Hour long Instagram videos have launched and will make money for creators

Instagram have just launched a new platform which will feature long-form videos and will feature some of social media’s top “stars” connecting in new ways.

This week Instagram launched their new platform IGTV which takes the short and easily digestible content of it’s photo/video sharing parent and extends it into a YouTube threatening, long-form format. The new hub will allow it’s users to upload videos up to one hour long and will be home to famed social media personalities.

Users can choose between tuning on from the regular Instagram app or they can head to the standalone IGTV app. The videos will be displayed vertically which is a brave choice for a generation raised on widescreen, but Instagram are hoping their high profile names will appeal to new users. The two examples Instagram give in their release statement are a new project from LaurDIY or tuning in to see the latest comedy skit from King Bach.

Similar to Instagram, opening the IGTV app you will automatically be presented with your timeline of videos which will begin playing automatically. IGTV will also offer up other videos and creators based on your likes so that you can discover your new favourite video creator. The interface is built around discovery as well with the tabs you can choose from including: ‘For You’, ‘Following’, ‘Popular’, and ‘Continue Watching’.

Since launching the platform this week Instagram executive Jackson Williams has said that by the end of the year IGTV videos will be monetisable however did not speak on their exact plans for monetising videos. Williams said: “As for our larger vision down the road, this is just day one. We’re just trying to make sure it doesn’t crash.”

In their release statement Instagram co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom said: “Instagram has always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day. With your help, IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love.”

GarageBand gets free lessons from artists + loads of cool new stuff

Garageband is a wicked way to make music on the go and it’s getting even better with their new chock-filled update.

Apple are updating their music sketchbook-cum-DAW-cum-fun app with a load of wicked new features sure to appeal to everyone from amateur to pro. The music-making app is getting a host of new sounds, instruments, and loops to play around with and potentially create a new track or ringtone with.

GarageBand 10.3 brings with it two new drummers to play along with which will play a mixture of roots and jazz-influenced brush styles. The update also brings with it 1,000 new electronic and urban loops across a range of genres like future bass and chill rap. In addition 400 animal, machine and voice sound effects are being added to play with.

On top of their fun new sounds, loops and AI drummers there are some wicked new instruments to play with. Anyone who’s played around with GarageBand knows their Asian instruments are the funnest ones and now there are 3 more to jam with. Traditionally Chinese and Japanese instruments the Guzheng, Koto, and Taiko drums are now free to play with on GarageBand. Kotos are the national instrument of Japan and are pretty special. We haven’t played with them yet but GarageBand are good at faithfully recreating instruments in a digital format that’s easy to remember.

The Japanese Koto GarageBand instrument
The Japanese Koto

A big part of the update brings Apple’s Artist Lessons to everyone on GarageBand for free. The lessons get popular artists like Death Cab for Cutie, Rush, Sarah McLachlan, Sting and many more to personally teach you how to play their tracks on piano and guitar. Artist Lessons have until now cost $4.99 but all of the Basic Lessons are free to play and learn with now.

In addition Artist Lessons have come to users around the world in over 150 countries whereas before they were available only in 20 lucky countries.

YouTube unveil new ways for creators to make money and launch videos

This year’s VidCon saw YouTube reveal a whole range of new ways that creators can connect with their fans, earn more for their work, and even build up hype for the launch of new videos.

Yesterday was the 8th VidCon, a celebration of online video making centred around YouTube and launched by YouTube creators Hank and John Green in 2010. YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan got on stage to talk about YouTube’s developments over it’s 13 years of existence and what it’s doing to make it a better place for creators.

Following his talk at YouTube where he revealed their next steps in monetisation, fan perks and more, Mohan wrote: “YouTube is a vibrant community where everyone has a voice. Every day, creators use their voice to entertain, spur action and bring about positive change. That’s why over the last year we’ve doubled down on building the products and tools that the creator community needs.”

The priority of their talk focused on how YouTube are going to be helping creators make more money from their videos and creations. Some juicy stats showed that the number of creators earning five figures a year from uploading videos is up by 35% and magnificently the number of creators earning six figures is up by a giant 40%.

They told the crowd that they want to look at ways to make money beyond ads more. YouTube have explored revenue sources beyond ads with their subscription service, providing an ad-free, paid service which paid creators from subscription costs, as well as Super Chat which allows fans to pay for priority messages on their favourite creators live streams.

Channel Memberships were announced at VidCon, a new monthly subscription that gives viewers access to unique badges, new emojis, and Members-only posts in the Community tab. In addition, paying viewers will gain access to unique custom perks offered by creators, such as exclusive live streams, extra videos, or shout-outs. YouTube have been testing this as sponsorships with a select few channels but will be expanding the feature to eligible channels with over 100,000 subscribers soon.

Merchandise is getting a home on YouTube at long last. Many of YouTube’s creators sell their own merch, whether it’s t-shirts, crafty creations, phone cases, or anything else most of the top channels tout their own products. YouTube channels will now have a shelf where creators can choose from over 20 merchandise items to customise and sell via Teespring. The feature is available now for “eligible U.S.-based channels with over 10,000 subscribers”.

Premieres will allow creators to make an event out of their new video and let their fans rejoice and celebrate like the launch of a new movie. Premieres will allow creators to upload their video and then debut it as live event with fans joining in the lead up to it in a live chat building hype together. It allows people to come together and celebrate the moment rather than waiting until they see that it’s live.

This will bring fans and creators together in a new way but it will also provide new options for monetisation. For the first time ever fans will be able to use Super Chat on a regular YouTube Video rather than a live video. YouTube have begun rolling out Premieres already and will be made available to everyone soon.

On this day 70 years ago Columbia Records launched 33⅓ vinyl

On this day, June 21st, in 1948, Columbia Records launched their new vinyl disc which played at thirty-three and a third RPM – changing records forever.

Columbia Records launched a vinyl revolution that is still thriving to this day 70 years ago to the day. Their 12-inch, 33-⅓ LPs launched in New York on June 21st in 1948 and revolutionised music with their ability to fit up to 20 minutes on each side and shrink vinyl grooves down to a millimetre in size.

Other record companies had attempted to extend the capabilities of the standard 78-RPM vinyl records at the time but suffered a variety of failures. RCA Victor even launched the first commercially available vinyl long-player in 1931 that was capable of playing at 33-⅓ records but it’s capabilities’ utility was delayed thanks to the Great Depression.

American Records Corporation president Edward Wallerstein reminisced: “When I became general manager of the Victor Division of RCA on July 1, 1933, my first act was to take them off the market. Most of the records were made from Victorlac, a vinyl compound [and] the pickups available at that time were so heavy they just cut through the material after several plays. The complaints from customers all over the US were so terrific that we were forced to withdraw the LPs.”

Columbia released 33-⅓ 10-inchers, but quickly phased them out in 1932, thanks to similarly maddening technical difficulties. The commercial public would not be able to consume and listen to sturdier, lengthier LPs for another 15 years.

Today is a great day to celebrate the revolutionary disc by busting out your player and cracking your favourite 33-⅓ records on. Streaming may be the music format of the future but Vinyl is alive and well thanks to Columbia Records 70 years on.

Get free Pandora Premium and Amazon Music with AT&T

AT&T customers can start their music streaming journeys for free soon with their new bundled partners including Pandora and Amazon Music.

Following a recent merger between AT&T and Time Warner, the network provider have revealed their new offerings for mobile subscribers. Their new WatchTV service allows subscribers to choose one of their 8 Premium services for no extra charge on top of 31 live TV channels to watch.

The new offering is cheaper than their popular DirectTV Now offering and comes with their unlimited data package for watching endlessly on the go. On top of more than 30 live TV channels and over 15,000 TV show and movies to watch on demand subscribers can choose any of the following services for a Premium subscription:

  • HBO
  • Cinemax
  • SHOWTIME
  • STARZ
  • VRV
  • Amazon Music Unlimited
  • Pandora Premium

AT&T Mobility and Entertainment president, David Christopher said: “We were the first wireless provider to bring entertainment and unlimited data together, and, once again, we’re redefining what that means. This is no longer about including one channel or service with your wireless plan, but an incredible lineup of content that delivers more of what you care about – over 30 live TV channels and more than 15,000 TV shows and movies on demand, as well as premium movie channels, music streaming with more to come!”

Pandora’s CEO, Roger Lynch says: “Forging strong relationships with leading brands across multiple categories is a key focus for Pandora as we look to drive user growth. Teaming up with AT&T makes perfect sense – we have the opportunity to introduce Pandora Premium to AT&T’s massive subscriber base and provide them with the added-value of our on-demand music service.”

How to Get WatchTV

WatchTV is available with our two latest unlimited wireless plans:

Sign up for AT&T Unlimited &More Premium and get:

  • Option to add WatchTV
  • Option to add one of several premium services
  • $15 monthly credit toward DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW and U-verse TV
  • 15GB of high-speed tethering
  • High-quality video

Sign up for AT&T Unlimited &More and get:

  • Option to add WatchTV
  • $15 monthly credit toward DIRECTV NOW
  • Up to 4G LTE unlimited data

At launch, full details on our wireless plans will be available on att.com/unlimited. Details on WatchTV as a $15/month standalone service are also coming soon.

Tips for artists in interviews from a top Billboard journalist

The more ears start opening up to your music the more attention you’ll get and eventually that catches the attention of journos – here’s some expert advice on handling interviews.

Spotify have conducted a meta-interview with Billboard’s Kevan Kenney to get his top tips on talking to journalists. With plenty of experience talking to artists on the other end of the microphone Kenney gives his advice on being ready for whatever you’re thrown when the exciting time comes to be interviewed.

As Spotify say themselves, the lead up to the interview is the most important time for you to prepare and get an idea of what your responses to certain questions will be. Assume that you’re going to be asked about your music of course, the journey to where you are today, what the future holds, and more. As well, think about how you want to present yourself and your artistry – whilst no-one recommends lying you want to create the right image of yourself and you should consider that in your responses.

Whilst the best interviews are natural and come from the heart, being prepared will ensure that you don’t leave any awkward silences or come across like you don’t know what you’re doing. Kenney gives a bunch of great tips on handling yourself in interviews which you can check out here – we’ve collated our favourite tips here for you.

I think the best interviews are conversations where we can get past the standard talking points and get to know you as a person… Let’s find those connections between you and your fans.
Know the important facts: Your release date, Who produced your record, When tickets go on sale.
It’s like hanging out with your friends. Sometimes you guys are going to be going nuts, wildin’ out – and other times, it’s just a chill night in watching Netflix contemplating life. It’s all about the vibe and context of the interview.
I think some artists get nervous because they feel the interview is a test and they’re going to be asked a question they may not know the answer to, but that’s not how an interview should feel. You and I are just shooting the breeze and getting to talk about something pretty cool – your music!
The quickest way out of an awkward situation is to acknowledge whatever the awkward component is. It takes away its power and then you can have fun with it and move on.
If there are issues you’re passionate about and you want to utilize the platform your music has afforded you, I say go for it.

Meet people around the world with games on Alexa and Google Assistant

Board games are joining us in the future as artificial intelligence gets ready to start playing games with us and even enhancing them with interactive experiences.

AI’s are in almost every household now whether they’re in your pocket on a phone or managing your home in a Smart speaker. Data from earlier this year shows that smart speakers are in 20% of households now and soon they’ll be playing games with you – the fun kind not the world domination kind.

London-based company Sensible Object have just raised $3.2 million to put towards their development of creative games that integrate into our new technological world. They have been working on games that can use the artificial intelligence of Alexa and Google Assistant to provide a gaming experience with new dimensions and a new level of interaction thanks to the integrated tech which uses voice recognition.

When In Rome is the company’s first game, a multiplayer game which is planned to be released through Alexa on July 2 exclusively until early next year when it comes to Google Assistant. The game/experience will take players to 20 cities around the world and introduces you to a friendly local who will ask trivia questions about their city. You will play with team mates to answer questions and make friends around the world whilst earning upgrade cards and collecting souvenirs for each city.

Sensible Object CEO, Alex Fleetwood says: “When you think about having an amazing night out in a city, you don’t know the people you [will] meet, the kind of things that might happen. It goes into that kind of territory and brings some interesting ideas into the game. We’re working on music licensing for the game with local artists. So, for example, how do you bring the authentic sounds of contemporary Nairobi into the game, how can we bring that to life?”

The game will be updated regularly with new content and characters. A planned expansion coming later this year will be aimed at adults and will allow them to explore the nightlife of cities in the game. CEO Fleetwood says that Sensible Objects plan When In Rome to be the first in a series of ‘Voice Originals’, AI powered games. They will release 3 more Voice Originals in 2019 says Fleetwood.

Their $3.2 million round of funding came from investors including London Venture Partners, NCSOFT, March Capital, and Alexa Fund (an Amazon initiative to put $200 million of funding in startups creating products and services for virtual assistants). In addition to developing their own products Sensible Object also want to make their toolkit available for other developers to create board games with.

Fleetwood said of opening up their technology to other companies: “One of the uses of invested capital is to kind of keep building out those tools. We’re really excited about this because it plays into a strategy for Sensible Object of unbundling the box game.”

Sensible Object have raised $5 million and now have 25 employees since they launched their company in 2016.

Fender reveal their sexy new Player series of guitars

Timeless designs, iconic sound and style. Built on the foundation of legends, the Player Series makes it easy to start your musical legacy with authentic Fender tone and feel.

Fender have revealed their new Player series of guitars featuring 21 new guitars and basses which Fender promise have been updated for new generations. Their new made-in-Mexico series will replace their current Standard Series also made in Mexico.

The new series will feature Alnico pickups which provide the authentic Fender tone with a futuristic edge in each single-coil, split-coil and humbucking pickup. Satin-finished C”-shaped maple necks ensure smooth playing whilst the body is designed with each model’s original specifications.

Here are all the new models coming out of Fender’s new player series:

stratocaster Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch

ARTICULATE WITH A TIMELESS VOICE

THE PLAYER STRATOCASTER®

• Three Player Series pickups
• 22-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard
• Dedicated bridge pickup tone control

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch telecaster

THE ONE THAT STARTED IT ALL

THE PLAYER TELECASTER®

• Two Player Series pickups
• 22-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard
• String-through-body bridge with bent-steel saddles

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch jazzmaster

REFINED YET WILD

THE PLAYER JAZZMASTER®

• Two Player Series humbucking pickups
• Push/pull pot to coil-split humbucking bridge pickup
• 22-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch Jaguar

SWEET JANGLY NOTES WITH A BITE

THE PLAYER JAGUAR®

• Player Series humbucking bridge pickup and one single-coil Jaguar neck pickup
• Slide switch to coil-split humbucking bridge pickup
• 22-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch Precision P bass

THE SOUND THAT DEFINED THE ELECTRIC BASS

THE PLAYER PRECISION BASS®

• One Player Series split-coil Precision Bass® middle pickup
• Master volume and tone controls
• 20-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch jazz bass

THICK AND SMOOTH WITH THUNDEROUS PUNCH

THE PLAYER JAZZ BASS®

• Two Player Series single-coil Jazz Bass pickups
• Two volume controls, master tone control
• 20-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard

Fender player series guitar guitars new model series modern instrument launch Jaguar bass

A ONE-TWO PUNCH OF HYBRID TONE

THE PLAYER JAGUAR BASS®

• One Player Series single-coil J Bass® bridge pickup; one Player Series split-coil P Bass® middle pickup
• Two volume controls; master tone control
• 20-fret, 9.5″-radius fingerboard


Check out the series which starts at £559.00/$674.99 from the Fender website: shop.fender.com/en-US/electric-series/player

Dirty Palm gets selected for massive dance playlist on Spotify through RouteNote

We’re thrilled to see another artist make it on to Spotify’s giant playlists after uploading their music to them through us.

Spotify’s playlists can have millions of followers who come each week to hear the latest and greatest tunes being released. Many of the artists who upload their music to the top stores and streaming services through us have found their way to some of their biggest playlists. Producer Borrtex spoke to us about how after uploading to us and getting added to a playlist with 2+ million followers took him from thousands of plays a month to hundreds-of-thousands in days.

The latest artist to get picked for one of Spotify’s massive playlists was Dirty Palm with his brand new dance banger So Sick which is sure to be a favourite in the clubs this summer. So it makes sense that Spotify loved it and added it to their massive Club Beats with over 350,000 followers tuning in for the best new anthems coming out every week.

Check out the wicked new single from Dirty Palm below and while you’re at it, why not see what else Spotify’s choon-filled Club Beats playlist has to offer.

Get exclusive music promotion as First On SoundCloud comes to Europe

SoundCloud are bringing their First On promotional campaign to Europe to bring the best independent and rising artists to the forefront.

In March SoundCloud revealed their new campaign to promote “groundbreaking artists” on their massive music platform, First On SoundCloud, selected from their giant community of independent artists. Any artist could tag #SCFIRST to take part and SoundCloud chose 10 US artists to “celebrate the inspiring stories and raw energy of creators whose careers who began on the platform”.

SoundCloud are taking First On SoundCloud to Europe so that European artists can get involved in the tag and have their chance to be chosen by SoundCloud to promote across their playlists, social media, newsletters, and blog. The lucky few who are chosen to highlight will also get “fast track consideration” for monetisation in SoundCloud Premier and even potential partnership opportunities.

As with the US campaign artists just need to tag their original music with #SCFIRST to be seen and gain the potential to be picked up by SoundCloud. Tweeting the music with the #SCFIRST tag will increase the likelihood that SoundCloud see the track. If they like what an artist has got then they might be added to their First On SoundCloud playlist which shows on SoundCloud’s homepage.

These promotional opportunities are a big deal for artists on such a massive platform that has been built by it’s community of independent creators. SoundCloud offering those up-and-coming artists a chance to spread their music around the world is a big deal and a great opportunity for artists.

Regarding the expansion of their First On SoundCloud campaign to Europe, SoundCloud said: “All of us at SoundCloud are excited to continue to support emerging artists on their creative journey!” Get uploading and tagging now for your chance to get your music promoted across SoundCloud’s giant global community.