Scratch records with the community with this public DJ booth

In the quest to find things that interest teens The Hague in the Netherlands may have achieved this with a fully free, public DJ booth with working decks.

These days towns and cities have to work hard to entertain their youths, a simple swing won’t cut it anymore. You have to be creative. The Hague, a city in the Netherlands, have innovated with their latest public project to combine music, the internet, and mobile phones for a youth paradise.

The new DJ booth, built in a popular hang out spot for young people, features two decks, integrated Wi-Fi and a place to connect your mobile phone so you can play music through the decks. People can go hang out and listen to others, have a go at mixing some records of your own together, or just connect to the Wi-Fi and chill out. It’s one of the best public projects I’ve heard of for entertaining young people.

The DJ booth came about because youth ambassadors in the Mariahoeve district in The Hague wanted a place where youngsters could be involved in music. With that in mind they got in touch with Wi-Fi hotspot company KPN and Yalp, the company behind interactive playing products like the Yalp Fono (the DJ booth).

Yalp Fono DJ booth mixing desks scratching young people teens youth

The DJ booth itself has been launched to praise in various locations around the Netherlands as well as some in Germany, Sweden and Australia. The Yalp Fono in The Hague however is the first to be installed with a Wi-Fi hotspot. Wi-Fi makes it more appealing to the youth whilst also giving access to a load more songs to play around with.

Councillor of The Hague, Ingrid van Engelshoven said: “The youth is growing up with smartphones, tablets and social media. Wi-Fi is almost a necessity of life for them.” The Yalp Fono hasn’t been designed with only teens and kids in mind however, as the booth will shut down at night and has volume restrictions for the surrounding houses.

Yalp Fono was unveiled in The Hague last week by municipal representatives, KPN reps, and a group of local young people. You can find out more about the project and similar ones here:

Spotify meets X-Factor in NBC’s new show ‘The Stream’

NBC have acquired the rights to a unique new type of music talent show that decides the winners based on how many streams they get online.

The Stream was a fascinating talent show from Norway that used Spotify rankings to judge contestants and received support from all 3 of the major labels. The show has been snapped up by NBC to bring their own version of the show to the U.S..

According to NBC the show will feature “music industry titans working together to uncover the next superstar artist”. Going off of the original we assume these judges will be executives from major labels, all of which have shown support for the show, or notorious music industry figures.

President of Alternative and Reality Group at NBC, Paul Telegdy said: “The Stream brilliantly uses technology and social media to draw music lovers in and make them a part of the process. We’re excited to discover talent in this modern way and connect the best artists with the industry’s top starmakers.”

A press release explains how the concept works:

Everyone will be able to upload their video to The Stream online platform, where it instantly becomes available to the public.

Once the performance is online, it’s up to users to spread, share and stream their favourite music. All musical talent can participate – whether they are a solo singer, rap-duo or electronic group.

Out of the selection to most popular 100 will be chosen to attend a showcase performing in front of the judges. Out of those 100, 30 will be chosen to continue in the show and go to A&R bootcamp with their “music industry titan”. From there the label executives will each decide on the 3 best artists out of their bunch to sign to a record deal, for the 9 finalists who will perform on the weekly live show.

Norwegian Norway tv talent show streaming music the stream spotify
The Judges and presenter for the original Norwegian version of The Stream

Once the weekly live TV shows start each act will perform as you’d expect on a talent show, the difference is after the episode the amount of streams for each artist dictates if they return or face the boot. Whilst the original show used Spotify for rankings it’s not clear which service will be used for the US version.

Norway TV 2 said to Music Business Worldwide: “The deal with Spotify is a non-exclusive one in the sense that the music from the show can be made available through all streaming services, such as Apple Music and Tidal, as well as Spotify. This is up to each label to decide. There are nothing in the contracts between Spotify, broadcaster TV 2, production company Monster and the record labels that restricts where songs from the contestants can be made available.”

It’s a smart move as streaming services are quickly prioritising the user over the labels. For example streaming trends and sharing music is more likely to make a hit these days than pumping big label money behind launching a track. As users now have the choice of listening to whatever they want they’re becoming more active listeners, so streaming seems like a natural progression for music talent shows.

Techstars music startup accelerator gets backing from Sony, Warner and Sonos

Techstar have launched a music accelerator to help startups build their business and now have support from 2 of the world’s major record labels.

There are a selection of initiatives to help get new music companies of the ground like the legendary Abbey Road Studios’ Red project. Techstar, a company built around helping startups go further, have launched Techstars Music to invest £120,000 in 10 music-based startups.

Techstars Music is a 3 month accelerator based in Los Angeles. Since launching recently it has gained support from a whole host of major names from the music industry, including; labels Sony and Warner, Sonos, Harmonix, and management firms Q Prime, BSE and SAM.

Techstars Music will be overseen by former executive for music at Twitter Bob Moczydlowsky, who tweeted: “Our goal is to grow the music startup ecosystem – across all categories. We have a broad definition of what makes a music company.”

The 10 startups chosen to receive support from Techstars Music $100,000 in convertible note and $20,000 as well as mentoring from executives at the companies in support of the project. In return Techstars Music receive 6% of the startup’s common stock. It’s a smart initiative as it gives new companies a step up to achieve their dreams whilst also providing investment opportunities to the benefactors.

The startups that Techstars Music are on the hunt for will be working on:

  1. New Music Experiences – Are you reinventing music at home, in a car, in the club, or at a festival?
  2. Creation & Collaboration – Can you improve how we create and share music & video content?
  3. Marketing & e-Commerce – Do you help artists connect directly with fans for marketing & commerce?
  4. Content Infrastructure – Will you improve how we render and deliver music & video content to fans?
  5. Rights & Royalties – Are you working to modernize royalties, rights and licensing?
  6. Data, Machine Learning & AI – What can you build with mountains of user data?
  7. Artist Discovery & Curation – Can you find & create opportunity for the right artist at the right time?
  8. Music Education – Are you helping a generation of digital natives learn to love and play music?
  9. Social Platforms & Games – How will artistic careers (and fan affinities) get built in modern ways?

The total benefits received for the chosen startup companies are:

  • $100,000 convertible note and $20,000
  • Access to Techstars resources for life
  • Acceleration in the Techstars Music program with intense, hands-on mentorship from artists, executives from Techstars Music Member Companies and the broad music business
  • Connections to the Techstars Network of over 5,000 founders, alumni and mentors
  • 400 perks worth over $1,000,000
  • Office space in Los Angeles for the duration of the program
  • Demo Day and other investor connections
  • Equity Back Guarantee, the only one of its kind in the industry

If you have a startup or an idea for one you can find out more and apply for Techstars Music accelerator until December 11th from here:

Apple moving HQ to Battersea power station in London

Apple have revealed plans to move their UK headquarters to the reinvigorated Battersea power station in South West London.

Apple’s move to Battersea comes amidst a massive $10 billion regeneration project that is redeveloping the former coal fire power station. Apple will be setting up shop in the former boiler house, the location which will then serve as their main base in the UK.

The renovation of Battersea power station is currently being undertaken by a selection of Malaysian companies that are transforming the old work house and surrounding area into a range of offices, shops, and luxury flats. Apple will take up roughly 40% of the available office space, taking up roughly 500,000 square feet over six floors.

Apple’s plan follows other tech giants planning large developments in England’s Capital. Google are currently building a campus in Kings Cross whilst Facebook are planning to occupy offices on Oxford Street.

Apple said in a statement: “We are looking forward to opening Apple’s new London campus at the Battersea power station 2021 1400 Apple employees from existing offices around London will relocate this magnificent new development at one of London’s best-known landmarks. It’s a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of rich with history.”

Whilst Apple will move it’s UK headquarters into Battersea Power Station their European headquarters will remain in Ireland.