MP3s in Demos (Part Two)

Written by Makke

You might have read my article about MP3s in demos in Hugi #14, and I thought I'd probably have to write another one. First off I'll apologize, I was a little harsh in that article, and many people have sent me letters about this, so I might as well make a new article.

We all know what an MP3 is. If you don't, stop reading and quit the demo scene period. We all have a few at home, and some people have loads of them and others don't do anything else than trading MP3s.

Everybody think MP3s are great (except maybe the record business, but they practically steal all our money anyway). Even me! And I've changed my mind a little since I wrote the previous article.

I still think MP3 modules for demos are bullshit, except for when it saves a lot of size. MP3s might be small, but they are NOT that fucking small. I have JapoTek's TriP'99 demo XTA on my HD right this minute, and the music to this demo doesn't sound like it NEEDED to be MP3'd. In fact many Amiga-demos have music that sounds far more complex than the music in this demo, yet they use 4-channel .MODs. So please, do not use MP3s if you don't HAVE to. The MP3s for XTA take roughly 2.2 MB and the rest of the demo is 2.9 MB and I think that's just strange. The music taking almost as much space as the rest of the demo. Please! (HD space isn't really a problem, downloading is however. I don't want to spend a lot of my time downloading something that actually COULD be much smaller.) Hope AsYntote doesn't feel pissed on because I criticize his music... but it doesn't sound like it needed to be MP3'd.

Another demo I have on my HD right this moment is TOYS by Gods. It too uses MP3s. In this case, however, I believe it's good they did it, 'coz it contains a lot of lyrics and orchestral music. This music is, however, extremely ripped. The credits for the music says: "Audio: Soni & Liszt (sampling and mixing)". This demo won the TRiP'99 demo-compo, and the music was neither written or performed by a group-member or any other scener. I actually think this is ripping in its purest form. It's one thing to make a cover of a song and include it in the demo (as long as the correct musicians are credited for their music), but this isn't creating something new. It's just giving something old a new face. I thought we left this twelve years ago on the C64, but I guess I was wrong. To take somebody else's work to make YOUR work look better is wrong.

All of the above I stated in my previous article, but maybe in a slightly more harsh and less friendly way. I also said that I would get pissed if there were any MP3-compos at parties. This isn't true. It was actually quite silly of me to say that I would get pissed, start yelling and being a pain in the ass. Not true. I've somewhat changed my mind regarding this point. Not that I think an MP3-compo can beat any MOD-compo. Neither the multi-channel nor the 4-channel. But when you put it more as a Wild Music-compo it sounds more right. This can be quite fun. Maybe we finally could get some singing sceners into the compos. This rapid and TOTAL change of mind might seem strange, and I feel a little ashamed because I didn't think this over more properly before writing the last article.

I hope however that the "Wild Music"-compos won't make people choose to enter their song as MP3 instead of a XM, IT, MOD just to hide their techniques, and prevent people from using their samples. This is selfish. I think it's really flattering to find one of your own samples in somebody else's song. This means you did a good job and others want to use it. So what if you didn't get credited! At least you yourself will know you did a good job, and that should make you feel good. Do we really need to take credit for everything we do? Do you write "XXXXX wiped his nasty ass with this very piece of paper" on the toilet-paper before flushing it down?

Ripping samples and ripping whole parts of music is very different.

The scene is much about sharing. Let's not hide our music behind the walls of MP3s. We shouldn't feel pissed because somebody uses our samples. You helped somebody out, maybe to make a great song out of some of your samples. Then you didn't lose anything, you gained a new great module. So what the fuck?! What's the big deal! The reasons for MP3'ing stuff should be size-saving that possibly couldn't be done in any other way.

If you MP3 your song to hide your samples and techniques you should think twice before claming the scene is dying. As far as I feel, you're one of the killers.

- Makke/Hugi/Trebel

Thanks to Sparcus of Nostalgia for making me think twice, and inspiring me to write this.