Pandora launch personalised playlists to rival Spotify

Spotify are the leaders of music streaming right and their amazing playlists tuned to their personal audience helped, but will it do the same for Pandora?

Pandora are going after Spotify’s USP with the launch of their new personalised playlists powered by their Music Genome. Pandora are building playlists that will suit listeners’ moods, what they’re doing, the time of day and more to provide the perfect to soundtrack to anyone’s day.

The Music Genome is Pandora’s database of music information that they have been developing for over a decade now. The Genome classifies all music in the database based on 450 different parameters which it calls the track’s ‘genes’. Using these genes the Genome can find how different musical pieces align, their similarities and their differences and can use this to create a collection of music that shares a common theme.

Music Genome is already behind some of Pandora’s biggest features including Thumbprint Radio and powers the automatic stream of similar music once you finish a playlist. This will be the first time that it’s used by Pandora to build it’s own playlists which will be aided by curation from Pandora’s team, listener-based filtering, and other deep learning algorithms.

Pandora’s chief product officer, Chris Phillips said: “We’ve been building out, for many years, a collection of well over 75 machine learning algorithms and techniques to help drive content discovery and delivery. What we’re doing is what we believe is the bleeding edge of deep learning algorithms.”

Pandora music genome personalised playlists spotify discover curation algorithm

Their new ‘gene-based’ playlists will launch with 60 playlists but they will be rolled out to each user on a personal basis, based on their listening habits rather than presenting them to everyone. Phillips continues: “When we think about what the competition’s doing, they’re really putting more generic buckets of music together. And they have a generic name for the playlist, whereas I can go right in and say, ‘oh this is mood I’m in [sic],’ and it’s spot on.”

Pandora seem to be finding a middle ground between the two types of playlist which has helped Spotify become the music streaming powerhouse it now is. Spotify’s expertly curated playlists such as Rap Caviar have listeners coming back to find the latest tracks making the waves but it’s their personal playlists like Discover Weekly, which offers up a surprisingly consistent collection of music Spotify think you will like every week based on your listening habits, are the playlists that sold a lot of people on Spotify.

Pandora have built a massive user-base in the US from their radio streaming service and launched their first paid streaming service last year to go up against more traditional streaming services.

Listen to the first album made by artificial intelligence

Futurists have been warning for years that robots are going to replace humans in jobs, but could they replace musicians now?

That’s the looming question with the release first ever album entirely composed by an Artificial Intelligence. ‘Hello World’ is a project released by SKYGGE (aka Benoit Carré) as experiment to show that AI “can be used to create new, compelling music, generating fresh musical material”.

The albums origins lie in a scientific project called Flow-Machines, an artificial intelligence system that can systematically create music based on it’s knowledge base and can be used with human interaction. Flow Machines was used to create the first entirely AI-composed pop song, Daddy’s Car a Beatle’s inspired, computer designed track.

For the creation of Hello World a bunch of musicians came together to help SKYGGE control and create music using Flow Machines. Musicians, composers, singers, producers, and sound engineers around the world skilled in (pop, electronic, ambient, and jazz) joined SKYGGE in the lab, including Kiesza and Stromae, to create an entire album that released in January.

SKYGGE said: “With this diversity of skills, we had a single objective: use these new technologies to create novel, interesting music, yet music that would please our ears. Most importantly, music that the artists wanted to make! Melodic twists, harmonic surprises, and timbral juxtapositions, with a strong sense of direction and the uncompromising goal of making really good music, music that can touch and challenge the fan base of the artists.”

The album’s title ‘Hello World’ takes inspiration from the first program that a beginner porgrammer writes. SKYGGE says: “These are the first words that AI utters in mainstream music.”

You can find out more about who was involved and the history of AI and music leading up to the creation of the first AI album from the album’s website, where you can also listen to Hello World!

www.helloworldalbum.net

Sony just launched a new EDM label in China – Liquid State

China’s getting a hot new source of EDM with Liquid State, a brand new label launched by Sony Music.

In partnership with Tencent Music Entertainment, Sony have launched an EDM label to break the genre further in China. The new label is called Liquid State and will try to push and create Chinese EDM artists rather than introducing established Western acts.

Sony’s partnership with Tencent Music Entertainment is a massive deal. Their parent company, Tencent Holdings are giant in Asia with influence on the scale that Google has in the Western world, giving Liquid State a large backing of funding and influence. Tencent’s recent ventures have shown their interest in the massive Western music industry, including a stock swap with Spotify. Tencent have reportedly promised to promote Liquid State through their popular media channels, including WeChat, QQ, Tencent Video, and QZone.

Artists signed to Liquid State include Chinese EDM acts DJ Lizzy, Chris Lee, Korean duo Junkilla and BIGBANG, and Nicholas Tse and Sunigri from Hong Kong. The closest to a Western artist so far is the Chinese-American ZHU. With one of the worlds 3 major labels and tech giant Tencent marketing artists to 1.4 billion people they should be able to make a big mark in China’s music scene.

Neil Young’s music store died, his new site lets you stream his music free

Neil Young’s foray into the digital world of music was a failure of epic proportions, but of course it wasn’t his fault…

Back in 2014 legendary musician Neil Young launched a Kickstarter for Pono, an MP3 player and streaming service. The player had a horrible triangular design that made pockets grimace and had less storage space than a smartphone, his hi-res music store was expensive and out of touch and their attempt at a streaming service went nowhere, but Young says it wasn’t Pono’s fault that it died it’s the awful and terrible music industry which put him down (please note sarcasm).

Speaking on the failure of Pono, Young told the Chicago Tribune recently: “The record labels killed it. They killed it by insisting on charging two to three times as much for the high-res files as for MP3s. Why would anybody pay three times as much?”

After failing to create his own music service and player, and rejecting the modern industry (he flip-flops on this) Young is now launching The Neil Young Archive. It features a collection of Young’s albums and live music, available for streaming in hi-res. Young said: “The thing is, I want the sound of music to come back – and it’s gone. CDs have less than 20% of the quality that music could be, and MP3s in most cases have only about 5% of what’s on the master recording.”

With his new site Neil Young seems to have actually created an accessible product with value though. The Neil Young Archives are currently free to enter and stream as much as you like from with a subscription to be announced in the future. The site looks pretty cool too, designed like a vintage Fender amp which hides a file cabinet full of Neil Young’s music.

Lets hope Young remains on this line between the 21st century and out of touch rock musician, and doesn’t stray back to the latter side. Check out his new site and stream all of his music for free here: www.neilyoungarchives.com

Vital artist Bry.Tic has got the Netherlands jumping with ‘Trampoline’

Bry.Tic and Kjelwyn Van Houten sound-tracking trampoline parks with his hit new track bouncing across the Netherlands.

It almost never got released but Bry.Tic’s new single featuring Kjelwyn Van Houten saw the light of day, and thank god it did! Their new hit track Trampoline just released on our Vital network and it’s exactly it sounds like, an awesome, hype track about bouncing around on a trampoline and it’s got people around their home country jumping.

The energy-pumping track was created by Bry.Tic (Bryan) who has been producing music for a few years now. His close friend and singer Kjelwyn had talked about doing a track together for a while. Kjelwyn says: “During dinner, I was joking with a few sentences about jumping on a trampoline. I sang with a lot of autotune, and then challenged Bryan to make something out of it.

“In the beginning of December I suddenly got an app from him [sic translation]. The song is finished with a sound recording, my mouth fell open in surprise when I heard what Bryan had made of them. (The) trampoline in the garden of my neighbours had turned into a full-fledged dance song, Bryan did a really good job.”

The songs incessant energy and fun has seen it played in gyms and trampoline parks around the Netherlands. This all after it was only released last week. The boys are hoping to take the track’s success even further, saying: “It would be the best thing to be able to do this track live in a club once. I already see that for me.”

In regards to the possibility of a music video: “We do not know exactly what it will look like, but it must of course contain a trampoline.”

Outertone’s Uplink featured on Spotify’s ‘mint’ playlist

We were chuffed when we saw the fantastic electronic duo Uplink, signed to our Outertone label, in one of Spotify’s hottest playlists.

Uplink, made up of two best friends and talented producers Phil and Nik, have been picked up by Spotify for their raw talent to feature in ‘mint’ one of Spotify’s biggest playlists. As artists under our Outertone record label and management we were incredibly proud to see Uplink amongst other amazing artists in Spotify’s ‘mint’ playlist.

You could be featured too. Spotify decided that they really liked Scars so they added Uplink to their playlist to be heard by almost 5 million followers. This could be any of you when you upload your music to RouteNote for free to the top streaming services and stores. Your music will go through a number of curators who may pick up on your track and feature it in a top playlist.

Head to www.routenote.com to sign up for free or find out more.

Jack White has banned fans using smartphones from his gigs

Jack White has had enough of the panels of light popping up above the crowds heads at concerts as he bans phones from his gigs.

A disease is plaguing live music at the moment, the disease of crappy smartphone recordings and until we start working on a cure it could kill us all. Well maybe that’s being dramatic but if you’ve been at a concert you’ve no doubt had the annoyance of some bozo in front blocking the live music happening in front of you for a crap recording of it – unless you’re the culprit.

Jack White has put his foot down and will no longer be allowed to use at his shows except in certain areas. For his upcoming US tour Jack will ask fans to keep their phones in a Yondr pouch that will only unlock in certain parts of the venue when tapped against their linked base so that they can still be accessed if needed, just not whilst watching the performance.

In a statement White’s team told how taking photos, audio, or video at his concerts will be banned. According to NME, they said: “We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love of it IN PERSON.”

Yondr pouches are a good choice of partnership for White and his team, with the company’s goal being to disconnect people from their phones more and experience their surroundings. Yondr founder, Graham Dugoni said: “If you use a device all the time, it’s going to affect your nervous system and your patterns of thought and social interaction. It’s really just an impulse check that’s needed, I think.”

Musicians like Alicia Keys, The Lumineers, and Guns N’ Roses have also used Yondr pouches at their shows to make the concerts more intimate. Jack White and his team encourage fans to share and save official footage of the shows rather than attempting to create their own rubbish quality, intrusive version.

Jack White hasn’t confirmed whether this will affect his European tour dates as well as his US tour.

Copyright and Royalty Free Music for YouTube Creators: Tobu and Vexento

Tobu and Vexento are two artists under management with Outertone who are offering their music to all creators to use for free across YouTube.

Creators have the ability to download and use the music in their YouTube videos and are only required to link back to the artists social media in the descriptions in return.

Download Links and Catalogue:
http://tobu.io
http://soundcloud.com/vexento