Jamendo Lies

Creative Commons music resource Jamendo has done a redesign, the second since 2012 (which is never a good sign).

As with the 2012 “improvement”, the current redesign also includes the “feature” of taking away functionality from users. There is no more complex searching. You get a text box, and that’s it. No refining by tags, keywords, genres, license, country of origin, language, nope, nobody needs any of that. And those of us that used it, well, too bad, but we don’t count.

In fact, if Jamendo continues true to the form of their 2012 redesign, their first explanation will be that everything is the user’s fault.

But there is worse.

Jamendo is now actively lying to its users:

Jamendo telling its users that CC-BY licensed music cannot be used in videos, which is a lie.

That is the download page for “I Will Crawl” by Jeffrey Philip Nelson. As you can see, the license is CC-BY, attribution-only. And Jamendo is telling you, before you download it, that you do not have permission to use it in a video.

The problem with that is it lacks the quality of truth. You do, in fact, have permission to use it in a video, so long as you give proper attribution to the artist.

I kicked about this the moment I saw it, complaining on Twitter and also on GetSatisfaction about the dishonesty involved. I got, as you can see, no direct response at all.

But my complaint was noticed, because the scare-language was removed.

The magically disappearing scare-language.

Note that the change also introduces inaccuracy through imprecise phrasing. “You can download this track for free.” That leaves what you may do with it after download deliberately ambiguous.

Because Jamendo appears to be run by lying corporate weasels, the scare-language was only removed from the CC-BY licensed downloads.

The lie still appears on CC BY-SA downloads:

Download page for a track from WMM album Changeover by Sim Band, with the lie that you may not use the music in a video, despite bearing a Free Culture License

And on CC BY-NC-SA downloads:

The problem here is that it’s just not true that you can’t use this music in videos. You can, so long as you abide the terms of the licenses.

Jamendo is lying to its users about the very thing on which it has built its business: Creative Commons licenses.

This is the straw that broke this camel’s back. I’m done sending any traffic at all to Jamendo. I may continue downloading music from them, but anything I share will be mirrored at the Internet Archive, and that will be the link that I share.

And I will be making great efforts to find music elsewhere, including at the Free Music Archive and BandCamp.

I’m also very open to starting a crowdfunding campaign to mirror Jamendo’s entire library of music, and setting up a site where users can find what they want, without the lies, without the abuse, without being told that they’re stupid, without any of Jamendo’s bullshit. If any database programmers have ideas on how to get that going, let’s talk.

UPDATE: Free Culture singer-songwriter Josh Woodward says on Reddit that Jamendo is now screwing over artists, as well:

[Jamendo] just snuck in a change to the licensing terms that changes the revenue share from the industry standard 50/50 split to a grossly unfair 30/70 split (which goes up a few percentage points on volume).

I begin to think that the folks at Jamendo couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel. Abusing users and artists? Morons.

#Writing #Music Monday: Changeover by Sim Band

[cover] Sim Band - ChangeoverBack in 2013, I shared Sim Band’s first album, today I share his last. Someday I’ll probably also share the one that came in between.

Sim Band is a German fellow named Simon Brenner, who plays all five instruments in these albums of bluesy instrumentals. He writes that they constitute a “musical diary”, and it’s unfortunate that he never continued the diary. This last album was first released in 2006, and he’s never added to his body of work.

Changeover is bluesy and jazzy, as with Sim Band’s other work, and while there is occasional cheese, it somehow fits the overall mood of the album. The whole thing is pleasant and relaxed, and makes excellent background music for writing in general.

Download Changeover by Sim Band free from the Internet Archive.

You can also download it directly from Simon Brenner’s website.

Creative Commons License
Changeover by Sim Band is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: E-world by zero-project

e-world_front_coverChanging gears from the brutal techno of the last two weeks, this week I’m bringing you, once again, Greek composer Zero-Project.

I confess I have a weakness for a certain type of Creative Commons album: I really like it when the album is an attempt to evoke an entire world, each track a different facet of the mindspace, in one way or another. I particularly enjoy it when it is a forward-looking world. Previously shared examples include the recent cyberpunk by bod and the much less recent Life in Bitville by Jaime Heras (among many others).

You can tell just from the title that E-world (actually, E-world: The Ultimate Edition) fits that prejudice of mine quite nicely.

It is an exploration, a world, and a collection of aspirations all in one, and delightfully optimistic. (One of the vocals sampled is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, on an early track.) (Of course, another vocal sampled repeatedly is Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds radio broadcast, so it’s not all puppies and rainbows.)

It is a complete — and, happily, lengthy — experience. More friendly and relaxing than the techno of the past few weeks, so if nothing else, a pleasant change of pace.

Download E-world: The Ultimate Edition free from Zero-Project’s own site, or give the artist five bucks and get lossless quality downloads.

Creative Commons License
E-world: The Ultimate Edition by Zero-Project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Inside The Beat by Partition 36

CoverI’ve had two albums by Partition 36 in my “potential WMM” playlist for quite a long time, but kept putting off sharing anything from him/her.

There is an anger to the music, or at least that’s how I feel it when I listen. It’s sort of techno, and has those razor edges some techno gets.

Which doesn’t mean I don’t like it — I wouldn’t be sharing it if I didn’t. But it is less immediately likeable than some of what I share, and might even be off-putting. Consider that fair warning.

Also, there are vocals on a number of tracks on this album, though they’re less lyrics and more like chanting, most of the time. But if that pulls you out or distracts you when writing, keep it in mind.

That said, despite the occasional abrasiveness of the listening experience, Inside The Beat does what I like electronica albums to do — it takes you on a journey through a world, a place you couldn’t get to with any other kind of sound. And while it has those areas that maybe are a bit uncomfortable, for the most part it is a pleasant journey.

Download Inside The Beat free from the Internet Archive.

Also, you can download it (including in lossless FLAC format) from Partition 36’s own site, but under a more restrictive non-commercial license.

Creative Commons License
Inside The Beat by Partition 36 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Back from Reality by Jazoo

Jazoo - Back from Reality CoverThis one is out there. Not the farthest “out there” thing I’ve shared, but definitely out there. It’s five tracks, and an hour and three minutes, of free jazz or fusion, a style I usually don’t have much patience with.

Jazoo is a Slovenian jazz band that has been playing together since 1996, and has five albums out under Free Culture licenses, this being their most recent. And it’s kind of amazing. It’s not just noise, despite the obvious amount of improvisation and messing around that went into it. The first two tracks, “Orange Green” and “Eleven Eight” are nearly twenty-five minutes, but segue into each other almost unnoticeably, and the album as a whole, while it goes all over the sonic map, manages to cohere into a unified emotional experience.

Given that I don’t get into this sound, much, I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s more accessible, I think, than Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, and far more accessible than the weirdest stuff by Sun Ra and his Arkestra, but that’s the territory it explores, to some extent.

There is some vocalization, but none of it drew me out of what I was working on, any of the times I listened to it straight through. The voices are treated as part of the instrumentation — quite literally, as one of the voices turns out to be the flautist on at least one track, and uses her voice as part of the flute’s sound as well.

Overall, this album really impresses me, in no small part because I usually resist this sort of thing. But, for reasons I don’t have words for, it really, really works for me. If your writing mood needs background that’s a bit noisy, uneven, occasionally discordant, and yet holds together on its own terms, it might work for you too. Check it out.

Download Back from Reality by Jazoo free from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License
Back from Reality by Jazoo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

(While Jazoo seem to have been quiet online for a year or so, as of last week their Twitter stream promises they are returning.)

#Writing #Music Monday: Cinematic Volume 9: Horror and Dark Suspense by Grégoire Lourme

CoverGrégoire Lourme continues to produce amazing soundtrack music, and giving it Free Culture licenses. His early Cinematic releases tended to try to cover a broad swath of genres, but the more recent ones have become more focused, as with last month’s WMM album, Epic Choir.

Well, Volume 9: Horror and Dark Suspense is just as advertised. When I was trying to get the horror novel done in time for October publication (yeah, yet again, didn’t make it, that novel will be the death of me), this album worked perfectly to put me in the mental space for writing scenes of dread.

From the broken fairy tale opening of “Little Girl with Dark Hair” through the mounting dread of “Ad Vitam”, to the purposeful beat of “City of Crime”, every track hits those dark tones you need to set the mood for a really solid horror story.

Download Cinematic Volume 9: Horror and Dark Suspense by Grégoire Lourme free from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License
Cinematic Volume 9: Horror and Dark Suspense by Grégoire Lourme is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Metissage by Pasqualino Ubaldini

[cover] Pasqualino Ubaldini - MetissageThis is almost inexcusable. Here is an artist I’ve mentioned by name at least twice before, and an album I’ve listened to for years, one track of which I even featured in a podcast, and yet I’ve never made this album part of Writing Music Monday.

Allow me to rectify the hell out of that oversight.

Pasqualino Ubaldini is a jazz guitarist in Italy who is very talented, and sometimes collaborates with Paolo Pavan, another CC jazz musician everybody should know, and those collaborations are how I first discovered his work.

He also takes his love of jazz with a love of other cultures’ musical traditions and mixes them together to come up with works that are very, very lovely.

Metissage has a lot of Arabian and North African influences, and it is a delight.

The first track, “Pietre”, sounds like the launch of an adventure — upbeat, celebratory, exotic, and fun. And the album is an adventure, as much, I suspect, for the musician as for the listener.

It’s a tradition that goes back well before Dave Brubeck. Jazz can absorb and interact with music from any culture, and has, almost from the beginning of its existence. There was, for example, Chinese jazz from at least 1935 onward.

So it’s not at all odd, to me at least, that this Italian man has made such an excellent album of arabic and north African-flavored jazz.

[Ubaldini has several albums available with CC licenses through Jamendo, but Metissage is the only one with a Free Culture license. I haven’t really called attention to it, but I’ve made 2015 the year of All Free Culture Music on this blog. (That said, all of his work is worth listening to.)]

Download Metissage free the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License
Metissage by Pasqualino Ubaldini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.