If you’re one of those people that doesn’t scare easily when it comes to the possibility of hefty fines and jail time for downloading illegal content; then the annoyance of actually trying to surf just one of these public/private torrent trackers should be enough to reform you! LOL.. Before I continue, I’d like to start off by mentioning two important things. First, I’m NOT writing this article to try to convince you NOT to use torrents, or to preach to you that you’re evil for partaking in illegal downloads. However, I would like to share with you my experience with you as it pertains to using torrents. I started using torrents for well over a decade ago (close to two), and today using torrents has become more of a hassle than what it’s worth, and I’ll explain more in detail as I go along in this article. The time you spend trying to stay “safe,” while downloading illegally (which by the way there’s no such thing as “safe,” I don’t care what bullshit someone tells you! Yes, seedboxes are effective however, that doesn’t mean that one day the music industry can’t make law makers require seedboxes to keep logs, and or demand that accounts be deleted. Look what happened with Rapidshare? Their business was nearly destroyed as the result of back and forth court battles. Everyone thought Rapidshare was the bomb, until a bomb fell on Rapidshare. So, don’t be so confident), and the money we spend on additional tools and mechanisms for downloading, and the amount of bad quality files/corrupt/fake/or infected files you come in contact with, you might as well do it the legal way (or as much as humanly possible). As the cost of legal streaming becomes cheaper (as well as FREE content providers such as Crackle:movies and Spotify:music), and as more content is offered, using torrent technology is now quickly becoming VERY antiquated. This becomes especially true when it comes to music; it makes absolutely NO SENSE to use torrents for music! To risk a cease and desist letter, AND still face legal action? For bloody what? When music is practically free via legal services like Spotify. I’ve seen a noticeable decrease in participation on many popular trackers, and it’s certainly not because they’re lacking available choices in music and movies (that should tell you something). Things have definitely changed guys. Anybody that is still using torrents, it’s because of “force of habit.” The second important thing I’d like to bring up is more of a reminder, that the use of torrent technology by itself is NOT illegal, but the downloading of illegal content is. Example, if you’re downloading an old, and very well known public domain movie called “Night Of The Living Dead (1968),” downloading it using torrent technology is very legal. Or maybe you are using Linux/Unix OS, and like to download open source software made available for free, it is perfectly legal to use torrents. However, if you download the latest Jill Scott album using torrents, it is piracy. I think that it is important for me to take a minute to write about this, because soo many people have the wrong idea about torrents. They are no more illegal or less illegal than using Mediafire, Hotfile, or even DropBox. It’s not the service or technology that makes it illegal, it’s what you’re doing with it. The point of torrent technology is to share bandwidth, eliminating the need to pay a service for storage; such as Mediafire, Hotfile, etc. Thus making files that ARE free, actually free. By the way, you may hear that “USNETS,” are better,” this is an absolute lie. In fact, it is my opinion that you open yourself up to more exposed to infected files, and security breaches. People are so desperate to find ways not to pay for anything, that the public risk all kinds of shit in order to get these illegal downloads, while lying to themselves that these things are great! I can assure you their not, and they’re just as unsafe. You see on the news what are happening to big banks, and they spend a lot of money keeping their systems secure and it’s still not perfect. And many of you don’t even have a bear minimum of a good firewall set up! And you’re telling other people to do what you do! Geniuses you guys are huh?
Some trackers require you to log in once every month (sometimes even more than that), and if you don’t your account will automatically get deactivated and purged. Regardless if you’re on a private or public tracker, more and more fake torrents are produced. More and more fake torrents are being shared without being checked by the uploader, wasting the downloader’s time. If just one person downloads one of those torrents, then 50% of torrent users throughout the torrent world will have that same torrent. Torrents without subtitles or audio translations. Torrents with several hundred tiny zip files. Torrents with several hundred links to various torrent trackers. Torrents with embedded spam and malware that keep your computer infected with something. Torrents with region restrictions on videos. Torrents from users that don’t know what their doing, yet complain about you. Torrents that contain videos with removed audio and a “Cinavia” error (which I’ve seen on public domain movies believe it or not). Swarms with horrific speeds. Torrents with video bitrate that are so low, you are baffled that someone would even consider uploading. Never mind downloading the bootleg version of “Jurassic World (2015)” is illegal; the amount of bulls**t the average true torrent user goes through, it’s not even worth it. Music torrents with 0kb CDA files. Waiting indefinitely for someone to finally upload that special torrent that you wanted so bad; and if found, you discover that there are numerous file corruptions. Please, don’t think links are any better, because they are actually worse; with 0.2kb speeds and each link will be a different service requiring payment for each service. Unfortunately, because more and more people are now using the internet, more and more of those people don’t have a clue as to what their doing. In other words, there is absolute chaos in the torrent world.
Having said the above, it’s not worth all the hassle of using torrent technologies (unless you are downloading Unix/Linux software, public domain movies, Creative Commons, Copyleft, Open Source, GNU licensed software, public learning material, or any other legal files from a legally legitimate website). If you Google “Legal Downloads,” or “Legal Streaming,” you can quickly identify the truly legal ones by noticing repetitions (how many times that company appears (usually on sites that offer various lists of other legal downloads or streaming). Another clue is to notice what companies are the first to be listed by google. Google always verifies a site before they list it; so if Google thinks that a site could be illegal, they will not listed at all (Google Ads). However, because Google Ads are quite expensive, please don’t rely on seeing Google Ads alone. A small streaming company who’s already paying a lot of money for licensing fees, just may decide to opt out on using Google Ads and submit to search engines the old fashioned way. Have a site checker like Norton’s Anti-virus/Firewall bundle, it tells you of any suspicious links from right in your Google search. Since streaming services came to be, we have seen a steady drop in piracy and increase sales in both streaming services and pay-per-download. Now entertainment has become affordable and we don’t have to deal with the hassles of using torrents, and rude ass admins and moderators anymore! And most importantly, not only are there many streaming services that are LEGAL, you can now share the links with other members (or non-members) of the same streaming service, LEGALLY! Or just use YouTube; doing that is certainly a hell of a lot easier than waiting for months trying to get in to a specialty tracker; or risking a DMCA letter (keep in mind that more and more private trackers are using public URL announcements now). If a friend is not a member of your favorite legal streaming service, they get 30 second (music) to 2 minute (video) samples; or they can just simply Shazam it, or search for the song in their favorite streaming service. Stop being so scared! Legal streaming has completely changed the game.
If you still stuck in a time warp, and you still don’t “believe” it’s now legal to share, then just take the time and read the legalese/license for your favorite service yourself (Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, Slacker, whatever) at least. If you are new to music/video streaming, and don’t know which ones to start with, click here or here or here. For videos click here. Common sense should tell you that TV news would be reporting Facebook and twitter users being thrown in jail left and right (hellllllooooo?). Legal services like Spotify gives you FULL access to their entire library (which is about 50+ million songs by now) for a very low monthly fee. Easy to search; easy to create and save playlists; all in high quality; and easy to help the streaming community by rating your music. You also help the the movie goer community too such as Netflix; informing other users as to what to watch; informing the provider as to what to keep in their library and cluing what other kinds of movie licenses they should purchase and make available. Most importantly, if you have an HDTV, I think its best to subscribe to one of these services for best quality. Depending on the movie studio, most content made available is damn near Blu-Ray quality (some services like Netflix even offer 4K streaming). You’re not going to get best quality from a 600mb torrent file; and most importantly a lot of ISP companies like Comcast, throttle, cap, or even block the use of bittorrent applications through their network; you will no longer have that problem at all with legal streaming; and you don’t have to be burdened with quotas or seeding (which also exposes your IP on public announcements). You get the highest possible quality, and whatever service you use, and you know it’s going to work! No incompatibilities, no spending hours searching, no begging for reseeds and hoping for the best. Do you realize how difficult it is to find certain music albums in the torrent world? It is sooo much better to just use Napster or Spotify and call it a day. I think you guys get the picture. Everything literally boils down to, within about a week or two, after a new album is released, will be made available on music streaming/YouTube. So why go through the hassle of using torrents to download it? Movies are usually made available on Blu-Ray about 6 months after it’s released in theaters (depending on how well it does, could be longer). So why bother going through the hassles of using bittorrent when you can easily order it from Netflix? In fact, do you realize that some times movie services like VUDU have selected movies still in theaters? You’d have to pay a little more, but it’s still cheaper than actually going to the movies (no need to download 300 tiny little zip files for one movie, then discover there’s a missing password, plus you know its a horrible bootleg anyway LOL).
Honestly, between 3 of the biggest (low cost) movie streaming competitors, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, you have all the high quality movies you’ll ever need. Between Napster and Spotify’s FREE accounts, you’re just insane if you still use torrents to get your music at this point. There’s no reason why you should be using torrents for music; even if you’re a serious music collector; what are the odds of a tracker having all your out of print music anyway? Actually, scratch that, because actual collectors prefer to physically buy all their music and movies! It is easier, and most practical to get it from Spotify (did I mention that Spotify is both legal to use and FREE?). Look, I realize that torrents has always been somewhat political as well. Meaning, some people prefer to use torrents as a way of rebelling against the f**ked up music and movie industry who try to put both many fans and artists in the poor house with their greed. However, at the same time, now that entertainment is a lot more affordable, if we don’t use some of the legal services I’ve mentioned, our favorite actors, musicians, songwriters, etc are the ones who take a hit. If we continue not to use legal services like Spotify and Netflix, there will be very few financial incentives for any artist or movie studio to create quality content, and we’d be stuck with even more garbage playing on the radio and on TV. There’s only so much we can take of movies like “Sharknado,” or any movies with giant spiders, or giant snakes made in a laboratory, or giant alligators, or genetically engineered leopard lizard creatures, or a virus turning an entire town in to zombies except for 3 people, or movies with extremely poor CGI, or predictable movies about college kids going away to some cabin for the weekend (usually to have sex) and some devil monster eats them all up, or a bunch of doofie drunk kids decide to mess with a Ouija board (even though the instructions basically says “do not touch”) and all hell breaks loose. Grrrr. LOL
Before digital technology and the internet came along, music and movies were never meant to be free. And it still not meant to be free. Back in the day, taping your favorite soap operas/talk shows/movies, and or copying your vinyls to cassette tapes for personal use did not hurt the music and movie industry; and it was indeed legal under fair use. Movies and TV shows are public access, and have been paid for by the ad sponsors; and records where ok because most people purchased their albums (even if you made a copy for your friend or brother, it still wasn’t enough to cripple the industry). But we also had a stronger sense of “fandom” back then; in other words people were proud to purchase the albums of their favorite artists; their posters hanging on the wall of their favorite artist or band; their favorite movie posters hanging on the wall; we were proud of purchasing things that became collectibles; collectibles that sparked conversations and helped to build tremendous fan communities (such as Star Trek); and in turn supported the artists/actors. However, in the digital age we have to realize that torrents are a whole different matter. Torrent users distributes copies to other users (exponentially) in mass quantities in literally a matter of seconds on ultra-high speed, which does hurt (and continues to) the recording and film industry (let’s not even talk about other forms of piracy). Unfortunately, I think the big problem is despite the ease of use, convenience, and safety of using Spotify, Napster, Netflix etc, many of us have grown too accustomed to solely using torrents and it has become somewhat of an addiction. Some of us have been doing it for so long, that we’ve developed an attitude of entitlement. I ask that my readers not perceive me as a moralistic blogger who wants to judge others who still use torrents. It’s just because “I’ve been there and done that,” that I write with a greater sense of wisdom. I’ve been downloading since the days of “Online Bulletin Boards” or “Electronic Bulletin Boards” in the early 80’s. That’s almost 40 years ago, so not only do I have thorough experience, I have good perspective. When I started downloading, I was buying legal shareware for a dollar a disk from BBSs. So it’s not that “I have a dream of waking torrent users up!” I’m just really thinking of the greater long-term effects of our continued torrent use down the road. If at least half of the 40 million free Spotify users would switch to paid premium account of $9.99 a month (a lot of torrent users spend more money than that buying blank DVD/blu-rays to burn all the Ultra-HD movies they’ve downloaded), that would help the music industry significantly. Spotify is already in essence giving you 3 months for a dollar; that is a huge discount.
Now, the new way of file sharing is sharing Spotify or Napster or YouTube on Facebook/Twitter, while helping others to discover at the same time. Sharing IMDB links, along with HULU and Netflix on Facebook/Twitter. Come and share with us (by the way, people on Facebook and Twitter are measurably nicer overall than members of a lot of these trackers you’re still breaking your neck to get in to) worry free! Not to mention, these services get free advertising by giving us the tools to allow us to share, AND, the actors and performers get paid. I apologize, I know I’ve written a lot, but I also know no one is really talking about this in depth, and we need to bring value back to good entertainment.
Last Update: March 25, 2017
What the hell ever happened to the girl group Exposé? I can’t exactly call this Miami group a one hit wonder; but I didn’t recall seeing a whole lot of albums from them after 1987. That could be because, the album “Exosure (1987) was their best album of their career in my opinion. According to Billboard, they were the first group to have 4 top 10 hits, on Billboard’s “Hot 100,” and those hits all came from this album. All of my favorite songs are here on this album. My most favorite song from them of all times is “Seasons Change.” I think this song is so beautiful. Like Ce Ce Peniston, their music sort of transport you back to our H.S. days of innocence, and learning about boys, life, school, and all that good stuff. “Seasons Change” is truly a classic, because as old as this song is, I can still continue to listen to this song all day. Another song I love from this album is “Come Go With Me,” a danceable pop song that was playing all over the radio @ the end of the 80’s. “Come Go With Me” is another song that is timeless in my opinion. The last song I love from this album is “Let Me Be The One.” After all these years, they are still performing together. Check out their website. Listen to this album on Spotify.
What a great subject to write about I thought. I think it’s safe to say that, we focus more on just using Shazam, than thinking how important the service is to us. I have been using Shazam and services like Shazam for quite a few years, and it has proved to be an essential application to have on any smartphone. But, Shazam just doesn’t help the die-hard music lovers; indirectly they also help the streaming services as well! Why? Well, they are actually “bridging the gap,” between the major streaming services (although iTunes/Amazon both have streaming and “On-Demand” download purchases, I still consider it in the same family of streaming). Shazam is not only the best music discovery application to date, it is an independent service that does not depend on music sales “per-say,” but it’s popularity and near flawless functionality. What I’m trying to say is, the music industry depends on Shazam, not the other way around. Shazam makes money by making it easy for Shazam users to purchase their discoveries on iTunes Amazon, and Google. Now, with the recent partnership of Rhapsody, Shazam can encourage people to slowly move over to streaming services. Shazam plays an important role with streaming services, because each time a user Shazams something, they are not obligated to sign up for another service! Shazam will eventually bring all kinds of services together in one application, making it very convenient for Shazam users. If your particular service doesn’t have a song in their library, you’ll still have a choice of purchasing that song through anyone of the three services Shazam is partnered with. The integration with Rhapsody is still new, so the functionality still needs to be ironed out, but the fact that Rhapsody is there speaks volumes. And the fact that some rich dude invested over $40M on Shazam and it’s research. Music fans are in a very exciting era; how wonderful to be living in an age with such incredible technology at our fingertips!
Chuck’s music is the kind of music I’ll listen to if it’s on the radio, but I wouldn’t actually buy it. Only because I find a lot of his music way too mellow, even for me. Chuck Mangione is a trumpet player and composer. He comes from a huge family of musicians, and his music career spans over 40 years. He it really big in 1977 when he released the album “Feels So Good.” On this album there were two hits. The first was the music piece that put him on the map and its name was the title album “Feels So Good.” I think “Feels So Good,” is one of the most beautiful instrumental pieces I’ve ever heard. I love how it starts of really slow, and then gradually goes in to a disco, almost a “Copacabana like beat.” It’s a mixture of jazz and disco mixed together. It stayed on the music charts for more than 26 weeks! Now that was amazing! The second piece from the album that was a hit was “Maui Waui,” To be quite honest, the only one I like from this album is “Feels So Good.” Listen with Spotify.
I can’t call Lou Rawls a one hit wonder, but unfortunately there is only one song I like from this entire album. The song also happens to be one of his biggest classic hits of all times; which pretty much put him on map forever as far as I”m concerned (at least those of my generation). That song is “You’ll Never Find A Love Like Mine.” Lou’s voice has turned that song in to something special; a song that I believed no one else could have song with the same romantic flair. But, again, that was pretty much it for this particular album. Unfortunately much of Lou Rawls music wasn’t my cup of tea. It was almost like listening to a soulful version of Frank Sanatra. Actually, I like more of Frank Sanatra’s songs than Lou Rawls. I guess that should tell you something. LOL. However, I’m not foolish to think there’s no one else out in the cyberspace that wouldn’t like it. Check out his album on Spotify.
I believe this was New Edition’s first album release. Personally speaking, I think this was their best album, because it had more hits on one album. Although they’ve had other hits on subsequent albums, they just never quite hit that same success of their first album. At first, I really wasn’t impressed, because at the time, it was very obvious that (just like every other label) they were marketed to be the “next Jackson 5 generation.” In fact, Ralph became extremely annoying; personally, I couldn’t listen to him live, after their 5th/6th album. The reason being, once he became a teenager and puberty kicked in, Ralph strained his voice during performances in order to try and keep that “little Michael sound” and it wasn’t working. I think it wasn’t until they broke up, and got back together again and Johnny Gill joined the group, his voice became a lot better. However, that doesn’t take a way from the fact that they were/are a very talented group. I’m not sure if they’re still performing together. I think that Roni, Ricki, and Mike are still known “Bell, Biv, Devoe,” and they have performed in the recent past. My favorite songs from this album are, “Give Me Your Love,” “Candy Girl,” “Is This The End,” “Pop Corn Love,” and “Jealous Girl.” Please listen with Spotify.
This remains to be my most favorite album from Carole King. If I am not mistaken, this was also her very first album. Carole is a composer, and a songwriter. She has snatched lots of Grammy Awards, and had been inducted into the songwriter’s hall of fame. Carole’s music is sort of what I call, modern folk music; very similar to James Taylor. In fact, Carole and James performed together quite a few concerts. On the original album, there is only one vinyl. However, since the digital release, they have added an extra bonus album with 11 extra live performances. This album has the kind of mellow music that is perfect to listen to while you’re reading, or perhaps while relaxing in the park. This album is packed with what remains to be her most greatest hits (in my opinion). She released this album throwing some hard punches with 6 huge hits, starting from the first three tracks back to back. “I Feel The Earth Move,” “So Far Away,” and “It’s Too Late.” The piece “So Far Away” is so beautiful, I believe if she would have made it an instrumental only, it still would have become a huge hit anyway; the entire composition and the base is just wonderful. There is also “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.” Yes, that song is actually Carole’s song, not Aretha’s. Carole has written that song along with two other composers. Please listen With Spotify.
I absolutely LOVE Bill Withers’ work! In my opinion, he is a musical genius that hasn’t gotten as much credit as he deserved during the prime of his career. His music is so unique, and his voice is distinctive. The only other musician that has almost a similar style of music is probably Al Green (in my humble opinion). Although, I think Al’s music tends to be a little slower “church” sounding tempo, whereas Bill’s tempo is more of a mixture jazz and funk. Mr. Withers story is inspiring; before he became internationally known, he suffered from stutter. You’d never know he had a problem with stuttering after listening to some of his music. He actually talked about this in his video biography called “Still Bill.” I highly recommend this video! The video gets in to detail about his life growing up, but it’s also a history lesson. If you are a Bill Withers fan like I am, rent it from Netflix. Bill has so many hits that I felt it was best to pick-out a greatest hits album. This album has A lot of his great hits I love, including “Harlem,” “Grandma’s Hands,” “Who Is he (And What Is He To you)?” “Use me,” “Lean On Me,” “Lovely Day,” and “Just The Two Of Us (with Grover Washington).” There are quite a few other hits that are not on this album, so I recommend that you search for them. Listen with Spotify.