[advocacy] Why artists should be using Ogg Vorbis
daniel at mondodesigno.com
Thu Aug 9 11:08:47 PDT 2001
I've now put the full version on my own site - this is a mini version
of approx 500 words.
What's wrong with MP3?
a message to music makers and music lovers
Digital technology and network distribution has removed the middleman
between the artist and the music listener, but the content industry
wants to put the middleman back in place. They can do this with the
help of a proprietary music format and software that they can control,
with artificial restrictions to limit its potential.
People don't mind downloading digital tracks if they are free -
Napster proved that. But CD's are more resilient, highly portable
between devices and easily shared amongst friends. Paid downloads
would have to be very cheap to compete effectively with CD's - and
then where would the margin to pay the artist be?
Far better to offer official downloads for free and encourage people
to share them. Listeners will appreciate the chance to hear a track
properly before they buy your CD, and you'll save a lot of your own
time - and a ton of money - on promotion.
So why not just use MP3? It's popular already, and listeners can
easily share it. The problem is that the people who created MP3
compression want to get in on the content industry act, and have
positioned themselves as another middleman. Free encoders for the MP3
format have already bitten the dust, as the owners of the technology
demand royalties for making software that uses it.
Although originally touted as a free format, and associated with
no-cost music downloads, the technology behind MP3 was always
proprietary. In classic 'free lunch' marketing, a product was given
away free until it became popular, at which time the owners
transformed it into a commercial product.
As an artist, the royalties on MP3 mean that you'll have to pay a
flat fee on every single track of your own music that's downloaded.
It might only be a few cents at the moment, but the people who control
the technology will be able to charge you whatever they like in
future. And this will mean you won't be able to give away free tracks
even if you want to - unless you pay the MP3 royalty yourself.
Ogg Vorbis is a direct replacement for MP3, without the technology
tax - it's completely royalty free, and will stay that way thanks to
its free software licence. Ogg files are already supported by a
number of software players such as Winamp, and the encoders are freely
available. With its variable bitrate technology, your music in
Ogg format should sound even better than MP3 at the same file size.
The Ogg Vorbis format is outside of the control of the content
industry. They can use it, but they can't stop you from using it. And
if you want to let people listen to your music without restrictions,
or share it with their friends, you can.
But the Ogg format won't take off unless artists make the files
available. So if you want to support freedom in music, download the
free encoder from http://www.vorbis.com/ and put some .ogg tracks on
your web site.
The full version of this article is at
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