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Smithsonian-Folkways for download

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Desert Dancer 21 Jan 05 - 05:52 PM
Lighter 21 Jan 05 - 05:55 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Jan 05 - 06:12 PM
Desert Dancer 21 Jan 05 - 06:17 PM
Desert Dancer 21 Jan 05 - 06:21 PM
Lighter 21 Jan 05 - 08:53 PM
Teresa 21 Jan 05 - 09:08 PM
dick greenhaus 21 Jan 05 - 09:35 PM
Desert Dancer 22 Jan 05 - 01:42 AM
Teresa 22 Jan 05 - 02:04 AM
GUEST,Bill the Collie 22 Jan 05 - 09:30 AM
Flash Company 22 Jan 05 - 10:46 AM
Pauline L 22 Jan 05 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 22 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM
The Fooles Troupe 22 Jan 05 - 09:10 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Jan 05 - 09:57 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 22 Jan 05 - 10:25 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Jan 05 - 11:05 PM
Pauline L 22 Jan 05 - 11:38 PM
wysiwyg 22 Jan 05 - 11:49 PM
Joe Offer 26 Feb 08 - 05:20 PM
Chris in Portland 26 Feb 08 - 07:09 PM
katlaughing 26 Feb 08 - 07:46 PM
Joe Offer 26 Feb 08 - 09:25 PM
dick greenhaus 26 Feb 08 - 09:51 PM
GUEST,Dani 27 Feb 08 - 05:24 AM
dick greenhaus 27 Feb 08 - 01:06 PM
Joe Offer 18 Mar 08 - 04:32 PM
Arkie 18 Mar 08 - 10:41 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 19 Mar 08 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 19 Mar 08 - 02:42 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 20 Mar 08 - 12:04 PM
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Subject: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 05:52 PM

From the New York Times report Jan. 20, 2005:

Some 30,000 songs from the legendary Smithsonian Folkways catalog - field recordings of folk and blues, world and children's music, jazz, nature sounds and poetry - went on sale yesterday on Microsoft's MSN Music store for 99 cents apiece.

MSN Music, which began selling music last fall, will have the exclusive right to sell the Smithsonian catalog through September, executives at Microsoft and Smithsonian Folkways said.

...

The tracks are encoded in the Windows Media format, which is readable by many portable music devices but not Apple's iPod. Single songs cost 99 cents and compete albums $8.91. The Smithsonian gets about two-thirds of the purchase price of the music, Mr. Sonneborn [S-F Assistant Director] said.

When the agreement with Microsoft expires, Mr. Sonneborn said, the Smithsonian hopes to begin its own music download service, with more extensive text and documentation features.

----

From another list:
"Problems with Mac operation can be solved by using Firefox as your browser and changing your system prefs to open up all mp3s in iTunes, if it's not there already. No problems at all using Windows machines.
    The "Synchrotext" component of the site is particularly fascinating, but the individual tunes are what will pique your interest."

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 05:55 PM

I just this visited this site. It's a dream come true for folkies.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 06:12 PM

Not available outside the USA
Giok


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 06:17 PM

Oh, Giok, that's too bad. I hope when they take it back from MSN they fix that.

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 06:21 PM

Here's a favorite 'Catter's album. :-)

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 08:53 PM

Now if they'd only put up the extensive notes that went with each album....


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Teresa
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 09:08 PM

Oh, yum Jean Ritchie. :)

Oh boy, this is going to be fun; thanks, DD. :)

Teresa


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 09:35 PM

A couple of points.
a) you get MP3s, not CD quality.
b)You don't get booklets or notes
c)(Maybe Jean Ritchie can help me here) I don't know if artists get royalties; it certainly cuts into the artists' CD sales.

Having said this, I'm delighted to see that the music is now more readily available. I'm just not sure that this is the way to go for material that's already been remastered and put on CD.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 01:42 AM

This is another paragraph from the Times article addressing "already been remastered and put on CD" concern:

"Much of the original Folkways collection has been released on CD, but a majority of it has not been commercially available because the demand is so low. Of the roughly 40,000 tracks in the catalog, only about 5,700 have been commercially released, said Atesh Sonneborn, the label's assistant director. Smithsonian Folkways makes copies of anything from its collection on request, and now every track will now be available on MSN Music."

---
However, a cursory exploration shows that it's certainly not the full catalog there at the moment. Maybe "every track" is the ultimate plan for when they do it themselves, instead of through Microsoft. It sure seems like distributing something is better than nothing for a lot of those recordings.

Also, the poster to Ballad-L (who was involved with beta-testing) whom I quoted at the top, mentions "Synchrotext", which I also don't see mentioned yet. Perhaps that's they way the album notes will come, whatever "Synchrotext" is.

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Teresa
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 02:04 AM

CD quality=mP3 quality, as far as I know.
More than that, you can put 80 MP3 songs on a comparable CD dixk. ...


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: GUEST,Bill the Collie
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 09:30 AM

Many thanks Desert Dancer.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Flash Company
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 10:46 AM

Found my way onto the site from the UK quite easily, looks fantastic!
Didn't try any downloads, as I am about to trade my computer for a faster model, and would prefer to set that up first.

FC


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Pauline L
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 05:53 PM

It does sound like a folkie's dream come true, and may be when the compilation is a *lot* more complete. I tried poking around the site just now. Under American Folk (or something similar), I saw about 10-20 songs @ $0.99 each, but no albums. Did I overlook something?


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM

Unbelievable!

This is a dream come true! I would/could never be able to locate much of this material.

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Hmmm, would 66 cents of each purchase be deductable as a chartiable contribution to a non-profit org?


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 09:10 PM

While Big Bill may think of himself as a charitable institution, but Microsoft is definitely not a 'non-profit org'....


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 09:57 PM

CD is not MP3 quality, even at it's highest bit rate.   However, it is usually imperceptible to most ears. Considering the source of the material, an MP3 should be fine.

Artists should be receiving royalties, just as they would from the CD sales.   This is not the old Napster technology, these are downloads from the record labels. This will be the future of music distribution - the record companies and artists get paid and the distribution is cheaper.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 10:25 PM

Navagating the records ... at first it looks shallow - and awkward -however:

Click on the artist - and in the upper right corner you may select ALL Albums - ALL Songs - etc. and songs leads to even more albums. i.e. Phil Ochs has a listing of 44 songs....and/or three albums.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

2/3rds of 99 = 66 (non-taxed purchase 33% taxes = 22 cents returned for each 99 - actual cost 77cents)


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 11:05 PM

I was just playing around on the site. They are NOT MP3's but rather Window Media files which means you need Windows Media to play them and to record to CD. The quality is better than an MP3.

The complete album prices are terrific, even if you do not get the liner notes. If you only want the music, this might be a huge savings. It may also prove to be a great way to introduced folk music to a new generation.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Pauline L
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 11:38 PM

GUEST, Gargoyle, thanks for telling me how to find all those albums. Now the site looks a lot better to me.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 11:49 PM

I believe Windows Media files can be ripped to CD or converted to MP3.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 05:20 PM

Now that I have a broadband connection, I've been seriously tempted to download MP3 albums, particularly albums from the Folkways label. Smithsonian/Folkways has its own Smithsonian Global Sound Website, where you can download albums for $9.99, and single cuts for 99¢ - and you can also download liner notes for almost all Folkways albums for free.

At Amazon, you can download singles for 89¢ or 99¢, and albums are $8.99 (no liner notes, but you can get them free at smithsonianglobalsound). And if you go to http://www.amazon.mudcat.org, Mudcat gets a cut.

Click here to see all 2,114 Folkways albums offered at Amazon (but please buy through the http://www.amazon.mudcat.org link.


What I'd really like, though, is a bargain. If I could buy albums in lots of 100 for a big discount, I'd jump at the chance. Anybody know how I might be able to arrange that?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 07:09 PM

Joe or others - if one orders individual tracks from Smithsonian, do they send you a pdf (or whatever) of all the original liner notes for the entire album? I don't see any explanation of this. I still have a bunch of the old 33's, but most of the the great booklets that went with them are long lost. Is that what they mean by liner notes or something else? I suppose I could experiment, but hoping someone might know.
Thanks, Chris in Portland


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 07:46 PM

Dick Greenhaus, what does this kind of thing mean for a business like Camsco Music? And, Folk Legacy, too?


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 09:25 PM

Chris, they don't send you a PDF - you have to get it yourself at Smithsonian Global Sound. But the wonderful thing is that all the liner notes for almost all the Folkways albums are available for free, so you cna download the lost notes for your LPs.
Search for an album, and then click on the link that says "download liner notes."
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 09:51 PM

Kat-
It certainly doesn't help. I find, though, that small retailers and producers do offer some things that one doesn't get from downloads--packaging, printed discs, artwork, better quality sound. The biggest thing we have to offer is guidance--most small retailers in the folk CD business have a good deal of experience in the field, and can make useful suggestions and recommendations.
   Smithsonian-Folkways is in a unique position--they didn't pay for the initial production of the recordings, and, as far as I can tell, they
aren't saddled with royalties. I suspect that if the practice spreads, it's going to severely stifle the introduction of any new recordings (or new releases of old recordings.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: GUEST,Dani
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:24 AM

Ron and Dick, I'm getting conflicting messages here.

What's the scoop? ARE the artists receiving royalties?

Dani


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 01:06 PM

I'd be curious. Moe Asch wasn't in the habit of paying royalties.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 04:32 PM

If you listen to the Folkways Collection Podcasts, you'll get some interesting commentary on Moe Asch and his practices with regard to royalties. Apparently, with many of the recordings, he paid a flat amount at the onset, with the understanding that amount was all the provider was ever going to receive. On his part, Asch promised to make every Folkways recording available to customers for as long as Asch was alive (and Smithsonian Folkways has continued to make those recordings available). On one podcast, Peggy Seeger told how Ewan MacColl grumbled a bit about not getting royalty checks for a long time, and Asch responded that MacColl's royalties were paying for the albums that sold only ten copies. Peggy Seeger didn't seem to mind.

I'd like to have as many of the Folkways folk music recordings as I can get, but the original $20 cost of custom CD's was prohibitive - and even the reduced price from CAMSCO was a bit daunting, especially since some Folkways albums have fewer than ten songs. The download price at Smithsonian Global Sound is usually $9.99 per album, and I think it's 99 cents for a single track. Folkways recordings are now available for $8.99 an album and 89 cents a track at Amazon (http://amazon.mudcat.org/) - and I think Amazon has the entire Folkways catalogue available [you have to download the liner notes at Smithsonian Global Sound].

I've found another source http://www.emusic.com/, and it appears to be even more reasonable in price (unless there's some fine print I didn't read). If I have this all correct, monthly membership with 30 MP3 track downloads per month is $9.99, and $19.99 for a monthly membership with 75 downloads. There's a 20% discount for an annual membership, and 25% for two years. I think the two-year membership works out to about 20 cents a song. That makes a 10-song album pretty darn cheap.

I've used up my 75 downloads for my second month, and now I have to wait until April 12, or pay $20 for a "booster pack" of 50 downloads.

http://www.emusic.com/ also carries Topic, Fellside, and a number of other labels popular with us folkies, but it doesn't carry Rounder. I'd like to find a good place to download all the recordings and liner notes from Rounder's Alan Lomax and Library of Congress collections.

Anybody know of any drawbacks with http://www.emusic.com/ ???

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: Arkie
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 10:41 PM

I've used emusic for several years and have found no drawbacks to date. Several times I have thought I had found all the music that was of interest and more would be added. Some tracks do not download properly on occasion but there is a way one can try again at no additional cost. If a track is inadvertantly deleted it can also be downloaded again without additional cost. There are a lot of recordings available that are mentioned on Mudcat. One instance is a recording by Karen Dalton who is the subject of another thread and there many different artists singing Raglan Road. I believe there is also a recording by Rick Fielding. As far as I know emusic pays for the recordings listed but the cost is certainly reasonable for the consumer and the selection meets my needs. I do also buy CDs and have bought CDs of artists found on emusic when a sampling indicated I would like to have the complete CD.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 02:13 PM

"Ron and Dick, I'm getting conflicting messages here.

What's the scoop? ARE the artists receiving royalties? "

It depends. Dick is probably accurate about Smithsonian-Folkways and some of the other services. The performance rights for many of the recordings they release have expired, and as Dick points out - Moses Asch was not in the habit of paying regular royalties anyway.

OTHER download services have paid royalties to the artist, but these are services such as e-folk.com where they have agreements with the artist and/or record label. With e-commerce options, artists can also set up their own websites and offer their own deals and manage their own product.

Dick points out a a very important factor - quality. An MP3 will not sound as good as CD, even at higher bit rates. Most ears won't notice, but it is a factor. Also, consumers are still used to the tactile feel of CD's with artwork, booklets and other information. I feel those days are numbered as processes improve and you can get as much info online, but it takes a while for human beings to alter their own habits and processing.


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 02:42 PM

'An MP3 will not sound as good as CD, even at higher bit rates. Most ears won't notice'

but some of us do notice, which is one reason I don't own an ipod or any mp3 player.

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Smithsonian-Folkways for download
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 20 Mar 08 - 12:04 PM

Charlotte, most people are not as critical as you and I, and frankly you can produce very decent sounding MP3's at higher bit rates that are better than FM broadcast and approach CD quality. It is certainly an HUGE improvement over the fidelty that we used to get on cassette tapes!!!

The differences are minor except to audiophiles, and I think those of us who do not own ipod's or mp3 players are becoming dinosaurs. I'm sure there were grumblings when wax cylindars were replaced as well.

The fact is, there have been considerable improvements in technology and recordings made at 256 are very good - broadcast quality. The accepted standard these days is becoming 192kbit/s, replacing the 128kbit/s files that were deemed "good" quality. Originally, MP3'w were even less. That is why you can often find CD's with huge amounts of MP3 files stored on them - the bit rate was so low that you could compress many hours on a disc.

Also, variable bitrate encoders have improved the quality.   Many sites are now offering CD quality FLAC files, or even uncompressed .wav files for download.

The big problem is that some sites are not paying close attention to their encoding and compressing the files at levels that introduce distortion or artifacts. As people speak out, the quality improves.

An ipod or MP3 player has become a convenient way of sharing music - perhaps greater than any other invention to reproduce recorded music. The convenience will allow for more music to be explored and shared by future generations.

I have to admit, I am a holdout - although I did receive an MP3 player for Christmas as part of a gift of Bose headphones. While this MP3 player does not hold as much as others, I can see how these devices can be benefitial.

Try one!


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