24 October 2005

Right Product, Wrong Timing

Once upon a time in 1998 when I had my first Pentium II PC with 36.6kbps modem, I scoured and downloaded lots of MIDI files. Music piracy wasn't rampant due to bandwidth constraints, and RM10 MP3 CDs were a little too pricey for a 13 year old to buy frequently. So to get my fix I would search the Net and download the MIDI files for my favourite music. They were small sized and were mostly good enough. Of course, I envisioned for a software that would convert them into MP3 files so I could overlay my voice on it and then make myself a karaoke machine. But I could not find that software, no matter how high or low I searched. I eventually gave up the quest and went back to buying the CDs, which were slowly getting cheaper.

Only the first two sentences of the story above are completely true. I wasn't that addicted to MIDI files because it could never match the original. But I was nevertheless intrigued by file conversion tools, especially MP3 to MIDI.

Fast forward to present day. I found "Direct MIDI to MP3 Converter", which should do exactly that. I installed it, cracked it, and then had the bright idea of converting a MIDI into MP3, and then recording my voice directly into it. Voila! My own album that will rival William Hung's!

So I made a search for MIDI files in Google, and to my horror, 99.5% of the sites I visited were commercial! What happened to the good old days, where composing MIDI files was a hobby? Due to the popularity of polyphonic ringtones, businessmen have cashed in on gullible teenagers by charging exorbitant prices on cheaply made MIDI tones. I am more disappointed that there are no more free sites - but I will keep looking, like I did back in 1998.

There goes my dreams of besting William Hung. Or is that 'worsting'?

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