Options Radio Free Culture: Playlist from July 30, 2012 Options

Hosted by various WFMU personalities, Radio Free Culture is a weekly program that explores digital culture, net neutrality, piracy, the broadcast spectrum, digital rights, and archives and libraries in the internet age. We'll be interviewing some of the nation's key figures at the intersection of music, multimedia, and digital technology. This program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Options July 30, 2012: Radio Free Culture #2: Interview with Jonathan Sterne on the meaning of the MP3

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Guest Jonathan Sterne and WFMU's Benjamen Walker 

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Listener comments!

  6:01pm Matt from Springfield:

  6:03pm Danne D:

Hi Folks. Will kick back and listen (and work) now. Should be good stuff :)
  6:05pm Danne D:

First there was the MPG. Nowadays the MP4 is all the rage. Nobody ever talks about the MP2 though.
  6:06pm Matt from Springfield:

Hi Danne!
Coincidentally, this show is available as a podcast. You can later DL an mp3 about the mp3! :)
  6:07pm Danne D:

And with that I learn more about MP2:

Still popular for audio broadcasting, actually.
  6:08pm Matt from Springfield:

I've seen videos for DL at archive.org, that were in "MPEG-2" format--so is MPEG-1 Layer II substantially different then?
  6:09pm Danne D:

I'd read the article Matt :) I am completely unqualified to listen to this show even :)
  6:12pm Matt from Springfield:

@Danne: In fact, both are "lossy compressions", MP2 audio, MPEG-2 video.
  6:14pm Matt from Springfield:

Hence the 44100 Hz standard.
  6:16pm dvd:

so if mp3 codecs remove information, how is it an advancement?
  6:17pm Matt from Springfield:

"Friedrich Hitler"?? Was that his REAL name, or was he some kind of artist??
  6:17pm Danne D:

Probably a dumb question. As we get older, our range of hearing gets lesser (classic example is businesses using high-pitch frequency to chase teenagers away while not bother older folks). Do these differences come into play with how the compression works?
  6:20pm Matt from Springfield:

Usenet forums and FTP links?--may have been the first P2P sharers.
  6:21pm Danne D:

@dvd - the advancement comes in making it more portable. Kinda like space food was an advancement because it is easier to pack on a spaceship.
  6:21pm dvd:

anyone here really hate mp3s, just can't stand listening to them?
  6:22pm the glowing one:

dvd, just listen to what the man has to say.
  6:24pm Matt from Springfield:

While there's a whole lot more audio information out there nowadays, the compressed, lossy formats have been compared to artwork at the Louvre--one original work (master recording), some high quality prints (vinyl), and a whole bunch of lower quality black-and-white prints found in books (mp3s/digital tracks)
  6:25pm the glowing one:

listening tests can easily provide the proof that the claim mp3 always sound inferior is false
  6:27pm Matt from Springfield:

The Old Codger needs surface noise in his hand-cranked recordings, just isn't music without it! :)
  6:28pm Lulu:

Is it just me or is the audio on this gentleman's voice kind of going in & out a bit?
  6:29pm the glowing one:

it's not just you. it's probably a telephone or skype interview. sounds like noise reduction going crazy.
  6:32pm dvd:

if you have any questions for jonathan sterne you should call... 201-209-9368
  6:33pm the glowing one:

I think this applies to all kinds of technology, small technical details can shape the society enourmously, often unexpectedly.
  6:36pm paul m:

Regarding compression of data, don't forget the double helix!
  6:40pm Danne D:

I remember when voice synthesis was the exciting technology coming on the horizon :)
  6:40pm the glowing one:

yep, I got my first mp3s on a CD-R from a friend of a friend of a friend who had internet access at the uni.. :P
  6:40pm Matt from Springfield:

RealAudio files, everything from pre-2008 in these Archives! :)
  6:45pm Danne D:

:D Ken LOVED those .ram files ;o)
  6:45pm dale:

interesting conversation about fidelity - especially since the guest keeps cutting out.
  6:46pm the glowing one:

this is a very short hour :(
  6:52pm Danne D:

@glowing one yeah :( but perhaps Jonathan will back again for a part 2 at some point :)
  6:52pm Juan Rapido:

The interview is great, but the sound quality of this interview sucks. He keeps fading in and out. Stop using SKYPE -- it sucks! Very ironic how I'm having a hard time hearing Jonathan Sterne...use a regular phone line!
  6:52pm Matt from Springfield:

Good point: physical manufacture of format created control and scarcity--now the cat's out of the bag and multimedia information is separated from format.
  6:53pm the glowing one:

actually I think not the mp3 and file sharing is the exceptional case in music history, but the vinyl record was. vinyl records made monetization of music possible, a very odd thing actually.
  6:55pm the glowing one:

in former times performers were paid directly by the audience, I think this will become the case again.
  6:55pm Danne D:

@the glowing one - the sheet music industry may differ with you on that one ;)
  6:56pm Matt from Springfield:

The 'Drix! Wooohooo!
  6:56pm the glowing one:

the sheet music industry, yeah must have been a real behemoth
  6:57pm Matt from Springfield:

Re: sheet music, I'll have to look up the year, but it's been stated as a critical shift in the music industry: when the record charts shifted from counting sales of SHEET MUSIC, to sales of RECORDINGS.
  6:58pm the glowing one:

nice interview, but too short
  6:58pm Danne D:

Great show guys :)
  6:59pm Matt from Springfield:

Thanks everybody! Benjamen, Jonathan, "DVD"!
Will check in next month! (Aug 27, I think...)
  6:59pm Matt from Springfield:

Have a good night folks!
  7:57pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Rappin' Rodney!
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