Legal Music Downloads and Podcasting Music

Podcasting brings a new opportunity for unsigned artists to showcase their work, currently podcaster’s producing talk shows that want to play a couple of songs to break things up a little will be loathed to acquire the necessary licences and permissions required by popular artists on major labels. What seems to happen is they will either promote an artist who is a friend or solicit permission from artists they like directly. Some small record labels are allowing podcasters to play their artists songs to help increase their visibility. Dave Slusher over at does a regular podcast and has been able to negotiate with  Michelle Shocked to play some of her music on his show.


What will change things? If and it is a big if, an unsigned artist can sell a 100,000 albums by promoting themselves over the web using there own site, podcasting, word of mouth then this will open the gates. I would like to see music available on the web at cost and artists making money from merchandise, DVDs and Live shows, and record labels going out of business or at least radically altering their business model.

Why DRM Sucks

At the moment I’m aware of two methods for legally downloading and listening to music. A subscription based service where you pay a monthly fee and can listen to as much music you like, if you stop subscribing then you can no longer listen to anything you have previously downloaded. A fee for each track or album you download, which once downloaded is yours forever.


Lets be clear about one thing DRM is a feature demanded by music publisher’s before they would let companies like iTunes and Napster distribute music over the web. The voices of millions of consumers were not clamouring ‘we want DRM’.


I want to consume music in a fashion that offers me the most convenience, not the music publishers. That means I want to chose the format Mp3, WMA, AAC, Ogg, the quality / file size and I want 100% accurate metadata.. Once I have paid my fee to download, I want to own that track and I want to be able listen to it on any digital music player I chose to buy. Why should I be offered this service? I am prepared to pay for it. Until this service is a available I will buy the CD from sites like and rip the tracks to MP3 using Cdex which does a reasonable job of looking up the Artist, Album and Track Names most of  the time.


My big problem with paying to download music that has DRM is that I’m doing the right thing by not downloading pirated music and coughing up cash, I’m doing the honest thing but the music publishers are saying ‘we still don’t trust you you might give this to your friends’. There are some sites like and that offer downloads without DRM but my impression is that they aren’t able to get access to artists signed by major labels.

There is an alternative to pay for download, download for free increasingly new un-signed artists are putting up there music on the web for download, the SXSW festival posted a 2 gigabyte bit torrent file that showcased most of the acts playing at SXSW. I have been working my way through the 755 tracks and what strikes me is that the talent and even the production quality on a lot of these tracks is as good as what you’ll hear on the radio.

EDIT: Russ Agrees and since writing this post I have discovere a russian site that lets you download mp3’s without DRM, there are some legalities you will need to consider as using this site in certain countries may be illeagal.

ASP to ASP.NET Migration

First let me say that I don’t believe your own blog is a good place to ask a question but sod it.

What I want to know is if anyone has come up with an elegant way to take an existing ASP app and extend it using ASP.NET with a view to eventually replacing all the ASP pages with aspx ones?

Can the two separate tools be made to form one app seamlessley from the user point of view?

Oh I’m talking about a public website so anonymous authentication on the server.

SkypeIn is here

Now people can call you on your skype phone from the their mobile phone or landline. You pay a rental charge for the number currently 30 euros for twelve months and your up and running. I think this happened on the 10th March I can’t believe I have only just seen it!

Countries this is available for:
   Hong Kong S.A.R., China 
   United Kingdom 
   United States 

Stuart Henshall runs the Skype Journal Blog he seems to have the skinny on everything to do with Skype.

Comments on the pricing of Team System

I saw a link on Rob Caron’s blog to Eric Sinks article Comments on the pricing of Team System it is a really good read.

I think he is both right and wrong about the size of dev team for which VS Team System will be useful. I totally agree with his 8,000 developer analogy but not with his 5 man team one. Why? Because I work in a seven man team and we developed an enterprise system that our customer has paid £1million (~US $2million) for. Our annual salary bill is £250,000 if by purchasing VS Team System and training the team to use it (more costly than the licence I suspect) we realise a 10% improvement in efficiency then VSTS easily pays for itself inside two years.

There will also be business benefits to our customer in terms of predictability of delivery and confidence in a successful release. As a manager of other developers I want to be able to track everything they have been up to when things go wrong, this is especially important when a new member joins the team. If I have this information I can use it to correct mistakes to get the release out and to explain to the developer what they did wrong. I need end to end control over the development process to make sure no one in the team can get lazy and not be held accountable.

I’m not sure yet if VSTS (sounds like a venereal disease!) will offer this to a dev team like ours but if it does we will gladly pay the price being asked. My main concern and something I am struggling to find information on is how SQL 2005 development will be integrated into the VSTS development process. Currently this is a headache for us as it is totally manual and we use VSS.

My six most favourite Podcasts

They are mostly tech orientated so if you have a Geeky disposition then you will probably enjoy these.

  1. Chuck Chat – Ramblings of Technophile – Very funny and lots of gadgets – Daily 20-25 mins
  2. .Net Rocks – Show discussing microsoft development tools – Weekly 2hrs
  3. Geek News Central – Lots of cool geek stuff – 2 shows a week 40mins
  4. A brit abroad – British games programmer in Seattle – random 20 mins
  5. Coverville – Music covers only – 2-3 shows a week – 30 mins
  6. Slacker Astronomy – Comedic slant on astronomy great show – Weekly – 10 mins

I subscribe to around 40 feeds, when I first started listening to podcasts I was so enthusiastic I didn’t care about audio quality. Now I find I am becoming a bit more picky and if the audio quality is very poor I will generally unsubscribe. There are plenty of other shows I listen to regularly like Dawn and Drew and Adam Curry.

UK Community Hosting Project

My brother  and I have decided to setup a community hosting project. We are going to install an SDSL line at his house and offer colocation to anyone who meet a few basic criteria, we are also going to build one server for shared hosting. We are going to place some rigid restrictions on the size and power of the servers to keep the costs down.

For £10 a month and for non-commercial activity we will host any server that meets the following criteria.

  • cpu: 1000mhz max
  • 1 Hard drive <= 7200 rpm
  • Size: XPC Shuttle or smaller
  • Noise: Quiet i.e. no 10,000 rpm delta fans!
  • Any Os you get complete authority over your server and your own IP address

This is aimed at geek enthusiasts and community sites that are not for profit, basically people who would love to have a 1mbps up connection but can’t justify the cost of installing one or using a professional colo facility.

The cheapest I have seen this type of service for is £30 a month in a Uni datacenter in Manchester. If you are interested then drop me an email using the link in the bottom right and side of the site.

UK based MS Event – DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper!


14 May 2005 09:30 – 14 May 2005 16:30 (GMT) GMT, London
Welcome Time: 09:00

Language: English

Microsoft Ltd

Chicago 1, Chicago 2, Memphis
Building 3
Microsoft Campus Thames Valley Park Reading Berkshire
United Kingdom

General Event Information
Products: MSDN.

Recommended Audience: Developer.

For the first time ever in the UK, Microsoft is hosting a unique event for Developers to learn, share and hear from other Developers – NO Microsoft speakers will present.  Held on a Saturday, DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper is designed to be an informal day; the agenda will be determined by the developer community.  You will have the opportunity to see new faces present in a relaxed atmosphere.  Activities will include presentations on a wide range of topics (see suggestions below), a networking area and fun zone.

• Preparing for ASP.NET 2.0
• .NET Debugging Facilities
• Patterns of Data Access in .NET
• An Overview Of ClickOnce Deployment
• What’s New In Internationalization In .NET 2.0?
• Unit Testing Using Visual Studio 2005 Team Test
• Introduction To FxCop And Writing Custom Rules
• Refactoring Using Visual Studio 2005
• An Introduction to Test-Driven Development (TDD)
• Developing for the Compact Framework with C#
• Custom Attributes in .NET
• Useful Free .NET Tools
• SQL Server Finding and Resolving Performance Problems

All this is FREE and lunch and coffees will also be thrown in.

Sign up now to be guaranteed a place!