Apr 25, 2009

Demonstration in Paris against the HADOPI law

Just got back. About 500 people, good vibes. Here are a few pictures.

Also, some excellent speeches from the anti-HADOPI MPs. Guess who's waving the pirate flag ? ;)

"The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men" - Samuel Adams

Apr 23, 2009

WTF? Pirate Bay judge in bed with the media industry

This is an unbelievable conflict of interest. He should never have accepted to handle the case.

Will the Pirate Bay defense team ask for a re-trial? Stay tuned.

Update 1 (12PM): yes, they will.

Update 2 (4PM): man, I still can't believe this... Here's to you, corrupt f#ck.

Apr 22, 2009

Global 2008 music sales: here comes the pain again

As reported by Billboard, the beloved IFPI has released music sales figures for 2008, summarized below. For reference, here are some previous posts on the IFPI digital music report, US sales and UK sales.

Global sales:
  • Total sales: 18.4 billion dollars, -8.3%
  • Physical sales: 13.83 billion dollars, -15.4%
  • Digital sales: 3.78 billion dollars, +24.1% (20% of total sales)
  • Total sales: 7.31 billion dollars, -6.3%
  • Physical sales: 5.81 billion dollars, -11.3%
  • Digital sales: 0.75 billion dollars, +36.1% (10% of total sales)
  • Total sales: 4.98 billion dollars, -18.6%
  • Physical sales: 3.14 billion dollars, -31.2%
  • Digital sales: 1.78 billion dollars, +16.5% (35% of total sales)
  • Total sales: 4.77 billion dollars, +1%
  • Physical sales: 3.6 billion dollars, -4.9%
  • Digital sales: 1.06 billion dollars, +26.1% (22% of total sales)
Latin America:
  • Total sales: 518.6 million dollars, -4.7%
  • Physical sales: 430.3 million dollars, -10.3%
  • Digital sales: 62.6 million dollars, +46.6% (12% of total sales)

Physical sales in the US have dropped 1.5 billion dollars. My, my... Cash-strapped, aren't we? Well, here's an idea: according to a new study, 86% of P2P users would pay between $6 and $17 a month for legal, DRM-free, unlimited downloads (not streaming).

Helllllooo ! Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?

Amendment 138 just won't die

Removed in last december by the EU Council, the original amendment 138 is finally back into the Telecom Package thanks to a strong vote from the ITRE (Industry, TRansport & Energy) commitee.

The final vote of the EU Parliament is expected during the plenary session on May 5. Let's hope this will seal the fate of the stupid "three-strikes" policy!

Apr 21, 2009

P2P users buy 10 times more music

Interesting article on Ars Technica, based on new research by a Norwegian management school. I think this is pretty much spot on, as are some of the reader comments :

"Now that people can choose to cherry pick the songs they wish, full album sales are dropping greatly. That means you can increase the number of overall sales while seeing a decrease in revenue as people choose to buy one or two songs versus a full album"

"Overall revenue is down, because people can finally buy just the 1 or 2 decent songs from a so-called 'album', without needing to also buy the 8-10 filler songs that are also on it. Of course, it takes more work for the artists and labels to create more 'good' songs (and advertise them), but instead, the labels are still trying to figure out some way to trick consumers into buying those crappy filler songs"

"No surprise at all. That's exactly how I used to use Napster, back in the day. Download to preview, buy the albums containing songs I liked. When that went away, my purchases dropped by half; if P2P went away entirely, I'm not sure if I'd buy any music any more"

Nothing to add.

Apr 20, 2009

Some you win, some you lose

The Pirate Bay verdict is a wake-up call in case you needed one. Governments & industry lobbies want to gain control on the Internet, just like they have on traditional media. As the Swedish Pirate Party puts it: “Politicians have declared war on our entire generation (...) Our politicians are digital illiterates. We need politicians who can’t be hen-pecked by a foreign power”.

On the same topic, in an unbelievable display of contempt for democracy and individual rights, the French government will shove the three-strikes policy down the throat of the Parliament on April 29. Demonstrations will take place on the 25th, but no one can expect the law to be rejected this time.

Does all this change anything? Of course not!

European elections are coming up on June 7, a perfect occasion to let your voice be heard and maybe to start cleaning the house.

The legal battle is also far from over, in Sweden, France, Europe and elsewhere.

And on the technical front? Utter doom, as LOIC and similar mighty DDoS weapons are (allegedly) being discharged at the evil empire.

Ah, enough negativity. Some light reading, maybe? Here: www.spotifyripping.com. Streaming IS the future, kids ;)

And if that's not enough, here's a little something that'll cheer you up:

"Some You Win, Some You Lose" by Orange Goblin. Great band, signed on a great indie label, Rise Above. Rock on!

Apr 8, 2009

Variable pricing: no DRM, higher prices

iTunes has now completely dropped DRM. Clearly a deadly stake through the heart of this P.O.S. technology and braindead business practice. "Go back to the abyss! Fall into nothingness that awaits you and your master!"

This happened as iTunes introduced variable pricing for MP3 tracks, which sounds like a good idea, but all is not well. It looks like 'variable pricing' means 'higher prices', with many popular tracks going from $0.99 to $1.29, and seemingly not a lot of $0.69 tracks. Sigh...

Hardly surprising, but as Hypebot puts it : "another missed opportunity" for music majors. I couldn't agree more.

Apr 3, 2009

HOWTO: compiling VLC 0.9.9 + live555 + all major codecs on Ubuntu 8.10

VLC 0.9.9 was released a few days ago, so here's an updated version of my popular tutorial on how to build it from source on Ubuntu. As always, all comments welcome!

First of all, you need to build the latest ffmpeg and x264: please refer to this tutorial, which is still up to date.

Once you've done that, there are additional dependencies to take care of.

1) Installing libmad

MAD is a high-quality MPEG audio decoder. At the time of this writing, the latest version is 0.15.1b. Let's get the source, build it and install it:

ubuntu% wget http://ovh.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/mad/libmad-0.15.1b.tar.gz
ubuntu% tar xvfz libmad-0.15.1b.tar.gz
ubuntu% cd libmad-0.15.1b
ubuntu% ./configure --prefix=/usr/local
ubuntu% make
ubuntu% sudo make install

[Updated on 2009/01/04] If you try to compile libmad with gcc 4.3, you will get the following error: cc1: error: unrecognized command line option "-fforce-mem". To correct this, just remove the -fforce-mem flags from the CFLAGS list in the Makefile.

2) Installing libdca

libdca is a free library for DTS audio. At the time of this writing, the latest version is 0.0.5. Let's get the source, build it and install it:

ubuntu% wget http://download.videolan.org/pub/videolan/libdca/0.0.5/libdca-0.0.5.tar.bz2
ubuntu% bzip2 -d
ubuntu% tar xvf libdca-0.0.5.tar
ubuntu% cd libdca-0.0.5
ubuntu% ./configure --prefix=/usr/local
ubuntu% make
ubuntu% sudo make install

3) Installing libmpeg2

libmpeg2 is a free library for MPEG streams. At the time of this writing, the latest version is Let's get the source, build it and install it:

ubuntu% wget http://libmpeg2.sourceforge.net/files/libmpeg2-0.5.1.tar.gz
ubuntu% tar xvfz libmpeg2-0.5.1.tar.gz
ubuntu% cd
ubuntu% ./configure --prefix=/usr/local
ubuntu% make
ubuntu% sudo make install

4) Installing TagLib

TagLib is is a library for reading and editing the meta-data of several popular audio formats (MP3, FLAC, etc). At the time of this writing, the latest version is 1.5. Let's get the source, build it and install it:

ubuntu% wget http://developer.kde.org/~wheeler/files/src/taglib-1.5.tar.gz
ubuntu% tar xvfz taglib-1.5.tar.gz
ubuntu% ./configure --prefix=/usr/local
ubuntu% make
ubuntu% sudo make install

5) Installing live555

live555 is a set of libraries for multimedia streaming (RTP/RTCP, RTSP, SIP).

ubuntu% wget http://www.live555.com/liveMedia/public/live555-latest.tar.gz
ubuntu% tar xvfz live555-latest.tar.gz
ubuntu% cd live
ubuntu% ./genMakefiles linux
ubuntu% make

There is no installation procedure for live555. You have to copy the full directory somewhere safe, like /usr/lib.

ubuntu% sudo cp -r live /usr/lib

6) Installing everything else

Now, let's use APT to fetch all the remaining libraries needed by VLC, as well as the Qt4 packages required by the GUI:

ubuntu% sudo apt-get install libavc1394-dev libraw1394-dev libdc1394-dev libdvdread-dev libdvdnav-dev libdvdcss2-dev libfaad-dev libtwolame-dev liba52-dev libvcdinfo-dev libiso9660-dev libcddb2-dev libflac-dev libschroedinger-dev liba52-dev libogg-dev libvorbis-dev liblua5.1-0-dev libgnomevfs2-dev libtag1-dev libqt4-dev

That should really be it...

7) Fetching VLC

Stable sources can be downloaded as a tarball from the VLC download page. At the time of this writing, the latest version is VLC 0.9.9. If you want to try development snapshots, be my guest but YMMV!

ubuntu% wget http://download.videolan.org/pub/videolan/vlc/0.9.9/vlc-0.9.9.tar.bz2
ubuntu% bzip2 -d vlc-0.9.9.tar.bz2
ubuntu% tar xvf vlc-0.9.9.tar

8) Adding x264 and live555 to the mix

For the sake of convenience, let's copy the directories into the VLC tree:

ubuntu% cd vlc-0.9.9
ubuntu% cp -r $YOUR_X264_BUILD_DIR extras
ubuntu% cp -r $YOUR_LIVE555_BUILD_DIR extras
ubuntu% ls extras
analyser buildsystem contrib live misc package x264

9) Building VLC

Let's go! Don't forget to check your configure output for possible errors.

ubuntu% ./configure --prefix=/usr/local --with-x264-tree=extras/x264 --with-live555-tree=extras/live --enable-release --enable-switcher --enable-shout --enable-dc1394 --enable-dv --enable-dvdread --enable-v4l --enable-pvr --enable-gnomevfs --enable-vcdx --enable-faad --enable-twolame --enable-real --enable-realrtsp --enable-flac --enable-tremor --enable-tarkin --enable-theora --enable-ogg --enable-vorbis --enable-a52 --enable-gnomevfs --enable-dca
Lots of output removed
You can tune the compiler flags in vlc-config.
To build vlc and its plugins, type `./compile' or `make'.

All right, let's run make and get some coffee while VLC is building:

ubuntu% make
lots of output removed
make[2]: Leaving directory `/home/julien/tmp/vlc-0.9.9'
make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/julien/tmp/vlc-0.9.9.'

We're done! Let's check our new VLC before we install it.

7) Checking VLC

ubuntu% ./vlc --version
VLC media player 0.9.9 Grishenko
[00000001] main libvlc debug: VLC media player - version 0.9.9 Grishenko - (c) 1996-2009 the VideoLAN team
[00000001] main libvlc debug: libvlc was configured with ./configure '--prefix=/usr/local' '--with-x264-tree=extras/x264' '--with-live555-tree=extras/live' '--enable-release' '--enable-switcher' '--enable-shout' '--enable-dc1394' '--enable-dv' '--enable-dvdread' '--enable-v4l' '--enable-pvr' '--enable-vcdx' '--enable-faad' '--enable-twolame' '--enable-real' '--enable-realrtsp' '--enable-flac' '--enable-tremor' '--enable-tarkin' '--enable-theora' '--enable-ogg' '--enable-vorbis' '--enable-a52' '--enable-gnomevfs' '--enable-dca'
[00000001] main libvlc debug: translation test: code is "C"
VLC version 0.9.9 Grishenko
Compiled by julien@ubuntu.
Compiler: gcc version 4.3.2 (Ubuntu 4.3.2-1ubuntu12)
This program comes with NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
You may redistribute it under the terms of the GNU General Public License;
see the file named COPYING for details.
Written by the VideoLAN team; see the AUTHORS file.

Looks good. You can verify that your favorite codecs are supported with 'vlc --list'.

I now declare this a good build :) Let's install it:

ubuntu% sudo make install

We're done. Now you can enjoy all your media files with a single player!

Apr 2, 2009

Amazon MP3 store available in Germany

To paraphrase Leonard Cohen: first we take London, then we take Berlin.

5 million DRM-free tracks. Sigh... Will France - and its rather miserable legal offer - EVER get some Amazon love?