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Music streaming and downloading: an introduction Richard Ranft The British Library Sound Archive IAML Annual Study Weekend – April 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Music streaming and downloading: an introduction Richard Ranft The British Library Sound Archive IAML Annual Study Weekend – April 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Music streaming and downloading: an introduction Richard Ranft The British Library Sound Archive IAML Annual Study Weekend – April 2006

2 2 2 Principles: file sizes, audiences, copyrights Audio file types Preparing sound files Delivery methods Examples

3 3 3 Digital audio Music is a time-frequency wave function with tonal qualities pleasing to the human ear – ALICE Digital audio files are large… In a simple text file (Windows Notepad), one character or space requires 1 byte storage The 325 letters and spaces on this page occupies 325 bytes This same text as recorded speech = 1,000 x larger

4 4 4 File sizes & data rates 8 bits = I byte Data storage sizes measured in bytes CD 650 MB 1 CD quality ~ 10MBytes Typical desktop computer hard drive 60 GBytes Data transfer rates measured in bits per second CD quality stereo1,411 kbit/s Modem connectionup to 56 kbit/s Broadband connectionfrom 256 kbit/s LANfrom 10 Mbit/s

5 5 5 A quart into a pint pot Downloading Playback cannot start until entire file received by user Playback is continuous (no buffering) Transfer high quality, uncompressed files Compression Lossless compression, e.g. MLP, FLAC, 50% reduction Lossy compression (data reduction), e.g. mp3, AAC, RealAudio, >80% reduction Used for streaming media Streaming Fast delivery, but lower quality than downloading Useful for previewing Instant playback: plays when you click Can use to discourage copying Buffering: used to control network interruptions Live streaming used in broadcasting radio shows

6 6 6 Your audience Why deliver sound? Who are your audiences? What content do want to deliver? How to deliver content? Accessing the content Rights issues

7 7 7 File types Uncompressed files WAV AIFF 3-minute song (32 MB): several hours to download over modem Compressed files MPEG-1 layer III.mp3 (typically 10:1 compression at 128 kbps) Ogg Vorbis.ogg Quicktime Windows Media Audio.wma Choice of bitrates

8 8 8 Preparing files Master files v. access files Digitisation & editing Use high quality files during preparation Edit with e.g. Wavelab (Steinberg), Adobe Audition (Adobe), SoundForge (Sony), Audacity (freeware) Conversion from WAV to access version file Batch conversion tools Batch renaming e.g. Rename4u Upload to server

9 9 9 Delivery Simple web page Choice of file types and qualities Streaming & streaming servers Podcasts Preventing piracy : Use short samples or low resolution Watermarking, encryption, streaming

10 10 3 file types offerred (with video), each at 2 bitrates

11 11 Click to add title Cylinder Preservation & Digitization Project: 3 file types offerred: Quicktime for streaming; mp3 and wav for downloads

12 12 Examples British Library Sound Archive 5 million recordings: musical works, interviews, recordings of plays and poetry, wildlife sounds, oral history, sound effects 580,000 hours (excluding second copies)

13 13 66 years non-stop listening 6 years added per year Most of the recordings are in copyright

14 14 Access Access: CD publications, exhibitions & talks, radio broadcasts, copying service; listening services - where rights can be cleared, or where BL owns rights

15 15 Listening access in three arenas: Off site, all web users, via BL website Collect Britain (1,400 sounds), plus 800 other sounds, where copyright permissions have been granted or are in public domain (older than 70 years). Off site, selected web users, to FE & HE communities in the UK Archival Sound Recordings Project: 12,000 sounds by September On-site access unrestricted (3 million sounds…)

16 16 www access to British Library sounds Before 2006: RealAudio streaming format RealServer Surestream Now: WMA streaming using MMS Windows 2000 server software 45 simultaneous users, but can accommodate many more 400 GB server storage capacity Downloads not yet available Mp3 downloads of Archival Sound Recordings Project recordings from September 2006

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19 19 On-site access For IPR reasons, continuing requirement to provide on-site access Manual Listening & Viewing Service, appointments-based Many recordings too fragile to be handled by listeners Headphone listening in soundproof study carrels Limited number of carrels Cannot meet increasing demand from playwrights, media researchers, oral historians, musicologists, etc Risk of handling damage

20 20 SoundServer A new service, providing instant access to many sounds in selected Reading Rooms Access to digital surrogates of recordings stored on webserver Point & Click delivery from self- service workstations in reading rooms Use of leak-proof self-muting headphones on selected Reading Room terminals

21 21 How does SoundServer work? Staff receive request for CD listening On-demand encoding to mp3 files Files transferred to Windows 2003 server Personal playlist created by staff using a web form Playlist links to mp3s and to Sound Archive catalogue Listeners wait 5 working days for pre-ordered custom playlists Listener accesses their personal list via Reader number Sounds relayed over 100 Mbps network to Media Player Classic player on web browser

22 22 SoundServer: benefits Removes need for appointments Semi-automated service - listener-controlled playback Potentially many simultaneous users Increasing on-line data bank of audio Reduced wear on collection items Entire SoundServer collection accessible to any visitor via Jukebox pages Runs in parallel with existing appointments service, using existing staff resources Low cost: capital costs of £14k for server store, headphones & 2 workstations, but rest of service uses existing simple, low- cost technology, & existing staff

23 23 SoundServer: disadvantages Lower sound quality of surrogates – but acceptable to most users Highly dependent on IT infrastructure/reliable network to add and access content Users wishing to read sleeve notes and view artwork must still make an appointment – but audio-only access acceptable Need to continue existing appointments-based manual service in parallel for difficult audio formats and for sleeve notes and video viewing.

24 24 Progress so far Nine PC terminals Currently limited to CD recordings A growing collection - now 3,000 recordings - accessible by any readers browsing the Jukebox - including our most frequently requested items Feedback from listeners is very positive

25 25 SoundServer developments Extra SoundServer terminals in reading rooms and in public areas of building 100,000 files in 4 years Adding e.g. BL CD publications: try before you buy Integration with other electronic audio resources, other BL electronic resources (e.g. Oral History transcripts, Naxos on-line library) Introduce improved playback facilities (bookmarking, saved searches) Submitting playlist requests via a webform

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29 29 Growth in listening and viewing use

30 30 Click to add title Thanks for listening. Questions?

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