OK, this is it. This'll be the first Kickstart project I will donate.
Then there's the issue of pieces that have traditionally been performed one way, but then something turns up indicating that the composer may have meant it differently (I dimly recall this happening with something of Beethoven's in the last decade or so). Do you drop 100+ years of tradition and audience expectation in favor of originalism? What if the evidence of original intent is an early draft? There's a lot of room for well-meaning disputes there.
So at least with music old enough to not have any recordings made at the time the composer was alive, there are always going to be differences of opinion on how to translate the score into sound waves. Very serious enthusiasts will want multiple recordings.
EDIT: I just noticed that you mentioned the bit about orchestras sounding unique. Well, maybe I'm not that into classical music, but this would probably satisfy me to a large extent.
The real problem is that we don't need enough orchestras to actually sustain orchestras as an industry anymore, and the attempts to get around this fact are based in emotion, not fact or economics. I do not celebrate this, in fact I have the same emotional reaction many people do, but nevertheless I see it clearly: Classical music is not economically viable. We might as well record what we can while the orchestras still exist; at least the recordings will sound as good in 100 years as they do today.
I don't understand how you reach this conclusion. Orchestras exist primarily for their live performances, and the halls where they perform seat just as many people as they always have.
Classical music is alive and well, from what I can see -- what makes you think differently?
If that is inaccurate reporting, then I plead being fed bad data.
The other problem is that market behaviors are typically nonlinear. If you cut the demand down by 50%, that doesn't necessarily mean that you get 50% less output. If the going price based on the supply and demand curves sinks below the cost of production for some of the players, production can drop dramatically, not just linearly proportionally. Unless something drastic changes in the demand trends I don't see how this fate will be escaped.
New recordings must be, I imagine, a rapidly-dissolving revenue stream anyway. Any piece which is actually popular among buyers already has a number of "definitive" recordings which it would be difficult to top, and anything which isn't already the subject of a zillion recordings will probably never sell much anyway.
Quoting from page 2 of their 2008 catalogue (http://www.naxos.com/SharedFiles/pdf/NaxosCat2008May.pdf):
More than half of all current Naxos recordings are
included in various editions of the authoritative Penguin
Most people don't care, sure. But there have been examples of giving away free books to cause excitement and arouse interest. Classical music is not hugely popular nowadays, but this might help more people hear it and enjoy it, getting them to the place where they do want several recordings of the same piece.
Then again, this is all hypothetical. I doubt anyone can predict what effect this actually has.
Edit: One last point. You can hear almost any piece nowadays with a quick Youtube search, and that includes any quality recording you want. For people just looking to hear a piece quickly, I doubt Museopen will have anywhere near the effect that Youtube already has.
Right now, there are a ton of classical recordings available (just under extremely restrictive copyrights). If you want to listen to recorded music, it's available. You can go right down to your library and probably find a bigger collection than what Museopen will have for a while.
What you can't do is legally use those recordings in films, YouTube videos, etc. (Although de facto you probably can, I don't think enforcement is particularly aggressive.) This is where Museopen changes things.
However, I don't think those usages -- the ones prohibited by current copyrights on recordings -- were keeping orchestras alive. At least not most orchestras. Most modern orchestras exist because people want to go to the symphony and listen to live music. They're paying for the experience, not just to listen to a particular piece of music.
There are a very small minority of professional orchestras that might be affected by this, I guess ... orchestras who do soundtrack work. But I'm willing to bet that the bulk of their business is playing actual custom-written soundtrack scores, and not playing Beethoven's 9th over and over again for everybody who wants a copy.
The downsides to this are really, really limited, as far as I can tell. The net losers are probably the classical labels like RCA and Deutsche Grammophon, who have the big back-catalogs of classical music and license them out, not modern, living musicians.
This is a great way to be able to hear a performance of a recognizable melody. It serves the same purpose that sound clips in an encyclopedia serve: it lets you hear an example of the piece. And if you're creating a commercial where you want the audience to hear a piece they recognize, this will work just fine.
But this isn't something that would ever be taken seriously by real musicians, at least in its current form. Sure, there might be some legitimately good performances in there (especially if you're hiring the London Symphony Orchestra). But a lot of it is clearly quite amateur -- like the recording I found of Bach's First Cello Suite was performed on a piano! -- and no one wants to wade through a bunch of low-quality stuff to find the good stuff. And the people who are good don't want to be associated with the low-quality stuff.
Musicians fill their record libraries with names they recognize, based on other good work that artist or ensemble has done. There is such a big variation between the best recordings and the worst recordings that it's always a better bet to get recordings of names you know.
I tried to do something involving this as a startup four years ago, and content was far and away the hardest challenge. (The model involved giving away content, but selling torrent-seeds when no-one was offering content. Essentially the profit model was based around marking-up bandwidth, and using out-of-copyright music as the vehicle for it).
I spoke to lots of musicians during the course of that project, and live with musicians now. My pitch is that they should get themselves well known on the internet, and then charge large prices for their concerts and for teaching fees.
However, I've found all the musos I've spoken to over the last five years to be strongly addicted to (1) the model of producing and selling some sort of physical recording, and (2) the idea that they could one day make huge money from selling recordings, despite all the evidence pointing to what a limited future that model has. Even many amateur choristers puff themselves up with an idea that the content they produce is precious and valuable in a market (somewhere), and must therefore be protected from distribution on the internet where anyone could download it for free. (Oh the horror!!)
One contact (a well regarded instrumentalist) has only recently begun to upload content to youtube for promotional reasons. It has taken years for him to adjust to the idea that this might be a good idea. He was surprised to learn that he his name is becoming synonymous with a particular composer he performs, and adjusting to the idea that this might be a good thing, particularly when he's trying to get people along to his concerts.
Once the content is available and batched it won't be difficult to place a social media layer on top of it to give ordering, tag, recommendations, etc. The content is the key. I agree that quality is important, but once there's a critical mass, musicians will change their mindset and start to compete to get the best ratings on the internet.
We'll find that the top musicians on the websites will achieve a kind of celebrity and be in high demand for tours. This will be extremely good for "classical" music which has been decadent and moribund for decades.
We want open recordings that people can use and not be sued for sharing, and this project is attempting to make them as decent as possible.
And they've already raised the money through Kickstarter.
Doesn't this invalidate your point or am I missing something?
One suggestion for museopen: like haberman says, a big problem is "wading through" the low quality recording. So when you start to record higher quality orchestras, make it very easy to tell between the "good quality" recordings and the cheap recordings.
I heard one of Godowsky's piano transcriptions and it sounded kind of corny, but it's a matter of taste. He's not definitely not considered an amateur. According to wikipedia Schumann also wrote one transcription. Or was it the original cello score played on the piano?
By the way, the cello suites sound great on the double bass too.
You can even listen to their radio:
We also have to keep track of things like who is uploading what for DMCA protection.
This is a great idea though, and I hope the money helps them make many great recordings in the future.
Or here for a daily reminder to vote:
Unfortunately, free to use means free to abuse. I cringe whenever I hear Beethoven's Ode to Joy in a TV commercial. (What does it mean when it turns up in a commercial for "Big Momma's House"? Was it put there out of irony?)
Nonetheless, I did develop an appreciation for the music, and as I grew older, was pleasantly surprised to learn more about it, and now, well, I'm married to a composer, and have gone to plenty of concerts, and will go to many, many more.
I'd much rather this stuff be available for use - and abuse - than for it to not be available. That's why I backed this project with $50. It's not a huge contribution, but for as much as I complain about copyright warehousing and the like, I might as well put my money where my mouth is.
They play Beethoven symphonies every year at least 1-2 times
Heck, if I can get a full orchestra to play me a symphony for a thousand bucks then I might just do it for fun.
The parent article here implies they will be recording, e.g., all of Beethoven's symphonies, etc. Off the top of my head, this project sounds like at least a week's work, even assuming the players know the music well.
40 players + 5 miscellaneous (conductor, recording engineer, whatever), say, 45 people for a week at $11,000 comes out to around $6/hour. I'm not saying the guy is lying about it, I'm just amazed at how inexpensive this appears to be. Even double that rate, or triple it... that's some pretty awesome work you can get done for that amount of money.
But as I said, I've never recorded an orchestra before; my guesstimates may well be skewed. Even so, at the numbers you are quoting, that's quite a bit lower than I would have guessed earlier today. :-)
Recordings made from close-miced instruments sound very "dry". That is, there's little to no 'room tone' to give you a sense of space or place. I've listened to recordings like that, and it sounds like you're having the instrument wired directly into your brain. In some cases that might be what you want -- a lot of pop music (virtually all) is recorded that way.
I prefer my classical music recorded "wet", on an X/Y or ORTF pair setup. This is basically where you take two identical microphones and set them up down in the seating area of the concert hall, right in the acoustic sweet spot of the room. Done well, and played back on a good set of speakers, you can hear the placement of various instruments across the stage. (Another fun technique is binaural recording, which is designed for playback on headphones. It is not very popular right now, though.)
There are some techniques to make a "dry" recording "wet," by basically faking the room tone, but they're, well, fake. Tossing in a little reverb and messing with the EQ is never going to give you the same effect as the natural acoustics of a concert space.
A lot of modern recordings have a mix; they'll use some mics up on the stage (relatively dry), some down in the audience area, and others on key instruments to give the engineer flexibility later on. But a lot of really excellent classic recordings from the 50s and 60s were done with nothing but two condenser mics.
What you could probably do, if you really wanted, would be to do some sort of multichannel recording using a big microphone array ... if you did it right, with the right playback equipment, that might give you the ability to "move around" inside the listening space. I'm not sure if it would really be any easier than just doing multiple X/Y-pair recordings from different parts of the concert hall, though.
I disagree with this. It's certainly true of most "reverb" plugins, but it's possible to measure the frequency response curves of famous concert halls and exactly recreate the effect of sitting there, down to the details of how your head shapes the sound coming from different directions. It just comes down to how accurately you can measure the impulse response function. The physics implies that this is basically perfect, modulo the quality of our recording gear.
To do this, you set up microphones as your "ears" where you want it to sound like the person is sitting, and then go on stage and do one of two things. Either fire a blank from a gun, or play a tone sweep. (The latter is more common these days.) From the recording of the way the sounds bounce around the room, you can generalize all of the linear behavior of the reverberation (which is all you are interested in anyways.)
From this you get a convolution kernel, then just convolve that with your dry signal.
You can actually get something that sounds identical to a binaural recording out of this.
Didn't even have the decency to BCC.
Pretty much shitcanned in my book for doing something so spammy and rude.
I emailed most of the list as I am not looking for a specific person, anyone that is interested in helping. Its not like there are attributes specifically mentioned that would help me narrow for "someone interested in classical music".
However, it obviously wont happen again :)
I've got about tons of emails about this all day which are people saying "please remove me". I wouldn't be a fit for your work anyways, but even if I was, I would have changed my mind by now.
Im defending that you accused me of scraping emails from somewhere. I emailed most of the list because I'm not looking for any specific type of help, and its not like people are mentioning classical music interests in the bios. I need technical and business people.
Finding a co-founder should be treated with as much care as dating.
Sending spam to me via the cofounder list makes your idea, company, and any/all entities you so much as breathe on get the instant waste basket.
I don't know what's happened since 2000 to make people believe spam is somehow acceptable when there's an individual rubber-stamped on the front of it. Being a "startup" doesn't excuse spam either.
Let alone the efficacy of it.
This is like mass emailing women on craigslist trying to get an easy lay, except being stupid enough to mass-email them all at once instead of serially, and then they get into a reply-all mess.
There is a lack of consideration and ignorance present at every possible dimension of what you did that I don't begin to have time or patience to enumerate here.
Very bad form, the only good thing you could've done is "Sorry, I boned up, won't happen again.", instead you act like an adolescent and try to defend your rude behavior.
I doubt I'm the only person who got emailed who feels this way. Do I need to publish the reply-all furor in this thread to demonstrate that I'm not alone in being disturbed by this or are you going to apologize?
Note: this isn't the first time someone's made this mistake, just the first time they've had the cajones to follow it up with
1. A post on HN
2. Trying to defend their spam in a comment reply
As for removing my information, most people are sufficiently socially aware enough to send me a personal email. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't stop the propagation of my personal information as there are many web apps and clones of that info all over the internet that I have zero control over.
You might as well tell EA to go pull all the pirated copies of their software.