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Peter Gabriel Wants You to Re-Shock the Monkey

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the daddy-wants-more-cowbell dept.

312

PreacherTom writes "The party line for the music industry has been clear: discourage music downloads at all cost. However, singer Peter Gabriel is taking things in a different direction. In order to promote his own label, he is actually encouraging people to not only download his music, but also adapt it into something more modern. In doing so, he actually posted a sample pack of Shock the Monkey consisting of vocals and other pieces of the original multitrack recording. Some in the music business would call this the commercial equivalent of hiring kidnappers to babysit. In actuality, Gabriel is pleased with the results."

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312 comments

suck 2.0 (-1, Troll)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497115)

With all due respect, this is a gratuitious attempt to take advantage of free labor to generate revenue for publishing he owns. As well as an attempt to encourage others to remake that crappy song into something that resembles good music. Nice try.

Re:suck 2.0 (0)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497141)

What respect is due? I didn't detect ANY respect in your post, troll.

Re:suck 2.0 (-1, Troll)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497277)

The song sucks. It's not a troll. It's an opinion. You can disagree. Unless you're Peter Gabriel, it's not a troll you fucking idiot.

Re:suck 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497435)

You're a dumbass. He can in no way shape or form use the submitted remixes to generate any revenue without the consent of the person who did it. And to be honest, if he asked me to use one of mine I'd say Yes Please.

Re:suck 2.0 (5, Insightful)

frankm_slashdot (614772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497497)

and that my friend, is the beauty of innovation. if people willingly choose to give him money when he is giving his stuff away for free, than he's doing what we all try to achieve. profit. If thats not what "earning" your money is about, then I'm not sure I know what is.

Re:suck 2.0 (1)

kiwoneka (576063) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497719)

my good sir you could not begin to appriciate good music if you heard it.
i will send you a copy of Paris Hilton's greatest hits

HIM! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497117)

So HE'S the one behind those insipid "shock the monkey" banner ads that inspired me to write AdBlock! I am calling upon all wise men to boycott Peter Gabriel. It shouldn't be hard, considering he's just some stupid blogger.

Re:HIM! (1)

fohat (168135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497415)

I believe the ad was "Shoot the Monkey", so, no points there.
Better luck next time!

Re:HIM! (1)

karmatic (776420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497813)

Actually, it was "Punch the monkey [everything2.com] ".

"Spanking the Monkey" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497677)

Instead of shocking the monkey, try "spanking the monkey [imdb.com] ".

Been done by NIN already..... (4, Informative)

acomj (20611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497119)

Nine inch Nails put out a track and allowed it to be remixed..

see

http://apple.slashdot.org/apple/05/04/16/1417205.s html?tid=141&tid=3 [slashdot.org]

Re:Been done by NIN already..... (4, Informative)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497175)

NIN is also mentioned in TFA, but this is slashdot so you're excused for not actually reading it.

Re:Been done by NIN already..... (5, Informative)

$lashdot (472358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497181)

NIN was late to the game. Peter Gabriel put out two CD-ROMs in the mid-90s that allowed for remixing of his tracks. Even before that, I remember that when The Shaman released the CD-single for their "Move Any Mountain" track, it included all of the tracks and samples that made up the recording.

Re:Been done by NIN already..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497269)

Yeah, but neither of those were promoted by Apple on Garageband, so they don't count. As we all know, Apple sticks it to the RIAA all the time and is the company most friendly to open intellectual property and open source in the universe!!!11`1one`1

Re:Been done by NIN already..... (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497921)

From 1991 LA Styles "James Brown Is Dead" single cd also contains samples of that track. On the cd the samples track is called (Take Outs)

As have The Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497657)

no text here

Re:Been done by NIN already..... (1)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497803)

I was thinking about doing a Peter Gabriel vs Nine Inch Nails... That could be fun.

i'm going (4, Funny)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497125)

to remix Peter Gabriel and Paris Hilton's new song and call it Shock the Junkie

If I shock the monkey... (4, Funny)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497129)

... do I "win $20"?

Re:If I shock the monkey... (1)

ztuni2007 (1005283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497187)

Of course... now if you'll just fill out these forms....

Re:If I shock the monkey... (0, Offtopic)

flu1d (664635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497793)

Free iPod dude, you'll get a free iPod

Put your publishing where your mouth is... (-1, Troll)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497133)

Petey, if you're really serious, release "In Your Eyes" raw tracks. Then we'll talk. Don't dump your crap into the marketplace and expect the best talent to do your bidding for free.

Re:Put your publishing where your mouth is... (1)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497293)

That's a great song, but potentially more difficult to remix into something catchy that Shock the Monkey. Not that I was ever really into that song. I have found that a lot of his best stuff was done with African musicians and that most people never hear any of it.

Put your source code where your mouth is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497369)

"Don't dump your crap into the marketplace and expect the best talent to do your bidding for free."

Hey! It worked for sourceforge.

Someone help me out here.. (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497153)

If you compress a single track of a song into an mp3 (or ogg or whatever) does it compress better than compressing multiple tracks mixed together? It's my understanding that the first step of compressing a wav to mp3 is to seperate out all the sound tracks. This being an imprecise process, wouldn't you get better results if the sound tracks were already seperated? So when musicians are making mp3s do they do it with seperate tracks or do they mix the tracks together and then encode an mp3 from the resulting mix, which immediately goes and tries to seperate the tracks again?

Re:Someone help me out here.. (2, Interesting)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497203)

An mp3 is just another audio format. It's not a step in a process. An audio file can be represented as a single track, or a multitude of tracks, and then is stored in a particular format, which may or may not be compressed or lossy.

Anyone distributing tracks in mp3 format isn't releasing top-quality material. If you really want the real deal, you distribute non-lossy formats like .wav or shn.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497229)

Yeah, you totally missed the point of my question. Does lossy compression work better on single instrument tracks than it does on multiple tracks mixed together, i.e., songs?

Re:Someone help me out here.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497275)

Does lossy compression work better on single instrument tracks than it does on multiple tracks mixed together, i.e., songs?

Yes; quality of individual tracks is really not all that important in music production. (You'd be surprised how many of your favorite older songs have synth tracks recorded through noisy 8-bit DACs. I think even the high-end Fairlights were only 10 bits in the 80s.)

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497331)

no. audio is audio, whether it's a single instrument or more.... maybe mathmatically, some instruments can compress better than a wider frequency spectrum of audio, but it's not worth mentioning.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497357)

That's because your question sucks and you know dick and squat about music and/or sound. Buy a clue, or get one free by spending some quality time with wikipedia.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497423)

True. I do know there's no "and" in "dick squat" though. Why didn't you choose an insult from your native language?

Re:Someone help me out here.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497749)

You know dick, and you know squat. You know dick and squat. You're obviously not very good at English even if it is your native language.

Also, the GGP did in fact answer your question, you simply didn't understand the answer.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497809)

You can't rationalize "dick squat" ok? It's an idiom. Much like when someone calls you a "troll" you can't object on the grounds that you are tall, it doesn't work that way.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497453)

It depends on the lossy compression and the track, but, I'm guessing that you get better compression for everything together, as opposed to each component separately, because the codec (if it's perceptual) will be able to get better compression on the quiet bits of track A when track B is loud and so on.

That means that you'd expect mixed tracks to have a higher compression ratio. In practice, it's moot, as even if you get twice the compression ratio for single instruments if there's four times the data, then the compressed version for the single instruments is going to be twice as big.

I think the fact that the MPEG4 standard (which is a generic standard for multimedia, the video codec's only part) doesn't recommend splitting off all the separate tracks, unless you're going to do some postprocessing on them (yes, the postprocessing is in the standard too) suggests this is the case, but of course, this does rather depend on the full thing not being made of a couple of 5 second loops.

(For reference, I think the MPEG4 standard became not a video standard, when they started talking about compositing video, 2D graphics with streamed 3D graphics, providing programmability by embedding Java (MPEGlets) and started to define an extension for multiplayer virtual worlds.)

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

ianejames (999353) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497487)

Yes, compression works better on less complex sounds. It takes less data to describe a simple sound and most of the waveform information can be thrown away. However, it's much preferable to mix together the uncompressed tracks and then compress. This is because some frequencies may get cancelled out, while others may add together to produce a significant frequency which would have been thrown away had the individual instruments been compressed.

Additionally, I seriously doubt the studios would like to give you the data for each individual track if such a format existed for consumers.

Of course, IANASE (Sound Engineer).

Re:Someone help me out here.. (5, Funny)

Keith Russell (4440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497267)

If you really want the real deal, you distribute non-lossy formats like .wav or shn.

Somebody just spoke of losless audio on Slashdot without mentioning Ogg FLAC. What is this world coming to?

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497349)

lol... yea, flac too

Re:Someone help me out here.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497221)

short answer?

no.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497329)

The track gets "mixed down" into a stereo track, then encoded into an MP3.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497391)

Yeah true. Just seems to me that if you were to compress each track individually and do the down mixing in the music player you would end up with much better compression and a better experience because:
  • there's a lot less entropy in each track
  • you can tweak the variable bit and other parameters of the compression for each track to balance sound quality and size appropriately
  • there's plenty of spare cpu cycles on the client side anyways
  • some people have better than stereo output (dolby/whatever)
  • people can reuse your music easier because they receive the tracks seperated


Of course, the last reason is exactly the reason why the music industry wouldn't appreciate this format of music distribution, but I'm sure lots of other people would. But maybe it just isn't feasible for some other technical reason I'm not aware of.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497479)

there's a lot less entropy in each track

Lossy audio compression is not about entropy - i.e. information theory - it is about psychoacoustic modeling. In other words, it is about trying to throw away data that the human brain would throw away anyway. Thus your idea is probably highly unlikely to work in practice - when listening to a solo instrument, the human brain will be more 'focused' and probably throw away less data than when listening to a complete mix of instruments and vocals. Thus, in order to achieve relatively the same level of quality the total size of two discrete tracks compressed with mp3 is likely to be larger than even six tracks mixed together and then compressed with mp3.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497519)

Call me crazy here, but wouldn't you wanna take advantage of *both* lossy and lossless compression techniques to get the smallest file with the best sound quality? It's not one or the other.. is it?

Re:Someone help me out here.. (2, Informative)

plastik55 (218435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497585)

The heart of music compression is exploiting masking [wikipedia.org] effects - a loud sound obscures quieter sounds that happen near the same time and frequency. When compressing a mixed together song, the encoder will not bother to encode the sound of e.g. a clarinet at he moment a cymbal crashes, because you wouldn't be able to hear it anyway. This is one of the ways mp3 saves information, and encoding tracks separetely would prevent this from happening.

Re: your first point about entropy -- the entropy in a downmixed track is strictly less than or equal to the sum of the entropies of the individual tracks. So encoding the tracks separately would require more space for the same quality.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

hdparm (575302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497679)

Thank you. I got really confused with contradictory answers to original poster's question. Now I know!

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497345)

Sorry, your understanding of MP3 is entirely wrong. The closest MP3 does to what you're talking about it trying to discriminate between tones and noise (each instrument usually contains both) when computing the psychoacoustic masking curve. In all cases, only a single signal is processed and there no separation (which is BTW impossible outside of "toy problems" when you only have a single channel) taking place.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1, Informative)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497517)

Alright I fucking HATE this description (and I've heard it before) that notes consist of "tone" and "noise". That's just a really detremental way of looking at sound. Most of that "noise" consists of harmonics, as well as other resonating frequencies thrown into the mix, so many that it "appears" to be random. Fuck, how simple do you want to get? is anything that's not a pure sine wave, "noise"? Take my 20% pulse wave, that's pretty fucking "noisy". God, I had a first year electronic music professor use this description, it screwed with my head for weeks until I realized that it was a total bullshit way of looking at sound. Thankfully, she got fired, and none of my other electronic music profs ever used that model again. "Noise" is random, very little sound is entirely random, it's just complicated enough that noone wants to bother breaking it down. But do some complex Fourier transformations on tones, and you'll see just how much "noise" that shit really is.

Sorry for sounding like an ass, I've just heard that description before, and it seems like a way you would describe sound on Seseme Street.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

dabraun (626287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497651)

Bah. From a compression point of view the approach to storing well defined waves and relatively random data is very different. If you can effectively subtract out all the well defined waves, store them very effeciently, and then be left with a 'noise' track that is considerably lower in terms of it's dynamic range - you can then effectively compress the noise track and end up using a lot less space. How many of the discrete waveforms you can actually extract and how large the remaining dynamic range of the noise is will affect just how much you can compress the audio before being forced to throw data away.

Picture a noisy sine wave that only deviates from a clean sine wave by 10% in most places. Suntract the sine wave, compress the remaining bits which don't require a full 16 bits to represent them because they never or rarely contain values high enough to need this. Decide how much of the noise you can cut (if it consists of 10 bits of dynamic range can you drop that to 8 bits without noticably losing quality? How many values would this skew and by how much? This can be easily calculated...) Consider making exceptions for the occasional non-regular peak noise values and storing those seperately (if they were regular they could be stored as a wave). Of course it's a lot more complicated than that with actual music.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497835)

Extracting those discrete waveforms is called modelling, and how good your model is defines how much you can extract. So, for example, if you have a guitar model and you apply it to a track that has nothing but guitar on it, your model is going to match a hell of a lot better than if you have vocals on the track with the guitar. Even if you apply your guitar model, subtract the resulting approximation to get the error and then apply your vocals model, you're still not going to get as good results as you would if the tracks were seperate because of the noise accumulation. This is the kind of stuff FLAC does for lossless compression. I've not heard of people doing similar stuff for lossy compression, thus my original question, but there's probably a good reason.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (2, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497373)

It's my understanding that the first step of compressing a wav to mp3 is to seperate out all the sound tracks.

Your understanding is incorrect. Once mixed, track info is lost. You have a single stereo mix. Seperating out tracks would like trying to reconstruct a banana from a smoothie.

You can, however, run a soothie through a sieve to sort what's left by size. Lossy compression seperates out frequencies into those that can and "cannot" be heard.

KFG

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497379)

"It's my understanding that the first step of compressing a wav to mp3 is to seperate out all the sound tracks. This being an imprecise process, wouldn't you get better results if the sound tracks were already seperated?"

I'd say no because each compression thread (i.e. track) would be unaware of the others and would miss opportunities to optimize harmonics. I think each track would sound good by itself, but there might be some strange effects produced when they're mixed.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497441)

I think each track would sound good by itself, but there might be some strange effects produced when they're mixed.

For starters, the end result wouldn't be an mp3, but a wav of an mp3. If you can think of a point to that, you're either a better man than I am, or loopy.

KFG

Re:Someone help me out here.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497577)

Yeah, I guess all I was thinking was that mixing throws away information. If you were to get the mixer and the compressor to work together you'd get better results.

A real answer for people curious about MP3's (5, Informative)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497425)

They are facinating in how they work, but let me provide a quick laymen explanation:

First off, your idea that tracks are "seperated" is an understandable mistake! But, the deal is that it's not the tracks that are seperated, it's the component audio frequencies that compose the sound that make up the song that are.

Let's skip the boring stuff and get right to it. If this interests you, i'm sure that wikipedia will have a full explanation. Imagine three people are whistling (and that this makes up the whole, if somewhat boring, song. Person 1 is whistling at 700hz (hertz, or cycles per second. Human hearing is approx 20-20000 hz, rather like the specs you see on headphones, no coincidence). Person 2 is whistling at 703 hz (NOTE this is close to person 1 on purpose) and person 3 is whistling at 900 hz. So you hear, uncompressed three whistles. There are two things that happen to make an mp3:

1) If I can analyze this sound to find it's frequency components for a given "window" (or in mp3 speak, frame) of time, i can just record that. It would be easier (smaller) to say Persons 1, 2, 3 are whistling at 700, 703, and 900 then it would be to record the full sound of them doing it (think about that)

Still, music can be complex, and there are different qualities of MP3 you can make too (usually refered to as bitrate, like 128, 160, 192 Kbps (kilo bits per second) so we have

2) A principal not unlike optical illusions called Psychoacoustics. It basically says that if you have two signals A and B, and A is louder then B, and A and B are close enough in frequency, a person will only tend to hear A. Common sense time, if a headphone speaker is making a sound, and a big loudspeaker is making the same sound, you'll only hear the big loudspeaker. The question is, how much different will the headphone have to be before you hear it?

This is the science of psychoacoustics. Basically, the more compressed an mp3 is, the more will be "stripped" out - that is as the bitrate gets lower, the amount seperating A and B is allowed to increase. On the flip side, if the bitrate is high enough, there is no practical difference to the human ear, because you just can't hear such a small difference anyway That's why a high bitrate mp3 is STILL five times smaller then a .wav file with equivalent (for most humans -some one might disagree - i don't) quality.

Check on fourier transforms, psychoacoustics, and mp3 on wikipedia for more (and if anyone has a better example, well, typed this pretty quick, go for it!)

.j.

Re:A real answer for people curious about MP3's (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497499)

Thanks! Relating this back to my question, if you have three tracks and at time X there is a 700hz sound on track 1, a 703hz sound on track 2 and a 900hz sound on track 3 and track 1 is louder than track 2, then isn't it going to be really easy to determine that you can drop the bits from track 2? Easier, than say, trying to detect that a particular waveform in the mix of tracks 1, 2 and 3 was created from three seperate tracks and then determining that that you can drop the sound from track 2 and represent the whole frame as a 700hz signal and a 900hz signal? And, similarly, isn't it likely that a seperation of tracks into individual instruments (as it is usually done in making a recording) will be ameanable to this kind of analysis?

So, is there tools that already do this? Or is the guy who is trying to encode his own music (which is lying on his harddrive, uncompressed, in seperate instrument tracks) only ever going to get a compressed file which is as good as the d00d running Audio Grabber on a store bought CD?

Re:A real answer for people curious about MP3's (3, Informative)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497555)

Actually, although it may not make sense at first, it's MUCH better to mix them all first. Why? Because you'd have to anyway! That is, if Track A has a frequency at 700 (a blowin sax) and Track B has a frequency of 701 (Jiving flute) but the flute is very soft (for that frame - a very short amount of time, so you can see it might happen alot as the instruments get louder and softer at different times together) then you'd be basically stripping out the 701. The kicker:
If they aren't mixed together, how would you know you can get rid of the flute for that instant? Now let's not get to specific, when it's all just frequencies, after the math is done, the point is that your best bet for choosing what to take out will occur if everything you want to play can be analyzed together. So nope, that's why they don't have that. Happy to explain this more if i didn't make sense..

Re:A real answer for people curious about MP3's (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497599)

And to be clear, Fourier Transforms do just this - they take a complex sound (well, physical sciences use this ALL over the place, but sound will do as an example) and turn them into frequency "slices" so that they say, at time X, we have Frequencies A, B, C at strenghts 1, 2 and 3.

There are tradeoffs to this - but here's a neat tidbit - The concept of fourier analysis is exatly how your ears work this very instant - your inner ear has "hairs" that vibrate at different frequncies (look it up, its cool) and your mind "recomposes" the stimulus of which hairs are vibrating into a sound you think is unified.

To be honest, mp3 spring right up from biology, if you understand the way your ear works, it's almost a no-brainer (hindsight, that is ;) )

Re:A real answer for people curious about MP3's (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497603)

All I'm saying, is that if you were to combine the mixing process and the compressing process, wouldn't the compressor have more information to play with? Mixing throws away information that the compressor could use, doesn't it?

Re:A real answer for people curious about MP3's (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497639)

short answer, nope, you'd get no extra info from that. But learning about fourier transform will help you understand that what you are calling "seperated" tracks has nothing to do the idea of seperating frequencies. In short, you'd have 5 seperate mp3's all summed together, with WORSE compression. It's just math man, read up on Fourier (cool stuff, really!) or just trust me. /not that you should ever "just trust me", there is alot of info out there on this //although the conclusion is pretty bulletproof this time

Math folks might like this SONG about Fourier (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497733)

this was too much, found it a few days ago:

http://eceserv0.ece.wisc.edu/~sethares/mp3s/fourie r.html [wisc.edu]

You just can't make this stuff up! here's the text, reproduced, but as my friend said, it puts Weird Al to shame (sorry Al!), the song itself sounds really, really good! So, this is your Nerd Moment of Zen for the Week (for sure!):

Table 4.1: Properties of the Fourier Transform
(or, Fourier's Song)

Integrate your function times a complex exponential
It's really not so hard you can do it with your pencil
And when you're done with this calculation
You've got a brand new function - the Fourier Transformation
What a prism does to sunlight, what the ear does to sound
Fourier does to signals, it's the coolest trick around
Now filtering is easy, you don't need to convolve
All you do is multiply in order to solve.

From time into frequency - from frequency to time

Every operation in the time domain
Has a Fourier analog - that's what I claim
Think of a delay, a simple shift in time
It becomes a phase rotation - now that's truly sublime!
And to differentiate, here's a simple trick
Just multiply by J omega, ain't that slick?
Integration is the inverse, what you gonna do?
Divide instead of multiply - you can do it too.

From time into frequency - from frequency to time

Let's do some examples... consider a sine
It's mapped to a delta, in frequency - not time
Now take that same delta as a function of time
Mapped into frequency - of course - it's a sine!

Sine x on x is handy, let's call it a sinc.
Its Fourier Transform is simpler than you think.
You get a pulse that's shaped just like a top hat...
Squeeze the pulse thin, and the sinc grows fat.
Or make the pulse wide, and the sinc grows dense,
The uncertainty principle is just common sense.

Re:A real answer for people curious about MP3's (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497849)

Your example of two people whistling at 700 Hz and 703 Hz is misleading. I believe you're assuming that since the difference is 3 Hz, and the human ear can only hear Hz greater than 20, that the difference would be inaudible and one could be dropped. But what actually happens is that the two waves will alternatingly compliment and destruct each other, with the net result of a sound around 701.5 Hz coming in and out every 1/3rd of a second. It would basically sound like 3 beeps a second, though more like a siren than a beep. If the waves were at different amplitudes, the same phenomenon would still exist but there would not be complete silence during the destructive phases.

This gets to the fundamental mistake in your explanation. If MP3s (or more generally, digital music) only stored the most prominant waves, the above phenomenon would not be recorded. The recording would not match the actual sound at all, as the complimentary aspects of sound waves are a big part of what makes music interesting to listen to.

What actually happens is that the waves are all recorded as one master waveform. The amplitude of this waveform is recorded regularly at very short intervals. For CDs, there are 44,100 recorded points per second. Due to the very small intervals, any waveforms that could not be caught at this fidelity would be due to frequencies so high that they're inaudible. MP3s try to draw the same curve without taking so many recordings. It essentially tries to fit a curve to the master waveform, carefully deciding on which differences would result acceptable errors that are either outside of human hearing or small compared to the other frequencies compositing the wave. There is never a datapoint in either CD or MP3 that says "currently there's a sound at 700 Hz and at 703 Hz." Instead, the only recorded data is where the wave is (in terms of amplitude) and (in the case of MP3s) where the wave is going.

The parent poster asked about "tracks" and how they're seperated out. I believe this the poster's just using the wrong terminology. What's actually seperated out is the output from the different speakers. These are more accurately called channels. "Tracks" are the output of a specific instrument, and are traditionally stored as two unique channels in recording studios. The bitrate of these channels would match, or exceed, the quality of the end recording. Therefore if a pop song has 16 tracks, it would take 32 channels, all individually stored at high bitrates, to store in an unmixed format. This is a lot more data than distributing the "mixed" version, where all the waveforms are saved together as two channels, and is what is sold at CD stores and as MP3s/AACs.

I hope this explains things a bit better :). I was actually hoping the Wikipedia article would explain the data portion of the MP3 format, and not just the header. But the above is what I learned from reading the actual technical documentation years ago.

Jon

More accurate explanation (2, Informative)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497871)

Your example of two people whistling at 700 Hz and 703 Hz is misleading. I believe you're assuming that since the difference is 3 Hz, and the human ear can only hear Hz greater than 20, that the difference would be inaudible and one could be dropped. But what actually happens is that the two waves will alternatingly compliment and destruct each other, with the net result of a sound around 701.5 Hz coming in and out every 1/3rd of a second. It would basically sound like 3 beeps a second, though more like a siren than a beep. If the waves were at different amplitudes, the same phenomenon would still exist but there would not be complete silence during the destructive phases.

This gets to the fundamental mistake in your explanation. If MP3s (or more generally, digital music) only stored the most prominant waves, the above phenomenon would not be recorded. The recording would not match the actual sound at all, as the complimentary aspects of sound waves are a big part of what makes music interesting to listen to.

What actually happens is that the waves are all recorded as one master waveform. The amplitude of this waveform is recorded regularly at very short intervals. For CDs, there are 44,100 recorded points per second. Due to the very small intervals, any waveforms that could not be caught at this fidelity would be due to frequencies so high that they're inaudible. MP3s try to draw the same curve without taking so many recordings. It essentially tries to fit a curve to the master waveform, carefully deciding on which differences would result acceptable errors that are either outside of human hearing or small compared to the other frequencies compositing the wave. There is never a datapoint in either CD or MP3 that says "currently there's a sound at 700 Hz and at 703 Hz." Instead, the only recorded data is where the wave is (in terms of amplitude) and (in the case of MP3s) where the wave is going.

The parent poster asked about "tracks" and how they're seperated out. I believe this the poster's just using the wrong terminology. What's actually seperated out is the output from the different speakers. These are more accurately called channels. "Tracks" are the output of a specific instrument, and are traditionally stored as two unique channels in recording studios. The bitrate of these channels would match, or exceed, the quality of the end recording. Therefore if a pop song has 16 tracks, it would take 32 channels, all individually stored at high bitrates, to store in an unmixed format. This is a lot more data than distributing the "mixed" version, where all the waveforms are saved together as two channels, and is what is sold at CD stores and as MP3s/AACs.

I hope this explains things a bit better :). I was actually hoping the Wikipedia article would explain the data portion of the MP3 format, and not just the header. But the above is what I learned from reading the actual technical documentation years ago.

Jon

ps. Sorry for the original post as AC, but I don't want this post to be buried at 0 moderation.

Re:Someone help me out here.. (3, Informative)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497531)

Others have provided useful aspects of the answer to your question but I don't think anyone has boiled it down yet.

In short - No. A single track compressed will work better in mp3 than individual tracks mixed together.

The reason is that mp3 is designed precisely to compress single multi-instrument tracks and makes use of psychoacoustics to do this. The gist of which is, the more complicated a sound is (multiple instruments/frequencies) the less of each individual instrument (frequency) you are likely to be able to perceive. Thus, with all the instruments together in the one track, the mp3 algorithm can work better to strip out the subtler elements you don't perceive. If you are just compressing a single instrument there is less of that compression that can be done because, for example, it doesn't know that the rhythm guitar is being drowned by the kick drum at that point in time. Or as a corollary, compressing a single instrument will have to remove stuff you can hear just to hit the same bitrate as the compressed single track. So, combining individual tracks will lead to a worse outcome, all other things being equal, than compressing the already mixed track.

I was actually thinking about this a while back. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497155)

The music industry has done a good job of scaring me away from music downloads. Completely.

I moved to anime. Granted, I download more than I buy, but I spend $500+ a year on DVDs alone. This is because I can "preview" a series before it's out. That used to be money I spend on music.

Back in the late 90's I used to spend a killing on CDs, not so anymore. Common sense and the internet spoiled me - I could tell ahead of time whether a CD is worth it or not (it's not 99.9% of the time, unless one-two good tracks but not especially memorable tracks are worth $15 when a good movie for the same money entertains for about 90 minutes or so).

At most, I buy CDs for anime soundtracks, but in this case I know if it's good or not from the anime itself, ne?

Re:I was actually thinking about this a while back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497237)

O/T: I still do not understand the obsession people have with anime. What do the Japanese know about making shitty cartoons that we don't?

Re:I was actually thinking about this a while back (0, Offtopic)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497549)

O/T: I still do not understand the obsession people have with anime. What do the Japanese know about making shitty cartoons that we don't?


Oh, I agree. We know about as more (I'd say even more) about making shitty cartoons than the japanese.

It's in the area of good ones we need catching up.

(BTW, the answer here begins in the attitude. Here, it's cartoons, as in primarily for kids, there it is an accepted medium for all kinds of entertainment.)

Re:I was actually thinking about this a while back (0, Offtopic)

Drgnkght (449916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497649)

On the off chance that your question is a serious one, I'll try to explain. The primary difference between American cartoons and Japanese cartoons is, in my opinion at least, the target audience. American society views cartoons as intended for children. Most of the cartoons produced here in the states are simple and devoid of anything that might offend parents. You will never see Disney (or any other domestic cartoon studio) release anything like "Ninja Scroll", "Slayer", or "Demon City Shinjuku". They're not child-safe. (Remember cartoons are for children.)

This isn't the case with the Japanese cartoons, which is why most fans of anime that I've personally met refer to it as anime instead of Japanese cartoons. The material will range from silly (Photon, Dragon Half) to serious (Jin-Roh, Ghost in the Shell, Last Exile). There are also scores of romantic comedies usually these involve a love triangle of some sort, i.e. Lum, Ranma 1/2, Vandread, Love Hina. There is something for just about any interest imaginable. (La Blue Girl comes to mind. Ick.) This isn't to say that there isn't anime intended for children because there is. It just isn't the focus of the genre.

In short, anime doesn't walk on eggshells.

Re:I was actually thinking about this a while back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497947)

The japanese know PLENTY about making shitty cartoons, trust me.

Monkey cruelty? (4, Funny)

Noginbump (146238) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497157)

Where's PETA when you really need them?

Re:Monkey cruelty? (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497193)

The monkey might enjoy it.

Re:Monkey cruelty? (0, Redundant)

fishmasta (827305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497455)

Have we ever really needed PETA?

Shock the monkey? (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497159)

I really don't like the visual [urbandictionary.com] that's giving me.

(NSFW link)

FYI (1)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497355)

We came up with the "Mr. Nice Guy" which is to fold your pinky down, really giving a half-shocker...

More like surprise the monkey.

Re:Shock the monkey? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497899)

"Two in the Bush, one in the Cheney."

ROFL

Minding the "P"'s. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497199)

"The party line for the music industry has been clear: discourage music downloads at all cost. However, singer Peter Gabriel is taking things in a different direction. In order to promote his own label, he is actually encouraging people to not only download his music"

In other words the copyright holder is giving others permission to do something. Well that certainly beats digitally knocking him over the head, and taking the goods.

Re:Minding the "P"'s. (1)

aeschenkarnos (517917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497341)

Knocking him over the head? Taking? Somehow I doubt you know how filesharing works.

Never thought of it that way... (5, Funny)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497209)

I'm not downloading pirated music... I'm babysitting kidnapped music!

I feel better already.

ego (0, Troll)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497219)

A star is pleased with himself... Hmm.. sounds like a case of the "Tom Cruises"

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497235)

Is that anything like punching the monkey?

Sorry, you knew someone had to ask...

So? (3, Interesting)

svunt (916464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497239)

Real musicians (ie not Britney etc) love having their music remixed & worked on by other musicians. If you listen to hiphop, you'll know that everyone lets everyone else play with their beats, lyrics, etc. Honestly, BFD.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497411)

Sure some artists love it, because they often get paid when the music is used, or at least get credit for the riff/sample. The courts have ruled multiple times that unlicensed sampling is a violate of copyright (for example: Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Demsion Films, 2004 [findlaw.com] ). Plus, I don't think most artists have access to all the master tracks when sampling "illegally" ... which is partly why contests/experiments like those of Peter Gabriel and Nine Inch Nails were so interesting.

Claiming that all "Real" musicians love having the music sampled is a bit overstated ... particularly since the practice seems most common in Rap and Hip Hop.

Re:So? (1, Troll)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497515)

"Claiming that all "Real" musicians love having the music sampled is a bit overstated ... particularly since the practice seems most common in Rap and Hip Hop."

Implying that "real musicians" are involved in Rap and Hip Hop is even more of an overstatement.

Re:So? (0, Flamebait)

PenGun (794213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497757)

Rap and Hip Hop are valid genres of musical experesion, you sir are an asshole.

Disclaimer:
  I turned 60 sept 17th.

    PenGun
  Do What Now ??? ... Standards and Practices !

Hip Hop != Rap (I am a programmer, listen to me!!) (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497843)

I only said that to get your attention, maybe a little cred. I doubt that most folks around here have even HEARD hiphop - although the radio has soaked you all in rap, for sure.

To quote the immortal KRS-One: Rap is something you do, Hip-Hop is something you live.

I mean it, hip hop is barely a music format, it is more of a mindset that has NOTHIN' but NOTHIN' to do with the music you hear today. Really Really. Here is a underground tip for otherwise plaid slashdotters.. and an album i wish EVERYONE owned, which will prove the point: Aceyalone's Book Of Human Language .

After you listen to that, let's have this discussion again. We can go over the Four Elements. Maybe over the still cooling body of Clear Channel, if we can arrange it ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_elements_of_hip_ hop [wikipedia.org] (wikipedia, you shine tonight)

Re:So? (1)

svunt (916464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497707)

You mean rap, hiphop, IDM, electronica in general, basically any form of music that lends itself to sampling. Really, aside from the very money-laden end of music, artists are pretty happy sharing ideas, just like scientists not caught up in the highly commercial end of their field are happy to share information, or programmers not caught up in the very commercial world of proprietary software. At the end of the day, creative people who aren't making a crapload of money are a very different bvreed to those who are.

Results have some merits (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497321)

While I agree with most commentors that Peter Gabriel didn't exactly pick his shining accomplishment for the amateur mixers to work with, there were a few "gems" amongst the entries. Here was one of my personal favorites [realworldremixed.com] ... who would have thought Carmen and Shock the Monkey would go together so well?

Re:Results have some merits (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497539)

Well, I wouldn't completely be satisfied unless he was able to go back and license Lamb Lies Down on Broadway... but that would mean getting through to Phil Collins, which would be a nightmare.

Doin' a /. version called, "Spank the Monkey!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497361)



Doin' a /. version called, "Spank the Monkey!" You are all invited to partcipate. Hey! I didn't say start already!!

Whatever (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497381)

It's a well-known song by a well-released artist. Sure, the RIAA could dig some plain-old selling-CDs value out of it, but they've gone to that well plenty of times. So this is as much publicity stunt as artistic endeavor, and it's reaffirming exactly what the RIAA does: promote big acts.

What the major labels provide to an artist is massive promotion, and this artist has already been promoted. If you want to take down the RIAA, find some ways to connect to brilliant-but-obscure bands that don't have the money for radio air play, posters in Virgin Megastores, etc.

Re:Whatever (1)

fohat (168135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497495)

and it's reaffirming exactly what the RIAA does: promote big acts.

Actually I think he's promoting little acts. But hopefully one day they'll be big, big time!

What the major labels provide to an artist is massive promotion, and this artist has already been promoted.

They also go after grandmothers that don't own computers.
I see this as less of a "stunt" and more of a "creative idea using past works", which really sums it up: He's creativly using his control over the copyright of his work to allow others to enhance or diminish it, whichever they prefer. This is one of several steps in the right direction. Back in the middle ages when bards shared songs and roamed the country side, I don't think they were too concerned about copyright. Music wants to be heard. I do agree with you, support the small fry and let the big guys die.

Re:Whatever (4, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497653)

Sure, the RIAA could dig some plain-old selling-CDs value out of it, but they've gone to that well plenty of times. So this is as much publicity stunt as artistic endeavor, and it's reaffirming exactly what the RIAA does: promote big acts.

Peter Gabriel is British. He has converted a garden shed on his own property into a recording studio where he produces for his own label. He actually runs his own website.

Yes, he's a big act, but since leaving Genesis he's been as much as possible an independent big act publicly at the forefront of not paying too much mind to copyright issues.

When his "people" came to him all upset that people in India were pirating his records his response was (paraphrasing):

"You idiots, book me. If they're not paying for what we're trying to sell they're at least demonstrating a demand for what we can sell that they can't pirate."

He has a long, personal history of being the good anti-Metallica.

KFG

Stupidest phrase ever... (4, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497429)

..the commercial equivalent of hiring kidnappers to babysit...

Uh, no. It just letting listeners remix already recorded segments into something they like.

Really.

Journalists are stupid. Sometimes.

fuck a Nigga (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497509)

Politdics openly.

Not the first (2, Informative)

Brenky (878669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497537)

As much as I love Peter Gabriel, he isn't the first to release tracks for fans to mix. Barenaked Ladies [barenakedladies.com] have also been offering songs from their newest album for people to mix (some of the newly-mixed songs will go on an EP, the proceeds going to charity). Anyways, I think it's great that more popular artists are sticking it to the man, so to speak, and disregarding everything the RIAA wants you to believe. More power to 'em, and if it means rehashing old songs in order to get attention, then so be it. At least they're starting to clue in on the fact that free music does more good than harm (most of the time).

Re:Not the first (1)

GotenXiao (863190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497873)

Machinae Supremacy (http://www.machinaesupremacy.com/ [machinaesupremacy.com] ) first started with web release. They're currently signed with Spinefarm Records, and still have the ability to distribute via the web. Also:
The Underground Edition of REDEEMER was released at the opening of the MACHINAE SUPREMACY webshop (a.k.a The MACHINAESHOP) on March 28th 2006, and the band broke even on the album production costs in only a few hours.

Download their music. Enjoy.

Music + Video? (5, Interesting)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497545)

When I think Peter Gabriel my mind is instantly driven to the video for "Sledgehammer" with the stop motion animated food. With all of the Photoshopping talent online, why should the remix project stop with music alone? Music videos would likely be impressive as well.

Re:Music + Video? (1)

timerider (14785) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497665)

same here...

just look at some of the stuff that comes out of the AMV scene...
(For the outsiders: AMV = Anime Music Video, video clips for music made from snippets of anime shows, and/or with anime characters)
Any of you remember this elvis title that came out around 2003, and its video clip? someone re-made that with anime characters... pretty impressive if you consider that that person would have had to re-draw it, frame by frame, to get the siluettes of the characters in all those boxes...

Re:Music + Video? (2, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497907)

Put I pray to god, if there is one, that any user-made video will not consist of screencaps of someone's favorite anime movie, dammit there are too many of those around! :)

News for Nerds (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16497559)

I dont care if he likes free downloads, this is news for nerds, not news for has beens....

Maybe, just maybe... (2, Interesting)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497573)

You can see that the actual artists -- the people the RIAA pretend to be protecting -- have repeatedly fallen on our side, supporting file sharing and music communities. They are above the petty business interests and sheer greed that has driven the RIAA to attempt to destroy the music industry.

With any luck, more artists will start taking these kinds of steps, and eventually the RIAA will not be watching their own dinner from last night being digested.

This is how it should be (4, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497853)

Freedom to create derivative works. Freedom to distribute. Freedom to use as you see fit. No copyright nonsense.

The good thing: it is inevitable that we deal away with copyright. Modern exchange of information demands it (read, networking in the sense of distributing information based on the network model, as opposed to the broadcast model). The information exchange is much more powerful than the copyright law, and it is only bound to get stronger as networking is more and more part of everyday life. The first signs are already apparent. We've got a company called Google who is most likely among the biggest copyright infringers on the world, operating freely. Why? Because Google provides an essential service. To index information, thus make information accessible. Furthermore not only it is an essential service, but it is _good_ for content creators aswell. The fundamental clash is this: copyright and networking is incompatible. Networking/nature is not aware of copyright and can't be made aware of, because copyright itself is a fuzzy, arbitary and ultimately conflicting view on information. Copyright is the 8 ton gorilla. Networking is the 8000 ton meteorite. Networking is simply so useful that we're not going to give it up and networking cannot be fixed to obey copyright law. Copyright is not only detrimental to an information society, it is not needed and ultimately incompatible with future technological advancement. Networking implies free flow of information and creating derivative works. So like it or not: copyright goes away.

The bad thing: it is likely to be a long, slow process and change is only going to come when the situation becomes really, really unworkable.

The outcome: content creators will get paid for creating the given work, but won't be given a tax and monopoly on distribution for x amount of time. This is how most people would expect to get paid for a job. After all, why is it that while creating and printing a book in the 18th century was much more expensive and longer, the copyright law guaranteed less benefits for the authors than it does now. We're simply rewarding content creators too much for too little work.

Of course you could argue that copyright provides incentive. But this is a false argument. The correct way to phrase that is: copyright provides income, which is the incentive. Now, you might argue that in the 18th century, copyright was the most straightforward way to provide that income to content creators, but today it ain't so. Again, our wonderful networking age obsoleted copyright on that field. It is now possible to setup a worldwide micropayment system on the internet (it is just a matter of time until someone implements it), to sponsor the creation of most works. Still, you could say, what about big budget movies? Well, what about them. There will be companies willing to finance the creation of the movie just like now (of course actors would be paid fixed sums of money as royalties won't exist) and they'd make profit not from the copyright fees coming from distributing the work, but from using the given content to sell their product. Tv stations already do this, they give away movies for no financial compensation so that you watch the advertisements their income is from. Just from now on, your movies ticket would pay for the experience you're given in the cinema, not the copyright fees. People would still go to the cinema, but cinemas would actually have to compete on the best viewing experience, not at what you're actually able to view.

It might sound strange, but from a certain viewpoint, advertisements have it right: they are the means, not the end. As in, they exist as means for companies to influence you, not because they want to make a profit on advertisements. The profit is indirect. If all content would be used like that commercially: to help sell a product (cinema seets, a book, etc), as in not as advertisement, but as a necessary component, then we wouldn't have to pay outrageous profits to media cartells, just what they deserve: a fair, free market competitive profit on their actual work (initial cost of creating the given work + negligible distribution costs).

Still, you could ask: what about niche content? What about a book whose author sells around a few thousand copies? Well, what about it? The author can go to the publisher just like before, say that he had written this book, just like before and that he wants x amount of cash and then the publisher can sell the book. If the author is smart, nothing else is necessary. If we want to be extremely sure to be treating everyone fairly, we can introduce a "creation law": for unpublished content, the author (but not relatives) _can_ seek compensation for creating the work if he so wishes, so that he's able to seek compensation from a company if they decided to just steal the pdf file from his computer that contained the yet unpublished work. However, such works would have to be clearly marked that he intended to seek such compensation in the first place, the system would default to "freely publishable" unless explicitly stated. Of course there has to be a sensible time limit on it even if the author intends to seek direct compensation for creating the work, no more than 5 years. Although this might seem to be like copyright-light, there are big differences: it is an opt-in system, it doesn't give control of distribution or derivative works, so if the book has been published, someone can just scan the book with OCR and print it in his own print and sell it cheaper than the original company. Unfair? No. The original publisher company gets the time bonus of being first. In most cases, noone is going to undercut the original company in a significant way, because the author's share is small compared to the cost of printing lots of books and secondly because there is a finite demand for books: noone is going to undercut prices on a book when the market is saturated with the first publisher's copies and it is a reasonable market price. If not, then it is free market at it's best.

Yes, this model does work. It works for technologies: first company pays the research costs of a technology and not only he gets to use it. You'd be naive to think that companies don't blatantly copy technologies.
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