Audio Piracy -- MP3

Hey all of you out there in Radio Land: get CD-quality music free -- just download! Legal? No, but is it there? Yes and the files can be up to 1/96 the size they used to be. Rich rock stars, big-wig studio executives, radio station and record store owners should all read this. To the disdain of all those who make money in the music industry, piracy has now gone from just software to music. Now, music has a new way to be copied and distributed illegally besides using cassette. The major phenomenon is that the practice of turning music into digital information that can be downloaded, played back in CD-quality, and recorded (it doesn't take a rocket scientist to hook up an amplifier and tape deck to a PC) is now global. This is a big difference from one person lending a CD to a friend to make a copy for their own use. Now, one person can encode the entire soundtrack to Natural Born Killers and make it available to hundreds of people a day. Add a recordable CD-ROM to the mixture and anyone with a decent PC can make their own pirated music CDs.This new devil in a blue dress is called MP3. MPEG layer 3 is an audio format that produces highly compressed files without sacrificing audio quality. Perceived frequency response and signal-to-noise ratio are retained. By using MP3 audio coding, one may shrink down the original sound data from a CD by a ratio of 12 to one, without losing sound quality. Audio can be shrunk down to 1/96 its original size for radio-quality audio. This compression ratio by itself makes the MP3 format ideal for copying songs to computer. The smaller file size also means that posting and downloading will be shorter and the link less likely to be dropped by the browsers and servers. There are thousands and thousands of private MP3 enthusiasts -- the population is growing like wildfire and the technology is only about a couple of months old.MP3 encoders and decoders (players and recorders) are available for both MAC and PC. The community that created this network does a lot of give and take when it comes to this. The justification is that information should be free thus share and share alike. Encoders and decoders for both platforms can be found at: http://www.public.asu.edu/~master/mp3/.There are two popular ways to retrieve MP3 files. The first is to go to web sites that offer MP3 files to download. There are hundreds of private sites that offer music from every genre imaginable. A good place to start finding files to download is to visit the MP3 Web Ring with over 120 websites dedicated to the subject at http://www.cadvision.com/hwangb/mring.html. There are drawbacks to going through the World Wide Web. Since the graphical interface of using browsers such as Netscape and Microsoft's Internet Explorer has made it the most popular way to use the Internet, it is the hardest way to get to MP3 files. Sometimes these web sites are so busy that their servers do not answer. The demand for audio greatly outnumbers what is available and the bandwidth that transfers it. (Another reason to share and not just take).Using the Newsgroups or Usenet (a much older and purer Internet protocol) files can be downloaded but take much longer. The newsgroup, alt.binaries.sounds.mp3, (random tracks & albums recently available listed above) has thousands of titles to choose from. The download time on the newsgroups might be longer but the files will always be there and there will never be a busy signal (unlike the WWW). Before going to sleep, justtag about 15 or so files. In the morning, there will be fresh music with which to start the day.

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