In the Mid ’80s, when I was a gawky kid of 14 or 15, I’d make a short trip from my house at least once a week to visit Smokey’s Records. I’d pour over the latest issue of Billboard Magazine, scouring for news of my favorite bands and tracking their position on the weekly charts and occasionally, I’d even buy an album. One of the bands I watched most keenly was Madness, who had a couple of songs that managed to crawl into the top 40.
The music industry has been on my mind for the last decade, but it’s been at least twenty years since I paid much attention to the charts.
Lately though, Madness is in the charts again, and I’m pouring over music related stats again. These days though, I’m interested in another kind of madness: Harvey Danger’s experiment in giving away their latest album as a digital download. This time out, I’m not a passive observer. I put together the server and software infrastructure that’s made it possible for over 57,000 people to download the album as high quality digital audio files in the last two weeks. The cost is probably less than the budget for doughnuts during the production of their second album.
I’m interested to see how this little experiment turns out.
Jeff has a little “update about the whole Harvey Danger online release”:http://jeffjlin.typepad.com/rock_and_roll_mcdonalds/2005/10/a_few_notes.html on his personal blog.
It looks like a few people are finding there way over here from “Harveydanger.com”:http://harveydanger.com
I don’t have too much written up about the preparations, just “two”:http://www.geekfun.com/2005/07/30/webserver-auditions-alternatives-to-apache/ “posts”:http://www.geekfun.com/2005/08/13/webserver-auditions-round-two/ about some of the HTTP servers we considered, and some notes about “best practices for tagging MP3s”:http://www.geekfun.com/2005/09/14/tagging-mp3s-for-online-distribution/.
A short list of tools we ended up using:
* Debian Sarge on the webserver running “Lighttpd 1.3.16”:http://www.lighttpd.net/ which is currently pumping out between 6 and 10 Mbytes/s over 70-100 simutaneous connections while only taking a couple MB of memory and less than 10% of the CPU on a modest athlon XP box.
* CentOS for the tracker which is running “the BNBT tracker”:http://bnbt.depthstrike.com/index.php?title=Main_Page on a virtual private server.
* Ripped a WAV from CD using “Exact Audio Copy”:http://www.exactaudiocopy.de, encoded with the aid of “Foobar2000”:http://www.foobar2000.org/ driving LAME 3.90.3 and OggEnc using LibVorbis v1.1.1. (“Hydrogen Audio”:http://www.hydrogenaudio.org was an invaluable source of tips).
* Tagged with a combo of FooBar iTunes, WinAmp and Windows Media Player.
* Created the Torrents with “Azeureus”:http://azureus.sourceforge.net/. The distributed tracker option seems like a cool idea, but makes it much harder to eliminate your earlier versions if you have to update your torrent files.
There are about 500 leechers right now on the torrent, and the number of seeders has gone from ~500 when I started this post, to ~750 when I just checked now.
Enjoy the music. Goodnight.