinear editing and precision, expensive DSP algorithms.

    I assert to you, that MAINSTREAM, affordable synthesis and sampling died on the cross of the hardware ROMpler, and if you do not intervene strongly with your voice and wallet, this will happen again.

    It\'s a niche market folks. You cannot split and split the pie without consequences. On the surface, the ROMpler craze is generating both interest and cash. But we\'re a niche. This is largely a closed market. There is only so much penetration into the mainstream, CompUSA, world. That money is coming from somewhere, like squeezing a water balloon.

    And the tools that will get drained away are the creation tools.

    Now, I don\'t have a thing against ROMplers. But wake up and realize that the same companies that brought you the downfall of hardware synthesis are now buying up shares of software companies like wildfire. There is opportunity for the user to stand up and say, \"You screwed up the first time, now don\'t screw up again!!\"

    What software did for synthesis and sampling was this: It emerged as pure technology, which had no goal other than being the best thing it could be. But as larger and larger financial interests are grabbing up control of these applications, the development priorities shift every day away from progress and towards creating walls which serve marketing, not music.

    Proprietary, walled off sounds, DO NOT SERVE YOU.

    SOFT-ware. SOFT-ware. We don\'t pay for walls. We don\'t pay for restrictions. We are paying for walls to be eliminated. I don\'t want a Roland U-card version of every sampler format. I want amazing samplers with different strengths, which can share the same data and transform it in different ways.

    This pie is only so big. We cannot have it both ways. If you, like me, believe that the current trend is short-sighted...if you believe that focusing purely on innovation, not protectionism, is the way to generate new ideas and new markets...then again, I beg you...WRITE. Speak to each other and to your vendors. Contact Tascam and tell them you feel CCP is an inappropriate loss of editing flexibility, and that you\'d rather bet on an open field than a locked door.

    This cycle has occurred before. You don\'t have to take my word for it. The difference now is that we have the evidence. Anybody want to buy a Roland U-220? Can I interest you in a Proteus? On the other hand, anybody want to buy a MiniMoog? Or a Rhodes? Catch my drift? When the tools start becoming disposable, the cash gets siphoned into sound generation, not tool generation, and eventually, there are no more tools--only players.

    If we, as a market, choose to subsidize the interests of content vendors over the interests of our instrument vendors and power users, then both instruments and power users will suffer as that cash diverts away.

    Software broke this logjam once. This time, the end user will have to do it. Write. Vote with your wallet. Do not let another generation of creation tools go extinct because the content cart gets put before the technological horse. We do not have to hurt anyone, sample developers included, to keep this priority intact and known. Do not believe people are not making money. No one stays in a business where they\'re losing money. This is not a matter of life and death, it is a matter of one niche feeding upon another, and deciding it doesn\'t like the financial balances. I say phooey--the financial and developmental balances to date have led us to this fertile and creative period. ALL OF THIS EXISTS because software broke the walls down. Do not tolerate your vendors re-erecting them on your dime, to milk off development cash which your toolmakers need to continue breaking down barriers.

  2. #2

    Re: Wake up and participate in your future

    I certainly see your point, but from the relativelly inexpert scope of someone who doesn´t work at this (although might consider it eventually) and only bouhgt a few sample CDs using Internet...what would be the way to support your idea?

    Overall, it´s not tough to understand you´re talking from the customer point of view, as opposed to sample CD developers at the other thread. Anyone who´s not going to enter the businness of recording/distribution of sample CDs should know who to support.

    I´m pretty new at all this, and can try to understand the reasonings of all the developers around here, some of them sound pretty fair, others don´t. But let´s face it, ultimately they sell and we buy. It´s their effort trying to offer us things we want to acquire and use to fulfill our musical creations. I think if they don´t offer what we want THE WAY we want we shouldn´t buy at all.

    The one developer who hears our call and provides the stuff EXACTLY the way we want will be in a good position to quickly eat the market from other competitors.

    I remark though my rookie position in regards to this whole thing....


    ...Bruce sounds as a fellow musician more than seller though....

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Wake up and participate in your future

    By the way, welcome to my little thread. Big thanks and props to Gary Garritan, who tolerantly hosted a melee and remained my friend. To all those whose ad hominem skills shone like diamonds, I raise my most admiring finger. Bless you all. You warm my heart and sometimes, I confess, I even feel...dare I? Well, I love you all.

    Thank you to anyone who expressed an interest in my position, and especially anyone who took the time to express his opinion professionally to Tascam. Much appreciated.

    Every band needs a good master of ceremonies. I am a fine one. Let\'s talk.

    First topic:

    What ground can be gained in an installer-based protection system, which does not scramble data such that Giga\'s export tools break?

    I see two levels of protection available before total lockdown.

    The first would be a disc-spanning installer, which requires a serial number. This level could be enhanced by challenge/response, even hardware ID if one requires the installer be \"installed\" before the data becomes available.

    The second would be achieved by this same installer. While building the file (after authorization) the installer would imprint a unique watermark based upon the registration information.

    I think this model provides a lot of targeted motivations for a reduction in casual piracy. I am basing my assumption on literally years of hearing sample developers say this is the chief loss of income. You will recall that from the earlier copy protection discussions. Whenever anyone, even a professional security developer for billion-dollar contracts, reminds the group that all schemes are cracked, and the ones musicians can afford are EASILY cracked, the development community has responded by saying the money isn\'t in hackers, it\'s in casual trading.

    So here\'s what I want to know.

    I know that internationally it is difficult to prosecute IP theft, even with a watermark and evidence, due to the incongruence or downright lack of laws.

    So how does this break down geographically?

    If we are indeed trying to just generate X amount more dollars to hit a percentage target, can a scheme like I described, with two tiers of protection and identification, generate that income? How much of that income is USA income, where a domestic developer CAN hold a person responsible for distribution of his property and the associated damages? And has this been tested in any way to produce data?

    We are being asked to condone a shift in the way end users spend money. Let\'s hear some plain talk, sans ad hominem, and understand the cases.

    I will be happy to keep this conversation free of hyperbole, and concentrate on the facts. Let\'s keep it factual and leave the ad hominems at the door.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Wake up and participate in your future

    Thanks Netvudu. In answer to your question, there are several ways to support this general idea.

    First, support sample development. Don\'t obtain samples illegally, and don\'t let others use samples which someone licensed to you alone. In this way, the \"one person one license\" model supports developers very well. When people allow others access to samples without paying, it results in the sad situation that brings us here.

    Second, just state your case and try to put your support into editable-source libraries, where the samples themselves are editable and mappable by you in any way you choose--as well as in the author\'s original configuration. This allows an end user to retain unique capabilities of his own, which are both legal and highly desirable.

    Third, contact any of your vendors, and professionally express your opinion, whatever that is. You will hear people tell you this is not effective, yet I know high level people at Tascam, Sony, Sonic Foundry, Waves, Cakewalk, Native Instruments, Propellerheads, Echo, Rode, MidiMan/M-Audio...and most of your sample developers here. They all listen intently. So do not ever feel that honest, straight, professional talk isn\'t heard. It is.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5

    Re: Wake up and participate in your future

    Bruce, you make a few good points, but by crazy coincidence, the Korg M1 was my saviour and single-handedly got me a job in a great band, started me sequencing and basically got me into midi. You say it was bad, to me it was rad! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Wake up and participate in your future

    Forgive me for the quick stream of posts here at the top, but I want to be sure to define the heart of this discussion.

    Let\'s just say we do have these three levels of protection to choose from.

    The first discourages casual \"here borrow my discs\" piracy by making it extremely difficult to do that. The status quo is currently the \"handing out data on a silver platter\" method. Literally.

    The second is further unique identification technology made possible by the individual GIG files generated by EACH installation. In this model, any GIG file has indelible identification information for some licensed user. GIG files found in open circulation can be identified to a user, and therefore deterrence and potential prosecution are added to the mix.

    The third level is total lockdown.

    My question: How do we get to 2.999 without getting to 3? Are we creative enough as a single group interested in our collective future, to locate where 2.999 exists? Because if we can do that, we all win. The tools don\'t have to change, just the installers. If we have to go to 3, people get hurt. Hurt in order to help, but still...hurt.

    How do we do it? What has been tried? Let\'s see some data, not be told that there IS data. Let\'s get the facts on the table, so end users really know what to support...not just to see who got the gold at debate camp. I challenge everyone to be genuinely interested in the best answer for every user, and to momentarily pretend level 3 does not exist. How do we get to 2.999? Let\'s talk.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Wake up and participate in your future

    Hey Nick,

    I had one, too, and finally it just died a horrible digital death.

    Then I ended up with a Nord Lead, and felt much better.

    I\'m more concerned about the wake of the M1 than the M1.

    I hope you don\'t take my position as being a position against your well being. I would like to find a way to say you and I both won, and the world got better.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Wake up and participate in your future

    Hi Runyon,

    I would like to redirect this discussion very slightly.

    I agree your points are all valid ones, but they\'re really not issues in this discussion. You are mentioning three technologies that have been supplanted by newer technology, so their usefulness diminishes.

    Here we are talking about a deliberate, specific reduction in editing capability where there is no technological need to do so, or no advance in the technology to be gained by it. It is being done purely for a marketing result, not an artistic result.

    Please, let\'s not take this thread into page after page of general debate. I would like to facilitate a very factual exchange, and get some real data on the table. I want people to participate, but let\'s keep the goal focused on where a mutually beneficial solution lies--not in why we have to maintain either the status quo, OR suffer lockdown. The truth is in the middle. Let\'s find it.

  9. #9

    Re: Wake up and participate in your future

    The funny thing is, copy protection is not even effective. Spectrasonics and others claim cp has boosted their sales. Considering the widespread availability of Atmosphere, Trilogy and any other of their products on the Internet this claim is rather questionable.

    If downloading the *whole* product is easy enough, what about defeating the copy protection alone which is supposed to prevent casual copying? Well, gee, a 30 kb crack will do that and it\'s easily found too.

    Too difficult for the casual user? yeah right, someone installing atmosphere on his PC is too dumb to use the internet? Oh how convincing that argument is. [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]

    Copy protection is stupid, it does nothing but annoy the people who do purchase it. Most people who want to get a free copy will find a way to do so. I predict that within a month of Gary\'s new product release that it will be warezed and widely available, same with QLSO eventually.

  10. #10

    Re: Wake up and participate in your future

    I say Give me editability,

    but if you dont, dont get pissed off when some crazy hacker builds an app to deconstruct your exncryptions [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] and we all use it for editing convenience [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

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