Goodbye Xbox Music, Hello Groove

by Jacca-RouteNote on July 30, 2015

groove music dashboard - xbox music rebranded to microsoft groove

Groove Music Dashboard

Earlier this month Microsoft announced that they would be re-branding their music streaming service ‘Xbox Music’ to Groove, coinciding with the release of Windows 10.

Windows 10 was released yesterday so Groove is now upon us. With a Groove Music Pass you will have access to Microsofts impressive library of over 40 million songs available for you to download and stream including artist-based radio and curated playlists.

Another feature boasted by the new Groove service is the integration with the OneDrive which allows users to upload their personal music collection into Microsoft’s cloud and play them anywhere (at least anywhere with an internet connection).

Groove is now available on Windows, Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, Xbox and as a web player. A Groove Music Pass will cost $9.99 a month with a free 30 day trial available here.

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Stems – The ‘Next-Gen’ Audio Format For DJs

by Jacca-RouteNote on July 29, 2015

Native Instruments want to give DJs and remixers more control over their tracks with their new audio format; Stem.

Stem’s song files can contain four split track elements (For example: Drums, Bass, Guitar and Vocals) allowing more extensive creative options.

The files will playback as mixed stereo audio through any software that supports MP4.

In the video below you can find out more about how Stem files work.

You can also get a look at what it’s like mixing with Stems in the video below using Traktor Pro 2 and a Traktor Kontrol D2 hardware controller.

Amazon Prime Music Streaming Now in UK

by Jacca-RouteNote on July 28, 2015

amazon prime

Amazon Prime Music was introduced to the US over a year ago, offering around 1 million tracks for streaming and download, and Amazon has now introduced it’s streaming service to the UK, the first country outside of the US to have access to the service.

Although Amazon Prime doesn’t have quite the music catalog of its competitors it boasts an Instant Video streaming service (like Netflix), one-day delivery on Amazon purchases and use of Amazon’s cloud.

Amazon Prime is available for an annual payment of $99/£79 and is accessible on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire HD tablet, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

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Axero’s latest track Dusk has been pushed across a lot of top YouTube channels including Airwaves. Have a listen above.

Outertone: Tropical House 001 – Dawn

by Jacca-RouteNote on July 23, 2015

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Songtree – Collaborate on Songs With Strangers Anywhere

by Jacca-RouteNote on July 22, 2015

From the team behind n-Track, the DAW for PC, Mac, iOS and Android, comes Songtree an app that allows users to create a track which can then be overdubbed by other users to create completely original songs.

Anyone can overdub the tracks and they can join wherever they want due to the unique “tree” design allowing you to select a branch of the song to overdub.

The "branches" of a song on Songtree

The “branches” of a song on Songtree

Due to the open-endedness of every track and the opportunity for anyone from anywhere to add to the tracks the possibilities are endless and can result in entirely different tracks from the same base recording.

You can browse a collection of the songs created from here.

Songtree is currently available for iOS devices with plans for an Android app to come soon, or if you just can’t wait you can join the beta-testing for Android from here.

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deezer ifttt

Deezer is now integrating with If This Then That (IFTTT), a web service that allows users to automate various actions between apps, for a first in Music Streaming history.

What this means for Deezer is that subscribers will now be able to integrate the service with other apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Evernote and WordPress.

So how will this actually be put to use? Some of the examples of what you’ll be able to do now are – adding a track to your Deezer using a Twitter hashtag, posting your favourite albums on Facebook automatically and you can even integrate Deezer with Phillips’ Hue connected lightbulbs so that the lighting in your home can match the album cover of the songs you’re listening to.

You can access Deezer’s channel on IFTTT here.

Spotify Release New Discover Weekly Feature

by Jacca-RouteNote on July 21, 2015

discover weekly spotify

Yesterday Spotify announced their new feature “Discover Weekly” a playlist personalised based on your listening habits released every Monday just for you.

Spotify claim their new weekly playlists will deliver you their best-ever recommendations as weekly mixtape of fresh music.

The Discover Weekly playlist will be around two hours of custom made music recommendations tailored based around what you listen to and what users with similar tastes have been listening to.

It’s like having your best friend make you a personalised mixtape every single week

Discover Weekly will not only refresh weekly but will evolve it’s songs as your taste evolves so that the more music you listen to the more refined and appropriate the playlist becomes.

Gustav Söderström, Vice President of Product at Spotify, said: “There’s never been a simpler, more personalised way to discover music, with every playlist tuned just to you every single week.”

The new feature was made available yesterday and you should be able to find your personalised Discover Weekly playlist in the left of your Spotify browser under “Playlists”.

Personal review: I expected the Discover Weekly feature to be much the same as Spotify’s not-quite-there Discover section, with on/off suggestions that are only there for holding some resemblance to another artist you’ve listened to. However with Discover Weekly, using more advanced methods to find your suggestions, Spotify have clearly streamlined the Discover feature as best as they possibly can into a two hour playlist.

Of course personal taste is so intangible and unpredictable that it can’t be pinned down and served to you with the expectation of perfection but Spotify seem to have done a fairly good job at coming close.

Being someone who listens to a fair variety of music I was interested to see what direction Spotify would take with my playlist. Whether it would be a mess of trying to appeal to every track in my listening history or a boring jaunt through 2 hours of songs that sound like that track I accidentally played that one time. Though the playlist itself may not have been quite as varied as I would like I did enjoy the majority of my Discover Weekly playlist, providing me with plenty of new music to taste-test.

Overall I feel like Discover Weekly isn’t something worth dismissing: if you are truly interested in discovering new music then this is a feature worth trying. The new playlists only rolled out yesterday so we have yet to see whether Spotify can continue to expand on this tool with the potential to introduce millions to new music but for now I would recommend at least seeing your results, it has the potential to become you’re new favourite source for music.

Control Electronic Instruments with Acoustic Drum Kits

by Jacca-RouteNote on July 21, 2015

Sensory Percussion by Sunhouse is a new technology that takes the expressive nature of drumming and allows you to control electronic instruments with precision.

Sensory Percussion uses sensors and computer software to listen and react to your playing so that it can “capture the essence of your playing” and emulate your technique through multiple, mappable sounds from samples and synthesizers to digital audio effects.

As more and more musicians are experimenting and working with electronic music Sensory Percussion could be the tool to streamline this for drummers, opening up new realms of possibility using your kit.

Watch the Sensory Percussion in action in the video below featuring some brilliant drummers – Kiran Gandhi (M.I.A.), Ian Chang (Son Lux), Matt Duckworth and Nicholas Ley (The Flaming Lips), Joe Stickney (Autre Ne Veut) and Sterling Campbell (David Bowie, The B-52s, Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper, David Byrne, Tina Turner).

Sensory Percussion is currently on Kickstarter to gain funding and giving you the chance to purchase the sensors early at a reduced price! If you want to pledge you can from here: https://goo.gl/huaFA6

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