Audio News for December 11, 2015

Music Databases Proliferate – Wikipedia has a long list of online music databases here.  They are mostly free of charge and a few (such as Discogs) have an ecommerce service or focus on a certain music genre. Some even operate as an onine music store. The larger of these focus on discographies of composing and performing artists. Apple’s iTunes uses the GraceNote service in Emeryville, CA, while the largest listing of vinyl releases is with Discogs in Portland, OR. It turns out that electronic music is mostly relreased on vinyl and not CD. Discogs wants to be the IMDB of records by cataloging every known piece of recorded music.  [Good luck.] It says there are about six million cataloged releases so far, with the most popular genre being of course rock. Most of the sites are not set up to be friendly to classical music. Discogs is now beta-testing is first app, along with spinoff sites geared to recorder stores and turntables.

FreeDB has recently been acquired by MAGIX and claims to be the largest free CD info database. Other biggies are Musicbrainz, Allmusic and Audioscrobbler. Much of the information on some  sites is entered by hand by contributors – that gets away from the data on the actual CD sometimes being completely wrong.  But when you play a new CD on your computer that has never been catalogued by Gracenote, for example, it automatically enters the information.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Is Latest to Push Buying Tickets in Advance – People don’t want to miss out on what’s happening, and many buy nearly everything online now, so this fits right into Hollywood’s plans to push advance sales, just as they did with The Hunger Games originally, plus Fifty Shades of Grey. The second-largest theater chain, AMC, reports about 1 in 10 tickets are sold in advance. Carrying light sabers, folding chairs, tents and many snacks, over 100 people were lining up at noon on December 7 for Star Wars: The Line Awakens, a traditional 12-day event where people hang out in line for the opening night at the Hollywood Chinese Theater. Participants don’t have to be there the whole time – rules allow participants to log in their hours. The new Star Wars film (in 3D yet) doesn’t open until December 18.

OLED TVs are the Current Best – Visual subtleties and dynamics can be lost on TV displays that aren’t able to provide a true black tone. This is true of most LCD TVs; only OLED displays can produce a complete black. It creates darkness in deep contrasts and dark tones as well as black, by creating darkness via the absence of light. Only the parts of the screen that have something to show get the light, creating an infinite contrast ratio and depth of black. They provide a major step in recreating images as a filmmaker intended, as well as images as they appear in reality. Major manufacturers are at work on them, but not selling them.  LG is the only one making them, with a 55-inch OLED now for about $3000.

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