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musicians Bongos

MP3 audio is setting the music industry on its ear.

Through MP3 -- a small-size digital file format boasting CD-quality sound -- you can listen to sound files from a pager-size player on your belt, through a streaming audio connection on your PC, through tiny earphones or huge speakers. You can pick your favorite tracks, burn custom CDs, e-mail files to friends, listen to stuff recorded 30 years ago or last night.

And much of the software -- music files, MP3 players and other accoutrements -- is free.

It's so cool, so slick, so revolutionary that there must be a catch.

And here it is: As many as 1 million MP3 sound files sprinkled around the Internet are illegal.

Last summer -- around the time that MP3 pulled ahead of sex as the No. 1 term submitted to search engines -- the recording industry got serious about tracking down pirated music online.

Last Thursday, the industry came out swinging, releasing details of a coordinated anti-piracy program in more than 20 countries.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry says it wants to pave the way for musicians and their record labels to deliver music legally over the Net. To do so, it will seek to introduce copyright legislation overseas and bust Internet providers whose customers use their equipment to store stolen tunes.

MP3 hit the mass market a year ago, with the release of Diamond Multimedia's Rio MP3 player.

The Rio, which stores audio files on flash memory, unleashed downloaded music: instead of sitting at your PC while favorite tunes played in the background, users could store them on the Rio and head out to have adventures.

"Sitting at your computer and listening to downloaded music was a big yawn," said Joe Butt, a consumer technology analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.

At $118 to $300 each, the MP3 players aren't cheap. But they're the size of a pager and have no moving parts, making them ideal for listening while exercising or wandering around.

"Every teen-ager I know wants one of these things," said Amy Hill of the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association.

The second-generation Rio player just hit stores, featuring twice as much memory, a Universal Serial Bus link and software for both Mac and PC. Other manufacturers will release MP3 players this fall, including Samsung, I-Jam (sold only on the Internet), AudioVox, Casio and RCA.

Atlanta-based i2Go.com just introduced eGo, a $299 player designed for cars. In December, Sony Corp. will release the Memory Stick Walkman, which features a storage device the size of a piece of chewing gum.

It will sell for $430 in Japan and allow customers to download up to 80 minutes of music."It's a human-friendly media and we hope it will be everywhere," said Kunitake Ando, president of Sony's Personal IT Network Co.

If the medium itself is friendly, the music industry's initial response to it was not.

The Recording Industry Association of America sued Diamond to block distribution of the Rio. That suit was thrown out by the court.

Now, the $40 billion music industry has taken a two-pronged approach: beat them and join them. With Forrester Research estimating 1999 demand at a million audio players for downloaded music, the industry began to take a serious look at the Internet as a sales channel.

In June, record companies and technology companies called for digital "watermarks" to music released on CDs or online, making it easier to spot pirated copies. They're working together to develop a set of standards for digital music.

And they're throwing weight and money behind commercial MP3 sites such as Liquid Audio and MP3.com, where users can pay by the track to download tunes by popular artists or check out unsigned artists like the Oklahoma Prune Pickers or the Ex-Cretins for free.

Too much time on the road has kept Oakland, Calif., singer-songwriter David Gans from putting his work on MP3.com and elsewhere. "I should be," he said. "I just haven't had the time and energy."

But he does use his own Web site (www.trufun.com) to promote himself as a solo artist, songwriter, writer, photographer and host of the syndicated Grateful Dead Hour. (You can listen to his other weekly radio show in streaming audio at www.kpfa.org.)

Internet downloads may benefit independent musicians more than anybody, by providing a direct connection ... more

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Scott Joplin

In the late 1890s ; a craze for a new kind of music called ragtime swept the
country off its feet. Instant popularity of ragtime increased before the turn
of the century. By 1910, the ragtime mania reached its peak in all
elements of music: popular dance, theater, and movie music. Scott Joplin was a
young black man that mastered and polish this subtle art. Born in Texarkana,
Texas on November 29, 1868, Scott became facinated with the piano at an early
age and was mentored by a old german teacher that took him in as a pupil.
Scotts style of piano playing stress his smooth singing tone and subtle sense
of rhythm. Scott has the tendency to turn melodic lines into delicate and but
simple notes. Generally all of his pieces share the customary ragtime layout and
composition of a pair of contrasting lines, each repeated and followed by the
return to the first line, then a new section consisting of two or three repeated
lines emerge and is usually subdominant. In Scotts piece the Magnetic
Rag. The reappearance of the orginal theme at the close of the piece, shares
a shocking likeness to Beethovens famous reoccuring I am Death Theme.
In the Magnetic Rag, the return of the opening theme at the end of the
piece creates a rondo-like structure with a scheme ABCDA, with the outer A
section and the central C section stands in tonal harmony. This can be compared
to his other famous pieces of work Maple Leaf Rag and The
Entertainer which all exercise the reappearing theme that shows a tendency to
round out by always returning to the home key. Magnetic Rag was the last
piece that Scott completed. It was subtitled : syncopation classiques because of
his wonderful blend of syncopation on every up-beat and mad-cow improvisations
tailored to sound like European dance music that influenced early ragtime.


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