Big new hires will find the best new artists on Apple Music

Apple haven’t acquired a music analytics startup as people thought, but they have taken it’s three founders to help them scout out the best and biggest new music coming out.

On Sunday a report came out saying that Apple had acquired Asaii for a cost of under $100 million. The music analytics startup had to shut it’s doors on Sunday and rumours, based from a shareholders “confirmation, circulated that Apple had come to the rescue for the benefit of their streaming service Apple Music. Those rumours may have been wrong, but Apple are reportedly nabbing Asaii’s best assets.

According to TechCrunch, Apple have hired Asaii’s three founders; Sony Theakanath, Austin Chen, and Chris Zhang – commiserations to all the employees. Asaii’s technology analysed data from top music streaming services like SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Music to find trends and predict the artists and music that could be the next big thing.

Apple already has it’s own analytics as well as companies it has acquired in the past with similar directives. Now that it has come out that Apple aren’t acquiring the full Asaii company it seems that they just want to utilise the minds behind it, though whether they will be applied to the same sort of analytics they worked on at Asaii or a new kind hasn’t been confirmed yet by Apple.

As competition between Apple and Spotify continues to boil in the world of music streaming both services are looking to enhance their platforms in unique ways to appeal to both artists and listeners. Apple recently launched Apple Music for Artists, an analytics platform for artists which helps them easily track their performance and popularity. It’s an unashamed copy of Spotify’s long-running platform Spotify for Artists but a vital tool for artists in the increasingly digital age of music.

When it comes to the hiring of Asaii Apple are likely looking to buck the trends so that they can find and push the hottest up and coming artists before anyone else.

Sing your heart out as Smule gets bigger with $20m investment

Smule’s founder once said that “music was the original social network” and with major new funding they’re making music more social around the world.

Smule started with a humble mission, to draw people in with fun and engaging apps that got them involved with music before they even knew they were doing anything musical. It’s since expanded into a massively popular app with 52 million users around the world every month coming together to sing and make music social again.

The company has just revealed another $20 million raised in funding following a £54 million round last May led by Tencent. Smule’s newest funds come primarily from Times Bridge, a subsidiary of Indian media conglomerate The Times Group. Their funding has been named a “strategic investment” and will see Smule strengthening and expanding their operations in India, which is currently the app’s second largest market internationally.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Smule CEO and co-founder, Jeffrey Smith said: “Building the Smule brand in India is a long term process, but a critical facet of realising our vision to connect the world through music. We are therefore thrilled to expand our reach in India through this significant partnership with Times Bridge.”

The CEO of The Time’s Group’s VC wing, Times Bridge CEO Rishi Jaitly, said: “Times Bridge’s mission is to bring the world’s best ideas to India and share India’s best insights with the world. Smule is a deeply original bold idea with a mission of changing the way the world experiences music. Our investment will advance Smule’s music mission across the Indian subcontinent and unlock the creativity of many millions along the way. We are delighted to be working with a partner who approaches India with the empathy, conviction and optimism that the Indian market warrants.”

The partnership will see connections created with local artists in India by Times Bridge for Smule’s international app.

New 33 feet step sequencer in Berlin is the largest in the world

Berlin is home to some of the biggest and best nightclubs in the world and in honour of Red Bull Music Academy’s 20th edition they’ve built the world’s biggest sequencer outside of one.

Outside Berlin’s iconic nightclub, Tresor, biggest step sequencer was built – open to anyone to walk up and play with. The 33 feet long and 7.2 feet high machine took five weeks to assemble by 30 top technicians and is completely playable, allowing the public to freely use and play the world’s largest drum machine.

The massive sequencer has been built to celebrate Red Bull’s 20th edition of their Music Academy in one of the nightclub capitals of the world. The sequencer, named the RBMA-20, was designed and built by Berlin-based creative studio Neulant van Exel. Unfortunately this week saw the Sequencers last day at Tresor, but surely such an achievement will be relocated to a permanent position – though Red Bull haven’t revealed their plans for the whopping machine yet.

The interface for the RBMA-20 featured 427 knobs and faders, four completely functional analogue drum machines, a modular synthesizer, and even a sampling unit to work with. When the club was open punters could come and play the sequencer with the help of ‘on-site experts’ whilst club-goers waiting in line could listen with headphones. It’s a monumental creation and isn’t Red Bull’s only electronic musical mark on Berlin to celebrate their 20th musical anniversary.

A number of Berlin’s trams and trains which circulate through the city have been transformed into drum machines, sequencers and synthesizers on the side complete with Red Bull branding – only visually however. Homages to electronic classics like Roland’s TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines and Native Instruments Maschine feature along Berlin’s public transport.

Red Bull Music Academy started in 1998, right in Berlin where it has returned for it’s 20th anniversary. Their academy lectures have featured some of the world’s leading musicians and music influencers sharing their knowledge and inspiration with new and older generations alike. Red Bull have returned to the city where it all began and in style to celebrate.

Apple AirPlay is getting sequel, here’s where it’s coming to

Apple’s AirPlay software is getting an update soon making an even easier and smoother experience for playing music between devices.

AirPlay allows Apple devices to connect between each other and speakers/receivers to send music or control your Apple TV. In an ever-increasingly connected world, being able to shoot your music straight from your phone to speakers with the tap of a button and no wires is becoming more and more vital for consumers. With the announcement of their new iPhones, Apple also revealed more about AirPlay 2 – an update to their connected, streaming software. Here we’ve compiled all of the receivers and speakers that will be getting AirPlay 2 compatibility.

Apple’s own brand home speaker, the HomePod, will of course be compatible. As will fourth generation Apple TV’s and Apple TV 4K, which can both be used as Airplay 2 targets with speakers connected through their HDMI’s. Lastly of Apple’s own products, the AirPort Express will also be compatible to stream through with speakers connected via a jack.

Bang & Olufsen


  • Home Speaker 500 — Early 2019
  • Soundbar 500 — Early 2019
  • Soundbar 700 — Early 2019

Denon & Marantz







FL Studio’s first ever dedicated controller is here from Akai

FL Studio often gets forgotten behind production and recording staples like Ableton and Logic, but Akai have come to their side with their new Fire controller.

Akai’s new Professional Fire controller has been created in collaboration with Image-Line to offer the world’s very first dedicated controller for FL Studio. The high performance tool makes creating and producing on Fruity Loops’ versatile software the smoothest experience ever with an enhanced workflow and music-making experience.

The first thing you notice about the Fire is it’s rows of pads, making for the perfect sequencing accompaniment – especially considering that is the bread and butter of FL Studio. The controller is plug and play, so you can connect it up to your PC and immediately start using it with your music software to create and customise. Fire’s 4 x 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pad matrix has been designed to work straight away and seamlessly with the renowned sequencer built into Fruity Loops.

If you want to bust out the synths and get musical then the Fire’s Note mode becomes your best friend. By switching the controller to Note mode the controller’s RGB pads transform into a MIDI keyboard with three octaves of playability. With velocity sensitive pads you can play melody and harmony exactly how you want it to come out. There is also a Drum mode which uses an MPC-style 16-pad layout for seamless integration into FPC and SliceX for beat-making.

The pads give you loads of control over the software with the ability to mute and solo channels at the tap of a button, expand the grid matrix, switch between channels, navigate through all of your patterns and much more – right from the controller. You can use it to record, play, stop, and so much more making it an overall ultimate music-making controller for FL Studio – something that has been long overdue.

Here’s a summary of it’s main features:

  • Plug-and-play integration with FL Studio
  • Quickly input patterns along the timeline in the step sequencer
  • 4 x 16 Matrix of Velocity-Sensitive RGB Pads
  • Record notes in Performance mode
  • Graphical OLED display
  • 4 banks of assignable Touch-Capacitive Knobs
  • Instantly navigate the Channel Rack, Browser, Tool Bar and Playlist windows
  • Use dedicated controls to quickly browse audio and project files
  • Dedicated Transport controls
  • USB bus-powered

There is loads more to Akai’s Professional Fire controller than what we’ve mentioned above. Find out all about what the best controller now on the market for FL Studio really offers from their website

Red Panda Raster Delay Pedal Review

This stunning delay pedal from Red Panda combines delay and pitch shift in one incredible unit.

Delay is a big market in the pedal world at the moment with many artists seeking to find a delay pedal that suits their sound. This excellent compact Raster delay pedal from Red Panda has all you need in one pedal. I personally love this pedal and find that it has such a rich tone compared to many other delay pedals on the market.

What is it?

The Raster is a Delay/Pitch Shift Pedal which can be used in a number of different ways. Red Panda have built in the ability to use either feature individually with 2 foot switches, one for delay, one for shift. The pedal has main controls:

Shift – Changing the level of pitch shift, clockwise from central shifting higher than the note an anti clockwise shifting the note lower.

Feedback – The feedback possibility’s are amazing on the Raster with what feels like endless feedback you can keep the delay going for any amount of time you want.

Delay – This controls the frequency of the delay, turning clockwise for a longer delay.

Blend – This control is for blending the delay in with the original signal. This can be used to control the level of delay noticeable, turning clockwise for a bigger echoey sound.

This pedal also comes with three delay modes and three shift modes enabling up to 750ms of clean delay time available.

You can also use this pedal with an expression pedal for varying levels of delay.

Our Thoughts

I’ve been testing this pedal for a few weeks now and I just cant stop using it. The endless capability’s of this delay pedal are second to none. I will definitely be grabbing one of these for my pedal board. This delay pedal tops any other delay pedal I have used and I would strongly recommend it to anyone looking for that Ben Howard like feel to there sound.


  • Full Sounding Tone
  • Easy to Use and fits well into any pedal set up.
  • Delay and Shift features together create amazing echoey sound


  • Reasonably pricey amongst other delay pedals costing around £230
  • Not as many delay controls as other pedals around the same price

UMG music is all good on Mixcloud now with a new deal

SoundCloud rival Mixcloud have shaped their own path in the new world of music streaming and with a new deal that path’s horizons broaden further.

British streaming service Mixcloud have just signed a deal with Unive”rsal Music Group which will license the UMG catalogue across their services. Mixcloud offer an open platform for uploading radio shows, podcasts and DJ sets which now has over 2 million shows streamed every month as they mark a unique path in online streaming away from Spotify and Apple Music.

Mixcloud co-founder, Nico Perez says of the deal: “Our focus has always been on empowering artists and curators alike, and this deal with Universal Music will help us usher in a new era of collaboration in which everyone wins.” UMG vice president of digital business, James Healy added: “Working together, we will expand the programming that’s available across Mixcloud and give their passionate fans more choice over how they consume music and interact with their favourite artists.”

The British streamer’s new deal with Universal sees UMG artists earn compensation when their music is used on any radio shows or DJ sets on Mixcloud allowing them to be used by any of Mixcloud’s 1.25 million curators uploading their work to the platform. The deal will also monetise any past uses of Universal artist’s music on their platform.

Mixcloud now claim over 15 millions shows, sets and podcasts on their platform which they can now license for music from Universal as well as from Warner Music Group who they signed a deal with this time last year.

Mixcloud was originally a free service for uploading and listening, but following their Warner deal they introduced the option for uploaders to charge for their shows, podcasts and sets – though it was entirely up to their discretion. The new system allowed creators to set a charge and for listeners and fans to subscribe to individual creators when and where they want to.

Speaking at the time, Mixcloud co-founder Nico Perez said: “We don’t want to do the $9.99 a month. That market is served… The deal will help enable an innovative subscription offering that allows fans to subscribe to individual creator channels for a more interactive listening experience. This approach will help audio creators on the platform monetize their content by developing a new marketplace for audio subscriptions.”

Apple Music gets detailed lyrics with partnership

Apple Music have won over music lyric and meanings site Genius to become their official music streaming partner over Spotify and others.

Genius, formerly Rap Genius, is a massive lyrics database that takes a deep dive into the meanings behind lyrics and annotates stories behind songs and albums. A new partnership deal with Apple Music sees Genius become the official lyrics provider for Apple Music offering up lyrics and annotations for supported songs as you listen.

The partnership will also make songs streamable in full from the Genius website via Apple Music. users can now sign in to their Apple Music account to gain access to the music player when browsing songs and reading lyrics. Apple Music streaming also works from the Genius iOS app. The player won’t work for every song on the site but most of the songs that are both on Apple Music and Genius should be playable.

Chief strategy officer at Genius, Ben Gross said of the partnership: “Being able to read lyrics and annotations on Genius while you listen along on Apple Music is a dream Genius experience. We’re proud to make Apple Music our official music player, and we’re doubly excited to bring Genius lyrics to their amazing platform.

The Genius partnership will bring lyrics from the “world’s best lyrics database” to thousands of hit songs on Apple Music. Genius say that their partnership will bring “world-class accuracy and timeliness powered by Genius’s global community of artists and fans.”

2 years ago the lyrics site partnered with Spotify to provide lyrics and annotations to the top songs on the music streaming service. Though Apple Music is now the official streaming partner for Genius it doesn’t look like it will conflict with their existing partnerships. Spotify have two Genius based playlists created as part of the partnership, both were Behind the Lyrics – one for hip-hop and another for general hits. Apple Music will likely follow suit with similar playlists soon.

How much the top music distributors cost compared

At RouteNote we pride ourselves on offering artists the best deal for getting their music out there. With free distribution to all of the top stores and streaming services you can’t find better value. Here’s a comparison of how much other distributors cost so you can see for yourself.


  • Free uploads
  • Keep 85% of all royalties
  • No hidden fees
  • Premium option ($10 – single, £20 – EP, $30 Album)
  • Keep 100% of royalties on Premium
  • Only $9.99 after a year to stay on Premium
  • Sent to stores within 1-2 days
  • Distribute unlimited artists and releases

CD Baby

  • No Free option
  • $9.95 per single
  • $49 per album
  • 9% of royalties after you pay
  • Sent to stores in 1-4 weeks


  • No Free option
  • $9.99 per single
  • $29.99 per album
  • Charges for new outlets
  • Sent to stores in 1-4 weeks


  • No Free option
  • $19.99 a year for basic package
  • Hidden fees for certain stores
  • Sent to stores in 1-2 days

Ditto Music

  • No Free option
  • $19 a year for 1 artist
  • Vastly more expensive the more artists you distribute
  • Sent to stores in 1-2 days


  • No Free option
  • $19.95 a month
  • Sent to stores in 1-2 days

There are lots of reasons to choose RouteNote, not just because we’re the best value for money when it comes to getting your music out there. You can find out more at or why not drop us a message on Facebook or Twitter. We’re always happy to chat and ensure that you have the best experience possible.

TC Helicon Voicelive 3 Review

The Voicelive 3 will change your live performances forever with brand new vocal harmony modes and rockin’ guitar effects.

What is it?

This amazing pedal is the latest in the leading series of products from TC Helicon and has so much to offer from state of the art vocal effects to brand new guitar sounds and an easy to use looper setting. The Voicelive has always been the pinnacle of vocal effects but in the latest model they have really worked all you need into one unit.

It contains over 200 Vocal FX with hundred’s more available to download, these include such a wide range of features from harmony modes to octave shifts to hair raising reverb’s.

The guitar effects that this pedal comes with are also definitely something to rave about with over 180 different styles available, you can transport your sound to any era. The pedal has built in reverb and delay controls separate to any preset function meaning you can switch on and off reverb and delay at the press of a button. You can also change the quality of the given effect to your personalised needs within the console.


Whats New?

As I mentioned earlier, a very exciting new development with the Voicelive 3 is the added looper setting. This is a single button looper switch meaning you can easily and quickly add loops to your live performance, you can do this by simply tapping the ‘looper’ foot switch once to record and tapping again to playback.

Another new feature is three new harmony modes:

Pedal : Sings the root note of any given chord you are playing at any time.

Fixed : Allows you to set a fixed note that it will keep to throughout.

Mixed: The capability to mix between Pedal, Scale, Fixed and combine them all creating endless possibility’s.

Other new features include a brand new Vocoder with voice controlled synth and robot modes, choice of amp emulations and new bass and wah effects. Find the full list of new features on the TC Helicon website here – Voicelive 3 Features

Our Thoughts

Testing this out for me was a great deal of fun, I added the Voicelive 3 into my live set-up and tested it out both in the privacy of our studio and at a live gig setting. I would suggest this pedal for any singer/songwriter looking to create a bigger sound with minimal equipment. Due to its compact size, its the perfect pedal to take to a gig and be able to use on its own without bringing a whole pedal board.


  • Every effect you want in one box which saves carrying around lots of gear
  • Ultimate flexibility on sounds and features
  • Huge banks of preset effects


  • Can be complicated to the average user
  • Real-time editing and changing between sounds will need some practice
  • The price is quite high coming in at around £450