3rd June 2001
The Internet almost single-handedly brought salvation to the then stale music industry and has spawned radical changes in all departments of music from production to marketing.
By Ranidu Lankage
Ever since its birth, the Internet and music have been bound together like a pair of Siamese twins. Never before was the world more open to new music and artistes but the artistes themselves have come upon, undoubtedly the biggest music resource ever to exist. The Internet almost single-handedly brought salvation to the then stale music industry and has spawned radical changes in all departments of music from production to marketing.
Taking a look at what the Internet offers to you as a music lover. One word that comes straight into ones mind is mp3. This is the cutting edge of audio technology on the net today with sites such as Napster.com leading the way in distribution. The way Napster works is really based on a simple file sharing community method; the mp3 files on your computer hard disc could be downloaded by someone else who's using the Napster software and you can download any mp3 from anyone else's computer from anywhere in the world provided they are using Napster and logged on to the server (cool isn't it?). This effectively enables you to find almost any song of your choice within a matter of seconds and download it within a few minutes. There are a million other sites that enable you to search and download mp3s too. (e.g.:- www.mp3.com)
Net radio is another revelation of the Internet. With live web casting, your local radio station can be heard using software such as real audio from anywhere around the world. This has enabled many expatriates and students who study abroad to keep in touch with their local music scene and also to gather information about their beloved motherland through the net. Leading Sri Lankan examples are Sirasa FM, YES FM and TNL radio.
Getting information on your favourite artiste is a breeze nowadays. Go to www.mtv.com and you'll find a host of information from new releases to the latest music news to biographies and pictures of the artistes as well as a link to his\her official web site. Also available are the top 20 videos of the week, which are viewable if you have the Real player software installed in your PC. The BBC's music site is also a key resource with a similar kind of layout. The official UK top 40 singles and albums chart and also specialised charts such as R&B and Dance chart is also available on this site. Also on the BBC's main music page there are dedicated sites for each music genre such as urban, dance, jazz etc…. So you could get specialised news and other information about each genre. For instance the BBC's Radio 1 dance page gives you club reviews, DJ profiles and even a club listing so you could get any information on any night club in Britain and some clubs abroad.
The official artiste pages also provide in-depth interviews, biographies of each artist and also host competitions. Some even provide online booking services for concerts. (Interesting and interactive artiste pages include www.craigdavid.co.uk and www.dariog.co.uk.) www.music.com is another site worth mentioning as one of the top music resources on the net. This site has got almost everything in it including news, reviews, downloads, competitions etc.
Artistes too have much to gain from the Internet. There is a plethora of sites with various forms of artiste support available with most of them being free of charge and some coming at a minimal cost. One such resource is www.taxi.com. This is the most powerful independent A&R company on the web helping unsigned bands, artistes and songwriters get record deals, publishing deals and placement in films and TV shows. You can subscribe online and professionals in the music business will listen to your submissions, give you counselling through the web and also help manage you if you get signed.
This site also hosts a free musician's referral service, which enables you to find a band, a vocalist or even get a gig by placing an advertisement online. Taxi also provides a service where each subscriber gets to know what the industry is looking for through e-mail. Various competitions where you can win loads of groovy equipment are also conducted monthly. This month they are holding two contests, one for an ADAT machine and another for a Guitar (why not try your luck?).
Helping musicians to get information on new equipment and helping them with problems they have with their existing equipment is another major area the web specialises in. Sites such as www.korg.com and www.emu.com are manufacturer sites, which provide in-depth info on products and customer support around the globe. www.synthzone.com is a site full of info and reviews on all the leading brands of equipment and music software etc…. There are also sites dedicated to a certain product, for instance the korg triton has its own private web groups also known as user forums where you can post your problems and fellow users will get back to you with solutions and suggestions. One such forum is located at www.tritonhaven.com. These sites also often include various software updates, patches for the keyboard and works of other artistes who use the same equipment.
Getting samples for your compositions has also become a less arduous task thanks to the Internet. There are hundreds of sites providing good quality audio samples with free licences (e.g.-www.sampleareana.com or www.anloguesamples.com) and also sites which sell professional sampling CDs online and some who allow you to download samples instantly after paying through a credit card (e.g:- www.amguk.co.uk).
Perhaps the greatest resource the Internet provides musicians and music lovers alike is free software.
There are millions of sites providing various forms of software which can do things like compose drum rhythms( e.g:- little drummer boy), Rip audio to mp3 ( free rip mp3) or even create your own mixes (e.g:- mixman).
Teaching people to play instruments, allowing them to sell equipment online, helping people to form or name their bands…I guess I could go on and on, but why not check out these sites and further explore the world of the Internet yourself.
When it comes to getting your money's worth, are you ready to blow your top at the slightest fault or do you prefer to pay the bill and never buy there again?Answer these questions to find out if you are going too far with your complaints.
1. You have been taken to the cinema on a hot date and all is going well until you discover that you have sat on a piece of chewing gum.What do you do?
a. keep quiet and hope no one else notices
b. have a laugh about it and tell the management that one of their seats needs attention
c. make a huge scene and insist the cinema pays for dry cleaning
2. You are at a restaurant and feel that the food is just not up to scratch.
a. demand to see the head waiter and the chef and anybody else relevant to your complaint
b. push the food aside and mention to the waiter that you think it isn't as good as usual
c. eat it like a good customer
3. You have taken an important client out for a meal and notice that the tablecloth has a stain.
a. subtly move some silver or china ware onto the stain and contact the restaurant afterwards to complain
b. call the waiter over and insist that all the table linen is replaced without further ado
c. ignore the issue completely
4. You visit an elderly relative in hospital and feel that the ward or room isn't cleaned properly.
a. complain in strong terms there and then
b. have a quiet word with the Sister after your visit and hope that things improve
c. try to forget about it
5. The bus is late and the delay has been most inconvenient.
How do you react?
a. you get on the bus and feel tense in silence
b. you yell at the bus driver
c. you telephone or write to the bus company pointing out that these delays are unacceptable and asking for some sort of compensation
6. You have bought a new iron and it isn't working properly.Back at the shop, the assistant isn't very helpful. Do you:
a. buy a new one
b. politely ask to see the manager
c. insist on seeing the manager and once you do, complain not only about the iron but about the unhelpful assistant
7. Your airline flight is delayed by six hours.What do you do?
a. go and harangue the ground staff at half-hourly intervals
b. sit quietly and make the best of it
c. ask for food vouchers and any other comforts the ground staff can provide
8. You are at the travel agent's and the assistant is keeping you waiting while she makes a personal phone call. Do you:
a. wait meekly until she has finished
b. go in search of another assistant or pointedly leave the shop
c. interrupt the conversation to insist on service now
9. You are at a mall and notice a violent video arcade game which can be seen by young children. Do you:
a. insist on complaining in the strongest possible terms to the manager
b. complain to the manager in the most reasonable way you can
c. leave, thinking what a wicked world it is
10. You have bought a new car and it is continually developing new problems and faults.It is still under guarantee.What do you do?
a. keep taking it back to the garage for repairs
b. explain in writing that if the problems continue you will have to discuss exchanging the car for another model
c. storm in and insist on your money back
Calculate your score 1. a 0 b 5 c10 2. a 10 b 5 c 0 3. a 5 b10 c 0 4. a10 b 5 c 0 5. a 0 b10 c 5 6. a 0 b 5 c10 7. a10 b 0 c 5 8. a 0 b 5 c10 9. a10 b 5 c 0 10. a 0 b 5 c10
0-35: You are so anxious to stay out of the spotlight that you do not express even the most reasonable of complaints.You would far rather pay up and never return than ask for your money back or for an apology.This may lead to a quieter life, but you may suffer from stress and repressed rage as a result. If you find it too difficult to complain in person, do consider sending letters.
40-65: You are ready to complain if there is good reason, although you won't waste your time quibbling over little things.You are able to complain in reasonable terms, without losing your cool, and the results are generally satisfactory.You will take things further if need be, but usually a refund or apology suffices.
70-100: You are addicted to complaining in no uncertain terms.Sales assistants and restaurant staff who have crossed your path before tremble - and with good reason - when you come into view.Your violent temper and readiness to fall out over the most trivial things make you a formidable customer.Our advice is to choose your battles and save your amazing energy for more worthwhile causes.
Does height matter in a relationship or is it the person that counts?
By Ruhanie Perera
Anyone who has been lost in a pleasant daydream, done some serious fantasising or has been lucky enough to have some very sweet dreams, sooner or later touches on the subject of their future partner. More often than not we see the picture perfect image of the beach, the sunset, the evening star and the silhouette of two people walkng hand in hand; the guy, we imagine, is tall, dark and handsome and the girl, pretty and petite.
With a slight alteration to that image which sees a 'height' reversal, everything suddenly changes. As a result the head that bends over to whisper the 'sweet nothings' is that of the girl's and the chin that tilts upwards to receive that oh so sweet kiss is that of the guy's. It's an unfamiliar picture, but is it one that we could get used to?
" When I was about 13 I knew that I would always be taller than all the other girls in my class," says Nirmalee who at 5'10" is a tall girl. "At that age I felt rather self-concious. Lots of adults thought me to be much older than I really was. And when I was with my friends I would stick out quite a bit. As a result I started to hunch to hide the fact that I was taller than everyone else, although that didn't make much of a difference."
As she grew older, however, Nirmalee realised that her height could be used to her advantage. "Until I took to sports I always considered my height to be a real curse. But when I started to do well at basketball and netball and became envied for my height by everyone else who played the sport, I actually started looking on the brighter side of things. It was at that point that I realised that my height could actually be an advantage."
That was until the time came to find someone to settle down with. "I was hell-bent on finding a man who was taller than me and my parents were having the time of their lives finding someone taller than me, since 'taller than me' meant more than just a head taller. I was also sick of going to parties and looking over the guy's head - and that was something I didn't want to do for the rest of my life."
But fate had different things planned for Nirmalee and she found herself a Romeo who fitted the bill, save one tiny detail. He was just a head shorter than she was " But he was perfect in every other way, that it just didn't matter. It doesn't seem to bother him either. I now realise that in a relationship where two people are truly in love with each other, height is of very little consequence." Then she adds with a giggle, "I still wear my high heels, which of course makes me look taller than my fiance. But I don't care because since I've got the height, which a lot of people seem to admire and wish they had, I may as well flaunt it."
On the contrary, there are the tall girls who are not so easily pacified.
"I'm 5'9" and whoever I end up going out with has to be at least 6 feet or taller!" emphasises Sandra. "We all have this pre-conceived idea that the guy we go out with has to be taller, bigger and older than us. And I intend to stick to that. I've had some friends who ended up marrying shorter guys and I couldn't help feeling a bit bad about it and wishing that they had done better. Even when I see a tall girl, short guy couple who I don't know I think 'why?'. Somehow I think it's important for the guy to be taller."
At any rate Sandra is adamant that her Mr. Right should be taller, so that she can get a taste of what it's like to feel petite. " If he's shorter than me it'll be disastrous. Imagine the two of us standing in a queue somewhere and I want to share a joke with him. I'll have to bend down to say it and he'll have to stand on tip toe to listen, ugh."
Having had many an interesting experience with 'short' guys (owing to the fact that she's taller than many of them of course) she feels that are intimidated by that. "They don't like the fact that they have to look 'up' to me and some rude ones tend to pass remarks which leave me feeling quite insulted. Even when I walk around Majestic City minding my own business, some wise guy invariably passes a comment like 'Aah shaa, how the height, ah' or 'Aah, pol gahak', which can be quite irritating. I mean haven't they seen tall women before?"
"Old people take it upon themselves to feel sorry for me since they think at my height I'll never find a guy. They even go to the extent of feeling sorry for my father who'll have to find a husband for me."
Women, she says, on the other hand admire height. I've had lots of them come up to me and compliment me. That, of course, makes up for all the other odd reactions I get from people.
Says Nalin who at 5'6" is not burdened by an inferiority complex about height: " I don't think height matters at all in a relationship. It becomes a problem only if the individual makes it one. In a relationship nothing 'looks odd'. It's all about love and love doesn't permit these insignificant details become a problem."
He admits the fact that obviously in a situation where a guy is shorter than his girlfriend people may have things to say. "But people have things to say anyway, be it age, looks, or just about any subject they can think of. And if your only concern is to justify your reasons for loving a person, you're in a real mess. That's a situation that could prove to be really disastrous."
"Whenever I fantasised about my dream guy he was always tall," says Isuri who is 5'6". "We never have dreams the other way around because we are not conditioned to do so." Having always gone out with guys who were taller, the issue of having a boyfriend who was shorter never crossed her mind. That was until she met her present boyfriend who at 5'4" is a tad shorter than she is." But it doesn't matter because he is a really nice guy and if you think about it that's all that really counts."
At the beginning of their relationship, however, she had nightmares about what her friends' reaction to him would be. " Before they met him I warned them over and over again that he was short. And so when they finally met him they had more or less got used to the idea"
Says Isuri, "All things considered everything worked out just fine. And now I'm used to the whole issue. Even my sister married a guy who was a bit shorter than her but it made no difference in her life, except that she now always wears flat shoes. That way she looks shorter than him. And I'm lucky because my boyfriend is attracted to tall women."
Isuri's boyfriend Dilan bases his attraction for taller women on the saying 'Opposites attract'. "I've always gone out with girls who have been taller. That has never posed a problem. In fact I've had a thriving social life."
"Earlier when I was in school I used to feel a bit intimidated because everyone was taller than me. It really bothered me when I was about 16 or 17 and I often wished that I was a bit taller. But gradually I've gotten used to the idea and decided that God made me like this and I need to make the best of it. Once you think positively the issue ceases to be a problem. And where relationships were concerned it certainly wasn't a problem. I went out with a girl who was 5'8" once and everything was just fine. The only thing that was a bit odd was dancing with her!"
There's no stigma as such attached to couples who don't fit the ideal height, he says. It could be odd, for the girl because more often than not people talk about the girls. " But what other people think doesn't really matter when two people like each other" says Dilan.
Is height a crucial point in a relationship? That depends entirely on the individual. But one thing's for sure, he who is handsome doesn't always have to be tall though we have been conditioned to think on those terms. And it really isn't as odd as we perceive it to be when she puts her arm around his shoulders.
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