Grégory Lemarchal 1983-2007

This past Monday, the world lost la voix d’un ange, the voice of an angel. At two weeks shy of his 24th birthday, Grégory lost his lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis while awaiting an organ transplant. He was a kind, gentle and generous soul and we were blessed to share in even just a few years of his talent. I imagine the choir in heaven sounds just a bit more beautiful now. You lived an inspirational life and fought the good fight; may you rest in peace, le petit prince.

Do you own songs bought online? Well, sort of

In a recent article on Reuters, the author points out the limitations companies like Apple place on your online music downloads. Issues like limitation to Apple iPods, multiple computer use rights and CD burning.

Before people erroneously get the impression this issue is limited to Apple, there are a few points to consider:

You don’t own the songs on CD or the movies on DVD that you purchase from anywhere. You are purchasing the physical plastic disc and the Limited Right to listen to or watch but NOT reproduce what is recorded on it. In some cases, you are granted the right to make a single, personal, non-commercial backup/archival copy.

You’ve never been able to freely copy your vinyl, 8 tracks, cassettes or CDs for any purpose. The issue is that with digital products, publishers have more technical ability to make you obey the law.

This is also true of any books, photographs or paintings you buy. You are purchasing the paper they are printed on or the canvas and paint, but you are not purchasing the rights to reproduce them in any form beyond limited non-commercial Fair Use.

Microsoft WMA is another popular audio format. However, WMA files do not play on all (most) devices either and you have limited ability and rights on duplicating or burning copies of these songs.

Real Networks (the Real Audio people) also made a big public stink about their songs not playing on iPods. Interestingly enough, though, is that if a manufacturer doesn’t pay Real Networks a licensing fee, your songs from Real won’t play on that device. Creative’s music players, for instance, cannot play Real’s songs. Real has similar, but slightly more restrictive, backup/burning limitations than Apple.

Napster offers a flat monthly fee service for all the music you want to download. Miss a payment or cancel your account and all of your music will stop working. Want to put those songs on your portable player? Most don’t support them, but you’d have to pay Napster $5 per month for the privilege. If you want to burn a song to a CD, you’ll have to pay Napster 99 cents more.

I think a lot of the DRM (Digital Rights Management) issues are counter-productive. They have been statistically shown to not influence the behaviour of people who will copy music and not pay for it. Research has also shown that people who download or copy music are much more likely to purchase that music legally than any other music user. Simply put, downloaders buy more legal music than you do (generally, a lot more). None of this changes the fact that companies like Apple are legally following the rules our lawmakers created. If you want to complain about Apple’s DRM (or any music label or movie studio), the real target should be our country’s outdated and outmoded Intellectual Property laws of copyright, trademark and patent.

Forget Regret Or Life Is Yours To Miss

RentRENT has finally arrived and I loved it. I’ve seen RENT on stage several dozen times and I was apprehensive but hopeful for the film treatment of my favourite musical. As I expected, the film critics are split on the movie, but the fan base is loving it and the cast are enthusiastic as well. So tonight, we went and I was thrilled. Sadly, the sound at our theater could have been better, but the theater was packed with people and I am thoroughly pleased with it.

I liked the conversion of some of the transition songs to dialogue and the more detailed scene developments over the minimalist stage sets. The cast is strong, even if not everyone is my favourite from the various stage productions I’ve seen. Some of the songs lose a bit of emotional connection, but lyrically, I believe the visuals that Chris Columbus chose really reinforce the overall concept of RENT. The scenes of Roger singing in the New Mexico desert hills were a bit too Sound of Music for me, but the treatment of Angel’s death with the disappearing Life Support members on through to his hospital progression deeply moved me.

Like the stage show, I will see it again and again and will eagerly await the DVD.

There’s only us, there’s only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way, no day but today. I can’t control my destiny. I trust my soul. My only goal is just to be. There’s only now, there’s only here. Give in to love, or live in fear. No other path, no other way. No day but today.

Thank you Jonathan Larson for your gift to us.

Discover New Music – Pandora

Need help discovering new music? The creators of the Music Genome Project have the answer in Pandora. By analyzing the elements of your favourite artists’ songs, like instrumentation, tonality, phrasing and the general aesthetic, it can suggest similar songs and artists. It will read your mind.

I think the $36 is pretty fair, but if you need to reset your 10 hour limit or want to skip past more songs than it wants to let you, here’s some helpful info. Resetting your cache or clearing cookies won’t help because the Pandora player is flash-based and uses Local Shared Objects (basically Flash cookies). In your Flash Player preferences folder, just delete v2_Machine.sol and v2_PerfComp.sol and you will reset your 10 hour limit and all your stations/artists. Or you could just give them the $36 bucks like I did.

Nickel Creek – Why Should the Fire Die?

Grammy award winning Nickel Creek has done it again with a stellar 14 track gem called Why Should the Fire Die?. As usual, the musicianship is excellent; would-be guitarists and mandolinists will be rewinding and pausing Sean and Chris’ licks for weeks. The musicality and sheer brilliance of the trio’s work always leaves me surprised and refreshed. Buy this record now! and call your radio station and CMT to make sure they are playing it. For the lucky few ( oh how I wish i was one of them ) they are playing a limited series of shows across the country where they perform the album in its entirety, track 1 to track 14. wow.

happiness is a new glen phillips cd – winter pays for summer

If you know me musically, you know that I’m a huge Toad the Wet Sprocket fan. It was a sad day in ‘98 when they parted ways, and even though I was able to see one killer reunion show in New York in 2003, I have been eager for this abstinence of musical bliss to somehow end. Have no fear, Glen (the lead singer and songwriter for Toad) just released an incredible new disc, Winter Pays For Summer. While Glen definitely takes us home to Toadland, it also shows some of the rootsier leanings of his first solo disc Abulum and last year’s project with Nickel Creek. If I can be as happy with my next album as I am with Winter, life will indeed be good.

What do other Toad and Glen fans think?

| |