Musician Rundgren Tries Posting Tunes (Securely)

"A lot of artists want to put out stuff for free," says Gary Ambrosino, executive vice president of SecureMedia. "But they want to know where there music is going, and who's listening to it. Money isn't always the issue." The company expects to license the new technology to labels and artists.

The first high-profile taker is Todd Rundgren, who is a bit of a cyberphile. He's been known to attend computer trade shows, runs a Web site, and has offered tunes online.

Todd Rundgren Live was released as a CD this month. It culls performances from three different King Biscuit Flower Hour broadcasts from 1978 to 1985. The disc provides a direct path to a custom Web page. When you register, you download three additional tracks, "Honest Work," "Born to Synthesize," and "The Wheel."

Several of the tracks originate from Rundgren's 1985 "Acappella" tour and have not been made available previously. So a fan who fills out a short form is gifted with some authentic collector's items.

It's a sidestep of the control struggle involving artists, music labels, and Web businesses such as Napster and its competitors.

Gathering Fan Info

Artists can regulate a number of aspects: to cause the file to expire on a certain date, to limit the number of times the files are played, or to determine whether they can be copied or distributed, Ambrosino says.

The downloadable tracks are protected using SecureMedia's "Encryptonite Engine" technology, which Ambrosino says is an exceptionally fast, highly secure public key encryption system. In upcoming releases, the technology will be used to provide pre-encrypted tracks directly on the CD, forcing the listener to supply certain information in order to hear the tracks.

Use of the three Rundgren bonus tracks is pretty straightforward. After purchasing the disc, listeners register online and provide a way for Rundgren to determine some basic demographic facts about the audience. The file is then unrestricted on that particular system. But if you share the file with a friend, he or she must then register.

An artist who gathers this information through a download program can more accurately define the audience and then cater to their needs. Rundgren's motivation, according to Ambrosino, is to keep his fan base happy. Another artist might determine where most of the fans reside, then schedule a concert or use that data to support radio airplay.

"There are a lot of mixed messages when it comes to bonus music," Ambrosino says. "There are people who say Napster is horrible, who then go out and supply a promotional track in advance of an album. But we tell the artist who is listening to their music -- when, with Napster, they have absolutely no idea."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Charles Bermant

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?