Discussing Proof of Special Relativity


We’re going to pick the Lorentz equations back up in a later entry. I feel like it’s worth it to try to tackle the mathematical reasoning behind them thoroughly and objectively so we can either gain enough insight into them to verify its reasoning or to completely discard them as fantasy.

For now, I will say that further research reveals that sources-stated origination claims of the light-like separated events equation necessarily follow my reasoning in its origination. I can get the equation to a basic Pythagorean equation, but sources that I’ve read since them have stated that this is not the case.

Let’s take a look at the problem on the other side, however. Over the last few decades, we’ve seen the science community present things like GPS satellites as evidence or proof of the effect of Lorenz’s equations. For simplicity’s sake, we will state the following hand-wave exercise to get from the light-like separated events equation to get to the Lorentz Transforms. We start by the light-like separated events equation:


This is the equation for one event. By this rational, we can pick another event anywhere else in the known universe and end up with the same equation, but with different points in space and time:


Because both equations equal zero, they also are equal to each other, so we can write the following:


We can discuss the implecations of 0=0 in a subsequent blog, but for now let’s just acknowledged that what we’re seeing here is the sum of the components equaling zero, but the components themselves being different accounting for the need of such a formulation.

This is where we end up hand-waving all the simplifications and abstractions and simply state that we move our frames so that one event is not moving in relation to the other and that all translation is occurring along the x-axis. The resulting equations are the Lorentz Transforms:






The above equations are the Lorentz transform. They imply a concept called time-dilation. Simply put, the faster an object is traveling through space-time, the slower time will progress for that object. This is implied through the velocity component of the second equation of the Lorenz transform.

Since the latter half of the 20th century, people have been pointing to atomic clocks on fast-moving airplanes and Global Positioning Satellites as evidence or proof of this time-dilation property.

In October 1971, Hafele and Keating flew cesium-beam atomic clocks, initially synchronized with the atomic clock at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., around the world both eastward and westward. After each flight, they compared the time on the clocks in the aircraft to the time on the clock at the Observatory. Their experimental data agreed within error to the predicted effects of time dilation. Of course, the effects were quite small since the planes were flying nowhere near the speed of light.”


To achieve this level of precision, the clock ticks from the GPS satellites must be known to an accuracy of 20-30 nanoseconds. However, because the satellites are constantly moving relative to observers on the Earth, effects predicted by the Special and General theories of Relativity must be taken into account to achieve the desired 20-30 nanosecond accuracy.

Because an observer on the ground sees the satellites in motion relative to them, Special Relativity predicts that we should see their clocks ticking more slowly (see the Special Relativity lecture). Special Relativity predicts that the on-board atomic clocks on the satellites should fall behind clocks on the ground by about 7 microseconds per day because of the slower ticking rate due to the time dilation effect of their relative motion [2].

Further, the satellites are in orbits high above the Earth, where the curvature of spacetime due to the Earth’s mass is less than it is at the Earth’s surface. A prediction of General Relativity is that clocks closer to a massive object will seem to tick more slowly than those located further away (see the Black Holes lecture). As such, when viewed from the surface of the Earth, the clocks on the satellites appear to be ticking faster than identical clocks on the ground. A calculation using General Relativity predicts that the clocks in each GPS satellite should get ahead of ground-based clocks by 45 microseconds per day.”


To summarize, the results of the readings of atomic clocks correlate with expected results predicted both by the Lorentz transforms and also Einstein’s General Relativity as well.

Those of you who are skeptical-minded should be picking up on something right about now. The evidence correlates with the predictions made by the equations. It doesn’t necessarily prove anything, and you can inject skepticism into the evidence by simply reciting a well-known logical argument here:

Correlation does not imply causation.

With this in mind, let’s mull over a few facts when considering the whole problem of atomic clock accuracy in relation to its relative speed.

  1. GPS satellites travel around the earth at 14,000km/hr
  2. GPS satellites travel around the earth about 20,000km above the surface of the earth.


The GPS satellites do, indeed, travel above the earth at a very fast speed. But it’s all relative, right? Here are some more facts:

  1. The Earth travels around the sun at nearly 30km/s. That’s 108,000km/hr.
  2. The entire solar system rotates around our galaxy at a speed of 792,000km/hr.
  3. Even worse, our galaxy travels in space at around 3,600,000km/hr.


Also let’s consider that the speed of light is considered an absolute no matter what frame of reference that you are traveling in. By the postulates of relativity, you cannot make a beam of light travel any slower or faster no matter what speed you are traveling in the universe.

So if there’s an absolute on the speed of light in the known universe, then you can also logically deduce that there must be an absolute zero in terms of speed. If there’s an absolute zero in terms of speed and an absolute maximum, and the Lorentz equation predicts time-dilation based on an objects speed in relation to the speed of light, then time dilation is based on something absolute.

Given then, the stated facts of the motions of our earth, our solar system, and our galaxy, how is it that we can state that corrections to GPS satellites we make due to the effects we observe is proof of the truthfulness of the Lorentz Transforms?

You would think that the motions of our celestial bodies through space, coupled with the fact that we do experience a rotation of earth, an orbital rotation about the sun, and galactic rotation about the Milky-way’s center would produce a daunting rat’s-nest of complex variables that GPS satellites would have to constantly correct for. I highly doubt that GPS satellites have the computational power to keep track of all these variables, and I haven’t read that engineers in charge of the satellites even took influences outside of speed in relation to earth.

This is not to say that the equations haven’t proved to be useful We see, from the ohio-state post that such calculations have been used to build the GPS system based on some of the calculations we get from Special Relativity and General Relativity. We can use those results to engineer fantastic things like GPS but still leave room to question whether or not Relativity is right or wrong.

After all, most of our mechanical engineering that we use today still rely on physics developed by Sir Isaac Newton. And we still use his equations today for the majority of our engineering calculations even though we have stated that general relativity is the more correct understanding of the universe over his.

So maybe it’s correct to state that we can use Special Relativity and General Relativity as a model of something that we still have yet to understand. This leaves room to give Einstein credit where it’s due, yet also admit to ourselves that we still have much to learn about this universe.


Mathematical Slight of Hand: Special Relativity and the Light-like Separated Events Equation Part 2


There’s a mathematical riddle that’s been floating around for a while now. It tells the story of three men staying at a hotel room, each paying 10 dollars to stay there. The manager then realizes that he overcharged the men by 5 dollars, and tells his busboy to give the men the surplus money back to them. Instead, the Busboy pockets 2 dollars and gives 1 dollar back to each one.

Now that the three men have received a dollar back, that means that they’ve each paid 9 dollars. But if you do a multiplication of that number and add in the 2 dollars that the Busboy kept, you end up losing a dollar.


So where’s the extra dollar?

The answer is that the above formulation is flawed in its construction. It changes the action from what the room cost to what the men paid and adds in the two dollars of cost to the different argument, which is faulty logic. Instead of adding that number to the total, it should be subtracted instead. Then the original left over total five dollars should be added back into the total and you get the expected 30 dollars.

Recall, then, that in the last article I wrote, I concluded that the ‘light-like separated events’ equation is formulated on faulty logic, stating that c has both a translation element and a time element which puts the equation in trouble from the start. We’ll start with a form of the equation that is more consistent with the Pythagorean Theorem:


And then I argued that c has both a translation and a time element in it, so you can rightly express the above equation like this.


This is because the left-hand term is simply the result of a simple 3-D Pythagorean Formulation of the Velocity components of a light-ray in a vacuum. The left-hand side is known as speed. It is a scalar value, meaning that there is no direction associated with it. As mentioned before, the changes in x, y, and z values are vector components in Cartesian-coordinates.

The mathematicians try to get around the left-hand side by an abstraction. They state that c, the speed of light in a vacuum, is constant no matter where it is in space and no matter what object a photon of light is emitted from. Therefore, you can replace the translation and time components with a simple number, and thus, once again:


It is from this abstraction that the mathematician gains the rationale to treat time as the fourth dimension and they come up with the concept known as ‘space-time’.

Here’s the problem.

I told you that the right side of this equation is composed of x, y, and z vector components in a Cartesian-coordinate system. But the right side of the equation is not a vector. It is a dot-product of the vector, which produces a scalar. You can’t add vectors and end up with a scalar on the right-hand side. That’s why the components on the right-hand side are squared. There are no dimensions on the right-hand.

The mathematician uses a slight of hand by only producing the radial component of a 3-D radial coordinate system. The variable, or c, in our case, is just a raw value that denotes the speed of the photon. It doesn’t say anything about the direction that photon is going. So the mathematician only partially does the conversion from Cartesian-Coordinates to Spherical-Coordinates, or 3-D Polar Coordinates. To complete this calculation, you must calculate the following angles:


Whereis already calculated from Pythagorean’s Theorem. The new Spherical Vector is then expressed as the scalar value plus the two additional angles needed specify the direction of the photon:


This is a vector in 3-D space in spherical components, unlike the light-like separated events, which is a scalar equation.

Additionally, you can bring about the mathematicians abstraction of c to it’s logical completion by simply acknowledging that the right-hand side of the light-like separated events can be expressed as Cartesian-coordinate conversions of the polar radius.




Mathematics are very notorious for having an “anything goes” attitude for defining its own reality. It’s how it justifies the existence of time as a fourth dimension in our universe. The way that the light-like separated events equation was derived should be treated carefully and with much skepticism, especially when it claims to be describing real events in the Universe.

Cosmic Blunder? Einstein’s Special Relativity and the Light-like Separated Events Equation


The Assumptions that were listed in my last blog form the basis for what is known as ‘Einstein’s Special Relativity’. It is named with the term ‘Special’ because it applies to the case where the observers and the events in the frame are at a constant velocity (I.E. there is no acceleration being applied to anything anywhere in the system).

To summarize the postulates again we post the following.

The laws of physics are invariant, or identical in all inertial systems in non-accelerating frames of reference.

The speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the motion of the light source.

These rules were then formulated into a set of equations to describe them in mathematical terms in what is known as the Lorentz Transformations. The start of which is the following assumption for light-like separated events.


Where did they get this equation?

When you stop being intimidated by the number of variables in this equation and realize that there’s a basic form to it, you can see where they derived it from. ‘Light-like separated events’ is a fancy term for the event where a light-ray travels from one point to another. Reverse engineer this equation and you’ll find yourself with a 3-dimensional version of a basic geometry problem. Let’s recall, in basic geometry:




The variable r is a radius formed by the Pythagorean Theorem, and the above equation is just one of two parts used to convert Cartesian Coordinates to a Radial Coordinate System. The ‘Light-like separated events’ equation is just a rearrangement of a 3-dimensional version of the Pythagorean Theorem, which is as follows:


Where eq4  is the 3-Dimensional radius of our 3-Dimensional Cartesian-Coordinates. To get the ‘Light-like separated events’ equation back into its original form, we have to observe a couple things about it.

  1. c is a speed. It is a translation in space covered over a period of time.
  2. eq5are all merely translations. They are not velocity vector components, but merely the distance covered in a certain direction with no time component.

These two observations are important because we can now detect the time-component that is hidden from us by the term. Let us rearrange the ‘Light-like separated events’ equation so that the translation components are separated from the speed components.



That looks a little more familiar, now, doesn’t it? Let’s make one more observation. That is: a distance covered between two points of time is a speed, or velocity. Also, a speed component that is multiplied by a span of time becomes a distance covered, or a translation. There are two ways that we can now reach the original form of the equation that they derived our ‘Light-like separated events’. If is a speed, then it is a distance covered divided by a difference in time.


Did you see what we did there? By separating the speed of light into its distance and time components, we now have a piece of the denominator and numerator that cancel each other out. So we get our Pythagorean Theorem in the form of distance covered:


Alternatively, we can divide the original equation by the time components to turn the Cartesian translation into speed components.


You can now express the right-hand side in the speed components of a Velocity vector to make it more readable.


That’s all this is. The beginning of Lorenz’s transformation can be easily concluded to be deeply flawed in its logic from the very beginning. Based on what we know from above we can observe the following.

In the concept of space-time, time is treated as a fourth dimension amongst its Cartesian coordinates. The “light-like separated events” equation does this by displaying time multiplied by the speed of light as a way of demonstrating it as a fourth coordinate. But the “light-like separated events equation suffers from the fact that the speed of light is merely a distance covered divided by the same time components that it is multiplied by in the original equation. A speed multiplied by a time-span merely becomes a distance covered with no speed components whatsoever, so you cannot treat time as a fourth dimension, because that dimension immediately cancels itself out in this equation.

The Building Blocks of Einstein: The Assumptions Made

In order to understand Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, we must understand where he derived his field equations from and the steps he took and the sources he drew upon to get to his understanding of the universe. Once we have these steps firmly established, we can go through the process of reworking his steps and make our observations as we go along. Once we get a definitive pass or fail in his mathematical theory, then all other periphery arguments for or against the current model of the universe should fall in place.


The initial assumptions made in our current understanding of the universe are as follows:

  1. The laws of physic are invariant, or identical, in all inertial systems (non-accelerating frames of reference). This just means that no matter where you are in the universe and how quickly you are traveling through it, the laws of physics in the known universe will always be the same.
  2. The speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the motion of the light source. This means that regardless if you’re at full stop or traveling as fast as a comet, the speed of any sort of light that you produce or bounces off you will travel away from you at the same speed.


‘The laws by which the states of physical systems undergo change are not affected, whether these changes of state be referred to the one or the other two systems in uniform translatory motion relative to each other.’ This is scientific speak stating that it doesn’t matter where you are or how fast you are going. The laws of physics that govern an event that you observe are still the same.

In some respects, the above postulate may seem like a statement of the obvious. It’s a bit like stating that it doesn’t matter where in the bar you’re at or whether you’re sitting or walking around at with drink a in hand; the guy playing billiards will sink the 8-ball or miss based on the physics of his shot, which is independent of where you’re at or what you’re doing. This is provided, of course, that you’re far enough from the table that you’re not affecting the system.

It also states, however, that there is no absolute frame of reference when considering physics problems. The bar you’re in is not the only frame of reference you could consider when observing the billiard game. Nor is there an absolute frame of time either. You could start observing the billiard game right as the player sinks the 8-ball, or you could start observing the billiard table three years before the game even exists. But that one event will always be the same.

At the time of Einstein, physicists were just discovering the properties of Electro-magnetism, which led some of them to formulate a different opinion of frame of reference. They considered the idea that the universe was filled with a sort of Aether which allowed for the transmission of electro-magnetic energy throughout the Universe and that there was an absolute frame of reference needing to be considered in the grand scheme of all things.

Fielding Alternatives to Einstein’s Universe: Prologue

We live in extraordinary times.

In the advent of the information age, the availability of information and data to the public is abundant, if not almost overwhelming.  The propagation of news events and reveals to the public have not only become nearly instantaneous, but also more accurate and truthful, with the public gaining more tools to decipher public fact from fiction.  The middlemen of information from its source to the public have become an obsolete vehicle and has almost been replaced by simple connections to an ISP and browser.

The results of such proliferation of information are obvious.  Wars of ideas and concepts have erupted and intensified over social platforms such as twitter and youtube.  We are seeing the status quo, previously held up by our institutions in the last century, under a constant barrage of challenges against it on all levels.  And with everyone able to voice their opinions (at least for now) on every topic and also gain an audience in the process, now nothing in this universe is too sacred to be challenged or debated to the point of being debunked and dismissed.

And when I say that nothing is too sacred to be debunked, that includes Einstein’s universe and his field equations.



I will write to you admitting that the idea of challenging Einstein’s view of the universe is not a new one.  His theory of General Relativity and field equations had their detractors from the beginning–most notably from Nikola Tesla, the inventor of Alternating Current electrical power, who wrote scathingly against them in many derogatory comparisons to beggars looking for kings, etc.  There have always been a steady number of scientists who’ve rejected Einstein’s view of the Universe since then, but now there is a community that has formed and is actively looking to replace Einstein’s model of the universe with something else.

A lot of what I’m writing to you about is based on a particular community within the science /engineering sphere called the Thunderbolts project, for which I’m pouring through their written works and videos, grasping their theories and hypothesis that fly in the face of Einstein.


As such, this series of blogs is meant to be a record of my own explorations of the ideas, as well as the reason and possible necessity of dethroning Einstein as our view of the Universe.  I will do this blog as objectively as I can, because it may well be that Einstein is right, even though the evidence that I’ve seen in their presentations seem compelling that he is not.  But when evaluating the alternative views, we must be sure that we are right in the eyes of science, and that the image of truth not be obscured about what we wish to be true.

With this in mind, when debating Einstein’s relativity, it’s important to discard all opinions on the man.  This means refraining from personal attacks against his character or even our opinions of him against our opinions of other scientists at the time, such as fore-mentioned Tesla.  Instead, we must re-evaluate the ideas that he put forth; we must delve into his mathematics and figure out how he derived them.  We must look at the universe and decide for ourselves whether or not it fits what he describes them to be in his equations.

This is important.  Any platitudes about the man’s perceived character, whether good or bad, or his standing among his peers of scientists and mathematicians at the time are irrelevant and do not help the advancement of science even one iota.  It is infinitely better to tackle the idea because it is the idea that affects our understanding of the universe and, as a result, how we proceed further as a species.

I will leave this blog where my thoughts have been for a while on the topic of astronomy and maybe some hints at my bias towards the subject so my reader may point them out in this series.  At this moment, the mainstream view of the universe, which is based on a merging of Einstein and a big bang theory, have become overburdened with patches to explain its inconsistencies we find against what we think is true.  These patches, which started off with dark matter and dark energy, then led to scientists pushing a universe that have multiple different dimensions beyond the 3 that we can obviously know of through our senses, have broken our current model of the universe to the point where we need to consider throwing the entire concept into the trash bin and start over at Sir Isaac Newton.

There it is.  Now that it’s out, we can start this journey.

The State of Music: Thoughts About Allowing User Submitted Content

In the world of YouTube Royalty Free Music, there are two types of content Creators.

You have creators like Kevin Macleod, who create their own content which is hosted on their own website.  In many respects, my project started because of Incompetech.com and its founder’s unrelenting stream of music that has become a staple in the traditional YouTube vlogging and skit sphere.

The second type is more an aggregate type of channel, like Audiopad or the ArgoFox channel.  Instead of creating their own music, they usually host other people’s music with their channel graphics on the video.  Artists submit music to these channels in exchange for promotion in hopes to generate interest and sales in music.

If you can trust the Kevin Macleod types (myself included), then the advantage of using music from these sources is that you can always count on your right to use the music in your content, provided that you properly source your material.  But, even though there may be quite the genre-spread that these people can handle, you may detect familiar patterns in their works and might generate a sort of fatigue of their music.  And since their genre-spread is so great, coming back to find the type of music you specifically want may be something that wears your patience thin (This is something that definitely affects my audience as well).

With the aggregate types, you have the advantage of different artists’ takes on a more focused genre-spread.  In most cases, this involves EDM (more specifically, Dubstep) as the major focus of the channel.  There are different equipment and different instruments involved making the same genre, so it keeps things more interesting when keeping to one specific form of music.

The problem with these aggregate types of Royalty Free Music channels is trust.  In every single one of these channels, I’ve seen music videos eventually taken down, subtracting from their view-count greatly.  This would indicate that titles previously available to creators for use are now no longer safe for anyone to use against the Content I.D. system.  In many instances, this is because track being used has become popular enough that the submitting artist decides to put it into a distribution site and also activating the Content I.D. option.

When an artist suddenly decides that his content should be in the Content I.D. machine, making it no longer free to use in the YouTube community, the YouTube community suffers.  This is not just because people can’t use the music anymore, but more due to YouTube creators having multitudes of their videos flagged by Content I.D. matches to audio tracks they previously understood to be free to use in their videos.  In every sense, the artist who backs out of their promises leaves huge numbers of YouTube creators up a creek without a paddle and no solution other than to take the hit or delete their video.

This brings me to user submitted content on the TeknoAXE webspace.  I’ve had numerous requests for me to host other artist’s content over the last three or four years.  I’ve not taken a single one seriously–not because I don’t respect other artists, but because I fear for the scenario that these aggregate channels face every time one of their artists back out deals.  This not only affects the creators suddenly in Content I.D. hell, but it also affects the reputation of the aggregate channel as well.  Part of me does feel a little guilty and somewhat selfish for now allowing other artists to get a space here, but the other part of me knows full well what I would be bringing on with a slew of other people that I don’t control and don’t necessarily trust.

So is there a middle ground here?  Can I open up my space to other people with a disclaimer that the reputation of the track being used is based on the artist and not the hosting channel?  I feel a more diverse cast of producers than just me may benefit both the channel and website, but I can’t be sure that same short term benefit would not end up as a long-term headache later.


Musings on Extra YouTube Channels for Genre Separation

For the longest time, I’ve had only one YouTube channel to showcase my music and allow for the user to find what is best for their videos.  With my main channel nearing 1000 public videos in a huge number of genres, however, I’m feeling like my audience is getting lost in a sea of stuff that they may or may not like.  Additionally, it also feels like music tracks get lost in the abyss two or three months after release;  they’re good tracks, but they have the stumbling block of competing with my most popular tracks and also the newer tracks that I come up with later down the line.

So, as an experiment, I’m going to construct additional channels to showcase certain divisions in my musical pool.  I’ve already constructed channels specifically for EDM, Soundtrack, and Rock, as well as an additional one for any tutorials I do for music.

There are many reasons to do this.  For one, my main channel is already bunched up with 30+ playlists trying to aggregate my catalog of music.  Although playlists are my number 1 source of views on YouTube, I have a feeling that even the list of playlists on the channel have become a confusing mess for those trying to look for specific things.

One other reason is subscription related, where I fully acknowledge that my main channel probably has at least three different audiences, subscribed for different reasons.  No doubt, there are people on my channel that like everything that I do, but there are probably a number of people who only subscribed for the EDM music, as opposed to things like accordion music with a fiddle in the background.

And of course, the tutorials probably have a different audience entirely, so that’s why I created that channel.

Which is not to say that I will get rid of the main channel.  That channel will always remain the main place that I post music to.  But my thought is to allow for the option of people to subscribe to their specific taste in music.

Any thoughts on this topic are appreciated.  If you have a comment, please post it below in the disqus panel or respond to me on twitter.


My Current Thoughts on Patreon

Late last year, I changed the goals of my Patreon to be less serious and a little more comical, plus totally unobtainable. The reason I did this is that one of my backers for that site got ‘declined’. I’m not sure what that means, but I would guess that the backer in question didn’t have enough funds in their accounts to go through the transaction.

My thoughts towards Patreon has changed over the few years it’s been up, from initial skepticism, to trying to embrace it, to now my taste going a little sour on the whole thing.  I guess you can say that I’m a very poor salesman when it comes to convincing people to sign up and that I’ve not spent the time needed to gain a significant amount of patreons.

But there are a lot of people who are worse off than I am and the thought of people giving to me–for nothing in return–even when they don’t have the funds to even make their ends meet.  It’s not something I can get behind anymore.  This is compounded further by the fact that I have albums on sale and stream-able from various stores and services.

The amount of money that I make off of the actual music–even when it’s distributed for free on my site–far exceed anything that I’ve accomplished on Patreon.  It’s not enough to make a living off of, but of all the things that is generated by my music, that’s where it’s at for me.  My youtube and adsense earnings are dismal, not enough to even cover an average cell-phone bill.  So it makes sense not to bother with you guys asking for donations.

If you wish to give to my patreon, I appreciate it, but please think of yourselves before you give to me.  If you’re strapped for cash and still want to support me, there are ways you can do it for free, even.  If you listen to music on Spotify or Deezer or other music streaming platforms, chances are that most of my music is there.  You don’t have to pay anything additional to listen to my stuff there and I make far more per music stream than I ever have with YouTube video plays.

And if you do wish to support me monetarily, please consider buying one of my bulk albums instead and possibly rating them.  Not only do you get 101 tracks right away, but you support me more by helping the ranking of these albums in services like iTunes.

Again, I appreciate all your support and can’t tell you thanks enough for getting me to where I am now.  I’m just not sure Patreon is for me is all.



Open Source Music: Ramblings

The term ‘Open Source Music’ has been used more than once (not many times, admittedly) to describe my project here with teknoaxe.com.  It’s been tempting for me to rush to define what this term exactly means.  I’ve admittedly done little research on the term to see how ubiquitous the term is on the net, but I also feel that the term is not normally used in everyday life.

A google search of the term actually brings up a website with the name:


“Music was the first open source language”

The site describes itself as a source for free music.  It seems to basically be a news feed listing various artists in different categories, including Famous Artists, Unknown But Great, and Public Domain.  It also has a news feed of various articles with interesting tidbits of information about how certain music is composed and whatnot.  I’m not sure, but it seems like the site hasn’t been updated since 2014.

While Opensource.com provides a list of good free artists, I’m not sure this actually qualifies as “open source”.  People familiar with Open Source in the programming world will no doubt bring up Linux as a prime example of what they consider it to be.  Linux is free to the public, but its source code is also available to the public for people to download, modify and improve.  The resulting Linux kernels are not quite as well known as IOS or Android, but they’ve been the backbone of portable device operating systems for at least the last decade.  Hell, even Android was developed from a Linux kernel and it is one of the reasons why there’s such a lax in standards for Android App programming.

So when you try to apply “Open Source” to music, it should imply that any song or musical music produced by an artist should be open to re-interpretation by other artists.  In this way, our culture moves forward by allowing artists to explore different avenues of approach to a familiar platform.

The best example that I can give to this would be the rock standard, “Hey Joe”, its ambiguous beginnings, including the copyright claim by an obscure artist known as Billy Roberts, have allowed numerous artists to revisit this track in the 60s and later.  One of the more famous versions of the track was, of course, done by Jimi Hendrix, but the song has been covered by Time Rose, The Byrds and Cher.

One would note that renditions of “Hey Joe” by these various artists weren’t exactly free to their audiences, as they had to buy the recordings made by Hendrix and others.  But this was one song that artists could seemingly visit and dabble in without worry of legal repercussions from greedy music corporations.  In a similar fashion, the Android Operating system may not be “free”, as anyone who buys an android phone will either have to pay for the hardware running the OS or sign a phone contract, but the building blocks that made that operating system–and even most of the building blocks of the android OS are open for programmers to stitch together new apps for the platform.

So “Open Source” shouldn’t necessarily mean that the final product is free, but that work is left open to reinterpretation by other people without paying huge legal or licensing fees to do so.

Certainly, in this day and age, we do have many artists ‘remixing’ and doing their own covers of popular songs on platforms such as YouTube, but there is always the inherent risk that Content I.D. matching on YouTube will take away your rights to the final product unless you either a) pay the money needed or somehow gain explicit permission from the original artists/distribution companies, or meet some sort of threshold that you are famous enough to get away with it.

(to be continued).



The State of Music: Lessons for Tidal Music…or what JayZ should have learned from Google+

The other day, while looking through Tunecore, I discovered that my music was on the streaming site Tidal.  I have to admit that I didn’t know what this was; I’d heard through the grapevine that Jay-Z had started up his own streaming service and that there was a launch party packed with A-list celebrities to hype up the event.  People like Madonna and Deadmau5 were supposed to convey that Tidal was the hip place to go to, and you should definitely jump from Spotify or your other streaming services and defect to Tidal to be apart of the hip crowd.

In tech terms, this launch smacked of the same kind of arrogance as google has expressed when they tried to force their YouTube users into Google+.  Here were the professionals basically telling you that if you wanted to stream their music, you had to go to this platform to do it.  Oh, but you had to pay them 20 dollars a month to do it.  The rewards for this fee were an advertised better sound quality and the knowledge that your favorite artists were getting paid more per stream than Spotify.

I guess I have great timing, because not long after I established the existence and the purpose of this site in my head, I happened across rumors that Jay-Z was selling the whole thing to Spotify which were posted today..


Really, anyone who’s kept up with the whole Google+ debacle could have seen this one coming a mile away.  Here we have, yet again, a specific service that mirrors the functionality of another, more well established service.  There are tweaks here and there to the formula, but there’s not enough of a difference to be of value to the users.  So the next step is to take away functionality/content from said user in hopes to coax that user onto their service.

With YouTube, Google took the ability for users to comment and have channel presences unless they signed up for a Google+ account (they even forced the switch over for those who refused to do so themselves).  With Tidal, these celebrity ‘artists’ restricted their content to that one platform alone, so that listeners wouldn’t be able to hear it anywhere else.

The backlashes from both user-bases were pretty much the same.  And if it’s true that Jay-Z is looking to sell his music streaming project to Spotify, neither of these projects survived for a long period of time.

So what can we learn here?  I think the internet has time-tested and proved a few things about what you can and can’t pass for muster to your audience.

1)  If you’re mimicking an established service with too little difference in what you do in hope to compete with the big dogs, you’re going to lose.  The most successful business ventures exploit the weaknesses of current business models by filling the needed gaps.  They don’t carbon copy something that’s already worked because you’re not going to convince your audience to switch over to something that’s time-tested.

2) The cult of Celebrity won’t help you succeed if 1) fails.  Google tried to use Celebrity to set its user-base at ease.  It failed the second that celebrity cooking-girl video was posted on the YouTube channel.  It failed so bad that Darth Vader could only use the force to hold his lightsaber (in other words, massive thumbsdown, Rebecca Black style).  And the internet reception for traditional style ‘celebrity’ is still–and probably always be–a lukewarm thing at best.

3) Taking away functionality/content from your audience/user-base will only aggravate and make enemies out of them.  People are smart enough to realize when problems are made for the user to move to the competing product were contrived by same the people who are offering you the solution.  It’s so obvious and condescending that you’re going to loose friends fast.

The End