Releasing the "source code" of music

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Lyberta
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Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby Lyberta » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:06 pm

Why so little people do it?

So far I only found John Option who except me also releases the project files of their music.

I think this is a big problem in music community. Free Software Foundation (which I'm associate member of) already figured out that to be truly free, the source code must be available. For non-software works we have Free Cultural Works. There's one important paragraph which says:
Availability of source data: Where a final work has been obtained through the compilation or processing of a source file or multiple source files, all underlying source data should be available alongside the work itself under the same conditions. This can be the score of a musical composition, the models used in a 3D scene, the data of a scientific publication, the source code of a computer application, or any other such information.


So what are the reasons that GNU/Linux musicians release non-free music?
  • Non-free software. If you use non-free software and release the project files, public at large can't really benefit from it because they will need to obtain a copy of said software.
  • Non-free samples. This is also important.
To be truly free, the music has to be produced using only free software, free samples and all source data (for example, recording of the lyrics) must be free too.

So yeah, using Windows and/or Wine is bad. Using non-free samples is bad. Using CC-NC and ND is bad.

How I do it.
I put everything in a git repo, state what software and samples are needed in a readme and choose to release it under the terms of CC0.

I hope this post will encourage others to free their music as I'm tired of not having the ability to look inside their tracks, study them and change them according to my needs.

ssj71
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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby ssj71 » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:21 pm

I have a couple thoughts on why:

1. Practical reasons. All the wavs from every take in my projects take up a lot of space. I simply don't have a place to upload 2gb of files for every song. Even github repos have a size limit and many of my songs would exceed this. And uploading such large files takes a long time so it would be obnoxious.

2. Once a developer said something along the lines of "I think tools should be free, but the products from the tools not necessarily." I agree in some ways. When its a "consumable" item, a piece of entertainment, I feel less inclined to provide the same freedom of access to it as I do my software. I don't know how many others feel the same way about music. You mention changing music to your "needs." Are musical preferences really needs?
I'm slowly changing my view on this point of freedom in entertainment, but am still undecided. I'm much more emotionally attached to the music I write than the software I write. I'd want someone who purchases a song of mine to be able to copy it to several devices, I even like the idea of allowing them to see my production techniques in my projects, but the whole remix or distribute thing is hard for me to swallow.

Some of you guys might flame me for this, but I'm just being honest. Freedom of computing and freedom of entertainment seem fundamentally different to me.
_ssj71

music: https://soundcloud.com/ssj71
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davephillips
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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby davephillips » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:38 pm

Greetings,

Interesting things can happen :

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... +the+blues

I made the stems available via an ftp site provided by a sponsor. I also announced their availability on the Ardour forum :

https://community.ardour.org/node/5205

and on the Linux Audio Users mail list.

Fourteen remixes - including some very unique interpretations - came from making those track stems publicly available. Btw, they are still available, along with the original Ardour session files.

Great fun. :)

Best,

dp

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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby ssj71 » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:58 pm

thats a good thought. Thanks Dave.

You mention the sponsoring FTP space provided, and I don't recall hearing about many of your other songs being provided this way. I think my first point is the stronger one. It's much more work to provide music source rather than a single track/final product, whereas with software its very easy to provide source, often easier than providing binaries. Perhaps were a github/bitbucket like website to start that made it easy to do this with music, it would become more commonplace.
_ssj71

music: https://soundcloud.com/ssj71
My plugins are Infamous! http://ssj71.github.io/infamousPlugins
I just want to get back to making music!

Broomy
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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby Broomy » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:20 pm

ssj71 wrote:I have a couple thoughts on why:
2. Once a developer said something along the lines of "I think tools should be free, but the products from the tools not necessarily."


And what if the tools are, for instance, musical lessons?
Of course a lot of lessons are video material and that can be uploaded on the common known places, but there could be more, midi-files, .ly-files, pictures and so on.
I haven't found a Github / sourceforge equivalent for this yet (and would love to have one).

Hans
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ssj71
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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby ssj71 » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:02 pm

Broomy wrote:
ssj71 wrote:I have a couple thoughts on why:
2. Once a developer said something along the lines of "I think tools should be free, but the products from the tools not necessarily."


And what if the tools are, for instance, musical lessons?
Of course a lot of lessons are video material and that can be uploaded on the common known places, but there could be more,

I agree, but the music I write doesn't fit this example.

Even still, seeing examples like Dave's is very compelling, but the biggest hurdle remains, where do I put all my files? I could release with a readme that says contact me to get the source, but as far as a public place to post it, the closest thing is musical-artifacts.com I guess. Not sure if they have the server space for the flood of files we generate as a community.
_ssj71

music: https://soundcloud.com/ssj71
My plugins are Infamous! http://ssj71.github.io/infamousPlugins
I just want to get back to making music!

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davephillips
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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby davephillips » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:37 pm

ssj71 wrote:... seeing examples like Dave's is very compelling, but the biggest hurdle remains, where do I put all my files? I could release with a readme that says contact me to get the source, but as far as a public place to post it, the closest thing is musical-artifacts.com I guess. Not sure if they have the server space for the flood of files we generate as a community.


Incidentally, my project's stem package totals about half a gigabyte of 44.1 kHz 16-bit WAV files. These days I record at 48 kHz 24-bit, so anything I'd put up now would likely require considerably more storage space.

I agree, the source file sizes are likely to be a big problem. Pun intended. :)

Best,

dp

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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby Lyberta » Fri Dec 25, 2015 10:31 am

Ok I guess acoustic tracks with lots of audio are an exception. However, we still have sampled and electronic music which take very little space.

tatch
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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby tatch » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:21 am

If you're talking about project files rather than stems it still isn't that great to share source since you're still locked into a specific workflow. you can export it manually but that isn't the most convenient.

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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby analoq » Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:38 am

FaTony- I think the way you're going about releasing your project files is a good thing for this community. I hope to follow your example once I get around to finalizing any of the foss-based music I've been experimenting with. :)

cheers.

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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby wolftune » Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:10 am

I do it. I released the MuseScore files for my barbershop arrangement of Copying Is Not Theft: http://blog.wolftune.com/2012/08/copyingisfun2.html

And I put up MIDI files for tracks from my old pre-Linux album: https://archive.org/details/Conspiracie ... Aaron-Wolf

I want to get around to putting up more of the source audio, but it's extra work and the files are from Cubase from years ago, it's not organized well right now, and I don't want to just dump it.
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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby lykwydchykyn » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:44 pm

FaTony wrote:Ok I guess acoustic tracks with lots of audio are an exception. However, we still have sampled and electronic music which take very little space.

I think the idea of free-as-in-freedom musical sources makes sense in the electronic music world, where remixing, sampling, and so forth are very common and part of the musical expression.

Not so much for, say, jazz, where the performance itself is kind of the important thing. You could argue that non-electronic musicians could reuse drum beats or guitar tracks, etc; but the burden of having to release all your source material makes using copyleft audio rather unappealing.

Regarding the "big data" problem, though, it's worth mentioning that nothing in the GPL requires you to put sources on the internet for free. IIRC, In the early days of free software, sources were often made available "on request" and at a nominal fee to cover postage & handling (tape or diskettes would be mailed to the interested party). I suppose copyleft audio sources could be made available by request on a thumb drive or DVDRom with a nominal fee to cover costs.

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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby wolftune » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:53 pm

Yeah, I feel that until we have the next generation of computers that handle huge data easily via Git or something and better entire systems for version management and file management for huge source files, it makes sense to stick to a source-is-ideal approach vs source-is-required.
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lykwydchykyn
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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby lykwydchykyn » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:02 am

wolftune wrote:Yeah, I feel that until we have the next generation of computers that handle huge data easily via Git or something and better entire systems for version management and file management for huge source files, it makes sense to stick to a source-is-ideal approach vs source-is-required.


More than that, we'd need a solid definition of what defines a recording's "source". It's not nearly as straightforward as it is with software. If I'm *legally* obliged to provide sources for my works, I need a *legal* definition of what constitutes a source. Tracks? Session files? Patch settings on outboard gear? What if I load a GPL drum track onto my anolog reel-to-reel, record a bunch of analog tracks, and mix it manually in real-time with analog effects. What am I obligated to provide when I distribute my track?

We can speculate what the answer might be, but without a clear legal definition I don't know what I'm obligated to do.

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Re: Releasing the "source code" of music

Postby wolftune » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:06 am

The only valid complete source would be entire session files. Anything less is just partial. If I have a full JACK session saved with all the settings from all the software and all the accompanying files, the complete set, that's the full source for a recording. Without that, nobody can reproduce the recording from source precisely. It's not really that complex. It's similar to how the full valid GNU-style source for a web app includes the templating that generated the HTML, not just the final HTML.

From GPL: "The "source code" for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it."

Well, if you're the person who recorded a song, your preferred form for modifying your recording is your precise session files with all the separate tracks and effect racks and everything. So, that's what full source would be when sharing the source with others.

Of course, sharing *some* source files is nicer than nothing…
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