From Music to Ground Frost

December 17, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on December 3rd, 2018.

For this lecture we came to class having visualized a few maps that represent which music is consumed where and the evolution of music flow through Art Tatum. The first piece showed the map of America, and as you clicked on the states it showed the songs that were recorded in that state or by an author from that state. I was not surprised, as I checked the scores from each place I have lived, to find that they all matched generally the type of music that seemed common there, even today. Texas had a more light and soft “country” score, Georgia had the swing uppity “country” scores, and Virginia had the relaxed almost gospel music as the first few scores. These scores could have possibly driven the market to influence the music that people today listen to in these places, and if I were told that I would not be surprised. Texas has always been a hefty consumer of “country” music due to the nature of the state. They are more likely to appreciate a song that talks about campfires and prairies than a state like Virginia. Likewise, Virginia is more likely to appreciate a piece of music that mentions anything about landscape and the color green where as in Texas this would be a foreign concept.

The next article I have something to say about is the map of people that are similar to Art Tatum. When I first looked at this map my brain said “nope.” However, being the avid digital media consumer I was taught to be in this course, I pushed on. This crazy looking map actually turned out to be something quite interesting. While it looked like what I would expect a New York’s sized population of spiders’ nests in the space that would fit under my door, the map actually represented the amount of times that people went from listening to Art Tatum to another pianist that was similar. This allowed the map to show the people that consumers thought was “most like” Art Tatum. The comments section of the article vehemently disagreed that anyone could be like Tatum and, since I have not heard him, I will have to take their word for it. I feel like I kind of have to tie this back to the Pandora argument made earlier. These other people were similar to Tatum and therefore also gained the following of his fans, and this is how people consume music. They think “This person is like my favorite, so I will listen to them as well.” So, sorting music based on how similar the music is to the original artist is a pretty good way to gain a fan base.

As a final note, I have placed here a side by side reference to the map and spiders’ nests for your consuming pleasure (and so we can all question why Jervis cannot tell the difference between frost and said New York population scenario):

“Russell Jervis has Farmed this field since 1944. His neighbors mistook the huge spider web for a weird localized ground frost.”

Don’t Mess With My Pandora

December 17, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on November 19th, 2018.

For this class we had to of come to class having read a few articles on how Pandora ranks its music. As a personal consumer of Pandora Premium, I feel like I have a good standing to argue here. I am personally a huge fan of how Pandora sorts and shows listeners it’s music. One of my favorite things about it is the point that Mandl hated most: The music that is being shown to you is exactly like the music you are listening to. Now the argument that Mandl makes is that people’s preferences are not limited to the exact same bpm or type of song and therefore should not be limited to such. However, this distinction relies on the consumers habits as well. I say this because if I am listening to a slow, sad, song and the next song is some kind of Justin Timberlake auditorily jumping off the walls, I am NOT going to be happy. So, the way that Pandora separates its music is so that it can play songs similar to the one I am listening to, and I have found plenty of favorite new bands this way. This algorithm accounts for the problem that Mandl mentioned by saying “Oh, the consumer changed stations to the ears version of ten cups of coffee. Therefore, I will now begin playing such music instead of the fetal-position music.” This change is accounted for in the algorithm and it depends on the consumer saying “My tastes have changed for today, and therefore I am going to change the initial song or station I pick in order to not listen to the same thing.”

Now to be devil’s advocate, I can see a single issue that Mandl was trying to hit on in Pegoraro’s article. Music is not, and never will be, a science. Therefore, trying to confine it as such is a huge disservice to music. I would agree if the way humans consume products was also not a science. However, it is recorded in history that humans consume products in a way that can be scientifically measured and then utilized for the betterment of the community. Take, for example, the Coke-a-Cola recipe that came out many many years ago. If you don’t remember it, it’s because everyone hated it so vehemently that it was removed from the shelves within a year and the old recipe was put back into place. Fun fact though, the old recipe is still currently used in Britain because they were the only ones that actually liked it better. Anyway, this was a scientific drop in the use of Coke due to people not liking it. So, if Pandora is able to say that people who like music category A tend to skip music category B WHILE CONSUMING music category A, then they should be able to play less of B in order to supply A. This is due to the same “ten coffee cups” reason mentioned above. As a personal consumer of Pandora Premium, I say whatever method they’re using, never stop.

Here’s a picture of the British Coke series. We already know they’re weird for liking the new recipe, but to further reiterate that check out the Coke Zero Zero.

Image result for british coke

The Proof Is In The Pandora

December 17, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on November 14th, 2018.

For this lecture we came to class having read Witt “How Music Got Free.” As a whole the book was a lot of legal working between copyright laws between the music industry and the people that wanted to set it free. As a person who personally doesn’t like to pay the price that iTunes puts forth of an arm and a leg per song, I used to find other ways to get my music. However, now that I am older and have my own money to spend, I tend to buy the songs because I want to support the authors in their songwriting so that they will continue to create the music that I enjoy so much. Because of piracy, the amount of money that people got paid for their art got reduced drastically.

As Witt stated “The album moved nearly three million copies and was the bestselling release of 2008. But it failed to do even half the business that Get Rich or Die Tryin’ had done just five years earlier. The same numbers in 2000 wouldn’t have put it in the top ten.” My opinion on this quote depends on how much money the person is currently making. If they are still making a dollar per download per song, then that is plenty to sustain their music and their livelihood in order to focus solely on music. However, if this amount has decreased to a number that cannot sustain their industry, then it is not enough. If the music industry was reduced by such a significant amount, then that goes to show just how much of a revolution this was. I understand that there had to be a “revolution” of sorts in order to set music free because of the tight hand that the copyright industry had on music pirating back in the day, and not everyone could afford to have or risk getting certain kinds of music.

All of this being said, and as Witt noted, I think piracy is much less of an issue now-a-days due to how much cheaper and easier it is to get music even while paying for it. As Witt noted, “’You could still do that, I suppose,’ said the former pirate kingpin, ‘or you could do what I do: pay nine bucks a month for Spotify, like everyone else.’” The majority of people currently have either Spotify, Pandora, or any other music service that lets you pay one price a month for the millions of songs you could be downloading. I personally have Pandora, which is more proof for Witt’s theory than I would ever need.

This blog post is for the lecture on November 12th, 2018.

We talked a fair amount about how the Cold War influenced a good deal of how the internet operates now-a-days. This is due to how the internet was so influential during the Cold War as a means to process data as well as share secret intel with others around the nation. Therefore, the Cold War instilled a very keen sense of “high security” and monitoring what occurs on these systems so that they were not infiltrated or falling into the wrong hands. This would explain why earlier in the semester we talked about how the first computer systems were spread around the entire world: to keep from having a central command that could destroy the entire system. Furthermore, this class discussed the juxtaposition between the freedom of information and the security of the contents. During the Cold War there was a need to keep the secrecy of the information within the computers private, however there was also a need to have the information on the computers free. This does summon the, obviously old, discussion of “How much do the people deserve to know?” Personally, I think the line is an obvious one, however the grey areas are not fully ignored by me. The line of “Who needs to know” depends on how much panic and destruction the information could cause. If there was a meteor coming to end the world, but could be stopped, then PLEASE don’t bother telling the general public. I can see it now, it would be titled “The accidental baby boom of 2012” and it would all be due to the mind-set that this was their last day on earth even though the announcer said the meteor would never even reach our atmosphere. On the other hand, if it really was the end of the world IN LESS THAN NINE MONTHS, then by all means share the news.


Image result for funny end of world comic

This blog post is for the lecture on November 7th, 2018.

For this lecture we came to class having watched the video “The Amen Break.” I must say, the first time hearing the drum beat I IMMEDIATELY linked it to that darn car commercial that they play about that Toyota dealership in Springfield. Then, sure enough, they played a Toyota commercial toward the end of the song. Anyway, continuing on to the analysis:

This video is stressing the importance that this six second drum loop had on the music and advertising industry since it was so widely used in hip hop and Toyota ads. My thoughts on loops and the ability to copy and paste music will probably become clearer as I traverse the jungle that is almost guaranteed to be GarageBand, however until then I hold kind of a middle ground. The importance of having readily available song bits to be used in order to create music is not lost on me. However, I don’t know how much the people get paid for creating these bits and if the use of their music without any mention of their name or the work they put into is seems a little wrong to me. Sure, whatever they were paid they accepted knowing that it would be a one-time payment for their anonymity, but maybe they just didn’t know any better. I’m worried that as these loops become more important that we’ll lose the future of fantastic music to the industry of “one-time” hit the drums and quit.

I want to further elaborate on the last lecture, we talked about how these pieces of music can become part of a person’s memory and thus they own the music just as much as the person who made it. No offense, but I disagree entirely. While I fondly remember the Shania Twain album I had as a kid, I do not feel any claim to the music that she provided my childhood. The best example I have is that I also fondly remember Disney World, and if I owned claim to that I wouldn’t be in this class because a degree would be entirely unnecessary. Or maybe a more relevant, less drastic, example: just because I remember playing with toys from cartoon characters, it does not mean I own the cartoon from which the toys came. I have a feeling that the ownership of music is taken much more lightly than the ownership of literally every other form of media. Maybe it’s due to the length of enjoyment being shortened to three minutes or the fact that one artist can put out five albums in the time one movie could be made. The exact reason I am unsure of, but either way, the music industry is no different than the movie industry and my enjoyment of its plunders does not make the hard work and effort put into the pieces a monetary reward I now get to claim. Their hard work is theirs and I have to work equally as hard to make my claim on what I do.

Copyright my Childhood

November 5, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on 11/5/18.


I can appreciate Locke’s assertion that ownership of something comes from the mixing of labor. If a person donates their body and time to an object or the betterment of something, then they should in part be rewarded with the benefits from the object. This also prevents people from owning more resources than they can feasibly use. A huge issue with today’s society is that there are people that have too much and people that have nothing, and under Locke’s idea this wouldn’t be a problem. Now the issue in current society is with money and not anything truly tangible without illegally stealing, however I can imagine in the earlier times that land hoarding would be a problem. Locke’s idea would prevent people from taking an entire state that could never, and probably would never, use solely for the right to say they have it.


That being said, I can also appreciate the problem this poses with intellectual rights. In my opinion, speaking something can be considered laboring the earth. Your voice allowed the manifestation of an idea, and thus you should reap the rewards of it. Even books are physically written on paper and are owned by whoever put the words on the page.


Now the passing on to children argument: I like the idea of passing your spoils onto your children, but under Locke’s idea it shouldn’t be passed on. I still think there are some circumstances where a parent’s monetary reward or intellectual property should be passed down, especially since most children suffer or thrive when their parents thrive. For example, in the case of a medical lawsuit where a parent was deformed by a company that now has to pay for the parent’s deformity. These rewards should be passed down to their children because the children lost parts of their parents as well. It’s not intellectual property, but it’s a case where children should reap the spoils of their parents. Plus, most parents work hard so their children don’t have to work as hard and they should be allowed to ease the life of their children if they desire.


I also don’t believe anything you experience is now yours. In the case of music, just because I heard the song does not mean I spent the labor required to own the song. So, I should not be allowed to freely use a song for profit because I heard it or experienced it. Especially since, in this case, I merely enjoyed the hard work put in by another person. Therefore, an experience does not make something freely public domain but the work put in to create the experience. Which is also why I must mention that I ensure to copyright all of these posts. I don’t want another person who merely experienced my writing to be able to claim that it is now theirs. They did not participate in the lecture I attended or that the instructor gave and they did not put their fingers to a keyboard and type it. Their enjoyment, or hatred, of my writing does not give them rights to utilize it for profit. Especially since I’m not getting paid, if I were then maybe we could talk about it.

Country Bumpkins and Disco

October 31, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on 10/29/18.


I want to start by saying, before I forget, the fact that Stallman’s FOUR freedoms begin with ZERO and therefore ending in THREE. This bugs my OCD to no end, and I just thought I should mention it.


Anyway, I appreciate the point he is trying to make about how history thrived on plagiarism and could continue to do so. My only qualm with this, as mentioned in class, is that as intellectual property, there’s no way a person could get paid for it in this instance. Although, I think if nobody got paid, then that would solve the problem. So maybe it’s more of an all-or-nothing type thing. It would definitely better benefit society, but then that would require more jobs available that would equal the number of people currently getting paid for intellectual property, under the all-or-nothing rule.


With this, I come to a compromise. If the intellectual property can overwhelmingly better society, then it should be free. This includes life-saving drugs and medical treatments as well as things like gnu and linux. I don’t believe this includes music since, without it, humanity would survive but be really sad.


Now for the scavenger hunt, this search was a roller coaster from beginning to end. The first article I found talked about how a “country music teacher of color” got arrested for kidnapping. Which isn’t really related to the music, but was still an interesting read. When I reached the relevant, and further mentioned, article I knew I was in for a ride. The article begins with “If your favorite disc jockey’s voice has recently developed a ‘daown home’ twang-welcome to the hoedown.” First, I don’t appreciate the misspelling of down because only SOME of us talk like that. I can’t say anything about the hoedown reference because, let’s be honest, country music families (including mine) kind of fall in that category. Next, the article states:

“In fact, they get downright ornery if one trys to put country into the fad music category with disco.”

Let me just start by making sure everyone reading this noted the comparison to DISCO. To be fair, being born in the early 90’s didn’t really educate me in the realm of disco but I’m positive that country and disco are nowhere near the same realm. So, they must have been somehow related back then which means I would not have been a fan in the 80’s. However, upon further reading, they’re making the comparison on the basis of their idea that country will be a one-hit-wonder type like disco was. Little do they know in 1981 that disco would continue to be popular amongst those weird aunts that only go clubbing while it’s simultaneously bingo night.

The newspaper wraps up the article with the phrase “And as any country bumpkin can tell you, ‘If’n you ain’t sure about where you’re goin’, you’re better off stayin’ out o’ the woods.’” For starters, I detest the bumpkin reference, but I’ll let that slide. Secondly, what’s wrong with that saying?! It is good, well natured, advice that has both a physical and practical reference. Therefore, I think next time this writer gets lost in the woods because they didn’t know where they were going, they should have to come back and apologize for not listening to this golden advice.

I would also like to note, as a final thought, that I suppose we do get downright ornery if one trys to put country into the same category with disco.



So it continues…

October 15, 2018

This blog post is for 10/15/18.

Expanding on the change in genre for different audiences, I do think that the changing of genres resulted in the better distribution of music. Back in the days of segregation, a great deal of people would not listen to a song that was created by “a person of color,” so changing the music could allow for the music to be heard. However, I do not believe this was done to honor the music or to ensure that the song was heard simply because the music deserved to be heard. It was spread in order to have a financial gain and to try to white wash the music industry. While controversial, I think certain songs that were edited to be a different genre were edited in order to create a “white” version. As mentioned in class, King records published the white records much more often than the race records, now whether this was because that’s what they sold or because that’s what they preferred, I don’t know.


Hitting on Cowboy Copas Filipino Baby, or just Cowboy Copas in general: they’re a prime example of this misuse of music to spread the idea that they are “honoring” the cultures they are insulting. The song initially sounds like a love some made out to someone who is missed and loved. Later in the song though, he uses words like “pet,” “dark face,” and “claim” which directly show that this relationship was not out of love, but ownership. Love is well known now and then for being “blind,” so by the fact that he noted her color in the lyrics at all proves the point. I can see how the name of the song wouldn’t be too offensive since it’s a culture more than a locality, but there cannot be an argument for the other points. You own pets as property and property is claimed as well, so there is no other meaning to the song other than he thought he was owed her since he “owned” her.


I feel less strongly about the idea that the style of song should be attributed to whoever first wrote it, because each version of the song is very different. There are covers of songs on YouTube that are way more popular than the original, and it’s not because people like the YouTube users better. The cover artists are just singing differently, and that difference made it more appealing. Each version still should have been published the same amount, but I can understand the need to save money by not publishing goods that don’t sell. I’m also sure that advertising would have gone a long way as well.


I am also disturbed by the idea of “Finger Poppin’.” I don’t know what it is, and I’m a little worried to find out.

This blog post is for 10/10/18.


The idea that the older, like Jimmie Rodgers old, was created to help the new immigrants to cities remanence about the country seems to ring true at least for the most part. When looking at even just the names of Jimmie Rodgers song, they reference Tennessee, Texas, Memphis (which is also in Tennessee), Carolina, and Mississippi. These places, if not now then definitely back then, were considered very country or rural. One song even mentions a cowboy, which I would venture to say you can’t find in a city. Even I listen to some current country music because it reminds me of the much different life I had in Texas than here in Northern Virginia. Then, when you look at Merle Haggards song, he mentions directly in “California Cotton Fields” plowing cotton fields. These songs were meant to evoke a rural feeling to them.


I can also see how the different genres of the same song were made in order to appeal to different people. For example, “Whatcha Know, Joe” was made in a “race record” as well as in a more upbeat and country song. So, three versions of the same song were created to appeal to the African American crowd, the northern white crowd, and the southern white crowd. This leads me a little bit closer to the idea that there’s a semi-common origin between music genres. There’s at least a way that they fed off of each other in order to fine tune what sold in certain places and what did not.

Texas my Texas.

October 1, 2018

This blog post is for the lecture on October 1, 2018.


The idea that the Minstrels, where white people would paint themselves black and perform as black people, were a way to widen the gap between the two races holds certain validity. The shows, while being highly insulting, seemed to be a way to broaden the gap between white and black populations, but also a way to lessen the gap between the “white population” which did not include other “white” people like Italians. I’m not sure if they are exactly the reason that the “white population” was able to integrate to include all European nationalities.

However, I can say that it popularized the music form that was used in Minstrels. The music was so popular, that by the time Minstrels were no longer popular, the music form turned into country music. This music it STILL POPULAR TODAY. The last viral video of this form of music was the yodeling boy that was singing in Walmart, and he was so popular that he went to perform at Coachella alongside people like Lady Gaga and Rihanna. It was shocking for me to find out that the form of country music that I adore was from such racist background. Then, if attacking country music wasn’t enough, the state song of Texas was also racist! I was raised and spent most of my educational life in Texas, so I can say that their education system is more of a way to hide what they don’t want their population to know. So, I did not know that the state song had such a background, and that was probably intentional. Texas, and America as a whole, have a lot of hoops to jump through before we can officially say that there isn’t a race problem. That being said, I do think the music industry has made many advancements in the field of racism. It is still slightly present in the way that certain races are “typical” for certain music styles. As mentioned earlier, country music was created “by and for” white people, and rap seems to be dominated by black people now. Plus, each race has to express the typical country or rap artist regardless of their background or even race. In the case of Eminem in rap, who appears white, he mentions how difficult it is to be taken seriously as a white man in rap. And now that I think about it, all of the black country artists I know are more recent (as in the last 20 years). At least I can be comforted by the fact that, even if it started as racist entertainment, the music industry seems to have broadened their horizons to be slightly more inclusive.


Side note: The Minstrel posters were highly unnerving for two reasons: the facial expressions were unnaturally stretched or emphasized and the emotions of the person were nearly impossible to read. These two things would unnerve any normal human being since humans are innately able to determine people’s emotions based on their facial expressions, but when the expressions are not only difficult to look at, but difficult to analyze, it’s very unnerving.