SoundCloud Radio brings a new way to listen from millions of tracks

SoundCloud have just launched their own radio to broadcast their favourite songs and artist on their Repost engine to listeners around the world.

SoundCloud are launching a station with Dash Radio to promote the music coming through their new distribution and marketing service Repost. With Dash’s 12 million monthly subscribers they hope to reach new listeners in cars, on smart speakers, and through their smartphones.

Dash Radio was the place where Billie Eilish made her first radio appearance and Post Malone gave his first interview. It’s got an established reputation for helping to break huge artists to the world and SoundCloud Radio will now be streaming their artists 24/7 to help them reach new audiences too.

They will be selecting Repost and Repost Select artists who distributed their content with them to stream through their new broadcast. Repost Select artists will be able to submit their tracks for consideration by heading to Promotion then Pitch to Partners from their Repost dashborad.

Learn more about both Repost and Repost Select HERE.

Instagram introduce effects that move to the music

Instagram’s new AR Music tool allows designers to get creative and musicians to promote their music in new ways.

Instagram are adding tools within their Spark AR app to help designers create filters in Instagram Stories that react to the music.

Ellie Goulding’s team dropped a new Instagram effect to help promote her new track here.

To create an effect that responds to music, you can either import and use your own legally licensed music files or you can let people pick a song they like from the thousands of free tracks in Instagram’s music library. This feature is available for Android users today and will be coming to iOS soon.

Spark AR Team

If you want to promote your new track or just fancy giving Instagram’s AR tool a go, click here to learn more.

Click here for more creative way to share your music on Instagram.

Facebook launches collaborative music-making app to connect through creation

Collab is a brand new app for making music with friends and others from a distance so that social distancing doesn’t mean a hold on creativity.

Now that we’ve all been apart for a while most of us are missing the company of others and something we’re missing most is playing and making music together with people. Thankfully Facebook, probably the world’s leader in keeping people connected around the world, have a new app for music makers.

‘Collab’ allows its users to stitch together 3 videos with a focus on music. For example you can record a guitar track and then add it to vocals or a keyboard line. With a focus on community any clips you record can be used by others to make their video and vice-versa you can explore what others have made.

There is no remix potential, just building on the blocks of others. So if you like something a person has recorded you can add to it but you can’t edit it in any way. They will credit everyone involved who has had their videos used so that any viewers can find the other creators easily.

It seems to have bit of TikTok inspiration to it in getting people together creating and sharing videos but with a focus on being creative and musical. It’s currently available on an invite-only basis as one of Facebook’s experimental apps which they launch to gauge the response and test the market.

This means there’s no guarantee of a wider launch or that it will become an official app but the concept seems to work. I can picture it being very popular with Facebook’s huge userbase there to present it to and the potential of viral music apps at the moment.

It’s a great that idea that comes at an ideal time. I can see a lot of people picking up on this if it’s launched more widely but we will have to see what the techies at Facebook have to say now it’s available in a sort-of beta run.

Live Nation & Budweiser to host Stage at Home gigs

Starting this Saturday May 30th, Live Nation Canada and Budweiser will host a series of Stage at Home events.

Designed to fill a gap where Toronto’s Budweiser Stadium concerts would have been, Stage at Home will broadcast live-performance sets online from prominent artists and bands in the studio or at home.

Watch performances from rock bands The Black Crowes, The Trews, Blue Rodeo and many more.

The gigs can be viewed online starting this Saturday May 30th and hopefully continue for the following three Saturdays. Head to Citytv and citytv.com from 8pm EST

This won’t be the only online gig hosted by Live Nation. See virtual festivals such as Wireless Connect here.

Belkin Soundform Elite offers premium sound quality, Google Assistant and wireless charging

Belkin’s new smart speaker provides the full package, combining hi-fi audio with a fast wireless charging pad, but can it beat the competition from Sonos, Amazon, Google and Apple?

Belkin partnered up with Devialet to develop a speaker that produces powerful, crystal-clear, high-fidelity sound, with Belkin’s design and charging technology. The Soundform Elite will have no problem filling a room with sound. Devialet’s patented Speaker Active Matching delivers resonant bass at any volume, to give the listener an accurate recreation of sound as the artist intended in a compact form factor. The 35mm driver produces stunning mids and highs, while the dual 70mm woofers produce deep, impactful, implosive bass, such that an external sub isn’t needed.

Devialet’s “Push-Push” vibration-cancelling ensures the woofers will not cause the speaker to shake, while your phone safely holds a steady 10-watt fast charge.

Belkin Soundform Elite Charing

Google Assistant ensures connectivity is up their with the best. WiFi setup is easy through the Google Home app. Here you can also adjust bass and treble. Unfortunately EQ levels can only be adjusted in the app and not via voice command. Two far field microphones will pick up your Google Assistant commands, allowing for easy media control, Google Search answers, managing everyday tasks and controlling smart devices. Google Home supports music services included: YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora and Deezer. Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity will cover you for non-Google Home services. Pairing with another Soundform Elite speaker or other Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers is a breeze and makes multi-room audio easy.

If voice control isn’t your thing, there’s play/pause, mute, volume and Bluetooth controls up top. Note, there are zero ports on this speaker such as AUX or ethernet for non-connected devices.

Belkin Soundform Elite Controls

The speaker doesn’t just perform great, Belkin’s design here makes it also looks great. Coming in black and white, the speaker will fit nicely into any office, bedroom, kitchen or living room.

Belkin Soundform Elite White

The premium speaker comes with a premium price tag to match at $299.99, placing it firmly in the top end of smart speakers. Alternates at this price will produce similarly excellent sound, but lack the charging dock. This unique feature allows the speaker to stand out in a crowded market.

Find more info here.

Be warned, an update to Apple’s HomePod is imminent.

Major label Warner Music Group have launched their Wall Street IPO

It’s been a long time coming, Warner Music Group are now publicly sharing stocks on the Wall Street market.

This week Warner Music confirmed the launch of their Initial Public Offering (IPO) after going private in 2011. Warner are offering potential investors 70 million shares at between $23 and $26 to begin with under ‘WMG’.

After delaying their return to Wall Street in February because of the unpredictable results of COVID on the market, the major label has moved forward with trading shares. With states across the U.S. looking to re-open Warner are expecting the economy’s stability is assured enough to go ahead.

Rumours earlier this month suggested that Saudi Arabia, yes the country, had offered to buy Warner Music outright. The country’s public investment fund reportedly wanted to purchase the $12.5 billion value record label though that has not been confirmed. They may go publicly to shares for investment in Warner now.

The public offering is being jointly managed by investment firms Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs. Underwriters of the deal have 30 days to purchase up to 10,500,000 additional shares of Warner’s stock if they wish to.

Amazon look to compete with Spotify’s growing monopoly on podcasts

In the quest to move beyond music streaming Spotify have nabbed some of the world’s biggest podcasts but they may find a competitor in Amazon.

Last week Spotify announced that Joe Rogan was moving his huge podcast exclusively to Spotify joining the likes of the Obama’s and Bill Simmons on what has become a huge podcasting platform. Spotify have dominated the blossoming podcast scene online with hundreds of thousands of episodes now available alongside music.

Now it appears that Amazon are looking to invest in podcast content with a focus on news and sports. They plan to use podcasts along with their Alexa voice assistant to provide a unique and smooth experience which can be utilised on smartphones and the many Alexa-enabled smart speakers on the market.

They’ve been looking particularly at sports podcast companies, with a potential investment in Blue Wire on the cards according to sources speaking to Axios. Whilst Spotify have had a broad focus looking to appeal to all types of podcast listeners, Amazon’s narrow content plans could help them establish a dedicated audience.

Whilst Amazon have refused to comment on the rumours, commentators are debating over how Amazon would distribute podcasts. They have multiple potential platforms; the music streaming platform route like Spotify, their audiobook service Audible, Amazon Alexa exclusive or perhaps they’d make them available on more than one – even none.

With Spotify signing deals with some of the biggest podcasters in the world in deals reported to be worth more than $100 million other companies will no doubt be eyeing up their successes. Whether we’ll see more competitors get involved in the content type, we’ll have to wait and see.

80% off Nebula 4 multi-effect plugin from Acustica Audio

Acustica Audio are currently offering the Nebula 4 for just 79€, down from 399€. N4 emulates and replicates several types of audio equipment.

Nebula 4 emulates the warm character and personality of expensive and bulky analog hardware into your digital mixes. The plugin comes in VST, AU and AAX formats, macOS and Windows compatibility, and 10GB of commercial library.

Features:

  • 450 emulation presets
  • 72 pre-amps preset emulations
  • 78 equalizers preset emulations
  • 33 compressors preset emulations (24 YROY, 2 ROSE, 7 RELS)
  • 20 tapes preset emulations
  • 30 filters preset emulations
  • 100 reverbs preset emulations
  • 90-time variant effect preset emulations like chorus, flangers, phasers.

The sale is running till June 12th. More information and download here.

The 5 best FREE unique VST effects plugins

Getting an amazing sound using just your computer is easier than ever with digital music production but it’s not always cheap. We’ve got you covered with the top 5 free plugins around.

Here’s a list of 5 great effects plugins that do something a little differently than your regular reverb. Whether it’s distortion, filtering, delaying or completely crunching up the sounds and spitting it back out – these 5 plugins are sure to turn your instruments and samples into something unique.

These are personal favourites but there are of course loads of free plugins available online. If you’ve got some great sounding plugins for free that are your favourite, share the love in the comments and let us know what they are!

I’ve recorded a short little Rhodes sample as a raw file and then with each effect recorded it through the effects below with 4 different arrangements of parameters so you can get an idea of the type of effect and the range of possibilities on them.

Hysterisis

Hysteresis is a versatile effects processor geared toward electronic musicians and sound designers. Process anything from drums to synths, guitars, vocals and sound effects. On top of being able to create contorted signal mutations, it can also be tamed to generate classic delay effects.

Krush

With its bit crushing and downsampling algorithms, Krush combines the crispy taste of the digital realm with the warmth of its drive stage and analog modeled resonant filters. A modulation section allows you to quickly add extra life to the sound by modulating any parameter.

Modul8

Inspired by multiple Japanese stomp-boxes well known for their unique sound and approach to modulation, Modul8 is a dual LFO stereo chorus. It means that the resulting modulation is a combination of two LFOs scaled according to their respective modulation width, which results in almost endless number of rhythmic variations in the modulation pattern.

Multiply

Acon Digital Multiply is a free and versatile chorus effect with a unique twist. Each simulated voice is processed with a phase randomizing filter so that unpleasant comb filter effects are avoided. The effect can be used to simulate the effect of several performers playing the same tones simultaneously, to widen the spatial image or to create special effects for sound design. Multiply can simulate up to 6 additional voices and both the pitch and the loudness of the voices can be modulated. There is also an integrated equalizer consisting of low cut, low shelf, high shelf and high cut filters that can be applied to the effect signal. An integrated pre-delay section makes it possible to create modulated and diffuse echo effects.

Valhalla Freq Echo

Bode-Style Frequency Shifter + Analog Echo Emulation = Skull Melting Chaos. Perfect for dub, Dr. Who and all of your psychedelic needs. Sonic results range from subtle chorusing and double tracking to barberpole phasing and flanging to endless glissandos and runaway echos.

Ex-Apple employees work on a HomePod competitor

Startup Syng, lead by former Apple designer Christopher Stringer and engineer Afrooz Family are developing Cell speakers.

The speaker system is said to be a truly revolutionary home audio solution, to tackle both HomePod and Sonos. Cell will supposedly produce “immersive rendering” with sound that’s “indistinguishable from reality”.

Stringer and Family both worked on the HomePod as well as other key Apple products. Only time will tell whether the speaker lives up to its claims. It will need to sound better than the competition to stand out in a crowded market. Syng say the speaker is due to release Q4 2020, but may be delayed due to COVID-19.