The new sound-sphere is global. It ripples at great speed across languages, ideologies, frontiers and races. The economics of this musical esperanto is staggering. Rock and pop breed concentric worlds of fashion, setting and life-style. Popular music has brought with it sociologies of private and public manner, of group solidarity. The politics of Eden come loud.
George Steiner

Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.
Noël Coward

Entropy Gradient
We wrote this in late '97 for Forbes -- don't laugh, it could happen. However, it was never published, and it was our own damn fault. We assumed the magazine had never done anything on this theme. Wrong! The piece they'd already run was pretty good, too. That'll teach us.

This may be a trifle dated, but MP3 is again getting hotter'n a two-dollar pistol, and hell, we couldn't sell this article anyway, so -- on the basic "Mikey'll Eat Anything" theory -- we're fobbing it off on you. To check out some more recent happenings in this arena, you might want to scan a couple of the following sites:

But that's just news. Now on with the rant...
The Comedy of the Commons:
The Future (if any) of Intellectual Property

Jimmy just turned 14. He can't wait for the new Metallica album to hit the stands. Jimmy has a new CD-R, a device that is to waycool commercial music what the Xerox machine was to boring paper documents. His software warns him that the songs he is about to copy to that spanking new recordable compact disc are protected by law and that he needs to get permission before replicating them for the 28 kids waiting to see just how well his new gear works.

Oh, but did we mention? Jimmy can't read.

In the past decade, the equipment needed to record CDs has fallen precipitously from $100,000-plus cabinets the size of a washing machine down to street level prices below $300 for units