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Music

Just found this picture online. Me playing with :papercutz on my last gig with them, at the beautiful concert room in Nogueira da Silva museum, Braga, Portugal. At the time I was the multi-instrumentalist at service, playing classical guitar, melodica, xylo, synth and electronics, and backing vocals.

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Bittersweet memories… :P

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Last week, went to IRCAM, Paris, for a three-day intensive work meetings. Had the pleasure to see some of the great work that is being conducted there in HCI research for music technologies. Here’s three projects that show some of the amazing work:

Stonic App by IRCAM

Playing sound textures Project

Project COSIMA

This week we had Kelly Snook, Tom Mitchell and Adam Stark visiting our research group and lab at Goldsmiths University of London. They are the team who made Imogen Heap‘s glove instrument, and they have brought a set gloves to show us. I had the pleasure to have a go with a pair of them, set up with Ableton Live, and controlling a fat synth bass with it! Amazing precision!

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My Apogee Duet finally arrived! I decided to take a chance in a second hand but apparently very well cared firewire version of this popular Apogee interface. Yesterday evening I arrived home from work, eager to give it a try out. Everything installed without any noticeable problem, I took a peek at the maestro software and raced towards iTunes and my favorite DAW software. Hooked up my headphones, it sounded very nice, indeed!

Today I was setting up my reference monitors and everything else to give it a second try, and… Surprise! The Maestro software no longer recognized the duet. Well, this must have been a bad installation, I thought. I decided to uninstall, and make a new fresh installation of the driver. After a couple of restarts, I faced the exact same problem.. Maestro wasn’t recognizing my Duet! It was working fine, I could change settings using the big Encoder button, but I could not access half of the functions provided by software. After this point I started to read every forum I could regarding this problem… which I wasn’t aware before buying it! Lot’s of stuff on the web, but no clear solution.

Apogee Duet (1st gen) on Lion 10.7 – **2 workarounds for devs/early adopters
Apogee Duet (firewire) on 10.7 Lion
Does Duet Still Function with Mountain Lion?
Apogee Duet (firewire) on 10.7 Lion
Duet troubleshooting….

After a few uninstall/install rounds, some of them with older driver versions, others with Duet 2 installation package, after checking all the installation bits in filesystem, console reports, killing the Apogee daemon service with Activity monitor, etc….  I decided to install the official and correct driver. But this time, based on some bits that I read, I decided to start the Maestro software from shell, with root privileges. Guess what.. Problem solved! I created an Apple Script app to set it up in a click. In case you find the same problem I’ll be providing the walkthrough soon.

This article examines music consumption amongst young people, and uses the concept of “tribe” to define consumer centric profiles and characterize them over how music is consumed, market awareness, technological knowledge and the use of music in the construction and maintenance of the personal identity.

Six consumer profiles were identified and characterized using qualitative methods based on focus groups interviews. Some profiles tend to comply with the industry’s rules and traditions, while the others put an active resistance to the normal modes of licit market exchange of music.

The industry compliant faction is comprised by the Conventionalists and the Loyalists profiles, which share as main similarity usually legal consumption of music. The Conventionalists have limited music knowledge, depending on the music charts, radio and friends recommendation, being highly influenced and ultimately concerned with developing a music taste that is socially acceptable among peers. The legal consumption is mostly related to their lack of technical knowledge. The Loyalists have deep affection and loyalty towards artists, which is demonstrated through the legal acquisition of music and ownership of physical formats. They use music to define their identity and frequently consider themselves to be opinion leaders in their peer groups. A third profile also fits in this faction, the Experience Seekers, although not averse to illegal acquisition due to budget reasons. Their desire for memorabilia, nostalgia, and for consumption supports the importance of physical ownership.

Within the industry resistant faction, lie the Preachers, the Revolutionists and the Techys. The Preachers, which are non-mainstream and perceive the record industry as commercial, privilege their spending on smaller, obscure, ‘more deserving’ artists. They consume music either legally or illegally, so they can have access to an infinite selection of music, which is in turn used as social capital. They are often highly opinionated, and consider themselves influential in discovering new music. Like the Preachers, Revolutionists are into non-mainstream music, are overtly opinionated, and may support legitimately smaller artists. They possess a strong anti-market perspective, which leads a heavy use of illegal downloads and are considered movers in the music market due to their strong beliefs. Techys possess advanced knowledge either about music software, hardware and the music industry, and value sound quality and the methods for listening. Together with the Revolutionists, they are considered drivers of change in the industry.

Regarding the latter faction, which is considered increasingly relevant, the authors suggest that new marketing efforts should be taken, possibly more akin to a partnership approach, that may generate more engagement and empathy, and ultimately, enlighten these consumers of the benefits of legal acquisition and the necessary commerciality required to finance new music development.

One of the aspects I’m working on my dissertation covers the categories or roles in which music consumers can be classified. The goal here is to come up with a scientific sustained categorization/profiling of music users.

I’ve been looking for articles which are able to help me in this task and found some for which I’ll reviewing their main points here.

“Live and prerecorded popular music consumption” – Montoro and Cuadrado analyzed the profile of the popular music consumer, considering both live and prerecorded popular music, having profiled the average and frequent music consumer. Furthermore, they have tested hypotheses regarding the impact of the internet and file sharing on popular music consumption and the potential substitution and social motives for attendance of live show. Links between both markets were taken into consideration, and direct causal links were observed.

Gender, age and the impact of active practice and cultural participation were variables which have shown similarities between both profiles. The distinctive determinants of consumption were time constraints for live attendance for frequent consumers, and available income for both profiles.

The demand for popular music of some frequent consumers is more of a demand for information, while for the rest, other aspects like the social motivation, seem to have a more important role in it. This shows differences between profiles regarding to the potential substitution effect between live and prerecorded music.

Frequent consumers show a common disposition to music, either live or prerecorded, being catered for by both markets. This supports the “substitutability relationship between live and prerecorded music for frequent consumers”. On the contrary, average consumers are moved either to one market or the other, in an heterogeneous fashion; “once we account for direct links between both markets and for all the covariates, the average consumer is either a consumer of live or prerecorded music.”

A causal link between both markets was observed, with prerecorded music consumption increasing the probability of live concerts attendance, with stronger incidence on frequent users. Live concerts attendance showed no significant affectance on prerecorded music consumption.

The exposition to file-sharing networks showed an increase of live attendance for average users, rather than for frequent users. A negative impact was observed on the prerecorded music market by the use of the internet and file-sharing, although weaker for the frequent consumer. For the latter case, the origin of the prerecorded music was considered, either by legal acquisition, copy or internet download was considered.

Several conclusions can be taken regarding the evolution of the music business. Despite that, in the past, the prerecorded sector has subsidized the live sector, things have evolved in the opposite way. Nowadays, live shows support prerecord music sales, which is consistent with the rise of prices in live shows, with artists giving away recorded music in concerts and through the internet. This also explains and supports and the positioning and market strategies that labels are adopting with the all-inclusive contracts that cover not only prerecorded music sales, but also management, concert, merchandise and endorsement revenues.

Interestingly, the authors claim that, the fact that different agents in the music business sustain different activities, such as labels and concert promoters, leads to the under provisioning of these activities like promotion; otherwise, the internalization of all the generated effects in one entity would lead to optimal outcomes.