Music, music, music!
This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on October 19, 2001
Sure, Napster has scaled back and My.MP3.com has been gutted, but the Internet remains an absolute treasure island for anyone with a passion for music.
Virtual Sheet Music is a neat example of a way in which the Internet is changing not only how business is done, but is creating an entirely new type of business.
At Virtual Sheet Music, you download the music you want and then print it out. The notation is stored in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf), and appears clean and neat. Their library is cross-referenced three ways by composer, by instrument, and by difficulty level.
$27.75 gives you access to their entire library hundreds of songs by Bach, Albinoni, Schubert, Saint-Saëns, Verdi, Telemann, Mozart and Beethoven (among many others). You can also purchase individual works, either as full score or for individual instrument. In either case, the prices beat those at the local music store.
For finding out where you favorite band is playing next, it's hard to beat POLLSTAR. This is a nearly comprehensive database of rock, jazz, country and blues artists and their touring schedules. Nearly anyone you've ever heard of is in the database and if they're not on tour, you can sign up to be notified via e-mail when they next hit the road. The best part of Pollstar is that all events are listed unlike on TicketMaster's site, which only lists events it handles.
This is a nice little site for getting a handle on the latest (or even vintage) audio gear before you guy to buy. Of course, you can also purchase from the merchants listed here as well. There are reviews of various systems, links to the home electronics sections of the different auction sites, and price comparisons.
A monthly online newsletter covering the music industry, Rock & Rap Confidential also has a new section titled "Why Do We Need the Music Industry?" It's a collection of reports and articles detailing various complaints against the major corporations that control music in this country. Some of the complaints like the way royalties are handled are legitimate; others, say the supposed "censorship" occurring when record labels ask some artists not to use quite so many profanities, leave you wondering just how so many musicians can be so utterly clueless.
Still, for anyone fed up with the music industry's attacks on the Internet and efforts to shut down Napster and MP3.com, the reading here will be both illuminating and gratifying.
Gretchen Lieberum could well be the next Diana Krall. She's stone-cold beautiful, has a voice to melt your heart, and most importantly, writes wonderful songs that find a place in your head and never leave.
Close on 18 years now, I've been reviewing and writing about jazz and Ms. Lieberum is the goods. She'll need some luck to break through to the big time and more folks like us giving her a listen.
From her Web site, you can listen to song samples, find out where she's playing live, or purchase her CDs.
Jump on the bandwagon now, and in a few years when she's a huge star, you can smugly tell your friends, "Oh, yes, I've been a fan since her second album."
© Copyright Jim Trageser
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