My Music Collection
Robert Vaessen's collection of music and such.

 

Well here it is: My list of music. Although (if you know me) you might be expecting a listing of 'Alternative' music only, this is not a listing of just 'Alternative' music. As I stated above, this is my list of music. All my music. Every stinking album, CD, and cassette. There's even some of my Wife's stuff in here. So don't be completely shocked when you see that 'Mariah Carey' CD. Or the 'Perry Como' Cassette. It took me several years to get my music collection into this current format. It started out as a flat file. An arduously composed spreadsheet, converted to table form. That was difficult to update, and a bear to manage. In July of 2005, I bought an application designed for cataloging my music (CDPedia), and it has a built in HTML export capability. Combined with iTunes software, I managed to create a much more manageable, appealing and flexible music listing. Once I had those pieces in place, I went about converting all my old cassettes into digital form. That project took about six months. After completing the digitization, I cleaned up the collection, and uploaded the latest version. The version you'll see is the culmination of many years of collecting, databasing and converting. I hope you enjoy the listing.

Can I have a copy? - The short answer is NO. I'm not interested in giving away (or selling) any of the music I've purchased. I'm not about to lend, loan, trade or give away any of these titles or tracks. Perhaps you're a collector looking for a copy of that 'essence rare', and I've got the only one you could locate. Sorry, but I'm not in the business. Legal issues aside, I'm really not interested in parting with any of this music. If you're willing to pay me, you could easily locate a vendor willing to sell you a copy of that album you're lusting after. My web site is purely for leisure, I'm not in the business of making money from Rob's World!

Music appreciation - Do you appreciate good music? Maybe you haven't discovered the new music revolution ushered in by iTunes the iPod and the slew of online music streaming services; if so - You're missing out on a lot of good music. Music that the major labels can't beat. The major label is an outdated, obsolete model. One where the artist misses out on most of the profits, and you miss out on the music you want. Apple has really hit it big with the iTunes/iPod combination, but you don't need a Mac or an iPod to get in on this great new movement. Discovering new music - free music and inexpensive music - has never been easier. The internet is redefining the music industry, and the consumer is the one who's profiting from this new model. This new model of music distribution makes it possible for independent bands to break-out without a major label. The software available to artists is becoming easier to use, less expensive, and more available than ever before. We're in the midst of a music explosion, and I like what it sounds like! If you're looking for a place to download or explore your musical tastes, I can definitely recommend a few services that I think you'll enjoy.
For music discovery:
For downloads:
For physical purchases:

djangos, Trouser Press, Amazon, DeepDiscount Angelo's CDs

What to avoid - Are there any dangers? There are a lot of sites out there that promise Free music. Many of them are shams, scams, or downright illegal. Be sure to read the 'Terms Of Agreement' on any download site. Some sites will charge you a miniscule fee, keep all the money, and pretend to pay the artist. Some will allow you to listen to music, but you don't own the tracks. As soon as your 'subscription' expires, the tracks evaporate. Some contain highly restrictive licensing, DRM, or contractual agreements. If you buy a track, try to purchase in non-DRM, MP3 format. There are other formats, but you want something that you'll be able to move around. Something you can put on your mp3 player, your computer, a CD. Don't get locked into a 'one use only' model. Another thing to watch out for is 'file sharing'. While it can be done legally, most of the people/websites out there, aren't sharing legally. Legally sharing music files requires adherence to a very narrowly defined set of rules. If you're not sure whether you can legally share the tracks on your computer, don't do it.

How do I discover new music? - Well, I used to find/discover a lot of free (actually free) music by visiting several of the new music web sites (Pandora, 3hive.com, musicalfamilytree.org) and several other music blogs (Analog Giant, Brooklyn Vegan, Fluxblog, Gorilla vs. Bear, etc) out there, and listening to a few different music podcasts. Used to... Now? Now (As of Oct of 2010) I subscribe to an online music streaming service called MOG, and I've recently (as of Sep 2011) started using eMusic 'Radio' stations for music discovery. Combined together, these two services provide full-play access to more than 35 million tracks! (16m on MOG (as of Sep, 2012), >19m on eMusic (as of Aug 2013)) Two fantastic ways to discover music, and no need for illegal downloads or pirated tracks. I occasionally use a few of the other methods (music blogs and podcasts), but MOG now serves as my Primary Music Discovery source.

Where do I buy my music?- I purchase my music from two primary sources. Both sources are online, and I purchase electronic versions of the music. I don't buy many physical CDs anymore. I think my last CD purchase was back in 2005. It's no longer convenient to purchase CDs. They're not as portable as mp3's (thanks to the iPod revolution). They cost too much (per track). I have to travel to a store, or wait for the CD to be mailed to me. I can't pick and choose tracks. I'm sure I could think of more reasons, but that's not the subject of this paragraph. So, where do I buy my tracks from? The iTunes store and eMusic. The iTunes store offers a vast array of artists (primarily mainstream artists), with many different varieties of products. You can even download DRM free tracks from the iTunes store. The prices are low, and the integration with my Apple products (iPods, iPhone, iPad, and iTunes) is great. The other source is eMusic.com. It's a subscription service with a very favorable set of rules. All the music that I download is mine to keep. It's mp3 format with variable bit rates, and there's no DRM! While eMusic doesn't have the selection that iTunes has, it's got a lot of independent, indie, alternative, punk, etc, artists that interest me. As of Sep '11, they've got more than 12 million tracks, and a subscriber base of more than 400,000 people. I locked in a great rate when I signed up, and I'm downloading ~50 tracks a month. I'm paying $19.99 a month for $22.99 worth of downloads. The tracks typically cost me ~$0.30 - $0.50 per track. eMusic offers a really good value for your download dollar. iTunes and Amazon still charge more. eMusic offers more music for your money, and the variable bit rate recordings make for exceptionally high quality recordings.

Downloading and streaming music - Artists want you to hear their music - If you like it, you'll buy it, or maybe you'll buy some concert tickets. The major labels want you to pay for their product - letting you hear it for free is contrary to their business model. Well, guess what? I won't buy it unless I can listen to it first. The major labels are killing themselves with their restrictive distribution and dissemination policies. If you like new music, you can do a web search to find your favorite artists web site, a new music web site, or an archive of free music. Free music is available - Legally! Don't believe the major labels propaganda - Not all free music is illegal. You can legally download or listen to all sorts of music for free. I download most of my music from a couple of commercial sources (eMusic and iTunes), but I occasionally download tracks (legally) from various websites, newsgroups and blogs in order to satisfy my craving for music.

Occasionally (very rarely these days - thanks to the new deals between record labels and music streaming services), I download music from newsgroups or peer-to-peer networks. Why would I downloading music from newsgroups? Isn't that theft or piracy? No and No. Some would have you believe that copyright violation is theft, or even piracy. In truth, copyright violation is neither. Theft and piracy are two completely different illegal activities. The music/recording industry would like you to associate theft and piracy with copyright violation. It's in their interest to cause/further these misinterpretations. In their zeal to prevent unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted works, they would have you believe that obtaining, copying or using downloaded music is in fact 'theft' or 'piracy'. It's not. But the association will serve to deter unauthorized reproduction and other forms of copyright violation.

Back to the question of downloading music. Why would anyone download music from newsgroups? Well, perhaps you already own the rights to the music you're downloading. You already own the music in cassette form, but you want the music in a more portable form, something smaller. Something you can fit on your iPod. Something you can put on your computer. Perhaps you could AtoD convert the music using stereo component equipment (Perhaps you have a cassette player/recorder and CD burner) or your computer (Perhaps your sound card has a built in digitizer, and you have some software which helps convert the input into mp3 format), but that takes considerable time and effort. So, you might download the music from newsgroups or peer-to-peer sharing networks. If you already own the rights, and this legal download satisfies your desire (and right) to have a more portable copy of the music that you already have rights to. While others may be sharing the music in an unauthorized manner, I'm not. Under copyright; once I've legally purchased my licensed copy of the music, I'm permitted to make multiple copies. One for use in my car's CD player, one for use in my cassette player, one for use in my iPod, one for use on my computer, etc. etc. As long as I don't sell these copies, make them available to others (who do not own a license), or claim that I'm the author of these works - I'm within my rights to make, obtain or posses multiple copies in different formats.

I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not an expert on copyright law, but I have spent a considerable amount of time researching, reading, and doing my best to understand the law. I've already paid for this music. I purchased my copyright protected rights when I paid for the cassette tape of the artists work. The music industry would have you believe that I'm not entitled to multiple copies, that I must pay for each and every copy. They've even asserted claims to each instance of 'reproduction'; to include instances where one would 'play' or 'listen' to the music.

Can you imagine paying for the music each time you listen to it? ...Eventually that's what you'll end up doing. I'm doing it now. Listening to a streaming service that plays music on demand. I pay monthly, and they play the music that I pay for. Pay to Play is the model of the future, get used to it!

Given time, enough money, lawyers and lobbyists, the music industry will eventually convince our elected officials that you have too many rights. That the laws designed to serve 'you' the consumer, should be rewritten to serve 'them' the recoding industry. Only by fighting legal challenges, media misrepresentation, and common misconceptions can we (consumers) hope to prevent the eventual demise of our/your rights. Don't give in to the hype. Copyright violations are not 'piracy' or 'theft'. Piracy and theft are two completely different things. You own rights to the music you've purchased. You've secured your rights under copyright law. Don't let the music industry take away those rights.

I won't bother listing a bunch of references, as I could easily post links that would only support my views. I'll assume that you're smart enough to do your own research. Just be aware that it's a complex and complicated subject. There are those (the recording/music industry) out there who have a bias towards the distributors. Others have a slant towards the consumer (that would be my view), and then there's the content creator (the artist). Everyone has their own point of view, and you'll have to decide for yourself which point of view best serves you. Aside from a point of view, I urge you to see past the bias. Research the law behind these opinions and points of view. You have rights as a consumer. Don't let someone tell you that your rights count for nothing.

Reminiscing - Back in the 80's, I was heavily into the Alternative/Punk scene. I even formed a band (Drunken Stupor) with myself as the lead vocalist. I created the lyrics on my own, and we even practiced for a few weeks. But a drug addicted bassist, and a drummer who left for college, put an end to that chapter of my story. I really miss the old college radio station though; I haven't heard anything like it since. What's happened to College radio these days? It's a crime I tell ya', A crime! Even the Alternative stations aren't that Alternative anymore. Thankfully, theres plenty of internet based music streams. For the moment they're free, but if we're not vigilant, greedy corporations will find a way to force them to shut down.

I'm sure you're getting tired of listening to this old 'Skanker' Fart and Moan about his glory days, so without further adieu I present — My Collection. Perhaps you'll find something interesting amongst the dregs of my illustrious past.


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Author: Robert L. Vaessen e-mail:
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