‘Music on Vine’ Launched by Twitter

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 28, 2015

Today Twitter released a new feature for it’s popular, six-second video looping application Vine, which is focuses more on the audio, in particular the music, of Vines. The new feature is aptly named ‘Music on Vine’.

What this means is that users creating videos on iOS and Android for Vine have more control over their content with the ability to add music to their video. Twitter says that this implementation will help users to discover and create music on their video sharing service.

One of Vine’s unique features was that posts loop from the beginning immediately after ending. This allowed certain, ‘talented’ Vine creators to create a perfect loop of audio that linked seamlessly from finish to start. Vine are now introducing Snap to Beat, a feature that will aid you in creating perfect loops for your Vines.

This all works by tapping the music note in the details screen and then Snap to Beat will identify how much of the song it needs to use to make a seamless loop and will automatically trim your video so that it fits that clip. You can watch a Vine (of course) below that shows how it works.

Seamless looping is just one of the new features in Twitter’s ambitious Music on Vine venture. You can also edit audio seperately to the video by turning off Snap to Beat so you can decide how much sound to include and what part of that sound you want.

Now for on of the most interesting new features being introduced to Vine; Music Discovery. Vine will now include a Featured Tracks section where you can explore featured songs and recently added tracks to Vine. When creating a Vine and tapping the music note to add a song/audio you will see the Featured Tracks section from which you can add songs to your own Vine.

Now for the final new feature to come with Music on Vine; when you are watching a Vine that has used a song to accompany it you can tap the music note button to see what track is being used, eliminating the frustration of relying on Vine creators to respond with what track they used.

It will be interesting to see how much of an impact Music on Vine has on the Vine community and especially the music industry as Vine say that to “bring Vine’s influence on music to life” they have worked with Billboard, the music chart company to add Vine to the Billboard Social 50 Chart. With more than 200 million people watching vines every month this could be a significant introduction.

Music on Vine is up right now on Vine, available for iOS and Android. Find out more at https://vine.co/music.

Apple Release Logic Pro 10.2 in Giant Update

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 26, 2015

Logic Pro has become one of the most widely used DAWs in the years since it’s inception, especially since it’s purchase by powerhouse Apple in 2003 making it a staple of music-making on Mac OS. Two years ago Apple released Logic Pro X, the tenth instalment in Logic Pro’s lifetime, which introduced a virtual drummer and flex pitch among many more features.

Yesterday Apple released their free update to Logic Pro 10.2, an ambitiously large update which introduces loads of new features and fixes. The stand-out addition in 10.2 is the sample-based software synthesizer Alchemy, confirming rumours that Alchemy creators Camel Audio had been acquired by Apple.

Alchemy is of course just one of the new features included in the update and we’ll get to it soon enough but for now lets take a look at what else we get with Logic Pro 10.2.

Existing Logic Pro owners, who get the update for free, will be treated to 1000 new apple loops and will now be able to share songs directly through Apple Music Connect as well as using Force Touch controls on compatible MacBooks. An update to MainStage, a companion to Logic that focusses on live use, that allows users to play Logic’s software instruments in real-time in a performance based setting.

Logic’s Smart Controls have been enhanced allowing two units to be used simultaneously as well as the loop recording feature that creates multiple tracks out of multiple takes.

Now back to the juicy bit, Alchemy. Alchemy will come included with 3000 new presets and a hefty 14GB sample library. Those who have used Alchemy before will instantly recognise the interface despite it’s new flattened look to be more in-line with the style of Logic.

Alchemy in Logic Pro 10.2

Alchemy works using audio samples and allows the user to manipulate tempo and pitch in realtime. It comes with 40 filters and 17 effects and is capable of resynthesis, rebuilding a sample as a synth sound, thanks to it’s synthesis engine. Apple are also introducing the “transform pad” which contains eight segments where you can place different sounds or parameters that you can mix and morph with a drag of your cursor.

Logic’s new Transform Pad

The update also features a host of unknown bug fixes and tweaks. Logic Pro 10.2 is available now as a free update for existing users from the Mac App Store Updates section. For new users Logic Pro X costs $200 and users must have at least OS X 10.9.

Here’s a breakdown of all the main features in the Logic Pro 10.2 update:

Alchemy

  • Next generation synthesizer plug-in with multiple sound generators including; additive, spectral, formant, granular, sampler and virtual analog.
  • Over 3000 presets for all types of electronic music including electronic dance, hip-hop, rock and sound for picture.
  • Integrated keyword preset browser for finding the right sounds quickly
  • Performance controls like the Transform Pad make it easy to explore and reshape sounds.
  • Combine up to four synth modules to create complex, multi-layered sounds.
  • Virtual analog oscillators produce authentic recreations of iconic synth sounds.
  • Wide selection of modeled analog and special effect filters for producing sounds with vintage character and tonal complexity.
  • Create animated, dynamic instruments using over 100 modulation sources that include flexible LFOs, AHDSR and MSEG envelopes, and step sequencers.
  • Manipulate and combine samples in new ways using unique collection of morphing and resynthesis tools.
  • Import EXS24 instruments or create your own using a robust set of sampler features.
  • Apply independent arpeggiators to each of the four sound sources to transform simple chords into elaborate performances.
  • Integrated effects rack with reverb, modulation, delay, compression and a range of distortion effects.

 

Logic 10.2

  • Share directly to Apple Music Connect (requires Apple Music Connect account).
  • Share and backup files to Gobbler (requires Gobbler third-party subscription).
  • Adds support for Force Touch trackpad.
  • Create custom track icons with your own image files.
  • 1000 new Apple Loops from a variety of popular instruments and genres including EDM, Hip Hop, Indie, Disco, Funk and Blues.
  • There are now independent settings for the handling overlapping MIDI recordings depending on whether Cycle is on or off.
  • It’s now possible to set Replace mode for audio recordings independently depending on whether Cycle is on or off.
  • It’s now possible to create new tracks with the same channel strip instead of creating a Take folder when recording audio in cycle mode.
  • Expanded MIDI clock options improve sync compatibility with external midi devices.
  • The new As Time Quantize option in the Piano Roll Snap menu sets the snap value to follow the Inspector quantize setting.
  • Audio regions can now be non-destructively reversed using either a check box in the Region Inspector or a key command.
  • Quantizing large audio files is much faster Usability tweaks and performance updates.

Spire – Free, Four-Track Recording App For iOS

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 26, 2015

Spire is the new, free app from Emmy-award winning audio technology company iZotope. Spire is a four-track recorder for your iOS device that simplify’s and professionalises your recordings.

Izotope claim that Spire is like having an “audio engineer in your pocket” thanks to the app’s ability to add professional polish to your recordings allowing you to make great sounding recordings wherever you are. Spire’s automatic signal processing is designed so that users of the app can share their creations with anyone easily, whether that be via text, email or to other applications.

Spires main features include:

  • Built-in limiter, de-esser, dynamic EQ, compressor and stereo imager.
  • Simple touch and drag mixing and adjustable mic input controls.
  • Voice command offers hands-free control.
  • Streamlined metronome including tap-tempo function.
  • Sharing capabilities through SoundCloud, text, email, apps and cloud storage such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

There is an official SoundCloud page where users can upload their recordings directly from Spire. The app is available now from the app store.

Watch a preview of the app below:

And below watch a comparison of audio recorded normally and then through Spire with it’s professional mastering.

Minute of Silence Now Most Popular Song in Austria

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 25, 2015

At the of top of the iTunes charts in Austria right now is the track “Schweigeminute (Traiskirchen),” Schweigeminute meaning ‘minute’s silence’ in German. And the track is just that, a minute song of silence.

Austrian artist Raoul Haspel created the track as a project born out of his frustration with the refugee policies of his government and the lack of improvement at the Traiskirchen facility. Haspel has said that he chose silence to counteract the on-going debate over the refugee crisis currently happening in Europe.

“Whenever there’s a conflict, or an extreme situation, the people who repeat their arguments just get louder and more intense, and they usually don’t help very much in solving the problem.” Haspel continues: “The people who stay more calm, who reflect a bit more; they have enough silence to hear their inner voice and they’re usually much more helpful.”

Haspel is using proceeds from downloads of “Schweigeminute” to benefit refugees at a camp in the south of Vienna, Traiskirchen, where roughly 2000 people are living in conditions that international agencies have described as “inhumane.” According to Haspel it’s too soon to tell how much has been raised by “Schweigeminute” but the track is available for purchase now from Google Play, iTunes and Amazon. Though major music stores take a commission of each track Haspel is hoping they will make an exception for his campaign – He has said if they don’t he’ll pay the difference himself.

Despite hoping his campaign could make a difference Haspel says that he never expected the response that he has seen, saying: “Imagine, a few people in tiny little Austria press on a button on their cellphone to create attention for this problem and days later half the world knows about. Imagine the possibilities.”

Rdio Launches ‘Promoted Music Experiences’

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 25, 2015

Rdio is introducing a new native advertising system, called Promoted Music Experiences, where advertisers are more involved in the music curation. Rdio believes it is offering brands something that competitors haven’t got.

Jared Heiman, head of Global Advertising Partnerships for Rdio, said in an interview for Adweek: “Streaming services thus far have had a difficult time introducing native advertising into it’s platform, nobody is offering all three components in one ad package.”

With Rdio’s Promoted Music Experiences brands will have their own branded station, profile and a home story consisting of a personalised feed of music recommendations. Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos are the first company to partner with Rdio in their new advertising program.

Hard Rock chose to partner with Rdio due to their global availability and ease of access. Matt Watts, director of music and marketing at Hard Rock hotels and casinos, said: “[We're] aligning with a company that can support us in those markets. The fact that you can stream it so easily without some sort of API, you can stream it on the web, I think was a really powerful feature for us.”

Watts said that the managers of each Hard Rock property came together to create Hard Rocks playlist, each choosing 20-50 songs. Hard Rock has partnered with artists such as Young the Giant, Andrew McMahon and The Jane Doe’s who will reportedly curate playlists as well.

Rdio and Hard Rock have a yearlong agreement which is part of a larger partnership however Rdio say that they plan to introduce additional partners, Heiman saying: “We do have other brands lined up.”

New Age Ratings For Music Videos

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 24, 2015

Last week the UK government announced that they will now  permanently assess and enforce age ratings on major music videos after launching a pilot programme in October 2014 of classifying music videos.

The new measures introduced will mean that music videos produced in the UK on YouTube and Vevo will be sent to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) from major UK labels and the BBFC will then assess them and pass on a rating with guidance to YouTube and Vevo prior to it’s release.

Vevo and YouTube are said to have worked in coalition with the BBFC and the British Phongraphic Industry (BPI) to create a system in which music videos online could be classified with a rating, such as those used in feature films and on DVD cases.

One-hundred-and-thirty-two videos have so far been submitted to the BBFC for classification, only one of which has recieved an 18 rating (the highest age rating in the UK). The current holder of the only 18 rated music video is Dizzee Rascal for the video to his track “Couple of Stacks” which features the British rapper violently murdering multiple people.

The move is supposedly in an effort by the government to protect children from innapropriate content online. Minister for internet safety and security, Joanna Shields, said: “Keeping children safe as they experience and enjoy all the benefits the internet has to offer is a key priority for this government’s one-nation approach to help families across Britain.”

Though Vevo has said that it is exploring ways to link the new age ratings with additional technology to reinforce age controls on its website. Meanwhile Youtube has said that the new ratings complement YouTube’s restricted mode which allows parents to screen certain content.

SoundCloud’s Top 10 Played Artists This Year

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 24, 2015

So far 2015 has been an eventful year for the music streaming landscape with two major new services (Tidal and Apple Music), plenty of controversy and record-breaking numbers of streams. With all the news around major industry services it’s easy to forget the most popular service for independent artists; SoundCloud.

SoundCloud hasn’t stayed completely clear of the headlines but seems to still be on track having almost doubled the amount of track plays since last year. Being open to everyone makes SoundCloud one of the greatest online resources for music discovery and for independents artists/labels breaking through.

With all this in mind let’s take a look at the top ten artists on SoundCloud for the past year:

01 – Drake

 

02 – Major Lazer

 

03 – G-Eazy

 

04 – Future

 

05 – Kygo

 

06 – PartyNextDoor

 

07 – Chris Brown

 

08 – Kid Ink

 

09 – The Weeknd

 

10 – Chance The Rapper

 

Streamfair Campaign Launched by PRS for Music

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 20, 2015

Music streaming has come a long way since it’s inception with more than 1-trillion songs being streamed in only the first six months of this year, more than was streamed in the entirety of 2014 (according to Next Big Sound.)

With the massive rise in music streaming there has also been increasing tensions over the fair treatment of artists receiving a low percentage of royalties with some services as can be seen by the recent reveal that Beatport is paying artists 5% royalties.

PRS for Music, an organisation representing over 111,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, has launched a campaign by the name of “Streamfair” with the intent of making the streaming environment a better environment for the artists who make it up.

Robert Ashcroft, PRS for Music Chief Executive, said: “It is unacceptable that some online content providers use ‘safe harbour’ provisions either to make token payments or avoid the need to pay a license altogether by insisting that they are not liable for content even though their business models are predicated on monetising the creative works they carry.

“Furthermore, it’s not right that legitimate fully licensed digital service providers have to endure the resulting unfair competition, which is stifling their growth and potential profitability. Unfair competition with free services is a problem that will not fix itself and requires intervention from the legislator… that’s why Streamfair is a timely and crucial campaign.”

The Streamfair campaign has 4 main areas in which PRS for Music want to affect and see improvement in:

  • Copyright legislation: Clarity is needed on who can benefit from ‘safe harbour’ provisions. Originally introduced to support investment and innovation for digital providers, it is being used more widely by a number of digital content services to build multi-billion pound services.
  • Online Licensing: Supporting and collaborating with dynamic, legitimate online businesses to ensure they get to market quickly, thrive and scale.
  • Promoting the value of music creators: Successful, innovative and legitimate digital service providers are vital to the ongoing success of the UK and global music market. Together with music creators both contribute enormously to the cultural and commercial success of the UK’s overall economy. Those who make music must be recognised and rewarded for their work.
  • Education: Music isn’t free. By tackling some of the questions about streaming, the campaign will help people understand that those making music should be recognised for their work.

You can show your support of the Streamfair campaign using the hashtag #streamfair on Twitter and you can find out more here.

Spotify Cracking Down On “Playola” Playlist Payments

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 20, 2015

Sean Parker’s “Hipster International” playlist is credited as popularising Lorde’s “Royals”

For several months there have been increasing reports of “playola” around playlists on Spotify, a method in which curators of popular playlists will request money from labels in exchange for adding their tracks to the playlist.

Playlist promotion has become so common on streaming services that some Record Labels have been incorporating it into their marketing strategies. Daniel Glass of Glassnote Records, who has been soliciting songs to streaming companies for about 2 years, saying: “It’s part of our company culture and our lingo in the hallways.”

Streaming data has become increasingly popular in the industry often being used to dictate radio stations choices and playlist discovery leading to synch licenses for new artists.

Popular playlists have the ability to make a song go viral with hundreds-of-thousands of viewers who will then share to their friends who can share and so on, creating a spike in streams for a song through a method reminiscent of social media. So it is clear to see the potential behind playlists and why Labels are so interested in paying to get on them.

Spotify has now decided to take action to crack down on playlist promotion by changing it’s Terms and Conditions to stop users from selling accounts and playlists. Spotify also state “accepting any compensation, financial or otherwise, to influence… the content included on an account or playlist.”

There is however concern over whether playlist-pitching agencies like DigMark, a partner of Universal Music after they recruited it’s founder Jay Frank to run Universal’s global streaming marketing strategy, could find loopholes in Spotify’s policy. There is speculation over whether paying playlisters for “consultancy” rather than for putting a specific song(s) would bypass Spotify’s new Terms.

It will be interesting to see if these changes affect the landscape of Spotify and potentially the industry as a whole with songs such as Lorde’s “Royals” supposedly breaking through to the mainstream via one of Spotify’s largest playlists.

SoundCloud Stops Sharing Data With Next Big Sound

by Jacca-RouteNote on August 20, 2015

Next Big Sound is a company providing analytic data for music online by analysing the popularity of artists through social networks, streaming services and radio.

Next Big Sound was recently acquired by Pandora and this change seems to have spurred SoundCloud’s decision to stop reporting their data to Next Big Sound, saying in a statement to Music Ally:

Since SoundCloud’s beginning we’ve focused on building an ecosystem where creativity thrives. That creativity includes developers who have built innovative services using SoundCloud’s API. With the recent acquisition of Next Big Sound by Pandora, we have decided, as a normal course of business, that the time has come for Next Big Sound to discontinue using SoundCloud’s API.

This announcement comes just after Next Big Sound released their Summer 2015 report which revealed SoundCloud’s streaming service had almost doubled in monthly plays between June 2014 and May 2015.

When Next Big Sound joined Pandora in May they announced through a blog post: “There is no better way to further our mission than to become part of the leading music service, Pandora, whose belief in the infinite power of music aligns completely with our own.”

But with the loss of one of their biggest assets in SoundCloud the decision may have been more controversial than they had expected.

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