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On Trading, Formats, and Community

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 9:17 pm
by sour29
EDIT: this topic is continued from http://www.thelongwinters.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=936

shit. there's been a lot of replies in this topic since i started writing this...

here goes!

Merlin wrote:Cool! Thanks for starting things off.

sour29 wrote:Offering whole shows in MP3 would kill a Long Winters (lossless) trading community before it has a chance to flourish.

Hmmm. I'm interested to know more. I'm new to this, so bear with me.

When you say "lossless" you mean, like, shn or flac formats? Non-lossless you would see as bad? Why?

Also, how does posting full shows vs. 2-3 tracks damage the community?

And finally, what can we do, in you opinion, to improve things for traders as well as—more importantly for the band—more informal, _grazing_ fans (especially lo-speed connnection folks)? They aren't all going to be especially enthusiastic about 15MB/track .flac files, IMHO. :)

Thanks for any advice you can offer. PM or email if you prefer.


It's better I respond publically, so people know why I say these things. I've been a big trader for probably 6 or so years now--especially in the Smashing Pumpkins community (although I've dabbled in many, many others). I've seen first hand how technology has shaped communities--when I first started trading, MP3s were jsut starting out and were basically the equivilent of FLAC/SHN etc. now--too big to send mass amounts out in. And so, we traded by mail.

First and foremost, perhaps, is the sense of community MAIL trades creates. It creates bonds between people. Opens up conversations about experiences and love for a band, singer, project--whatever. It brings people together who aren't just a faceless username. Sure, mail trades don't necessarily put a face to a person--but they tend to be a lot more communicative and create bonds and friendships, especially when two people get in continuous contact and set up multiple trades over a period of time. When people are downloading MP3s from a site (or even a P2P network group), they don't interact with anyone but a monitor and mouse. There's no sense of community or involvement. And music trading (at least, originally) is about bringing people together who share common loves. I'm in the process of trying to set up several mail trades right now for the shows listed above, and they have led to several conversations with people I probably otherwise never would have been given the opportunity to get to know.

Arguably, mail trades are going the way of the dinosaur, however. As technology grows more advanced, it becomes increasingly feasible (if not downright practical) to trade online. Via Bit-Torrent, DC++, SharingTheGroove, etc. etc. But, because of the large file sizes, many of these trading method's still create--and even encourage--a community. For example, DC++ is a Napster-like P2P sharing program. Each dedicated "HUB" has a chat room where, more often than not, the users of the Hub chat, and get to know each other and talk about the same things as mentioned in the above paragraphs. It's more effective than a normal chat room because the chat window always remains open while a person is downloading--they have no choice. While a person downloads an MP3 off a site or Kazaa or such, there's no encouraged communication. Bit-Torrent and STG.org don't have similar chat programs, but operate on a message board-like format. This encourages people to respond to the release of a show, and can often lead to interesting discussions as well. The advantage Bit-Torrent holds over DC++ is that it's not a direct P2P connection, and allows you to download from many people at once. Another plus to BT is that you are FORCED to upload while you download, so that the music is spread/shared more. Both have their ups and downs.

So yes, obviously, I'm encouraging the use of lossless (flac/shn/etc.) audio. Not only because it creates this sense of community, but also because it ensures that the downloader gets the best available copy of the recording. MP3ing music cuts off frequencies, which straight out lowers the quality of the music. I'll never hear the end of the "the human ear can't pick up those frequencies" arguement, but this is simply not true. Any true music lover will tell you that you can hear a difference--especially in the high-end frequencies (listen to cymbals especially; they are the most noticable). It's like people arguing the vinyl is and will always be superior to the compact disc. Because it allows higher frequencies to pass.

For arguement's sake, though, let's say that we couldn't notice a difference (and I'll pretend that MP3's don't add several frames of silence to the end and beginning of each track, forcing a pop or clicking noise between tracks when burned to cd--not noticable on albums but very noticable on the seamlessness of live recordings) and I transfer the show I taped last night and put it up as a 256kps MP3--pretty high quality, people would be happy, right? So, a Long Winters fan--let's say his name is Joe, downloads my show and burns it to cd. Later, my show is taken off of whatever site or is just not readily available anymore. Joe decides Hey! That was a great recording, and I know people would love to hear it! I'm going to put it back out there. Very noble of Joe, agreed? So, Joe rips this cd encodes it to 256kbs MP3 and puts it back up for download. All cool, right? Wrong. 256kbs MP3 or a track that was originally a 256kbs MP3 means you're really downloading (essentially) a 128kbs MP3. Or about that. And that's if we're lucky and Joe converts his previously MP3 WAV at a high bitrate (such as 256kbs). If he were to reencode those files at the more common 128kbs, you'd be downloading a 96kbps (or worse!) copy of the recording. If someone were to download Joe's copy of the show, burn it to cd, and later decide to do the same thing and rip their copy of the cd, you're getting a third-generation MP3. That would, by and large, sound worse than a Real Audio file.

This is especially a problem in Live Recordings, which (frankly and by and large) tend to sound poor to begin with. When you start compromising the quality of what is already a poor recording...well, let's just say you'd probably be better of spending your time and bandwidth elsewhere.

However, let's say I offer my recording up in FLAC format. Joe burns it and later offers it in FLAC format as well. Then Kathy downloads Joe's copy and burns it. This is not, by any means ideal (there's a lot of factors that go into ripping and burning cds that ensure a completely flawless recording), but in theory, Kathy has an exact duplicate of my copy. That means her download is the very best it could possibly be, no matter how many generations it has gone through before it has gotten to her. This is simply not the case with MP3s. Ultimately, it comes down to ensuring that the quality remains optimal and consistant.

This is not only for the listener, but for the taper as well. I paid, probably, $120 Canadian to see the Long Winters last night. Between costs of taping equipment, tickets and transportation, that might be a conservative estimate. Furthermore, I spend the concert WORKING to make the best possible recording I can so that the listener can enjoy my recording to the utmost level. I can honestly say that I did not enjoy the Long Winters show as much as I would have if I had not taped it. If I had not taped it, I would have been singing along, and dancing and partying like it's 1999 again. But because I put my enjoyment asside, there's going to be countless Long Winters fans who are going to be able to listen to my recordings and watch my DVD and enjoy that concert--including me. But after all the work, effort and personal sacrifrices (and I know it was my decision, I'm not trying to make myself out to be a martyr by anymeans) to create the best looking, best sounding repreduction of a live performance (something that could never be recreated exactly as it happened even if you filled the room with all the same people and played the exact same setlist), why would I want my hard work and efforts being spread amongst fans in any less quality that i intended for it to be? Why would any listener want to subject themselves to a copy of it at any less quality than it ought to be?

Let me draw a metaphor--you go to the grocery store for apples. You can get ripe, red, perfect apples for $1 a pound. Or you can get what WAS ripe, red, perfect apples, but now has small bites taken out of it and is slightly bruised in some areas. These apples sell for $0.50 a pound. Now they're cheaper--and they're certainly still edible--but is it not worth that extra fifty cents to get the better apples? Sure, you could get twice as many bad apples for the price of the good ones...but why would you want to?

Which leads me to your next question. 3 tracks of MP3s of recordings offered at TheLongWinters.com is the bitten and bruised apple. People buy a couple--maybe a couple of different flavours. They'll buy some Red Delicious (let's say these are MP3 samples of the 05/29/03 recording), they'll buy some Granny Smith (MP3 samples of 10/16/03), and they'll buy some MacIntosh (WMV samples of 06/06/04). They get to "taste" these recordings, and with these tastes, decide which are worth the "extra 50 cents." Or, which recordings would be worth the time and effort to a) hunt down and set up a mail trade, or b) dedicate the time and bandwidth to a larger, lossless copy of the show.

It's tricky, and the reason why I request the whole shows not be MP3'd is simply these: people by and large take the path of least resistance. If they don't taste the sweetier, riper apples, they don't know what they're missing and are content with the crappier ones (I know I'm beating a dead horse with this analogy...Sorry). People will download the MP3s and be content with them just because they don't know any better. If there's 100 Long Winters fans and 95 of them download the crappier recording, that's only 5 people who get the experience of trading, the sense of community, the best quality copy, etc. etc. More importantly, perhaps, that means only 5 people get something in return. When you download a bootleg, you don't have to offer anything in return. In mail trades, you're more likely to get shows if you have one to offer the other trader. Let's say someone from Spain e-mails me and says "Hey, I got this great recording of the band last May. I'm interested in your DVD. Can we set up a trade?" That means that I get a great cd, and he gets a great DVD. We both have TWO recordings of Long Winters shows, while downloaders only have the one they downloaded. PLUS, that gives the guy in Spain another thing to trade with. Now he can offer both copies of his DVD and of his recording to other traders which will allow him more bargining power and access to other shows held by other tapers that the MP3-traders will never get.

I've seen MP3s kill trading communities. Bands I really, really enjoy (such as, let's say for example, Placebo and Silverchair) have no communities to speak of. Sure, their shows are taped, but they are then released in MP3 and lossless copies of great shows are either impossible to find or extremely hard to come by because you have to dig through all the people who have downloaded and burned MP3 copies of the shows. That's if and only if Lossless copies still exists. Let's say the taper tapes over his Master copy, and he was the only person with a non-MP3 sourced recording. Now I, a big music and Long Winters fan, am no longer able to get an assurredly good (or at least best) quality copy of a great show.

In fact, especially with Placebo and Silverchair, the best quality copies are the ones pressed by bootleg manufacturs (they are almost always sourced from Radio). That means, if I want a great sounding copy of Placebo's gig in Paris, I have to find a store selling silver-backed bootlegs and shell out $30. Now, $30 is a lot for a cd, but it's a price paid for ALL THE TIME (check e-bay for silver-backed bootlegs, if you don't believe me). Of that $30, how much does the taper get (for the efforts and work he put into getting the show taped)? $0. How much does the band get--the people who deserve to make the profit seeing as it's their music and their show--of that $30? Again; a big fat 0. So now, Rainbow Music Bootleg Inc. (that's a made up name, I think, and any coincidences are purely coincidencial, etc. etc.) made ~$29 in profit for something of an exact quality I'm proposing could be made available to the public for FREE. As it should be.

I could easily make loads of money off taping shows. I could probably pay two or three months worth of rent for my apartment selling The Long Winters DVD of last night's recording. I could, at least, make enough to pay off the financial expenses that went into taping the concert--but ethically, taking money for a live recording is wrong. Again, it's the band's music, the band's performance, and if anyone deserves the money--it's the band. Not me, I just had to be there with a video camera and a bit of skill. Offering high-quality/lossless copies of show publically (to get back on topic) gives an alternative to people who try and profit from the band. After all, who's going to pay $30 for a bootleg with crappy artwork when they can download it in 3-5 hours readily off the internet? At equal or better quality, no less? Or, if they're on low speed connections, the price of a blank cd, an envelope, and a stamp? $3, $4 maybe.

I understand it's not feasible to host FLAC files, or DVD quality videos... but that's why I suggested 2-3 track samples in lower quality formats. That way a) the band gets to promote the material and the live act; b) everyone can download samples of multiple recordings; and c) casual fans will have a plethora of downloads that aren't limited to one recording, one concert or one stage in the bands career. The casual fan who is unwilling to spend the $4 to trade, take the time to download or whatever prevents them from entering the community would be able to download their own "mix compilation." 3 tracks of one show (an old one, that may feature something that hasn't been played in ages, such as Copernicus), 3 tracks of another show (maybe this one featuring our beloved Sean on keys and back-up vocals), 3 tracks of yet another show (perhaps this one an acoustic performance?), and finally, 3 more tracks (let's say this one is a typical show of the current tour).

I believe this option to be the best, because it displays to the casual fan the many sides to and diversity of The Long Winters. Not only that, but they might listen to the three acoustic tracks and go "damn! i'm not a big Long Winters fan, but this show is excellent. I want to get the rest of this recording." In an instance such as this, everyone benefits: The Long Winters have a potential new fan, the downloader gets a new show, and the trading community gets a new (if even only temporary) member.

Offering whole shows in MP3 format follows the old proverb "why get a cow when you get the milk for free?" It will kill the trading community, or at least marginalize it tremendously. And, I can say with a straight face that I believe community is important to this band. If not, they wouldn't be so friendly and helpful to fans like myself at shows. They wouldn't have a message board on their website, and they certainly wouldn't regularly visit and post on it. The trading community not only makes up a (potentially if not already existing) fair portion of the Long Winters community, but also provides potential exposure.

Let's say I want a Nirvana bootleg, but I have nothing to trade but a Long Winters show. I e-mail a Nirvana trader for a trade, and he says to himself "Well...I'm really only interested in trading for Nirvana shows, but the tape this guy has is a good one and I'd like to make sure as many people hear it as possible. Hmmm...And he's offering me a Long Winters recording? Isn't the the new band of that dude from Harvey Dangers? They're a pretty cool band. Maybe I'll check it out." That is exposure for the band, and another potential fan. Would this Nirvana fan have coincidentally stumbled across TheLongWinters.com and downloaded random MP3s? Not likely. And it's benefits to the band such as these that, I feel, makes being taper-friendly a very powerful tool for bands. As an asside/example, I got into Death Cab For Cutie because a good friend of mine taped their set and accidently burned too many copies. He gave his extra to me and said "check these guys out. you may like them." Two months later, I ordered their entire discography from Barsuk.

This is what I'm trying to encourage for The Long Winters. I -LOVE- their music with all my heart, and have spread the word to as many friends (and their friends) about the band as I can. I've even created a few more fans. A healthy trading community is essentially this on a wide (even global) scale.

So, after some two hours of typing, I think I've more or less got my point across. Sorry it's a novel but I feel this is a very important topic, and feel very strongly about. As a huge Long Winters fan, I truly believe I'm doing the best thing for the band and its fans by encouraging lossless and mail trading, and using mp3s not only to sample the band, but to sample the recordings themselves.

Any questions, comments or arguements are welcomed. Like I said, I'll be glad to help get this thing off the ground in anyway I can, and I'm only trying to make this the best that it can possibly be. Thank you.

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 9:35 pm
by sour29
sour29 wrote:It's tricky, and the reason why I request the whole shows not be MP3'd is simply these: people by and large take the path of least resistance.

This has been proven by the very posts above me, made while I was typing. Sure, Joe Schmoe on a 56kbps modem isn't logically going to download FLAC or SHN files. But in the amount of time it takes to download a high-quality MP3 rip of a show, he could have easily gotten his ass off of his computer chair and sent out a mail trade. They're not that hard to set up. That way, he'd be encouraging the community and ensuring the best sounding copy of that show.

It's like people who pay for music online. Let's say I download the latest David Bowie album online for $0.99 a track for 14 tracks. That's $14 for the album, plus internet time (and bandwidth costs where applicable). For that same cost, I could have gone down to a record store and picked up that same album for $14, saved myself the time, and gotten a CD quality version of the exact same music.

Are we that lazy?

The money you're spending on internet time while you're downloading MP3s is assuredly no less (or not much less) than the cost it would take to make a mail trade.

It's only your own sloth that's damning you.

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 9:45 pm
by sour29
Here's a quote from John Mayer's taping policy, which I think nicely packages my novel into a sentence or two:

In addition to helping fans recreate the live experience, we hope tape trading will foster greater interaction within the fan community. Any method of trading that does not involve personal fan interaction defeats the spirit of this goal of the taping policy and is not authorized.

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 9:46 pm
by Merlin
sour29 wrote:It's only your own sloth that's damning you.

Well, you had me and you lost me. :)

I really appreciate the time and effort you put into your responses (as well as your hard work recording) but I'm a little concerned that we're ultimately talking about two very different things for (at least) two fairly distinct audiences here.

On the one hand, I hear and respect your concerns for maximum quality, community, and the effort that goes into creating high-quality work. I am concerned though with fostering an unnecessary sense of scarcity that ends up benefitting only a very small group of high-end enthusiasts. That's just not the way the web works best--and it would really be a bitch to try and keep it in a bottle. It seems to necessarily require that there be "haves" and "have nots" based on whether fans are willing to put a fairly extraordinary amount of effort into participating in the system.

While, as I hope I've made clear, we wouldn't want to damage people's interest in recording and sharing the shows, I think at least *my* primary interest for this project would be in sharing as _much_ as possible as _efficiently_ as possible and wrapped in context and commentary from the band. To really take something that a new fan might enjoy and make it easy to grab in bite-sized or king-sized bites.

Ultimately, we're not here to make anyone "get off his ass." We're here to provide a little fun for people and if the site can consolidate diverse resources and pipe The Rock through economy of scale, I'll think we're doing pretty good.

So, yeah, this is a lot to think about and I really encourage people to chime in. I'll let the band speak for themselves, but my gut reaction is that very large, very high quality, deliberately scarce sharing may not be what we're shooting for here. That's just my opinion at the moment and I'm happy to foster the discussion here if JRo's cool with it.

Other folks?

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 10:32 pm
by sour29
Merlin wrote:I'm a little concerned that we're ultimately talking about two very different things for (at least) two fairly distinct audiences here.
Agreed, but I'm offering a solution I feel would benefit both groups.

I am concerned though with fostering an unnecessary sense of scarcity that ends up benefitting only a very small group of high-end enthusiasts.
A high-quality recording benefits everybody. Including the band, I figure--for archival purposes if not for anything else.

fairly extraordinary amount of effort
Wow. I never thought I'd see the day where sending out an e-mail would be considered an extraordinary amount of effort. That's really sad. Or is it walking to the mailbox on the corner that's extraordinary effort? Both are far less effort than getting concert tickets and/or going to a show. Unless you live next door to a venue.

That's not intended to sound mean-spirited, if it does...It's just heart-breaking for me to hear that.

we wouldn't want to damage people's interest in recording and sharing the shows


I think you might be. It's self-defeating, as many tapers take a tremendous amount of pride in their work and recordings, and when they find out that their tapes are being converted to a lossy format in a widespread environment, they simply decide it's not worth the effort and stop taping. Some of the best tapers in the Toronto area (where I'm from) have completely left the taping scene because of this very fact. In your interests to share live shows, you'll be encouraging serious tapers (the one who, frankly, will get the best sounding recordings) to leave their equipment at home. Or at least to "hoard" the recording to themselves. Thus, you'd be encouraging the segrigation of the audience rather than deminishing it. I know I suddenly don't feel like spending countless hours of my summer ensuring a DVD-quality transfer of my recordings if it's going to be wide-spread in Real Video format by September.

Serious tapers don't ask for money for the time, effort, and money that go into their work. Many times, they don't even ask for thanks (and are lucky to ever get any). Most often, they just ask for quality control--something that's in all honesty, beneficial to everyone.

I think at least *my* primary interest for this project would be in sharing as _much_ as possible as _efficiently_ as possible

This would lead to my idea of three or four tracks per show as well. After all, if we put up complete shows, we're going to have 15 different recordings of Stupid and 37 different recordings of Cinnamon. That's neither sharing much, nor sharing efficiently.


in context and commentary from the band.

I really, really, really, really, really like this idea though.

To really take something that a new fan might enjoy and make it easy to grab in bite-sized or king-sized bites.


And this is why I'm encouraging portions of concerts. Picking and choosing the best (or better) sounding versions of songs (like Stupid and Cinnamon) rather than including less than steller versions of them (just for the sake of completeness) is what is going to grab new fans.

Ultimately, we're not here to make anyone "get off his ass." We're here to provide a little fun for people and if the site can consolidate diverse resources and pipe The Rock through economy of scale, I'll think we're doing pretty good.
No, I'm not saying that you're here to make people get off their ass. But you shouldn't be encouraging them not to at the same time. I'm behind you 100% as far as offering live music on a wide scale goes. But I think you'd be offering a more diverse, interesting, and yes, even marketable version of The Long Winters by picking and choosing portions of shows to put up, rather than the whole thing.

I'll let the band speak for themselves

I really wish this topic had started two days earlier. I think I could have had a really good, interesting conversation with John about this. I hope he chimes in, and if he has a chance, persues further conversation about this with me, because as I said, I think it's a very interesting and relevent topic of conversation right now.

my gut reaction is that very large, very high quality, deliberately scarce sharing may not be what we're shooting for here.

No, it's not. It's offering music to the masses. That's the whole point of being in a band, right? And as I've stated, large, high quality sharing is not feasible for you to host. But it is feasible for you and the band to encourage. Offering snippits of entire recordings is the best way to encourage a) a strong taping community, and b) continued high quality recordings.

Let's take another spin on it. The band offers MP3s of about 4 or 5 album tracks on the website. Why don't they offer MP3s of all of them? Because it discourages people from buying the album. Similarlly, offering complete recordings of shows is going to marginalize the amount of future shows being taped (at least casually)--after all, why would I want to tape shows if i could get essentially the same setlist for free from the website? Or, in a more financially relevant way, let's say The Long Winters are playing New York the same night as...I don't know..The Strokes. I want to go to both. Well, I've never heard any of the Strokes live, but (in this situation) all my favourite Long Winters songs are up for free on the Website in live format. Likely, the casual fan you are supposedly trying to reach is going to download your live songs for free and then pay to see the Strokes.

I'm trying to eliminate this Catch22 aspect. Give visitors of the site A TASTE of what to expect not only of the live recordings made by fans, but of what they can expect to see when seeing the band live. But for heaven's sake, leave them hungry for more!

I really feel the benefits of not offering -entire- recordings in a highly accessible (ie. MP3/RA/WMA/etc) format far outweighs the cons.

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 10:38 pm
by sour29
also, i apologize if i sound more abbrasive/incoherent than i intend to. it's 2:30am and i was up late last night for the concert so i'm running on very little fuel here. mix that with my passion for live recordings, and this may be a recipe for disaster. ;)

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 10:50 pm
by NatureBoy
I think we have a nice little community here which has spawned friendships both on and offline. I now meet up with people I've met on this board at TLW shows, and at other shows in the area.

To withold the fastest or best possible way of sharing the rock in order to force us to do something we're already doing is redundant, and it fails to reflect or respect the values which we already uphold. On our own, we've conducted CD swapping and grown friendships. I'm real-life friends with local board members, and LJ friends with many people out of my area I never knew before becoming a part of this community.

If people were abusing whatever system is put into place I trust that things would change to make it a better system. Bottom line, if John and Eric and Michael (et al.) approve of the sharing of their live spirit then that's what I'm in favor of. It's their call. I'm just happy to see a show, or have a cd, or be able to hear their music at all - in whatever form. That's what it's all about.

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 11:02 pm
by sour29
NatureBoy wrote:I think we have a nice little community here which has spawned friendships both on and offline.

I've highlighted the key word, and the one I'm encouraging to change.

To withold the fastest or best possible way of sharing the rock in order to force us to do something we're already doing is redundant
So I assume you're in support of sharing the albums online on P2P programs, then? After all, it's faster to download an album (although I disagree with you about "best") than to buy it. Cheaper too. And since everyone's already doing it, and it's become ingrained into the values of our Western society, there's no reason to argue against it...right?

On our own, we've conducted CD swapping and grown friendships. I'm LJ friends with many people I never knew before becoming a part of this community.
Why stop here, then?

Bottom line, if John and Eric and Michael (et al.) approve of the sharing of their live spirit then that's what I'm in favor of. It's their call.
Yeah, that's cool. Me too. But I'm trying to share it in the highest quality possible. And really, if John, Eric and Michael are going to allow open taping, then it's not up to them how and if the "live spirit" is released. Then, the onus is on the taper to do with the tape as he sees fit.

I'm just happy to see a show, or have a cd, or be able to hear their music at all - in whatever form.
But here, you're offered a choice: low quality, or high quality.

I may have said this already, but I really feel offering whole shows is a self-defeating action. You're appeasing your core, die-hard fans that already go here every day, but not appealing to casual fans who wander in. After all, if I said "hey, I've uploaded a concert of this great Canadian band, The Postage Stamps, everyone go and download it;" how many people would actually go and download an entire concert? But if I said "hey, there's a couple/handfull of really excellent live tracks up of one of my favourite bands--why don't you go check it out and see if you like their style?", you'd be 100x more likely to grab casual fans.

Am I wrong?

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 11:13 pm
by sour29
I really don't understand why people do things like this...

Why buy expensive cars to have them sit in your driveway?
Why spend so much on DVD players if you're only going to download VCD rips of DVDs?
Why mortgage your house to afford a new flatscreen plasma television, and then not pay for digital cable?
Why buy expensive, top-of-the-line stereo systems and computers and only play mp3-burnt cds on them?

We're a society that demands quality, and settles for convienience. I'm asking for us to ensure the best possible quality releases of great Long Winters tunes, and everyone's more interested in instant gratification.

Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 11:41 pm
by Dan
To withold the fastest or best possible way of sharing the rock in order to force us to do something we're already doing is redundant
So I assume you're in support of sharing the albums online on P2P programs, then? After all, it's faster to download an album (although I disagree with you about "best") than to buy it. Cheaper too. And since everyone's already doing it, and it's become ingrained into the values of our Western society, there's no reason to argue against it...right?


When did he say that? When did anyone equate MP3 recordings of Long Winters shows with piracy? The "fastest or best possible way of sharing the rock" is not necessarily criminal; the rock can be shared without taking food off Roderick's table.

I don't know you, I'm sure you're a very nice person, and I'm sorry about the Calgary Flames, but I'm going to use harsher language than I should about this. Taper elitism is fucking bullshit.

It shouldn't matter to you whether or not the quality of your work is besmirched by John or Susie Dialup not wanting to download a 500MB SHNed concert. Intrinsic in your development of a "sense of community" is an exclusionary spirit that makes me a pariah if I choose to compress FLAC files to a portable format; after all, isn't that "DO NOT CONVERT THIS RECORDING TO MP3" a time-honored component of any .nfo?

What does it matter to you? Why is this anal-retentive sense of quality control so all-important that it makes the process of obtaining live music intentionally onerous for people who can't or won't run BitTorrent?

For John and Susie Dialup, after all (or even John and Susie DSL - a SHNed show is huge!), the process isn't as simple as you might let on. It's not about sending an email - it's about delayed gratification, waiting days/weeks for their branch to get his/her ass in gear and mail them a CD. You've never been on a tape tree with a flaky distributor upstream? Your sense of community can be defeated by a badly-written address or someone who forgets to mail CDs. How is that a perfect formula?

Picking and choosing the best (or better) sounding versions of songs (like Stupid and Cinnamon) rather than including less than steller versions of them (just for the sake of completeness) is what is going to grab new fans.


No, it's not. That's a dandy theory, but it's clearly tied into your own belief that you, and you alone, should control the dissemination of your recording. I'm an audio engineer and I've recorded shows, too, in the past, and I'm perfectly aware of the perils of digital compression - but this is an elitist statement. Implicit in your advocacy of the band via limited MP3 recordings is a desire to preserve your own taper reputation, whatever that means.

If you want to seed a FLAC version of a Long Winters show, obviously, do it. By all means. It's going to sound better, even if the dynamic range of the average computer sound system isn't robust enough to make the differences between a lossless FLAC and a 256kbps MP3 clear to anyone but an acoustician. In terms of distribution and availability, though, MP3 is clearly superior. If we're seven generations down the road (highly unlikely) and the nice recording you made sounds like a Thermals record, I'll buy you a beer. You overestimate people's potential. By the way, wouldn't a centralized point of distribution for these things negate your fears about re-encoding in the first place? I know I've got plenty of webspace/bandwidth going to waste that I'll gladly give to the cause, and I suspect, Merlin, that you know others who'll also chip in.

I don't think full-length MP3 recordings are going to hurt anything. If that trickles down and strikes a death blow to the Toronto taper community, I hope the Postage Stamps can survive. :)

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:47 am
by sour29
Dan wrote:When did he say that? When did anyone equate MP3 recordings of Long Winters shows with piracy? The "fastest or best possible way of sharing the rock" is not necessarily criminal; the rock can be shared without taking food off Roderick's table.

I'm equating it to the best and fastest way to get something. Piracy doesn't mean anything to the average internet-goer anymore. It's hollow words. Why don't you run a poll and and see how many users of this message board have album MP3s on their computer? Regardless of if they own the album or not. And the part about taking food off of Roderick's table? I already answered that.
Or, in a more financially relevant way, let's say The Long Winters are playing New York the same night as...I don't know..The Strokes...etc. etc. etc.


I don't know you, I'm sure you're a very nice person, and I'm sorry about the Calgary Flames, but I'm going to use harsher language than I should about this.
What does ths have to do with hockey? Are you trying to make this personal? Because it's not working.

Intrinsic in your development of a "sense of community" is an exclusionary spirit

Yeah, it's real exclusionary to try and get people to join. ::rolls eyes:: Did you read ANYTHING I said? There's more ways to get music than to download them. It's hypocritical of you to encourage people to buy albums but download live music. MP3s should be used as a promotional tool, always. No matter live music or studio recordings. You can't condone one use of it and condemn another. I don't see why the mix cd swap thread on this board is considered not only OK (seeing as it is piracy, not only stealing money from John but countless other artists...but I guess that doesn't concern you, right?), but a success. After all, weren't all those done by mail. With your so-called "delayed gratification"? Mail trades can get to be like Christmas--when you have to wait for something, it's that much more special. It's not a bad thing. Don't knock it until you've tried it.

What does it matter to you? Why is this anal-retentive sense of quality control so all-important that it makes the process of obtaining live music intentionally onerous for people who can't or won't run BitTorrent?
It becomes clearer and clearer to me that you are not listening to word I've said. I'll make it clearer:

I'M NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD HOST FLAC AND SHN FILES!

I'm saying the site has the potential to help do something to encourage something great. Because I was primarily a Smashing Pumpkins trader, let me draw an example from Corgan's post-SP band: Zwan. The band was pro-taping right from the beginning, not unlike The Winters. They had a huge number of fans before they were even signed to a record label. You know why? Live taping. That was distributed solely through SHN. Their album (frankly) sucked, but they retained a large, core audience and continued to sell out shows internationally. Why? They'd begun to offer SHN copies of shows on their website. Their live shows were fantastic, and THAT is what captured the audience. People who had 56k modems (which, frankly, no longer make up a significant portion of your audience, I'm sorry to say) either downloaded them anyway, or (and as I'm encouraging), got them through other means. Trades, B+P's, 2:1's [see etree.org for explanation of the terms]...whatever. All things I've already agreed to do for Long Winters shows for people who were incapable of downloading (or at leasting finding the option of downloading). I must be being real exclusionary to be offering to send out people copies for nothing. *sarcasm*

It's not about sending an email - it's about delayed gratification, waiting days/weeks for their branch to get his/her ass in gear and mail them a CD.
No offense, but big deal. The taper goes through all that trouble to tape a show and distribute it, and is supposed to cry because people can't download it the very next day? Or, even have to wait *gasp* two weeks to get it? You make it sounds like the taper OWES fans copies of their recordings--especially in this "quickest, most efficient" method. pfft.

You've never been on a tape tree with a flaky distributor upstream? Your sense of community can be defeated by a badly-written address or someone who forgets to mail CDs. How is that a perfect formula?
Yes, I have. I've been both a leaf and a branch for many shows. MANY. And once, maybe twice I've had problems with this sort of thing. Big deal: you don't get it, there's always someone more than willing to help you out and send you a copy. In the end, a good quality bootleg was always, ALWAYS worth the wait.

No, it's not. That's a dandy theory, but it's clearly tied into your own belief that you, and you alone, should control the dissemination of your recording.

How do you figure? Do you really think that a casual downloader cares to hear shitty versions of songs? Is that why the band offers only some of the more "public friendly" tracks from their albums on the website? No, it's because they have to show their very best. And there's no such thing as a "perfect" concert. Some nights, some songs sound better than others. Regardless of my taping arguement, it's better P.R. for the band to be showing the BEST live tracks. That is not an elitist statement, that's a FACT. I'd like to see you argue that a copy of The Long Winters performing Blue Diamond that has Eric screwing up a chord and John screwing up a vocal is going to grab casual fans, but is included on the site for download just because it happens to be a part of the same show where they played an excellent version of Scared Straight. Go ahead, I dare you.

Implicit in your advocacy of the band via limited MP3 recordings is a desire to preserve your own taper reputation
No, it''s a desire to preserve the quality of the recordings. I don't know why I'm going to keep responding to this post when it's evermore apparent you're not reading mine.

the dynamic range of the average computer sound system isn't robust enough to make the differences between a lossless FLAC and a 256kbps MP3 clear to anyone but an acoustician.

No, but what happens when they burn that to cd? Listen to it on headphones? Play it in their car? Does it still not make a difference?

In terms of distribution and availability, though, MP3 is clearly superior.
Agreed. I'm encouraging the use of MP3s. But to a limited extent. Are you following me at all?

If we're seven generations down the road (highly unlikely) and the nice recording you made sounds like a Thermals record, I'll buy you a beer.
Do you want me to rip a copy of Blue Diamonds from my WIPTF cd, convert it between MP3 and WAV several times, and then send it to you to compare to your cd copy of it? I'll do it. And you'll owe me a whole case of beer.

Wouldn't a centralized point of distribution for these things negate your fears about re-encoding in the first place?

Yes, if it remained stable. But what happens when you've got 15 new shows, and 15 old ones? You can't hold 30 shows on your server space. You take down the old 15. Now, a new fan comes along and wants to hear the old shows that he missed (just because he was unlucky enough to not have known about the band in time). This is where we get the re-encoding problems. If you can promise enough server space to hold, let's say 100 shows at a high enough bit-rate to not have a noticable difference through computer speakers, I will end my arguement right here. But that's not going to happen.

I know I've got plenty of webspace/bandwidth going to waste that I'll gladly give to the cause, and I suspect, Merlin, that you know others who'll also chip in.
Then why has no one offered their webspace/bandwidth to the samples of the video I took the other night? A whole song would be only 5mbs in WMV format.

I don't think full-length MP3 recordings are going to hurt anything.
Then you're frankly very ignorant about tapers and the taping community. Who do you think it is that puts "**DO NOT ENCODE TO MP3**" in the NFO files? Jesus? Satan? Buddah? No, it's the tapers. I have already outlined several ways in which MP3ing whole shows is going to hurt things. Your arguement to them: "I don't think it is." You're basically saying "I'm right and you're wrong and I don't care what you think because I know everything" without offering any support whatsoever to your arguement. In fact, your argument is riddled with flaws and holes. The only thing you have on your side is pure numbers--the number of people who support you only because they haven't been subjected to the difference between FLAC and MP3. Anyone that has, has already stated that given the choice, they would take the FLAC. You yourself has stated that you cannot deny quality loss.

And I'm sorry, but in an age of 160 gig harddrives coming with new computers, you cannot argue that 500mb is a significant file size. If you have a 160 gig hard drive (and I'm using hyperbole here, I know almost no one does), you'd be able to hold 80 Long Winters bootlegs at 500MB a show. In fact, I'd bet you'd be hardpressed to find a significant number of users of this very message board who have any less than 500MB of mp3s on their computer at this very moment. So, don't even start with me about how poor Susie Q Downloader can't download 500MB worth of music files--Susie Q Downloader already has.

Also posted on the other board...

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:17 am
by No You Are
Hi, it's me, the guy who's little question started this whole thing.

Um... sorry?

Here's the deal. I think the Long Winters freaking rock. I first saw them when they opened for Death Cab For Cutie at the Union Bar in Iowa City, Iowa, and they were awesome. A freind of mine burned me a copy of When I Pretend to Fall to check out, and it rocked too. I was excited to have found a new, awesome band.

Then, I saw them again at a fine Iowa City establishment called Gabes. Once again, there was severe rockage. I bought a "real" copy of When I Pretend to Fall (because I wanted to support this rocking band even though I had it) and the Worst You Can Do is Harm (because I wanted to support this rocking band and I didnt have it). I had a chance to talk to John and Eric, and they were solid fellas.

I'm a big fan of live music, and have many live bootleg CDs of other groups I enjoy such as the White Stripes and the Strokes.

So I think to myself, "Self, you should see if there is a way you can get any Long Winters Live stuff, because it would be good"

I didn't mean to start a Holy War. Only our president is allowed to do that. All I want are some Long Winters live CDs.

If there is a place to download them, great. If somebody has some they want to send me, fantastic. If they want me to mail something in return, I would give what I got.

I am obviously not down with the finer points of the bootleg trading world, cuz I never envisioned this being a big deal.

I just want some tunes.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:26 am
by aj
I think it would be beneficial to highlight some of the best live stuff on the site:
"Here's [insert LW song name] from [insert show/date/venue].
If you likey check out our online community [insert link to boards] for more info on live recordings."

then the new fans will go to the board and there will be a thread at the top that says something about how wonderful our little community is and if you respect them they will respect you and also send lovely bootlegs to you.

so let's have both: highlights available for instant gratification and we can make swaps with eachother.

I think some of the better recordings would be good for newbies to hear and entire shows can be swapped. It really isn't hard. Look at how quickly the Harvey Danger show got around. Fans from all over had a copy b4 it was hosted on a site (THANK YOU CHRIS) AND it was only available for download for a week or so. sure it's slightly more work, but its really the serious fans who are interested in having entire shows (for the most part). and if you're a fan, its not any work at all.

my 2 cents.

Re: Also posted on the other board...

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:31 am
by aj
No You Are wrote:
If there is a place to download them, great. If somebody has some they want to send me, fantastic. If they want me to mail something in return, I would give what I got.

I just want some tunes.


I think this demonstrates a great point. If it's available, people will utilize it. If it's not readily available, people will find it.

now, can someone help this person out? I gots nothin' live, sorry.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:40 am
by sour29
aj wrote:my 2 cents.
Everything you just said is exactly what I'm trying to say. Thank you very, very much.

And No You Are, when some of those shows finished getting transferred, I'll let you know. Maybe I'll even see if there's enough interest to start an old fashion Tape Tree. Keep checking the Long Winters board. Thanks for starting this "holy war"--I'm glad to hear there's more Long Winters bootlegs out there than I thought.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:53 am
by Moni
My (in this case rather simplistic) view is that I generally think mp3-sharing online is a good idea, even tho I've seen it ousting the "traditional" mail-trading more or less completely (i.e. when I now want to trade a show on murmurs.com, I have to rely on some nice person to do a B+P trade with me, because due to their official file-sharing [running on the rather shitty winMX], they already have anything they might want).

So, I'm not a huge fan of it--but also of course because I'm one of the (surely very few) people who cannot use file-sharing systems (silly Uni-PCs don't allow me to install software here. in fact, they don't even have real player. nice). And I really like like like mail-trading, overseas or inter-contintental, not only because of the better quality.

But I really like aj's ideas, too.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 9:30 am
by sour29
AJ's points are my points. Highlighting better parts of bootlegs in MP3 would do a more than proficient job of promoting the band's music and tours, and also allow fans a taste of what's out their in the trading community. I really feel everyone (from Joe 56K to the tapers themselves) can benefit from MP3s linked from this site. But I feel more people would benefit if some restrain was used in the live MP3s. Do people see where I'm coming from, finally? I hope so.

And yes, mail trades have many benefits. Whether or not they outweigh the cons in a personal choice. If the music is worth the effort, people would not think twice about it.

And as I've stated, I'm more than willing to do B+Ps, and would even consider starting a Tape Tree.

That being said, I'm glad to finally be getting some support for my views, and I thank you for not idlly letting the MP3 revolution kill a tape trading tradition that has been around for many decades now.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 10:03 am
by grant
Tape? Awful stuff. Hissy, can't get it near magnets.

Amberol's the stuff. So hard to find, though, nowadays.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 10:11 am
by NatureBoy
I don't like the mood of this thing - what started as a cool idea of sharing the rock because it makes people feel good has turned into a good deal of posturing.

When you record a The Long Winters show, even though you 'posess' the data/CD/etc, you don't OWN that show...it's still the magic made by the band, even if you wish to keep it and distribute it how you see fit. If you hold it back for your personal gain, even if it's not monitary, even if your personal gain is this elitism...then I feel that's almost as bad.

I was very excited about the prospect of seeing/hearing a live CD/DVD with a soundboard feed. But if I have to bow to someone's rules that ISN'T the band who made the music, then you can keep it and I'll be content with sharing with people who aren't so caught up in the rules, and more caught up in the music.

If you don't want to participate in whatever 'open sharing' is deemed appropriate by the band or the moderators here, then I'd rather not read a manifesto about how we're all going to hell for doing it this way. You've made your points, thanks for clearing all this up - but can we hear some more ideas on the matter from some other people?

I thought the spirit of this idea was to share and share alike, without holding back, because the music feels good and it feels good to 'be at' shows you can't go to.

If someone wants a show from me, then I'll be happy to make it as easy as possible for them to have a copy. I'm not going to hold back and make it difficult for anyone. I thought that's what this was all about.

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 10:51 am
by aj
Let's look at the facts and put all the personal bullshit aside.

Love, people. It's about the love.

What I stated earlier is not about being elitist. I am not trying to take any sides. I just think it would work.

Part of my reasoning was this: why put 157 live versions of one song up? It just doesn't make sense. If someone wants 157 versions they can get them. Besides, leaving whole shows up to us means we are taking care of the tech issues ourselves. Minimize the probs for the site? Sounds good to me.

Can we get to the real stuff of this and be lovers not fighters?