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Atlantic Records posts more digital sales than CDs

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Late last week, one of the largest music labels announced that its sales of digital files exceeded the revenue generated by CDs.  As reported in the New York TimesAltantic Records saw 51% of its sales generated by digital sales.  This was significantly more than Atlantic’s parent company, Warner Music Group, which reported only 27% of its total sales from digital distribution. 

It should come as no surprise that digital music is quickly replacing physical media.  One need only think of the weight and mess of thousands of CDs, versus a nearly unlimited amount on an iPod or streaming on demand.  The question is when will other media follow?  Some magazines are slowly getting rid of print in favor of online.  It will be some time before display technology exceeds the user experience of print on paper.  In some ways scholarly journal publishing is already headed down this path.  The rest of publishing is slower to adapt.  However, several tipping points will likely be reached fairly soon. 

* – Display technology needs to improve, so that the user experience is comparable to print

* - Standardization around some from of reader, or at least a common file format working on different devices

* - A Napster-like social movement among the broader tech-savvy early adopters (not regarding free distribution, necessarily) which pushes e-books and the like to digital.

* – A breadth and depth of available content to make the purchase of the reader worthwhile.

* – Mass production of readers so that they are no longer $300+  

* – Preservation strategies need to be improved 

 

Many of these issues are consensus based and awaiting either standards or adoption of existing standards. 

Amazing digital conversion presentation at Code4Lib

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I am sitting at the Code4Lib meeting in Portland, and I’ve just seen an amazing presentation by Andrew Bullen a librarian and programmer at the Illinois State Library.  Taking scanned digital images of sheet music in the Pullman archive sheet music collection and using some music translation software, outputting MIDI formats, he’s output some piano music.  Using the acousitc profile of a local mansion/hotel, owned by the Pullman family, he’s created an output mp3 file of the results.  Not knowing how to read music, or how to play piano, he’s created a fantastic audio translation of the sheet music.  Here is a link to the video.  It is incredible.  Well done, Andrew!