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MP3 and Music – Digital Recording and Distribution

The Possibilities and Problems of Digital Recording and Distribution

Abstract: This essay deals with the creative possibilities generated by the influx of inexpensive and easy to use digital recording software, hardware, and digital distribution techniques. One of the main themes of the essay is the problem of upholding creativity and artistic integrity in an unmediated digital environment.

What would you say if I told you that I had bought entire paragraphs of this paper online? You would probably accuse me of plagiarism and disregard the contents of the essay. However, many contemporary composers and their listeners consider the practice of buying digital “loops” of music for use in compositions completely acceptable. Over the past two decades, the implementation of computers in the recording industry has greatly lessened the cost of high quality recording. This reduction in cost has elicited an extreme change in the music recording process: Instead of spending hours and thousands of dollars in the studio, musicians can now record high quality music in their own homes. While conferring recording power to the musician should in theory augment the creativity of the recording process, the present state of the digital music community proves that this is not the case. Economical recording equipment, combined with effortless digital production and distribution, has generated a large digital music community with no legal or quality control standards. This lack of standards has triggered a depreciation in the quality and originality of the work produced by the music community.

The decreased cost and increased independence of digital music production and distribution allows greater creative fle…

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4) Fisher, William. “Digital Music: Problems and Possibilities”. 10/10/00. Harvard.

5) “Make a Joyful Noise”. – Online store, this article discusses the newest software for digital recording, as well as the lack of musical experience needed to create electronic music.

6) Ron Procopio. “Sampling: The Art of Stealing”. – Essay discussing the background of sampling, along with its modern uses.

7) “New Artist Signup” – Contract between and hosted musicians. <

Censorship and the Internet

The foundations of America and of its citizens’ individuality were built over 200 years ago with the creation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment, ratified December 15th 1791, is probably the most important Amendment as well as the most difficult one to interpret. It states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (National Archive Constitution Ammentment#1). Thus, this Amendment grants Americans specific inalienable rights and allows them to be at least somewhat separate from the government. Still, it is this Amendment that is under particular scrutiny in today’s information age. It is through the interpretation of this statement that we must assess the rights of the Internet surfer, determine what responsibility the government has to censor any or all explicit pages from innocent under aged children and evaluate if that censorship violates our inalienable rights as American citizens. Yet, no matter what censorship rulings the government passes, the responsibility of monitoring Internet use must ultimately fall in the hands of the parents.

Just a week ago (April 5th 1999), The Justice Department appealed an Anti-Censorship ruling made by the Federal Judge, Lowell Reed, of Pennsylvania. Reed had the opportunity to evaluate and rule upon the Children’s Online Protection Act (COPA), Congress’ second attempt to regulate content on the Internet1. Judge Reed rejected this act on grounds that it was in direct violation of the first Amendment. He argued that “the first Amendment was designed to prevent the majority, through acts of the Congress, from silencing those who would express unpopular or unconventional views” (speech1). Reed continued to demonstrate that before the widespread use of the Internet the ability of a person to express his or her views to a large group of people was limited by ” the costs [of] reaching the masses” (Reed Text 1). Before the Internet, people who wanted to express their ideas had to pay great amounts of money for advertisements and propaganda to promote their views. It was very difficult for an individual, especially one without a lot of money, to get his or her ideas out to the public – the Internet allows the individual to do so in an inexpensive way.

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