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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for April 1, 2003

Music Industry Unveils New Piracy-Proof Format

Music bosses have unveiled a revolutionary new recording format that they hope will help win the war on illegal file-sharing which is thought to be costing the industry millions of dollars in lost revenue. Nicknamed "The Record," the new format takes the form of a black vinyl disc measuring 12 inches in diameter, which must be played on a specially-designed turntable.

"We can state with absolute certainty that no computer in the world can access the data on this disc," said spokesman Brett Campbell. "We are also confident that no-one is going to be able to produce pirate copies in this format without going to a heck of a lot of trouble. This is without doubt the best anti-piracy invention the music industry has ever seen." As part of the invention's rigorous testing process, the designers gave some discs to a group of teenage computer experts who regularly use file swapping software such as Limewire and Gnutella and who admit to pirating music CDs.

Despite several days of trying, none of them were able to hack into the disc's code or access any of the music files contained within it. "It's like really big and stuff," said Doug Flamboise, one of the testers. "I couldn't get it into any of my drives. I mean, what format is it? Is it, like, from France or something?"

In the new format, raw audio data in the form of music is encoded by physically etching grooves onto the vinyl disc. The sound is thus translated into variations on the disc's surface in a process that industry insiders are describing as completely revolutionary and stunningly clever. To decode the data stored on the disc, the listener must use a special player which contains a stylus that runs along the grooves on the record surface, reading the indentations and transforming the movements back into audio that can be fed through loudspeakers.

Even Shawn Fanning, the man who invented Napster, admits the new format will make file swapping much more difficult. "I've never seen anything like this," he told reporters. "How does it work?"

As rumours that a Taiwanese company has been secretly developing a 12-inch wide, turntable-driven, stylus-based - Firewire drive remain unconfirmed. It would appear that the music industry may at last have found the pirate-proof format it has long been searching for.


B3 Master Jimmy Smith Converts to the Ambient Sound of Accordions

Los Angeles - The jazz world was taken aback today at the announcement by Jimmy Smith's management that Mr. Smith has decided to shift his focus from the Hammond B-3 Organ to the Accordion. According to Stan "The Man" Goldblatt, his long-time manager, Mr. Smith has recently discovered the joy of putting that heavy accordion over his chest and letting the music wail from within its bellows. "But it doesn't end there," adds Goldblatt. "Jimmy has renounced hard-bop styled jazz as 'the Devil's music', and is now much more interested in pursuing his artistic challenges within the realm of ambient music."

According to Goldblatt, Jimmy's forthcoming album, Shut Up!, will be "a very personal statement about peace and relaxation in these troubled times, and will feature performances from some of Jimmy's personal friends, George Winston and Zamfir."

Myron Floren was unavailable for comment.

This material was previously published at All About Jazz / www.allaboutjazz.com

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