Netflix lets users adjust playback speed but not everyone’s happy about it

Netflix have begun rolling out a feature that lets you watch shows faster or slower with playback speed controls.

The new playback speed controls allows subscribers to quickly switch between 0.5x, 0.75x, 1x, 1.25x and 1.5x speed, on streamed and downloaded content. Pitching of audio isn’t disrupted at different speeds. The speed choices are similar to YouTube’s, with slightly less choice.

The feature has begun rolling out to Andoid phones, with futher roll including iOS and web planned for the coming weeks.

The feature has been much requested by members for years. Most important of all, our tests show that consumers value the flexibility it provides whether it’s rewatching their favorite scene or slowing things down because they’re watching with subtitles or have hearing difficulties.

Keela Robison, Vice President of Product Innovation, Netflix

Netflix mentioned testing the feature last year, but were met with critism from director and actors for allowing the ability to fundamentally change how their shows are displayed.

In response to the critisms made last year, Netflix responded:

We’ve also been mindful of the concerns of some creators. It’s why we have capped the range of playback speeds and require members to vary the speed each time they watch something new — versus fixing their settings based on the last speed they used.

Netflix spokesperson to The Verge

The move hasn’t been met with total disdain. The National Association of the Deaf thanked Netflix for the change, with it giving deaf people a slowed down reading experience with subtitles.

Everette Bacon from the National Federation of the Blind said: “Many people in the blind community can understand and appreciate audio played at a much faster pace than what might be comfortable for most sighted people.”

Tencent Music Entertainment launches livestreamed concerts, over 100m viewers already

China’s huge entertainment brand is counteracting the lack of concerts in a post-COVID 2020 with massively popular online concerts.

Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) is the music branch of China’s huge tech conglomerate China. With live music cancelled for much of the year and people around the world itching to get live music experiences back, TME Live has launched.

TME Live is releasing a series of livestreamed concerts which are based on the most popular songs of artists with high production value and easy interaction for fans. They describe the new branch as a “panoramic music live entertainment brand”.

So far they’ve released 15 shows which have pulled in 100 million views on TV. Chinese social media and blogging platform Weibo report that posts about the shows have had over 8 billion engagements since they’ve been launched and talked about.

Tencent Music Entertainment have indicated that around 1/5th of the digital music users in China are willing to pay to watch live music performances online. With the lack of in-person concerts, BTS entered the world records this year for their huge streamed concert and Tomorrowland recently pulled in over 1 million ticket-buyers to their completely online festival.

Tencent has over half a billion users across their music streaming services in China (roughly 657 million) meaning huge potential if even only 1/5th, as they suppose, were to pay for these new livestreamed concerts.

How Spotify are bringing attention to the people behind the music as well as the artists

With the digital equivalent of liner notes and artist pages just for songwriters, Spotify’s Head of Songwriter and Publishing Relations talks spotlighting the creatives behind the music.

It’s easy to look at an artist, the person who sings or plays their music and represents the face of it, as all there is. But behind the music you hear there are often whole groups of people getting no recognition: songwriters, producers, session musicians, engineers, and others.

Spotify have been making an effort to give credit where it’s due to everyone involved in making the music happen in recent years. In 2018 they added ‘Credits’ to music so that listeners can see who performs on each tracks, who the songwriters are behind lyrics and melodies, and producers who have helped polish or even create the sound from scratch.

Then earlier this year Spotify introduced songwriter pages where listeners can easily explore and listen to all of the music that a songwriter has created and written whether it’s their own or for other artists. These songwriters also gain a ‘Written By’ playlist that lets users dive into listening to a songwriter’s creations.

Spotify’s Head of Songwriter and Publishing Relations, Jules Parker has spoken in a new post about how they want to highlight these behind-the-scenes creators more.

There’s a long-standing perception of a solo songwriter pitching their songs to other people. This can happen—and of course, many artists write and record their own songs—but the reality today is that you generally get in a room with an artist and write a song together, then and there. (Or alternatively, you’ll swap tracks and toplines over email and write the song virtually—all too common these days).

So it’s all about networking and collaborating—and that’s where publishers come in. A publisher looks to connect artists with songwriters and other creative opportunities. Plus, these days there are even more opportunities for songwriters to transition to also be successful recording artists—like Julia Michaels, Benny Blanco, and more.

At Spotify, we’re now giving publishers and writers more ways to help unlock opportunities via analytic and songwriter tools. These will, long term, help support both up-and-coming and established writers because they’ll have more information, leading to better connections and networks. Through our Publishing Analytics, publishers and teams can access next-day song and writer stats based on accurate data, and through our songwriting camps and free-to-use studio spaces, writers and artists can pair up to create something new.

They hope that they not only bring these talents to light who are too-often forgotten as background characters in the light of whoever the face of the music is, but also hope that they can drive the discovery of songwriters and producers by showing people their versatile work and getting listeners discovering new music that they might not have know an artist they loved was involved in.

Currently Songwriter pages are available only for a select few artists however it seems that Spotify are looking to continue expanding these features and hopefully there will be more songwriter pages and new ways to explore everyone who is involved in the music we love soon.

When you upload your music to Spotify through RouteNote for free you can credit everyone involved in each track so that they all get the credit they deserve for all to see.

How to go live on TikTok

Going live on social media platforms is a fantastic way to engage with fans online. Unfortunately, livestreaming on TikTok is not available to everyone.

You must hit TikTok’s requirements to go live. You must have at least 1,000 followers and be over 16 years old. If you are over 18, viewers can even send you ‘virtual gifts’, that can be exchanged for real cash.

Once you meet the requirements you will be able to go live on the iPhone and Android app.


Open the TikTok app and tap the plus icon at the bottom of the screen.

Step 1

Swipe along the botton of the screen until you find LIVE.

Add a title, cover and effects if you want. Then when you’re ready, just tap GO LIVE to begin streaming.

Step 2

DJ Regard releases his own online game Regard Runner

Kosovo-based producer Regard with Ministry of Sound have released a new game to promote his latest track Secrets.

After the success of his track Ride It which became viral on TikTok last year, Regard, currently signed to Ministry of Sound, releases his new endless running game Regard Runner. The game has players jumping over gaps and obstacles on mobile and computer. It was commissioned by Ministry of Sound and developed by The Creative Corporation. The game can be played while listening to Regard’s discography on Spotify, after connecting your Spotify profile and consenting to Sony access your email address and listening data.

Regard’s manager runs his label Leaf Management through RouteNote. RouteNote can be a great solution for label’s distribution needs, with free publishing on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and many more.

Spotify will launch in Russia next week, reports suggest

Spotify are finally launching their music streaming service in Russia after years of attempts.

At least, that’s what reports are suggesting from Music Business Worldwide who say that Spotify will launch in Russia next Wednesday, July 15th. According to the publication, ‘multiple senior music industry sources’ have revealed the date for Spotify’s expansion into Russia.

Their sources say that Spotify are likely partnering with Russian telecommunications company MTS to launch in the region. With over 95 million estimated smartphone users and nearly 150 million people in total Spotify will be hoping to add a large new user-base with the launch.

Russia aren’t just a huge country but also show huge potential for the blossoming of music streaming there. In 2019 the IFPI showed that Russia was the fastest growing major market for the record industry, with a 50.3% increase in music revenues from the year before. They are the world’s 17th largest music market.

Spotify have been attempting to launch in Russia for years but for various reasons have never quite made it. Back in 2014 Spotify reportedly set up an office to launch their music service there but backed out over concerns with the “political and economic crisis in Russia”.

Conversations with the region then restarted in 2016 though again nothing came of it. Then last year reports told that Spotify would go live in Russia in the Summer of 2019 which, of course, we now know didn’t happen.

In Spotify’s Q1 call earlier this year, founder and CEO Daniel Ek spoke on Spotify’s efforts to launch in Russia and South Korea saying: “We’ve talked about both Russia and South Korea as the markets we want to be in and nothing has changed there…

“So, while we have nothing to announce at this point, you should know they’re definitely two markets that we are focused on and all the guidance that we provided includes the timing of any new market launches, whether it be South Korea, Russia, or anything else.”

We’ll have to wait until next week to find out of MBW’s sources are correct.

BBC announce new head of Radio 6 Music

The BBC have announced that Samantha Moy will take the reins as Head of Station for BBC Radio 6 Music.

BBC Radio 6 Music is one of the BBC’s flagship radio stations and ranked the 10th most popular radio station in the UK in 2018. Whereas the huge BBC Radio 1 covers all the bases of popular and emerging music, Radio 6 is built on showing love to alternative and undiscovered music.

They’ve announced that Samantha Moy will now take the helm of the station, after working as 6 Music’s Head of Content Commissioning since 2018 and being their Network Editor before that. She should be a faithful hire to lead the station which has grown it’s cult following into a massive audience since it nearly closed in 2010.

Moy says: “I’m privileged and honoured to be appointed to lead BBC Radio 6 Music – a radio station made for and made by music lovers. The relationship with our audience has gone from strength to strength, as our brilliant presenters, supported by our talented production teams, have provided the perfect combination of music, conversation, and connection during these challenging times.”

6 Music currently has 2.56 million weekly listeners based on 2020 Q1 stats, it’s highest reach ever and a huge achievement considering it was nearly disbanded a decade ago. As it’s closure was being arranged the station surged in popularity and has been growing ever since.

Moy will commence in her new role on the 17th August, 2020. She says: “I’m proud to lead this fantastically creative and inspiring team, who I know feel as passionately about 6 Music as I do.”

What will be the Song of the Summer 2020?

It has been a strange year so far and Summer isn’t quite the same, but there still has be a definitive hit for the season regardless.

Summer is upon us, even if we’re not getting the whole group together for a bunch of big trips because of that pesky Coronavirus. Still, the music isn’t going anywhere and even if we’re socially distancing and limited to what we can do we want a song that defines this Summer 2020.

As always, Billboard are hot on the case to see what people are loving right now so they can reveal to us the song to rule the season. At the moment DaBaby is looking hot with his, currently No.1, single Rockstar featuring Roddy Rich.

DaBaby has been at the top of the Summer charts for 4 weeks now putting him in a good spot to be this years Song of the Summer. Harry Styles’ new single Watermelon Sugar has just debuted on the charts and could be a formidable competitor for Rockstar.

At the moment the top 5 Songs of the Summer looks like this, after Rockstar: Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé ‘Savage’ at No.2, The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ at No.3, Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’ at No.4, and Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande’s ‘Rain On Me’ at No. 5.

You can vote on what you think 2020’s Song of the Summer will be on Billboard here.

Kerrang! delays their return to print, future uncertain

British music magazine Kerrang! took themselves off the shelves with the uncertainty of COVID and we don’t know when they’ll be back.

In April, renowned rock music magazine Kerrang! decided to pause publication due to the uncertainty within the music industry and of sales. Now it looks like their return is uncertain as they delay on plans to publish again this month.

In their statement, Kerrang! wrote that whilst they had hoped to return in July: “This is not possible due to the on-going suspension of live shows and the disruption of the UK newsstand. Both of these factors affect our circulation and advertising revenues. The prospect of a second spike in the virus also make the idea of publishing a weekly magazine seem irresponsible at this stage.”

They say that they aim to return to publication once live music returns but, of course, that is entirely unpredictable and we don’t know when the UK government will allow live music to return. With publishing off the cards for a while though they are doubling down on their website content.

Alongside our daily news coverage and regular feature content, later this month we will add the following:


• An exclusive digital cover story, featuring brand new interviews and photo shoots, published every Wednesday on this site.
• The most in-depth and authoritative reviews on the planet, published throughout the week.
• More brand new interviews with the artists you love, published every week.
• Features on the best new artists you need to know about right now.
• Brand new video programming including our Face-To-Face series (which continues this week with Bury Tomorrow, and more to come).


We also have a raft of new and exciting projects that we will announce in the next two weeks, so do watch this space…

It has been a quiet few months since Kerrang! stopped their presses for the music industry with gigs and festivals cancelled for the foreseeable future and even album releases getting postponed. With nothing happening in the music industry for months there has been no content and music magazines all over the world are facing questions about their future.

For now, if you’re missing a bit of physical Kerrang! you can print and colour in twelve of their iconic magazine covers available as free PDFs over here: https://www.kerrang.com/features/design-your-own-kerrang-magazine-cover

How to break out of a creative rut: Advice for musicians and producers

It’s very easy to hit a wall where inspiration doesn’t come and it feels like you can’t write or create anymore – but there are ways out!

We’ve all been there: You have a day with nothing on, you think you’ll sit down and pick up your instrument or load up your DAW and start working on something new and just see what happens. Then nothing sounds right and eventually you give up feeling like you got nowhere.

Whether you’re just learning how to create music or you’re a veteran of writing and producing it can happen to us all!

Here are some tips that help me and others I’ve spoken to when we’restuck in a creative rut and find ourselves at a loss for inspiration.

Learn something new

Are you a lifelong pianist? If you’re looking for some inspiration, try playing the guitar. Oh, you’re a guitarist at heart? Well try doing some rhythm. You’re a multi-instrumentalist? Open up a DAW and try some digital production!

Whatever your forte, breaking out and learning something entirely new opens up a whole world of opportunities for you. You may have never picked up a keyboard before in your life but you can easily learn a couple chords in a day. The way they sound so differently to playing them on any other instrument may provide you the blueprint to start creating something new.

It’s refreshing having a new sound, even if you’re playing the exact same melody on a different instrument it can provide an entirely new feel.

Likewise if music production is your game, getting into physical instruments can broaden your horizons and potential massively when recording. Or even getting a brand new sample pack of sounds you would never normally think about using. You may not like, or you may find yourself creating music that sounds like nothing you’ve ever made before.

Connect with other passions

You likely have hobbies, talents, and pleasures beyond music which inspire you and bring you joy. Reconnecting with other passionate pleasures is a great way to find inspiration that you can bring into your playing.

Perhaps you’re a nature lover, going out and getting wild may give you the touch of green that sparks a creative fire in your head. Look at the number of songs inspired by birds, sitting in your garden or local park may provide an inspiring new melody. Maybe you love painting and getting your brushes out spurs you on an inventive drive that you can bring to your music.

Whatever loves you have beyond music, you want to make time for all of them to feel thoroughly fulfilled and other activities are a wonderful source of inspiration.

Experiment! Get weird with it

By and far the easiest way to lift myself out of a musical funk is to throw out the chords, forget the scales, get some weird sounds together and just have fun with music.

Try putting your fingers where you wouldn’t normally on your instrument. Load up a strange sample or a bizarre synth sound and start building some weirdness.

Getting rid of the rule book or the sounds you’re used to is a fantastic way to discover a new sound that catches the ear when it comes out. Of course it may well sound terrible but the point is that you’re having fun by not taking it seriously!

It’s very easy to get stuck in a creative rut because we take music too seriously and have a certain set of expectations of what we’re supposed to create. Going a bit wild sets the creative juices free and allows you to have fun without having the pressure of needing to write something.

I often find that breaking the restrictions of “trying” to create I will find a unique sound I want to work with or an interesting sequence that I can build on. Most importantly, I’m having fun playing!

Listen to other music – or don’t!

For most of us, listening to music is where a lot of inspiration comes from. Hearing a beautiful chord sequence can enliven the songwriter, an incredible lick can inspire the musician, even something as simple as a fat 303 kick can get the sparks lit up in a producer – it makes you want to create something that has that power and that feeling too!

Listening to music that you love is inspiring in many ways. It can make us think about the way songs are structured, about how the layers of music are combined together, how certain sounds are created, about the themes and conventions that make the blueprint of certain styles. It’s the best way to learn by example.

On the other hand, sometimes listening to other people’s music can invade our creativity. We get stuck with a song in our head and as we try to create we can’t escape the sounds of other music. I’ve certainly been there where I’m playing something out and realise I’ve just been recreating a song I’ve listened to a lot.

So sometimes it’s good to take a step back from other people’s music and immerse ourselves in our blank slates and let the music we hear in our heads come into fruition of its own volition.

Take a break

Too many creators expect their creativity to be on tap at any time but honestly; it sadly isn’t. Creativity can come in waves and you can certainly drain yourself of inspiration by working too hard.

Trying to force some creation is only going to hurt your motivation as you feel increasingly exasperated by not being able to bring anything to the table.

Taking a break from music making is one of the greatest things you can do to come back with a refreshed mind and a new-found spirit to your instruments and equipment. Kit-Kat’s were on to something universally valuable with their marketing.

Bonus video for lyricists

Andrew Huang has some creative advice for getting words down specifically.

@andrewhuang

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