Stop Releasing Solely MP3s
Written by Eggbird
"Why do you release your music as MP3?" "Because I do a lot of post-production on the track, and you wouldn't notice that it was tracked if you didn't know."
Of course. Post-production. Today's average tracker saves his 1mb XM file to a 40mb WAV, loads it up in Soundforge, bombs the wave file with some of Soundforge's standard sound improvers like surround, reverb and stuff like that, saves it, and releases it as MP3. The fact that this multiplies the filesize of the track by four does not matter to him, since "you wouldn't notice that is was tracked if you didn't know". Of course not. Today's trackers have 16bit and 44.1khz sound quality, just like CDs, which almost always contain professionally made music. It's simply impossible to hear whether a song was tracked or created with lots of professional equipment today, since the sound quality is equal, and it's also possible to create crap music with a professional studio. The only difference is that with trackers, the sound quality per sample can be quite low (and is, very often). But anyone wanting to create good music uses high quality samples.
No, I'm not saying here that you can create the same music in a tracker as in a professional studio, I only say that one can never be sure whether a track was made in a studio or in a tracker just by listening to it. And many people say that's because they 'post-produce' their tracks, which is plain bullshit. Now, of course you can add some little more atmosphere to your track if you're gonna send it to a record label (or to mp3.com or similar to access a broader audience), but DON'T annoy the demoscene or the trackerscene with it. Every tracker knows that it's just a matter of pressing some buttons in Soundforge to create true reverb in the track, so why do so, and make the filesize explode? Really, this MP3 thing does not make sense within the scene. If you want your music heard by more people than trackers, go ahead and mp3 your stuff, but why release it as an MP3 in the scene too?
Another argument for people releasing their tracks in MP3: "They always rip my samples." HOW DARE THEY! But if I ask those people why they don't like people to rip their samples, they can't think of a better argument than "because I made them". I know that making good samples and having no problem with people ripping them can make you very well known within the scene (which is what most people want, I think), because I knew of keith303 waaay before I ever heard a single track he did, simply because of everyone using his samples. I even thought the 'k303' was a synth or a drumcomputer or something like that, I could have never guessed that keith had a very own abbreviation. (Just to make sure you understand what I mean here: only famous people have abbreviations. If I say EIS, only a few people will know that I'm talking about Eerik Inpuj Sound - which is a very great music label by the way -, so it's no use using the abbreviation here. But if I say BMP, FM or KFMF almost everyone will know what I mean.) So by now I encourage all trackers who create good samples and want to become famous to release their tracks as a module and stating not to have a problem with other people using those samples. (Tip: Write your name in every sample and not any person who understands the way the scene works will delete that line.)
Talking about ripping, lately I've seen some statements of pretty famous musicians switching to MP3 releases only, because "people stole their melodies". Now, both the demoscene and the trackerscene have always been a very efficient anti-ripper system, since if someone is found to have stolen code, melodies or gfx, people immediately post about it on newsgroups, forums, diskmags and IRC topic lines, so that the person will be 'kicked' out of the scene within a few weeks. And of course things by famous musicians will be ripped more often than things done by less famous musicians, but a much higher number of people will also recognise the ripped track as being made by the famous musician, so that's not a valid argument either.
Some other musicians like to create MP3s because they used IT filter effects, which wouldn't sound right on a PC without MMX. Well, modules never sounded the same on every PC. And there are many players which do the trick of IT filters quite well without an MMX CPU. Yes, quite good. Not perfect, but a mono MP3 isn't perfect either (as IT only has stereo WAV writing for registered users, and the majority of IT users hasn't registered IT).
Now, what also happens more and more is that people create a tune in one of the newer trackers (MadTracker2, Graoumf Tracker 2, Buzz) which uses lotsa CPU power, and release it as MP3. Fine with me, but it would be cool to release a module version too, so that I can still see how you did things and maybe use the samples. Which is the main purpose of me downloading modules. I wouldn't download a mbyte per minute just for listening pleasure on my slow connection (though quite some people would, but they often don't create music themselves).
The only thing left for releasing MP3 music which was done in a tracker is the module being larger than the resulting MP3 file, for instance when the file contained lots of vocals. This, I think, is a very good use of MP3 compression, and this was also the reason why people started do use MP3 compression in the beginning of this 'hype'. A hype of which I do not understand the use. A hype which results in nothing else than large filesize and bad exchange of new techniques and samples. And only because people want to be professional. Oh no, semi-professional is not good enough for today's average tracker anymore. We are the real pros. We won't allow 'them' to rip our own selfmade samples. We postproduce. We are above the others. We rule.
- eggbird ^ green, unique & trebel
PS. Flames go to firstname.lastname@example.org, or just post to news.scene.org/trax, alt.trebel.music or alt.music.mods.
PS. Please note (again) that this article was written with the purpose to stop people from solely releasing MP3 (you might want to consider releasing both the module and the MP3 version, of which the MP3 is smaller, which would do lotsa musicians a pleasure), and not to attack everyone using/releasing MP3. I see the use. But I see more abuse.
Useful URLs (in order of appearance):
TUHBzine 6: http://www.tuhb.org
Eerik Inpuj Sound: http://www-x.eciad.bc.ca/inpuj
MadTracker 2: http://users.skynet.be/madhouse/madtracker
Graoumf Tracker: http://www.multimania.com/ldesoras/gtracker2