This app has been dubbed ‘the easiest way to learn piano’

Skoove are getting people learning the piano around the world with their simple app.

Skoove are a Berlin based company that are teaching people how to play the piano all across the globe. Their intuitive and easy to use app has seen it dubbed “the easiest way to learn the piano”.

The company have just raised €3m (roughly $3.4 million) from new investors Caparuca, MGO Digital Ventures, and Ringier Digital Ventures. Existing investors also helped to fund a boost to the company; Egora Holding, IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, and High-Tech Gründerfonds.

The new round of funding will help the company push their app even further to reach more people and enhance it’s features. Skoove’s CEO, Florian Penge said they will use the funds to “take the next step in product development and growth”.

The app is most popular in North America and Europe where they are planning to expand their team to gain a wider reach. Whilst they haven’t released exact numbers of users they claim that more than one million lessons have been taken on their apps.

The app currently features 13 different courses that uses hundreds of popular music tracks so that user’s can get familiar with playing to something they already recognise.

Find out more from their website.

Protect your music: A guide for artists on copyright

The world of copyright can be a complicated one but as an artist or creator it is VITAL you understand how your work is protected by the law and how to ensure you have the protection you need.

Copyright can seem like a scary word sometimes. COPYRIGHT! See what I mean? But don’t worry, with a little knowledge you and copyright will be the best of friends.

Copyrights are all about security whether they are a trademark that protects identifying names and logos, patents that protect an invention or product, and of course music copyrights which provide the legal protection of – you guessed it – music!

Music is a wonderful thing, especially as a creator. But it can be a cruel world out there; people sampling music without permission, stealing melodies (ahem Robin Thicke ahem), singing lyrics as if they are their own. You want to make sure your creative work is protected from this. 

There are two types of copyright for music recordings:

Performing Arts (PA) Copyright – Composition

The composition copyrights apply to the substance of your music this means lyrics, chords, melody – everything that makes it unique.

Composition copyrights apply from the point of creation in the US. So, as soon as you have written your lyrics on paper, transcribed your music notation down, or even just recorded a voice memo – you now own the PA copyright to your piece.

The copyrights of compositions typically go to songwriters, composers and publishers making up the Publishing industry. Publishers make their profits by helping artists to copyright compositions that they think have a lot of potential.

Sound Recording (SR) Copyright – Master

This is the actual recording of your music. The version that’s on your SoundCloud, the file that’s on your computer, what play’s when you press play on your DAW.

As with compositions, master recordings become copyrighted from the moment they become tangible (i.e. recorded). If your sound recording is fixed, meaning it is captured in a medium from which it can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated – you can now claim ownership of it.

The copyrights of master recordings typically belong to the performers (who performed on the recording) and the copyright owners which are often a record label. The record industry makes it’s money from the sale and use of sound recordings.

A short recording may lack sufficient amount of authorship to warrant copyright protection if it is very short. This applies to all work, for example a few words could not be copyrighted by an author the same as a poem or novel could.

Master recording copyrights do not apply when they are accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual works. When accompanying a piece of film the recording is considered part of that motion picture or audiovisual work and not it’s own entity.

To win a suit regarding your master recording you must:

  1. Show that your creation existed first
  2. Prove that whoever has copied your work was aware of it before

Sampling ‘n’ Stuff

Okay, now we need to talk about Derivative Sound Recordings. A lot of the people who upload their music to RouteNote to get their music on all the top services are talented producers who might sample, chop and remix from other tracks. Copyright applies here the same as anywhere else.

So first of all – YOU MUST HAVE PERMISSION. Depending on the artist or work you will normally need a license to use someone else’s music in your own. Written permission from smaller artists will normally suffice as long as you ensure they are the sole copyright holders.

For derivative sound recordings – an audio recording that incorporates pre-existing sounds, such as sounds that were previously registered or published or sounds that were fixed before February 15, 1972 – the pre-existing sounds must have been altered or utilised in a way that makes it different from it’s original recording.

As long as you have in some way changed the source material (basically you can’t just steal a track and do nothing to it) and have acquired permission (which it’s best to have in writing for your protection) then you’re all set to sample, remix, re-work and have fun with other recordings!


Your content may be protected from the point of creation but to take legal action against someone to protect it you must formally register your Sound Recording and Performing Arts protection with the United States Copyright Office.

To register with the US Copyright Office you need:

  1. A completed application form (Read below for advice)
  2. A non-refundable filing fee – $35 for a single author work. Save money by submitting an EP or Album in it’s entirety
  3. The required ‘deposit’ of your work – recommended a digital file that cannot exceed 500 MB in size.
  4. If submitting your work in a physical format, print a shipping slip after completing the online application form and deposit it in the same package as your ‘deposit’.
  5. You can submit up to ten unpublished sound recordings using the online group registration of unpublished works. Must be unpublished and created by the same author(s) with all authors named as copyright claimants.
  6. Multiple sound recordings can be submitted as a ‘collective work’. For example a digital album or CD. This will cover the individual sound recordings as well if they are owned by the same party and they have not been previously published or registered and aren’t in the public domain.
  7. You can register multiple sound recordings with text and artwork as a ‘unit of publication’. This applies if they were physically packaged or bundled together and if all the recordings were published together in the unit.
  8. Once submitted it becomes part of the public record and cannot be returned.
Guide to completing the Application form:

Type of Work

  • When you begin an application, select the “Sound Recording” option on the “Type of Work” screen. The questions you encounter when filling out the application are based on the choice
    you make at the beginning of the application. If you select the wrong option you will need to
    start over.

Title

  • Provide the title exactly as it appears on the work itself.

Publication

“Publication” occurs when phonorecords of a work are distributed to the public by sale, transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. Offering to distribute phonorecords to a group of persons for the purpose of further distribution or publicly performing the work also constitutes publication.

Simply performing a sound recording publicly does not constitute publication.

  • If the work has not been published, state that the work is “unpublished.”
  • If the work has been published, give the month, day, and year that phonorecords were first distributed to the public or first offered to a group of persons for further distribution or public
    performance.

Author

  • The author of a sound recording is the performer featured in the recording and the producer
    who captured and processed the sounds that appear in the final recording.
  • If the performer or producer created the sound recording during the course of his or her employment under a typical employment relationship, then the sound recording is a work made for hire, and the employer is the author of the sound recording.
  • If the performer or producer created the sound recording for a third party as a compilation or contribution to a collective work, and if the parties agreed in writing that the sound recording will be a “work made for hire,” then the third party is the author of the work.
    For more information on works made for hire, see Works Made for Hire (Circular 30)

Type of Authorship

  • When registering a sound recording, check the box for “Sound Recording”
  • When registering artwork, photographs, or text of liner notes, include a brief statement to that
    effect in the “Other” field.
  • When registering a compilation or a collective work (see below), state “compilation of sound recordings” in the “Other” field.

Limitation of Claim

  • When registering a derivative sound recording, identify the preexisting material in the “material excluded” field and identify the new material in the “new material included” field. If the preexisting material has been registered with the Copyright Office, include the registration number and year.

We hope this guide helps you to navigate the turbulent seas of copyrights and that you make sure your work is protected as you want it to be.
We also have a handy guide on the different kinds of Music Licenses you can get here: routenote.com/blog/what-different-music-licenses-mean/
Got any more questions? Get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Apple Music’s new ‘For You’ gives you different themes to soundtrack your day

Apple Music’s ‘For You’ is getting themes to soundtrack your life that update throughout the day.

As with all of the major streaming services, Apple Music pride themselves on presenting their users with curated playlists and recommendations that suit them. They’re updating their ‘For You’ section to make it an even more exciting and personalised place to come for listening suggestions.

The new layout will be organised around ‘themes’ of music that are personalised for each user. Examples of themes include collections of music “To Make You Smile” and “Starting Early” on top of artists and genres that Apple Music have selected based on your tastes. Beats 1 episodes will also be included in recommendations when they think it suits you.

Use Apple Music’s ‘love’ and ‘dislike’ features on tracks, albums and artists to refine your preferences on the service. The knowledge will all help Apple into presenting you with the music they think you will like arranged into themes so you can easily browse and find a mood or scenario that fits you.

The themes and offerings will be regularly updated, even throughout the day so when you come back to the app you have something new to try. The new themes can be found in the For You section under the existing features in that section.

Listening to the music you like will improve Apple Music’s understanding but don’t forget to use the love and dislike buttons to refine it even more.

Mix SoundCloud tracks on Virtual DJ

Bring over 200 million more tracks into your DJ set with SoundCloud now streaming straight to Virtual DJ.

SoundCloud has the largest library of music online from user-uploaded creations to major label tracks. They’re ensuring that DJs are never short for a tune by bringing their massive libraries to DJ apps, starting with Serato DJ in December and now Virtual DJ apps.

With a SoundCloud Go+ subscription you can pick from SoundCloud’s 200+ million track library to start mixing with. Here’s how to do it:

  • Download and log in to Virtual DJ 8.
  • Enable SoundCloud within the app and sign in to your account (you need to be a SoundCloud Go+ subscriber).
  • Restart your Virtual DJ 8 app to pull in tracks from your SoundCloud playlists, and to search, mix and stream from SoundCloud’s catalog of official releases, emerging creator content, and everything in between – directly from the app, in real time.

SoundCloud say to keep your eyes peeled as they roll out integrations with other leading DJ applications later this year.

Make cool synth loops in your browser with Tones

Build pretty loops, sequences and chords with this simple yet versatile synthesizer straight from your web browser.

Tones is a simple, open and collaborative music-making platform that works straight from your browser. It’s as simple as tapping a pattern of notes using dots on a board, each one representing a note in the scale. Add multiple dots to make chords and space them out to create melodies.

You can edit your piece by changing the key, scale, offset and also toggle a drum line on and off. Then to really start experimenting go into sounds and effect the filters, synth, shape and more to completely change the dynamics of your sound. It’s surprisingly deep with ADSR filters!

You also have Noise, Echo and Reverb effects to play with. Once you’ve got a pattern out you like you can add another to play afterwards, and select how many times you want each one to loop in a sequence.

The best way to find out how fun and cool Tones is to play with it yourself. You don’t need musical experience, just start playing around and making noise! It’s a great and simple way to have a bit of fun with music without leaving your web browser.

Head to: https://www.tones.fm/tones/calm

Watch this ‘Smash-Proof guitar’ fly through Marshall stacks

A Swedish company have made a guitar that even guitar-smashing veteran Yngwie Malmsteen can’t break even when it’s smashing through Marshall stacks.

Swedish engineering firm Sandvik have made a name for themselves in creating powerful tech that makes for an impressive display. Their self driving, 38-ton mining machine navigated through a glass maze last year before their CEO sent it smashing through the glass to exhibit their tech.

Their latest creation is something quite a bit different. Sandvik claim that they have created a guitar that is smash proof. The guitar is made of all-metal and uses the company’s precision techniques for a truly unique build.

To test their claim the company gave one of their metal guitars to guitar hero and serial smasher; Yngwie Malmsteen. Yngwie reckons that he’s smashed over 100 guitars on stage in his time playing so if anyone is a veteran in destroying instruments it’s him.

In their video you can see Malmsteen swing the guitar around, smash it into amps, launch it above his head and on to the stage. After tearing Marshall amps to dust with the guitar, Malmsteem says: “This guitar is a beast! I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to smash.”

The Smash-Proof guitar took multiple divisions of the company teaming up to create. They prioritised the use of 3D printing to help them accurately create a guitar that sounded good but with the “the strongest structure in the world”. Some pieces are as thin as a millimetre thick so building the guitar with precision was vital to making it work.

Machining process developer at Sandvik, Henrik Loikkanen said: “We had to design a guitar that is unsmashable in all the different ways you can smash a guitar. The engineering challenge was that critical joint between the neck and the body that usually cracks on a guitar. Precision was critical.”

To strengthen the guitar’s joints they connected the neck to the body by extending the neck to make up part of the body so it had a strengthened hub to attach deep into the guitar’s body. Watch the design process and making of this unique guitar below.

TikTok may be launching a music streaming service

From letting anyone make short music videos to streaming music in full, TikTok’s business could be changing.

TikTok is one of the world’s favourite apps, with over 500 million users creating short clips and music videos on their video platform. Despite global success the company have reportedly been working at a loss. Now reports are suggesting that TikTok are looking to create a new service to turn profits around.

The South China Morning Post reported last week that TikTok’s owners, Bytedance, are planning a music streaming service like Spotify to launch internationally. The people who revealed the supposed plans said that there are 100 people working on it for a launch “soon”.

With a valuation of $76 billion the company are in a comfortable position with millions of users they should be able to easily recruit. The difficulty will be competing with all of the major streaming services that have already spent years proliferating around the globe.

The rumours have come out as Bytedance’s contracts with Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music expire in a few weeks. The labels are asking for bigger payments for TikTok so it’s possible that Bytedance are going another level and paying more to license for multiple services.

It will be a challenge to launch an entirely new music service in the crowded industry but with a supposed global approach and using their massive engagement with young people online it could be the success that Bytedance want.

Amazon will launch a free music streaming service, reports suggest

Amazon are looking at launching an ad-supported music streaming service as their first free on-demand music offering, according to reports.

Amazon have had a big influence in developing the digital music industry we have now, pioneering the smart speaker generation and launching multiple music services in digital downloads and on-demand streaming. Now reports suggest they’re launching a new service to offer free music streaming.

The reports come from “sources familiar with the plan” speaking to Billboard. From what they have revealed it seems like Amazon want a free music streaming service they can use to promote on Amazon Echo speakers, so users can jump straight into music streaming without signing up to a subscription.

Amazon have apparently offers to pay record labels per streams initially to obtain the licenses for music to be streamed free regardless of the revenues recuperated from advertising. With a company the size of Amazon behind the service they probably aren’t too worried about a profit but instead making their flagship Echo products more appealing.

Amazon currently offers two music services currently. Amazon Prime Music comes bundled with Prime memberships and offers limited music streaming. Amazon Music Unlimited is their flagship service which rivals Spotify and Apple Music with full on-demand access to a massive library of music.

Spotify are the only other major western streaming service offering a free tier with access to all of their library with similar playback abilities. However on Amazon Echo and most streaming speakers, you need a subscription to listen to Spotify.

Amazon could corner the market with free streaming on smart speakers with their supposed new service. Amazon have refused to comment or validate the claims.

RouteNote sessions go psychedelic with a folk twinge

Drakes Island popped in to the Parlour Studio for a session like no other. The way that they meld gorgeous traditional indie and folk sounds with a modern, trippy feel to it made this session beautifully unique.

From the southwest, the band is made up of lead guitarist Jamie Yost, bassist Olly Parker, drummer Matthew Gordon Price and band leader Fergus Tanner. The group released their first single in February, Only Passing Through, and it was a treat to get them in to play that and 2 other tracks for the session.

Drakes Island

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