RIAA Math

01. Amount the RIAA asks for per song in damages when they file suit in the US = $750
source

02. Price of song on iTunes = $1
source

03. (01 / 02) Number of lost sales they implicitly claim you caused by downloading rather than buying that song (although note, they’re claiming more than that, since they can’t sue for damages sustained by Apple) = 750 lost sales

04. Number of times Nellys “Over and Over” was downloaded in the US (to Jan 2005) = 5,827,833
source (using figures from bigchampagne.com)

05. Number of simultaneous P2P users worldwide = 9,670,552
source

06. Number of US simultaneous P2P users = 6,980,000
source

07. (06 / 05) Proportion of P2P file sharing done in the US = 72%

08. (04 / 07) Probable number of times “Over and Over” was downloaded worldwide = 8,094,212

09. (08 * 03) Number of lost sales for “Over and Over” by the RIAA reckoning of 750 per song = 6,070,659,000

10. Population of the world = 6,525,170,264
source

11. (1 – (10-09) / 10) Proportion of the world who didn’t buy “Over and Over” but would have if there had been no file sharing = 93%

That’s right, 93% of the entire population of the earth, (man, woman, child and baby), wanted to pay money for “Over and Over”, and would have too, if it weren’t for those pesky file sharers. Presumably the remaining 7% were people who actually did buy “Over and Over”.

Hip Hop Chambers

We just got back from a chamber music concert. In between the Beethoven and the Brahms, they played some modern music. A piece by Dieter Ammann called “apres le silence”. It seemed to me massively incongruous for people to be subverting, even abusing, their instruments to such a degree while wearing tails and a smart gown. That sort of music should be played in disused warehouses and on street corners by down and out ruffians who vie with each other to coax ever weirder sounds out of any grand pianos that happen to be lying around. It should be for people from single parent families whose frustrated genius compels them into unappreciated works of art. People in suits with tails should play instruments as they were designed to be played. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if they’d slashed their suits a bit first, or put on some bling. I appreciated that the girl liberated a little of her hair to dance around in front of her face, but it really wasn’t enough.

It makes me think that perhaps the whitehairs rebelling against convention any way that they can are not all that different from the young rappers trying to make a new art out of what they have around them. How different would the world have been if classical composers had taken up hip hop and rappers had chosen chamber music?

The subverting of pianos reminded me of another group of people who like to take a system and make it do things it wasn’t designed for: Hackers. That would make Mr Benjamin Engeli (the pianist tonight) a Grand Piano Hacker, or perhaps since the hacks were originally performed by a composer, and notated into a score, he’s more like a script kiddie. sC0R3 k1DD13Z. That’s an unfair comparison, because no matter how rigid the score, it requires an awful lot of expertise and creativity to make the hacks work. I would have liked to be there for the discovery of a 0 day piano exploit. The great thing about piano hacking is there is no need for Mr Steinway to send out patches – the technique will become passe when the grey or white hat composers start using it, and eventually the black hat composers have to try to find another exploit.