Can you make a living off of Spotify? This independent artist does

This instrumental guitarist is one of many independent musicians who are now making a living entirely off of music streaming on Spotify.

The internet has opened up opportunities for people all around the world to get their work out there to millions of people. The autonomy of online services is even allowing independent musicians to live off of their work just from streams online, as is the case with Tennessee-based guitarist Lance Allen.

Spotify spoke to Lance about his success and being able to make a living off of his music without having to rely on anyone else. As a truly independent musician Lance doesn’t use a label, doesn’t have managers of agents, records and releases all of his own music, he doesn’t even tour his music. The music industry is changing, and the artists are taking back control.

Lance had been playing for years with no concern of making it his career as he looked after his family and taught guitar as a profession. He would play the odd wedding and release CDs at his small gigs to anyone who wanted them. In 2013 Lance’s track ‘Kansas Town’ was selected by Spotify to be included in the Acoustic Concentration playlist with over half a million subscribers.

Allen says: “I don’t know how it got on there; I had no experience with Spotify. One of my students came up to me one day and said, ‘Hey, you’re on a Spotify playlist!’ I didn’t think I’d get paid much, but that song started getting hundreds of thousands of streams, and a couple months later I got a  really nice payment from [my distributor].”

All those efforts eventually paid off in June 2017, when he was added to Peaceful Guitar. Allen has since become a recurring presence on Spotify’s official playlists, to the tune of some 20,000,000 streams. “If you’re putting out good content, often, the playlisters are going to see that,” Allen says. “But the first step is getting on a lot of individual playlists, so you that have a better chance of showing up in the Spotify curator’s list of possibilities.”

Taylor are redefining acoustic guitars with a brand new design

Taylor have been a leading brand in guitars for years now. Their new design for acoustic guitars brings new life to the ageless instrument.

This year, Taylor shook up the acoustic world with the introduction of a new internal-bracing system for its pricier acoustics. Called “V-Class” bracing, it was devised by Andy Powers, a master guitar maker who joined Taylor in 2011 and has been talked about as an heir to Bob Taylor’s leadership.

In his hand’s on review with the new design for Business Insider UK, Matthew DeBord says:

There’s a reason why musicians who play in churches and a lot of electric-centric folks adore Taylors: the amplified characteristics are stunning, replicating the natural sound of an acoustic even at higher volumes.

At this level, acoustics don’t have flaws — they simply have varying degrees of magnificent virtues. But the V-Class bracing lives up to its billing and then some. By nature of their legacy design, acoustic guitars are never really perfect, and almost everybody fights a bit to achieve what they want, no matter how skilled they are.

My time with the 914ce reminded me that if you’re a casual guitarist and deeply amateur musician, you can certainly enjoy a fine instrument. But it also highlighted how much a good guitar can help a great player better express him or herself. In my experience, even some famous guitars, such as the Gibson J-45, don’t much like to be played all over the neck.

Not so with the new Taylors — where the V-Class bracing, combined with the company’s neck-to-body joining for which its already renowned, means that you can hit every single available note and savor the sustain and volume that Powers focused on while remaining deliciously in tune. And even if you don’t like single-note playing and prefer strumming chords, the difference between a three- and four-finger G chord on the 914ce is a revelation.

Read the full review to find out just how Taylor’s new innovations work and exactly how much of an impact they have on your sound.

Widely loved Swedish DJ Avicii has been buried in Stockholm

Following the shock death of one of the world’s biggest DJs and music producers, Avicii has been laid to rest at a private ceremony.

Last month the world was shocked and saddened by the death of renowned DJ and dance music producer Avicii. The producer, real name Tim Bergling, was found dead on the 20th April in Muscat, Oman the cause of which has not been announced however local authorities said that foul play was not suspected to have been a cause.

Avicii’s publicist, Ebba Lindqvist said yesterday that he “was buried Friday at the Skogskyrkogården cemetery in Stockholm. Only his family and closest friends were present.” The family wrote after his death that Bergling “could not go on any longer” and “wanted to find peace”.

In an open letter they said: “Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions. An over-achieving perfectionist who travelled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress. When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life, to be happy and be able to do what he loved most: music.

“Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight. Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed. The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive.”

We will remember Avicii with the incredible legacy he has left behind in his music now that he has been laid to rest.

Outertone: Indie Record Label Looking to Sign Artists

Outertone is an electronic record label from RouteNote. Outertone has been signing a huge number of tracks in a variety of electronic genres and we are looking to sign more!

Where to find Outertone:


Find your new favourite songs with Pandora’s personalised playlists

Your listening experience on Pandora just got a lot more personal with loads of new playlists tailored just for you and your tastes.

Pandora have just launched personalised playlists that use machine learning and your own tastes to offer up curated selections of amazing music they think you’ll love. Premium subscribers will now be presented with a whole range of playlists made just for them based on moods, activities, and favourite genres.

The playlists are powered through a combination of Pandora’s Music Genome, their in-house team of curators, as well as “state-of-the-art machine learning models”. The playlists will offer up an amalgamated selection of tracks they know you will love alongside new recommendations that Pandora think could become your new favourite track.

The playlists are only available to ad-free, on demand premium subscribers. However if your friends are listening to Pandora on free streaming and you want to share one of the brilliant playlists that has been created for you you can send them a link and they can listen to to all the tracks you’ve been offered in that playlist.

Pandora personalised playlists mobile app custom recommendations

The playlists will refresh every week with a whole new batch of music based on you and your listening habits. Whenever you discover tracks you like you can easily add them into your collection or send them off to join your own playlists.

Pandora say: “This is the beginning of a whole suite of themed playlists that we will automatically build and tailor to each Premium user. In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out even more themes for you to unlock. So sit back, put on a playlist, and enjoy the soundtrack to your every mood.”

You can find your personalised playlists from the Featured Playlists section of Browse.

Teufel’s incredibly powerful Rockster Air portable speaker review

A portable speaker packing the power of a live rock gig and up to 30 hours of battery life makes the Rockster Air a seriously good speaker and a versatile PA you wouldn’t expect.

With the Rockster Air, Teufel have created a speaker rig that blows your expectations of what a portable Bluetooth speaker can do out of the water. A sleek and simple design contrasts it’s powerful sound which results in a speaker that can fill the biggest of rooms whilst never looking out of place.

When you first get your hands on the Rockster Air you will immediately notice the minimal design that Teufel have gone for. You have your knobs on top controlling volume and EQ and on the back you have your inputs for plugging in your noise makers – and an interesting output which we’ll get to later.

Teufel Rockster Air bluetooth portable speaker review

When you first turn the speaker on will light the LEDs which circle the speaker’s volume knobs. The red LEDs, blue for Bluetooth, lighting up the rig give you a visual indication of the gain for each input and the master volume. It doesn’t just look good but also means that you know what you’re doing no matter how dark it is, perfect for a big party or a vibey gig.

You have control over your master volume and the levels for the bass and treble which are both surprisingly versatile when it comes to getting your perfect EQ – and the bass from this speaker is always sublime whether pumped to the max or dipped for subtlety with 4 reflex tubes concentrating the sound coming from the giant woofer built into the Rockster Air. The speaker also comes with a remote so you can control the levels and EQ from afar.

Teufel Rockster Air bluetooth portable speaker review

You’ll notice above the master volume are 4 independent volume switches for each input. These control each channels volume independently for streaming via Bluetooth, connecting through an aux cord, plugging in via 1/4 jack leads for instruments like guitars and keyboards, and it’s XLR input for microphones. You can use all connections at exactly the same time and get each input at exactly the level you want thanks to their individual volume controls. This makes it a perfect speaker for busking or playing small solo sets with instrument and mic inputs and the possibility to play backing tracks too through one rig.

Teufel’s Rockster Air also comes with a very cool function which allows you to output your audio to another PA or speaker, preferably another Rockster Air, and have them both play your audio inputs. What’s really great about this ability is that you can choose to select the Rockster as the left or right speaker and output the opposite channel for a true stereo sound – or just have them both play a mono signal.

The range of possibilities plugging into the Rockster Air combined with it’s incredibly powerful sound is what makes it so special – it’s totally versatile. With a battery that can last up to a whole 30 hours you can take it busking and plug in your microphone or your instrument and play all day with a powerful yet quality sound. You can take it partying and know that you have the power to keep pumping the tunes all night.

We even tried it out as a PA for a small gig in which it held it’s own alongside big guitar amps and bass cabs, cutting through with the raw sound with it’s power. Teufel’s Rockster Air has a big sound that retains it’s clarity even when turned up to the max, capable of sounds as loud as 112 dB which is equivalent to watching a live rock gig right in front of you.

Teufel Rockster Air bluetooth portable speaker review

It’s not just the quality of sound and how loud it can go that makes the Rockster Air a brilliant speaker but it’s ability to send that sound through the space it’s in. To test the motion of it’s sound I put on some quiet ambient music on at a low volume, the sort of volume you would listen to music in the middle of the night. Then I walked out of the room and into another, and then another. I couldn’t believe the clarity with which I could still hear the sound, even 3 rooms away, when it was on so quietly.

The Rockster Air is big speaker and it’s giant sub isn’t going to make it easy to carry around, but with it’s hefty, reinforced shell you don’t have to worry about any dings and the included carry strap takes the weight off – a little bit anyway. I think that some built-in handles could have made a big difference to it’s portability considering a large part of it’s appeal is it’s long battery life for taking it out and moving around which could be made more convenient.

The only issue besides a lack of handles I’ve found whilst I’ve been using the Rockster was one of my first times using it and it wouldn’t turn off, turning straight back on every time. I eventually solved this by turning it on and off multiple times quickly so it wasn’t a big issue more of just an unexpected annoyance which thankfully never occurred again in my testing of the speaker

Teufel have created a pretty special speaker which combines simplicity with raw power and results in a rough and ready speaker which fits perfectly into various musical situations whether it be performance, listening to tunes, or absolutely going for it at a rave. With an incredible battery life and it’s versatility of uses it makes the perfect busking companion but will appeal to anyone looking for a giant sound that they can take with them.

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!

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.