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

How do you deal with writer’s block? Leave a comment! ##WritingTips ##Lyrics ##LearnWithMe ##LearnOnTikTok ##TikTokPartner

♬ original sound – andrewhuang

Sony WF-SP800N truly wireless noise cancelling sporty earbuds – review

Sony’s cheaper, longer battery, sportier and water resistant version of their flagship earbuds WF-1000XM3.

The WF-SP800N are a sportier, cheaper and newer alternative to the WF-1000XM3 while giving longer battery life and water resistance at the expense of sound quality and noise cancellation performance.

WF-SP800N Black

The earbuds are sleeker in design than other options from Sony, but still larger than a lot of the competition from the likes of AirPods, Google Pixel Buds and Jaybird Vistas. They come in black, white, blue and orange varients. Secure and comfortable fit for almost anyone, with optional arc support in two sizes, as well as four sizes of long hybrid silicone rubber earbuds. IP55 rating gives the buds water, sweat and dust resistance, making outdoor exercise in the rain or washing the earbuds easy. The bulky, hard-shell, protective case charges with USB-C and features an LED charging indicator. Unfortunately no wireless charging on the case. The case supplies the earbuds with one full charge. 9 hours out of the case with noise cancelling on, plus 9 additional hours in the case, and 13 hours out of the case with noise cancelling off, plus 13 additional hours in the case. Quick charging can give the earbuds 60 minutes of playback with noise cancelling from 10 minutes of charging. Out of the case battery performance is fantastic, but the bulky case could provide more extra life.

WF-SP800N Case

Sound quality and noise cancellation is good, but not at the same level as the flagship WF-1000XM3. Extra Bass gives the earbuds deep, powerful and punchy low-end, but some detail is lost when compared to the WF-1000XM3s or Powerbeats Pro.

Wireless bluetooth connection to only one device at a time. Sony are expected to add multiple pairing to their audio line-up, starting with the rumoured WH-1000XM4. Remove one earbud and the music with automatically pause. Taps and hold on each earbud’s touch sensor will control music, noise cancellation and the voice assistant. The glossy touch sensors are easy to feel with your finger. Hold one finger on the earbud to activate Quick Attention, bringing down the volume of music and up the ambient sound. Hands-free calling, with a tap to answer phone calls. Voice quality is average, not matching earbuds with long stems, such as AirPods.

WF-SP800N Quick Attention

Tweak the sound to exactly as you like it with the Headphones Connect app on iOS and Android. Support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri. Turn on Adaptive Sound Control in the app to automatically adjust your ambient sound preferences based on movement. The earbuds can switch between music only, music + voice, or music + ambient sound when standing still, walking, running or travelling. The feature doesn’t work too well and seems to change too often. Enable GPS access to change ambient mode based on location. Register areas such as the gym, park or office with different sound preferences. 360 Reality Audio gives a surround sound like experience on compatible platforms such as Tidal and Deezer. The effect is not as good as the WH1000XM3 headphones.

WF-SP800N Blue

At $198 the WF-SP800N are currently selling for $30 less than the retail price of the top end WF-1000XM3 earbuds. As they’ve been around for one year now, the WF-1000XM3 can be found on sale quite often. If you’re less concered with sport features and after the best sounding earbuds with grade-A noise cancellation, the extra $30 may be worth it.

If you’re after a great pair of sporty earbuds with noise cancellation, these are the ones for you.

Also worth considering:

The BET Awards 2020: Full list of the winners

Last night the BET Awards celebrated Black and minority Americans across the entertainments industry at a poignant time.

The BET Awards is a celebrated and prolific awards ceremony covering everything from big name actors, the most successful music artists, and athletes across the US and further abroad.

The awards show specifically celebrates Black and minority ethnic Americans and, taking place amidst huge Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations across the world, this years show was especially important.

Amongst the highlights were Beyoncé receiving the 2020 humanitarian award and being introudced by Tina Knowles, Tyler Perry, Pastor Rudy Rasmus, Sybrina Fulton, and the wonderful Michelle Obama.

Here’s a full list of all the nominees and winners for the night:

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Beyoncé
H.E.R.
Jhene Aiko
Kehlani
Lizzo – WINNER
Summer Walker

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

Anderson .Paak
Chris Brown – WINNER
Jacquees
Khalid
The Weeknd
Usher

Best Group

Chloe x Halle
City Girls
EarthGang
Griselda
JACKBOYS
Migos – WINNER

Best Collaboration

Chris Brown Ft. Drake, “No Guidance” – WINNER
DJ Khaled ft. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, “Higher”
Future ft. Drake, “Life Is Good”
H.E.R. ft. YG, “Slide”
Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign, “Hot Girl Summer”
Wale ft. Jeremih, “On Chill”

Best Male Hip Hop Artist

DaBaby – WINNER
Drake
Future
Lil Baby
Roddy Ricch
Travis Scott

Best Female Hip Hop Artist

Cardi B
Doja Cat
Lizzo
Megan Thee Stallion – WINNER
Nicki Minaj
Saweetie

Video of the Year

Chris Brown Ft. Drake, “No Guidance”
DaBaby, “Bop”
DJ Khaled ft. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, “Higher” – WINNER
Doja Cat, “Say So”
Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign, “Hot Girl Summer”
Roddy Ricch, “The Box”

Video Director of the Year

Benny Boom
Cole Bennett
Dave Meyers
Director X
Eif Rivera
Teyana “Spike Tee” Taylor – WINNER

Best New Artist

DaniLeigh
Lil Nas X
Pop Smoke
Roddy Ricch – WINNER
Summer Walker
YBN Cordae

Album of the Year

Cuz I Love You, Lizzo
Fever, Megan Thee Stallion
Homecoming: The Live Album, Beyoncé
I Used to Know Her, H.E.R.
Kirk, DaBaby
Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, Roddy Ricch – WINNER

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational

Fred Hammond, “Alright”
John P. Kee ft. Zacardi Cortez, “I Made It Out”
Kanye West, “Follow God”
Kirk Franklin, “Just for Me” – WINNER
PJ Morton ft. Le’Andria Johnson & Mary Mary, “All In His Pain”
The Clark Sisters, “Victory”

Best Actress

Angela Bassett
Cynthia Erivo
Issa Rae – WINNER
Regina King
Tracee Ellis Ross
Zendaya

Best Actor

Billy Porter
Eddie Murphy
Forest Whitaker
Jamie Foxx
Michael B. Jordan – WINNER
Omari Hardwick

Young Stars Award

Alex Hibbert
Asante Blackk
Jahi Di’Allo Winston
Marsai Martin – WINNER
Miles Brown
Storm Reid

Best Movie

Bad Boys for Life
Dolemite Is My Name
Harriet
Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé
Just Mercy
Queen & Slim – WINNER

Sportswoman of the Year

Ajeé Wilson
Claressa Shields
Coco Gauff
Naomi Osaka
Serena Williams
Simone Biles – WINNER

Sportsman of the Year

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Kawhi Leonard
LeBron James – WINNER
Odell Beckham Jr.
Patrick Mahomes II
Stephen Curry

BET HER Award

Alicia Keys, “Underdog”
Beyoncé ft. Blue Ivy, WizKid & Saint Jhn, “Brown Skin Girl” – WINNER
Ciara ft. Lupita Nyong’o, Ester Dean, City Girls & La La, “Melanin”
Layton Greene, “I Choose”
Lizzo ft. Missy Elliott, “Tempo”
Rapsody ft. PJ Morgan, “Afeni”

Viewer’s Choice Award

Chris Brown Ft. Drake, “No Guidance”
DaBaby, “Bop”
Future ft. Drake, “Life Is Good”
Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj, “Hot Girl Summer”
Roddy Ricch, “The Box”
The Weeknd, “Heartless”

Best International Act

Burna Boy (Nigeria) – WINNER
Innoss’B (DRC)
Sho Madjozi (S. Africa)
Dave (U.K.)
Stormzy (U.K.)
Ninho (France)
S.Pri Noir (France)

Viewer’s Choice: Best New International Act

Rema (Nigeria)
SHA SHA (Zimbabwe) – WINNER
Celeste (U.K.)
Young T & Bugsey (U.K.)
Hatik (France)
Stacy (France)

UK lockdown easing: What happens next for music venues?

The UK government have announced changes to lockdown next month which will see pubs and restaurants re-open but no news for venues.

From July 4th restaurants, cinemas, pubs, galleries, hotels and hairdressers will be allowed to re-open across the UK. Unfortunately (although perhaps for the best) venues and live performances are not yet in the plans for re-openings across the UK.

Whilst theatres and concerts halls have guidance on re-opening they won’t be allowed to put on live musical performances. They will be permitted to host recorded performances with limited audience capacities but there are reportedly “risks associated with singing” and social distancing in putting on full performances.

The problem with concerts and live performances is that they’re famously a crowded affair and there is still an emphasis on social distancing even with the re-opening of other industries. However, many venues and artists are looking to the government for clarification on when they will be able to return and earn money again.

UK Music’s acting CEO, Tom Kiehl said: “While it’s welcome news that social guidelines are being eased for other sectors, many parts of the music industry are still urgently awaiting clarity from the government.

“Thousands of people who work in the music industry, which generates £5.2 billion a year for the UK economy, are struggling to survive and many businesses will go to the wall unless we get the vital support needed to get the music business back on its feet.”

Among the musical body’s requests to help re-ignite the music industry is the call for VAT relief on ticket sales, potentially saving £300 million over the course of a year.

Kiehl adds: “The absence of live music has left a huge hole in the lives of millions of music lovers and temporarily deprived tens of thousands of people of the (sic) livelihoods. We need to move towards a place where we can once again let the music play.”

The Music Venue Trust found that, if they were to operate a 2-metre social distancing system for any concerts, only 13% of their venues would be able to operate.

Live Nation announce cuts to artist fees as gigs return; artists called them out and now they’re backtracking

Live Nation felt the anger of artists earlier this month after announcing they’d cut their fees whilst expecting them to perform as usual.

It’s going to be a difficult transition as we return to some level of normality after months of shutdowns, particularly in the events industry. Live Nation’s solution to their loss of income was to take it from the artists – a move that has understandably had a huge backlash on them.

Their “exploitative” plan was to cut artists fees by 20% whilst pushing them to face the risks of performing because they need income. They also had terms in place that meant artists would receive no fee in the event of more cancellations due to a second spike or further social distancing rules.

A bunch of artists took their complaints to Congress saying that Live Nation were exercising “monopolistic behaviour” in their terms for artists returning to play concerts. Live Nation’s announcements also said that if the artist cancelled a performance they would owe the promoter 200% of their original fee, regardless of reasoning.

Live Nation’s founder and co-president has clarified some of the terms they had proposed and gone back on the most controversial. Charles Attal said that the latter point where artists would be required to pay promoters 200% of their fee upon cancellation has been wiped from their contracts.

In regards to the 20% reduction in artist fees, Attal explains that their is space for artists fees to be increased based on the success of festivals. They’re hoping at Live Nation that the success of festivals next year will in fact mean that artists ultimately earn more than they did in 2019 – though this of course is hugely subject to chance.

Of course it’s hard to predict what the future holds for COVID, lockdown, and how we will be able to re-open industries and gatherings. It could all change at any moment again so Live Nation say they’re keeping their discussions “fluid” and will hopefully keep an ear to what artists are saying about any proposed policies.

Indie labels Ghostly International and Secretly Group merge

Ghostly International merger with Secretly Group to bring their marketing, production and other divisions together.

The deal was reportedly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has now been confirmed by press release from the companies.

We had poor visibility on how revenues were going to change and how the economy was going to go. It caused us to ask hard questions: Why now? Should we wait? Can we afford this? Would it be better to lay back? We came back to the principle that this is fundamentally a really good partnership. It will unlock value.

Darius Van Arman – Secretly Group Co-CEO

Secretly didn’t stop things once COVID happened. They see the long view of strengthening the independent sector.

Sam Valenti – Ghostly International CEO

Seeing indies partnering to form strong brands is a good sign in a digital world were major labels are increasingly controlling huge percentages of revenue in the industry.

BET Awards Nominees 2020: full list & how to vote

Beyonce, Anderson . Paak, Drake, Cardi B and many more are up for awards at this year’s BET Awards.

June 29th will see this years BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards ceremony marking 20 years of the prestigious awards celebrating Black Americans as well as American minorities in entertainment and sport.

The nominees are out and you can vote for your choice now from the BET website. Here’s a full list of the nominations for 2020:

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Beyoncé
H.E.R.
Jhene Aiko
Kehlani
Lizzo
Summer Walker

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Anderson .Paak
Chris Brown
Jacquees
Khalid
The Weeknd
Usher

Best Group
Chloe x Halle
City Girls
EarthGang
Griselda
JACKBOYS
Migos

Best Collaboration
Chris Brown Ft. Drake, “No Guidance”
DJ Khaled ft. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, “Higher”
Future ft. Drake, “Life Is Good”
H.E.R. ft. YG, “Slide”
Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign, “Hot Girl Summer”
Wale ft. Jeremih, “On Chill”

Best Male Hip Hop Artist
DaBaby
Drake
Future
Lil Baby
Roddy Ricch
Travis Scott

Best Female Hip Hop Artist
Cardi B
Doja Cat
Lizzo
Megan Thee Stallion
Nicki Minaj
Saweetie

Video of the Year
Chris Brown Ft. Drake, “No Guidance”
DaBaby, “Bop”
DJ Khaled ft. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, “Higher”
Doja Cat, “Say So”
Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign, “Hot Girl Summer”
Roddy Ricch, “The Box”

Video Director of the Year
Benny Boom
Cole Bennett
Dave Meyers
Director X
Eif Rivera
Teyana “Spike Tee” Taylor

Best New Artist
DaniLeigh
Lil Nas X
Pop Smoke
Roddy Ricch
Summer Walker
YBN Cordae

Album of the Year
Cuz I Love You, Lizzo
Fever, Megan Thee Stallion
Homecoming: The Live Album, Beyoncé
I Used to Know Her, H.E.R.
Kirk, DaBaby
Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, Roddy Ricch

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational
Fred Hammond, “Alright”
John P. Kee ft. Zacardi Cortez, “I Made It Out”
Kanye West, “Follow God”
Kirk Franklin, “Just for Me”
PJ Morton ft. Le’Andria Johnson & Mary Mary, “All In His Pain”
The Clark Sisters, “Victory”

Best Actress
Angela Bassett
Cynthia Erivo
Issa Rae
Regina King
Tracee Ellis Ross
Zendaya

Best Actor
Billy Porter
Eddie Murphy
Forest Whitaker
Jamie Foxx
Michael B. Jordan
Omari Hardwick

Young Stars Award
Alex Hibbert
Asante Blackk
Jahi Di’Allo Winston
Marsai Martin
Miles Brown
Storm Reid

Best Movie
Bad Boys for Life
Dolemite Is My Name
Harriet
Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé
Just Mercy
Queen & Slim

Sportswoman of the Year
Ajeé Wilson
Claressa Shields
Coco Gauff
Naomi Osaka
Serena Williams
Simone Biles

Sportsman of the Year
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Kawhi Leonard
LeBron James
Odell Beckham Jr.
Patrick Mahomes II
Stephen Curry

BET HER Award
Alicia Keys, “Underdog”
Beyoncé ft. Blue Ivy, WizKid & Saint Jhn, “Brown Skin Girl”
Ciara ft. Lupita Nyong’o, Ester Dean, City Girls & La La, “Melanin”
Layton Greene, “I Choose”
Lizzo ft. Missy Elliott, “Tempo”
Rapsody ft. PJ Morgan, “Afeni”

Viewer’s Choice Award
Chris Brown Ft. Drake, “No Guidance”
DaBaby, “Bop”
Future ft. Drake, “Life Is Good”
Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj, “Hot Girl Summer”
Roddy Ricch, “The Box”
The Weeknd, “Heartless”

Best International Act
Burna Boy (Nigeria)
Innoss’B (DRC)
Sho Madjozi (S. Africa)
Dave (U.K.)
Stormzy (U.K.)
Ninho (France)
S.Pri Noir (France)

Viewer’s Choice: Best New International Act
Rema (Nigeria)
SHA SHA (Zimbabwe)
Celeste (U.K.)
Young T & Bugsey (U.K.)
Hatik (France)
Stacy (France)

Three free tips for effective digital music marketing

RouteNote help thousands of artists and labels distribute music online. Our partner site Push.fm can help RouteNote and non-RouteNote artists market their music in new and unique ways, free of charge.

Push.fm provide three unique ways to promote music online, with more exciting opportunities being worked on. All features are free!

Fan Links

Fan Links provides your fanbase with a simple and beautiful landing page containing all the links to your social pages, tracks links, and anywhere else with custom links/logos. Landing pages are completely customizable. Change the background, titles, URL and re-order links.

Get 30 free Fan Links campaigns. For $5/month upgrade to our Premium Plan for unlimited Fan Links, unlimited Pre-saves and unlimited Content Unlocks.

Pre-saves

Pre-saves allow you to share a link to your music before it goes live. Fans can then save this music to their library, giving you more listeners come release day and increasing the likelihood of playlist inclusion. Pre-saves are available on Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer. Share all three stores in one link.

Get 1 free Pre-save campaign. For $5/month upgrade to our Premium Plan for unlimited Fan Links, unlimited Pre-saves and unlimited Content Unlocks.

Pre-save
Content Unlocks

Content Unlocks gives your fans exclusive access to rewards in exchange for social action. Maybe you want to give away discounted merch/gig tickets or free music downloads. Fans can get access to special codes or file downloads once they subscribe on YouTube, follow on Spotify and Tweet about your new track. Full customization – you choose the reward, the social actions required and the URL.

Get 10 free Content Unlocks with 1GB storage. For $5/month upgrade to our Premium Plan for unlimited Fan Links, unlimited Pre-saves and unlimited Content Unlocks.

Content Unlocks - step 11
Performance Data

Get a campaign-by-campaign breakdown of exactly how many people are viewing and interacting with your tracks.

Head to Push.fm now to get started.

Free Pandora alternatives outside of the US

When Pandora launched in 2000, it was unique in its offering of personalized radio experiences to US users. Since then many streamers offer similar features and are available worldwide.

Pandora offers personalized internet radio stations, playing songs with similar traits and learning your likes and dislikes based on thumb up/down. Since its inception, it has built up a library comparable to most other streaming platforms and offers features similar to Spotify, Apple Music, etc. Pandora is accessible via web browser and the mobile app, has a free model as well as paid subscriptions for premium/ad-free features.

Pandora is unfortunately only available in the US, but there are many streaming platforms outside the US that offer music streaming and personalized radio experiences for free.

Spotify
Spotify Home

Still king of music streaming and for good reason. 286 million users marks Spotify as the largest music streaming platform in the world. It’s available in 79 markets and has a whole host of features even on its free model.

  • Over 50 million songs
  • Access to podcasts and audiobooks
  • Ad-supported
  • Mobile apps
  • 160kbps quality
  • Create radio stations
Spotify Station

If you enjoy the experience, get three months of Premium before June 30th.


Deezer
Deezer Home

French music streaming platform Deezer deliver music to 14 million monthly active users. Deezer is available pretty much everywhere, with their site stating 180+ countries.

  • Over 56 million songs
  • Ad-supported
  • Mobile apps
  • 128kbps quality
  • Create radio stations
Deezer Station

YouTube Music
YouTube Music Home

The evolution of Google Play Music, YouTube Music heavily emphasises music videos. YouTube Premium and YouTube Music come bundled as one. Both services have over 20 million paying users. YouTube Music is available in 95 countries and delivers the following features to free users:

  • Over 30 million songs
  • Ad-supported
  • Mobile apps
  • Unlimited skipping
  • 128kbps quality
  • Create radio stations
YouTube Music Station

Amazon Music
Amazon Music Home

Amazon have a few different music services. Amazon Music Unlimited offers your standard streaming experience, Prime Music is bundled with Prime memberships and offers a stripped down version of Music Unlimited, Amazon Music HD streams hi-res audio, and their Download Store allows your to purchase digital music. Amazon Music (the free version of Amazon Music Unlimited) is available in 46 countries and offers:

  • Over 60 million songs
  • Ad-supported
  • Mobile apps
  • 256kbps quality
  • Create radio stations
Amazon Music Station

The 5 best FREE VST mixing and mastering plugins

Once the writing and recording is done it’s time for those last little touches that make your track pristine – these 5 plugins will help you complete your sound with quality and at no extra cost.

Mixing and mastering is often overlooked but one of the most vital stages of producing a finished piece of music. It’s when you bring everything into their proper home within the mix and optimise the sounds to all harmonise as you want them to.

Whilst there are professionals putting the polish to tracks for musicians and creators around the world, sometimes you can’t afford the talent and have to go it alone. If that’s the case, we’ve collected 5 brilliant plugins that don’t cost a dime to help you put those final touches to your tracks and complete mix.

Unlike the last few in the series I won’t provide audio examples as the effects of many of these are done best when they’re subtle and aren’t as easily exemplified as how a crazy synth plugin sounds.

Rescue stereo enhancer by Variety of Sound

Rescue promises a subtle but overall enhancing effect on your full mixes. It offers envelope dependent signal amplification and saturation in a mid/side configuration. In ANALOG mode it can also provide additional signal alterations that you’d get from actual hardware.

Find it with a bunch more effects plugins from Variety of Sound.

Limiter №6 by VladG Sound

limiter no6 plugin

This powerful and control-packed plugin comes in a variety of skins so you not only have an incredible amount of power over mixing your loudness but you can make it look how you want.

It features 5 modules for compression, peak limiting, high-frequency limiting, a clipper, and a true peak limiter. For a free plugin you get a high quality processor capable of mastering like a pro with control over the smallest mix tweaks to huge compression.

Browse this plugins skins and download it here from VladG Sound’s blog.

MJUC jr. by Klanghelm

This certainly isn’t the most advanced compressor plugin available for free but sometimes a simple tweak is all you need. It works great to provide a quality final mix that can level your mix nice and smoothly.

MJUC jr. is a mix of Mk1 and Mk2 of its big brother MJUC. It’s combining very natural, dense compression characteristics of the early days of this type of compression with a more forward sounding approach and more harmonics creating of the variable-mu comps of the early 1960s.

Get it for Mac & Windows here.

Overtone GEQ by Voxengo

Overtone GEQ is a 7-band harmonic graphic equalizer with multi-channel operation support (supporting up to 8 input/output channels, host setup-dependent).  Overtone GEQ offers extensive internal channel routing capabilities, and supports mid/side channel processing.

Overtone GEQ was designed to allow audio engineers to apply quick EQ shape adjustments together with adding a bit of harmonic richness to the audio material.

See more of Overtone’s features and download it here.

Leveling Tool by AdHd

AdHd Leveling Tool is a Tube Leveling Amplifier inspired by the legends and carefully crafted to meet your compression needs. Perfect for keeping peaks under control and tried and tested as a great accomplice for getting the compression on vocals just right.

Get the latest version for Windows and Mac here.