Friday, May 15, 2009

About this blog

I have been meaning to start this project for a very long time. To cut a long story short, records (and to a lesser extent movies) get remastered. Digitally re-mastered: bigger, better, louder, new liner notes, new bonus tracks, etc.
The re-master is commissioned by the record company that owns the record, and it comes with the blessing - and in some cases the direct involvement - of the original artists and producers. Truth is, for them is a no-brainer: it's free money. It would be stupid not to do it.
Most people don't care, and indeed might be attracted by the idea of a classic record made even better.

I respect that. But for myself, I was absolutely fine with the original, and it's not just a matter of romantic attachment to the sounds I grew up with: given the chance to compare the originals with some of these 'improved' versions, using a decent set of speakers instead of a mobile phone, most people will agree that louder means worse, or at least significantly different.
And the real problem is this: every time a CD is remastered, the old version goes off catalog. You might think that it doesn't matter, since you already own a collection of your favorite CDs, but it does matter, because compact discs don't last forever (just about ten to twenty years, as a matter of fact, before all those ones and zeroes fade away) and the only version you will be able to buy is the re-master of the month.

What I am proposing here is the institution of the Masters Preservation Society, dedicated to the conservation of original masters by ways of collecting originals, cataloging re-issues (and noting the differences), recording copies before it's too late, finding legal ways to make these originals available.
Any such activity will be tagged MPSFTLW which stands for Masters Preservation Society: Fight The Loudness War. The ridiculously long acronym is intentional, so that it will be easier for anyone to find relevant information on internet or elsewhere.

To clarify: if you want to turn the Mona Lisa in to a 3D hologram go ahead, why not? It can be an interesting alternative interpretation. But would you replace the one in the Louvre and update every book, encyclopedia with the re-mastered version?
Whether you agree or disagree you are welcome to post your comments to this blog. You can read more about this topic in posts labelled MPSFTLW.

Thank you for listening.


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