Multi-Version Media format

Make living music albums. Make movies that don’t always end the same way.

The multi-version media format is a simple, cross-platform package file format that allows developers to write audio/video applications in which the media being played (eg a song or movie) can be a different version with each play. See the Amber G. App (iOS only) for the first such player (for which I developed the format 🙂 ).

Each media file (e.g. an MP3, M4A, MP4 or MOV file) is replaced by a specially-formatted directory containing multiple versions of the same piece of media (eg multiple live versions of a song, versions of a movie with alternate endings or extended scenes).

Format

  • <media name>.mvm
    • media_list.json
    • <file version>.<extension>
    • <file version>.<extension>
    • <file version>.<extension>
    • ...

Example for the song “Alive” by Amber Griis:

  • Alive.mvm
    • media_list.json
    • Alive.mp3
    • Alive live drums.m4a
    • Alive crazy rock drummer.mp3

media_list.json

This file contains a specially-formatted JSON object that describes the contents of the directory.

[ 
    { "Name" : "Alive", "File Type": "mp3" },
    { "Name" : "Alive live drums", "File Type" : "m4a" },
    { "Name" : "Alive crazy rock drummer", "File Type" : "mp3" } 
]

Playlist.json

This file sits at the root level of the directory in which your .mvm folders sit and simply contains a list (an array), in the order in which they should appear in a playlist, of the names of the folders in your player.

Example:

[ "Alive", "Fly", "Be In Love" ]

Note that this means your folder names must match what you want displayed. This is intentional to provide simplicity by convention.

The Death of CD Baby

Alas, all good things must come to and end, and I’m afraid CD Baby’s reign as the musician-friendly, easy-to-use distributer is approaching that time.

The new owner (Discmaker’s Tony van Veen) seems nice enough, and certainly has experience with musicians. But, he lacks the tech savvy that made Derek’s company function in a way that made you feel like you were working with a good friend instead of a clunky corporation.
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Last week they launched their “new, improved” artist web site. The “.aspx” in the URL (and the posts in the forum) tells the UNIX programmer that the reliability of the old site has fled the building. Although the new look is nice, the artist’s section was launched, and I’m serious here, without the “accounting” section being active. That’s right – you can’t check your sales. “But”, you ask, “isn’t that what CD Baby is for – to sell music?”. Evidently not any more. It lets you “sign up” a new album. You can even sell it. But you have to wait until they send you the check to see how much you’ve sold, and I hope you’re not trying to keep track of inventory, because that’s gone. This is ironic in the aftermath of questions about CD Baby’s accuracy in reporting sales. Also gone is the easy-to-use album information entry screens. Now there are about 20 different little links to click on to get to pages to enter complicated bits of information. And, those are buggy (broken nav bar links, etc – but of course, “.aspx” already told us that would happen). The staff and management have been scrambling to fix their errors amidst an avalanche of complaints from artists.

Sloppy, careless management, very bad programming, and horrid product development and QA indicate that CD Baby has derailed from the high-quality standards Derek Sivers set and is plummeting down the cliff to a spectacular 70’s-style fiery explosion at the bottom.

Logic mastering tricks – make your studio sound like your car

If you’re experienced at mixing or mastering, you probably know “it’s not done until you’ve heard it in your car”.

Well, with Logic’s “Match EQ” function, you can bring the car to the studio.

  1. Get a track of Pink Noise (you’re welcome) and burn it to CD.
  2. In your studio, play back the pink noise through your speakers and record it using a high-quality microphone with broad frequency range.
  3. Drag the microphone to your car (I just used a long mic cable).
  4. Play the pink noise CD in the car and record it. (I grabbed my MacBook and remote-controlled the studio computer using Screen Sharing in Leopard)
  5. Now, using Match EQ, set the “Training Track” using the recording from the car and the “Current Track” using the recording from the studio.
  6. Click “Match”. You now have an equalizer that converts from the sound you hear on your studio speakers to the sound you hear in your car.
  7. Save the setting as “Studio to Car CD”. (I did one using my iPod too).
  8. When you’re mixing or mastering, you can put “Match EQ” into the Output 1-2 channel strip, and select your saved “Studio to Car CD” setting. When you enable it, you’ll be hearing the mix as it’ll sound in your car!

Tips:

  • When recording, hold the microphone where your head would be, both in the studio and in the car.
  • Set the volume level pretty loud (look at your input meters as with any recording) for best results
  • On my system, the car produces a lot more bass than my studio speakers, so much so that I had to put a “gain” plugin into an insert slot before the Match EQ or it’d distort.

Alanis Morissette’s cover of Black Eyed Peas “My Humps” video

A hilarious cover of “My Humps” done by Alanis Morissette. Lyrics to “My Humps” are below the video.

Lyrics: “My Humps” by Black Eyed Peas
What you gonna do with all that junk?
All that junk inside your trunk?
I’m a get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps (Check it out)

I drive these brothers crazy,
I do it on the daily,
They treat me really nicely,
They buy me all these ices.
Dolce & Gabbana,
Fendi and NaDonna
Karan, they be sharin’
All their money got me wearin’ fly
Brother, I ain’t askin’,
They say they love my ass ‘n,
Seven Jeans, True Religion’s,
I say no, but they keep givin’
So I keep on takin’
And no I ain’t taken
We can keep on datin’
I keep on demonstrating.

My love (love), my love, my love, my love (love)
You love my lady lumps (love),
My hump, my hump, my hump (love),
My humps they got you,

She’s got me spending.
Spendin’ all your money on me and spending time on me.
She’s got me spendin’.
Spendin’ all your money on me, up on me, on me

What you gonna do with all that junk?
All that junk inside that trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
What you gonna do with all that ass?
All that ass inside them jeans?
I’m a make, make, make, make you scream
Make you scream, make you scream.
Cos of my hump (ha), my hump, my hump, my hump (what).
My hump, my hump, my hump (ha), my lovely lady lumps (Check it out)

I met a girl down at the disco.
She said hey, hey, hey yea let’s go.
I could be your baby, you can be my honey
Let’s spend time not money.
I mix your milk wit my cocoa puff,
Milky, milky cocoa,
Mix your milk with my cocoa puff, milky, milky right.

They say I’m really sexy,
The boys they wanna sex me.
They always standing next to me,
Always dancing next to me,
Tryin’ a feel my hump, hump.
Lookin’ at my lump, lump.
You can look but you can’t touch it,
If you touch it I’ma start some drama,
You don’t want no drama,
No, no drama, no, no, no, no drama
So don’t pull on my hand boy,
You ain’t my man, boy,
I’m just trying ta dance boy,
And move my hump.

My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump.
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
My lovely lady lumps (lumps)
In the back and in the front (lumps)
My lovin’ got you,

She’s got me spendin’.
Spendin’ all your money on me and spending time on me.
She’s got me spendin’.
Spendin’ all your money on me, up on me, on me.

What you gonna do with all that junk?
All that junk inside that trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
What you gonna do with all that ass?
All that ass inside them jeans?
I’ma make, make, make, make you scream
Make you scream, make you scream.
What you gonna do with all that junk?
All that junk inside that trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get you drunk,
Get you love drunk off this hump.
What you gonna do wit all that breast?
All that breast inside that shirt?
I’ma make, make, make, make you work
Make you work, work, make you work.

Aha, aha, aha, aha (x4)

She’s got me spendin’.
Spendin’ all your money on me and spendin’ time on me
She’s got me spendin’.
Spendin’ all your money on me, up on me, on me.

The Beat of My Heart

After seeing all the dumb comments being left on iTunes about the Beat Of My Heart video, I couldn’t resist posting this satirical review.

But after I wrote it and re-read it, I think it might be right!? 🙂

So I’m posting it here, for your review and entertainment………

Hilary Duff, “The Beat Of My Heart”: Deep symbolism in this surprising little gem.

This song, and corresponding video, are brilliant little gems of art that far supersede the depth comprehendible by those who spend their time leaving negative comments about Hilary Duff, her talents, or the music she performs. Whereas most Hilary Duff songs are plainly worded, this one uses linguistic imagery and lyrical symbolism to express a painful cycle of self-defeat.

The song, framed in an upbeat dance production, is about the self-destructive nature of a teenage girl. The author is tormented by the fact that with every beat of her heart, she drives away the one she loves. The repetitive chorus symbolizes the repetitiveness of her painful cycle, “the beat of my heart, it tears us apart”, and ends with defeat, “now I’m back to the start”. The pained lyrics are masked by the peppy dance beat, just as the author must mask her feelings of fear and uncertainty to exist in society.

The verses explain the attempts to change, to bring herself “up from her down”, to convince herself that she’s not afraid and can succeed. “Dancing” is a frequent metaphor for performance and social interaction in music, and this song is no exception, as she says “I want you to see, I’m not scared to dance”.

In the bridge, she shouts “away! away!” to the demons she’s confronting, followed by a questioning pause as she sings “the beat of my heart” quietly, as if asking “are they gone?”

No, the pattern continues as the final chorus bursts in,
“Now I’m Back to the start…”

The song ends with her once again attempting to confront her demons.
“away! away!” she shouts again. The song ends.

This video takes the symbolism even further.
In the video Hilary is performing, as she must in society: putting on a show of happiness while hiding the pain inside.
As in the song itself, the director uses colors and imagery to paint the picture of her author’s true self. Clear instruments symbolize the transparency of her facade. The stark colors show the true pain behind the performance.