Google Home speakers now also work as intercoms

Google Home are expanding what their home speakers can do with their latest update making it a Wi-Fi connected intercom.

Google have updated their Home Speakers so that with 2 or more you can send messages and reminders. Essentially Google have transformed their already massively multi-purpose speaker into an intercom as well now.

But its applications goes far beyond a receptionist’s new toy. Parents can send a message upstairs to their kids without shouting, you can set a reminder to take something out of the oven, or just have a slow, rubbish chat between rooms.

How it works is simple; You give your Home the usual “OK Google…” and just add “broadcast” after and it will take your message or reminder request and either send it to devices connected in the network or save it to remind you later. If setting a reminder it will notify you with a bell when the time is up.

Google announced the feature first on October 4th at their Pixel event. Now Broadcast is rolling out in English to Google Home speakers and phones in the US, UK, Australia and Canada this week. Google said that other expansions will come later.

Kanye West might be launching a rival to Jay-Z’s Tidal and Spotify

Is Kanye West going to start his own streaming service? Is this all just to spite Jay-Z after their spat?

Kanye West can’t get into the news for something that isn’t controversial it seems. New documents show that Kanye’s reps have filed trademarks for something called “Yeezy Sound” suggesting he might be starting a music streaming service – could this relate to his feud with old partner Jay-Z?

The documents relating to “Yeezy Sound” suggest that the copyright will include uses for: “Streaming of music, audio, images, video and other multimedia content.” So yeah it’s going to be a streaming service of some sort, and Kanye West is a musician so… yeah. However, beyond this possible venture people seem more concerned for what this means between Kanye and old buddy Jay-Z.

Yeezy Sound music streaming service jay-z feud spat Tidal kanye west

It might seem presumptuous but not every artist starts a music streaming service, especially artists who’s best friend and business partner already has one that you supported closely. Especially when their friend supposedly also owes them £3.5 million for using their music on their friend’s service.

That’s what is supposedly going on between the Watch the Throne duo, after Kanye released his album ‘The Life of Pablo’ on Tidal under exclusive terms. Kanye now claims that Jay-Z owes Kanye $3.5 million in unpaid advances and bonuses for his album.

So no-one really knows whats going on except that Kanye West might be starting a streaming service in which case, good luck with that.

Transform your guitar into a banjo with this small tool: the Guitar-Jo

Banjos are back in style and if you’re pining for that shiny, twang without learning and buying a new instrument then just get the Guitar-Jo.

The Banjo has picked up a lot of traction again in the past 10 years. The resurgence of indie folk has helped as well as more experimental uses like Show Me The Body’s industrial, twangy punk. Now the banjo is just $45 dollars away with your favourite guitar.

Guitar-Jo is a Kickstarter project that transforms a guitar into a banjo by simply clipping it on like a capo for the bridge. You place the Guitar-Jo around your strings between your pickups and then with by tightening it’s little furry pads it dampens the strings giving you an authentic banjo sound. It is honestly that simple.

The idea came to creator Jon Langberg before a church gig where he was playing electric guitar. One song in particular Langberg thought would sound perfect with a banjo but didn’t have the time to buy nor learn the instrument. So instead Jon took it upon himself to create a banjo sound with his guitar instead.

Within a week the very first Guitar-Jo had been built, albeit a very different design but the principles were there and creating a unique and brilliant sound. After multiple people came up to him asking how he got his guitar sound and curiosity over the device raised Langberg decided to take the Guitar-Jo global.

The Guitar-Jo is available for just $45 on Kickstarter right now so bag yourself one and start playing the banjo you guitarists!

You can now buy makeup on Spotify, yes – makeup

Spotify have explored a lot of different areas with their music streaming service, but makeup is one we did NOT see coming.

Singer Maggie Lindemann is making use of her Merch section on Spotify offering a first-of-it’s kind for the platform. You’d think Spotify would be synonymous with music, but apparently it’s now also a digital Boots – you don’t need to leave your house to buy makeup anymore, now you don’t even have to leave music streaming.

American pop-singer Maggie Lindemann has teamed up with famous makeup artist Pat McGrath to offer a new line of makeup. The range offers 5 different Maggie branded products; 2 eye pencils, 2 eye shadow palettes and 1 liquid lipstick. The two have aligned with McGrath’s ‘So Obsessed’ line launching close to Maggie’s single Obsessed, which will release on the 17th this Friday.

McGrath spoke on experimenting with new platforms, saying: “I’m obsessed with technology. Since the very beginning, t’s been [our] mission to use social media in groundbreaking new ways. We launch our products via social media, we’ve found our most legendary #McGrathMuses via Instagram, and now we’re delving into creative collaborations via Spotify.

Spotify maggie lindemann pat mcgrath makeup merch artist page

“Social media has changed everything. It’s given consumers the most powerful voice they’ve ever had, and it’s connected makeup addicts with makeup artists in a way that’s never existed before. Makeup junkies are no longer a hidden subculture. We’re boldly on display, disrupting expectations and expressing radical individuality.”

Hmmmm, okay McGrath I’m not sure that selling overpriced makeup is much of a cultural shakeup but you do you. Lindemann agrees however stating that she shares her passion for “creative expression and art”. She went on to say: “I’ve admired Pat’s work for runway, red carpet and editorial for years. I have so much respect for her.”

I personally can’t see makeup on Spotify being a big drawing point but assuming her audience is right anything is possible in the digital age. If you want some head to Maggie Lindemann’s artist page now and check under Merch.

Lamborghini’s new ‘self-healing car’ intoduced by Tobu

Lamborghini have revealed their new beautiful and innovative Terzo Millenio car and you may recognise the song it’s being paraded out to.

The other day we were browsing Instagram when we had an exciting surprise as Lamborghini’s new car advert came up. As we were watching we realised that Tobu’s wicked track Colors was the soundtrack to the advert.

Tobu has long been working with us here at RouteNote so every time he reaches another landmark we feel the need to celebrate as well! Tobu has been doing amazing work in recent years and is really growing into a powerhouse in EDM, clear to see in his constant successes, the most recent Lamborghini’s acknowledgement of his great music.

Check out the advert below for the awesome looking new Lamborghini Terzo Millenio where you can hear Colors by Tobu:

And if you’re itching for the full track after that snippet then no worries, here it is in full:

Support Tobu:

iTunes – itunes.apple.com/us/artist/tobu/id611180201
Spotify – open.spotify.com/artist/1feoGrmmD8QmNqtK2Gdwy8
Website – tobumusic.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/tobuofficial
YouTube – www.youtube.com/tobuofficial
Twitter – twitter.com/tobuofficial
SoundCloud – soundcloud.com/7obu

How Musical.ly are making $800m from teens lip-syncing to music

Musical.ly are looking to sell their app which in the space of 3 years has gone from a platform to share yourself lip syncing to an asset worth hundreds-of-millions.

If you wanted to become a multi-millionaire, almost billionaire what would you do to reach it? Become a major stock investor? Innovate in a world of abundant tech? Become a AAA actor? Well apparently making kids lip-sync to songs will just about do it.

Shanghai based company Musical.ly have built a massively popular platform in recent years. Their app allows users to lip-sync along to their favourite songs and upload it for all to see. They will now be selling to a Chinese media startup, Jinri Toutia, which bought Flipagram a video/photo sharing service at the start of this year.

The deal hasn’t been closed yet so the price is still to be fully determined but various publications are putting it at $800 million whilst the Wall Street Journal reckon it could be as high as $1 billion. With the deal seemingly pretty secure however it’s unlikely that Jinri Toutia will have to hit the billion mark to persuade them, $800 million for a lip-syncing app seems more than enough.

Whilst Musical.ly’s story is impressive having built themselves up in such a short time, solely through a mobile app’s success, selling so soon and 1 year after funding with a valuation of $500 million it may be the peak before the fall for the app.

According to the company their app has 60 million users though how many of them remain active is unknown. Perhaps Jinri Toutia have a big plan for keeping the app relevant or translating those users elsewhere but it seems like whether $800 mil or $1 bil that Musical.ly’s creators are getting a sweet deal here.

Native Instrument’s powerful Maschine MK3 is bigger, badder, and better than ever

Native Instruments are back on the scene with an all-in-one producing, programming, music-making beast in the shape of the Maschine MK3.

The new Maschine takes everything that made their previous iterations special and expands, improves and updates it for their best Maschine yet. The new Maschine MK3 takes the classic groovebox workflow of the last and makes it faster and intuitive, using market research to create the product people wanted.

So what’s new, what’s improved, what do we get in Maschine MK3:

BIGGER PADS

Big, bold, and in your face, the larger pads create more room for complex moves like flams and rolls. New technological updates make the pads more sensitive to lighter touches, for more expressive playing. And since the center-to-center distance is exactly the same, your muscle memory and workflow don’t have to change.

FULL COLOR, HI RES SCREENS

With two full-color displays and the four-directional push encoder, you can browse sounds, FXs, plug-ins, and instruments with a tactile, one-handed, completely visual workflow – simply find the thumbnail and load directly from the hardware. Plus, the high-res screens let you get more precise with your mixing, see an overview of your arrangement, or zoom in on waveforms to slice samples like
a surgeon.

STUDIO-GRADE AUDIO INTERFACE

MASCHINE now comes with a studio-grade, 96kHz / 24-bit audio interface for pristine sound. Simply patch in a synth or add a dynamic mic for quick recording and sampling. Stereo line and MIDI ports make it a perfect centrepiece for any studio. Plus, it’s USB-powered, so you can record anywhere with your laptop – or plug in the included power supply unit for brighter pads.

FASTER WORKFLOW

The new hardware layout cuts through the clutter to help you stay focused and get your ideas out fast. Instead of being hidden behind a shift-function button, some of the most-used features and functions can now be accessed directly with one touch.


This just scratches the surface of the deep improvements and additions to the Maschine MK3. Find out more here and get your own for £479/$599

Remix Pharrell Williams top hits and beats in ROLI’s free app

ROLI are bringing one of the world’s hottest producers to their free app to remix hits like ‘Happy’ using their awesome devices.

The creators behind the incredible expressive keyboards ‘Seaboards’ and more recently the fascinating BLOCKS devices, ROLI are back with some Pharrell for you. Through their free NOISE app ROLI have launched a unique soundpack that deconstructs Pharrell beats for you to build up again.

‘Lemon by N.E.R.D.’ is the Studiopack which takes all the vital elements from Pharrell William’s new band’s track ‘Lemon’ and transforms them into easily manipulated sounds and elements. Using the pack in ROLI’s free NOISE app music makers can play with the band’s high quality sounds and mould it into new soundscapes.

Lemon is N.E.R.D.’s first song in 7 years by the supergroup made up of Chad Hugo, Shay Hayley, and of course Pharrell Williams. The song, released on the first of this month features Rihanna hitting up the vocals with a rap flow on the groups bouncy and bass-heavy track.

On a Pharrell kick lately, ROLI also recently released a NOISE Studiopack of ‘Happy’ the number one hit that radios couldn’t get enough of. Inside the pack are the beats, basslines, and Pharrell’s vocals to be manipulated, remixed and recreated.

There’s a reason ROLI are giving lots of love to Pharrell and that’s because he’s given a lot of love to them. In fact on the 28th October Pharrell was appointed ROLI’s Chief Creative Officer. Together they plan a long partnership of innovation in developing revolutionary music equipment, something ROLI have been doing for years now.

ROLI’s new CCO has even invested into the company although ROLI say reports suggesting Pharrell is now a co-owner are untrue. According to the BBC, ROLI founder Roland Lamb met Pharrell when he reached out on a trip to Los Angeles and says he will have a real influence on the company’s development. Lamb said they bonded over making music more accessible to non-musicians, in particular children.

Lamb said: “When we met it felt like we were on the same page… The ‘Happy by Pharrell’ and ‘Lemon by N.E.R.D.’ Studiopacks are just the beginning of our exciting work with Pharrell and other artists.”

You can download NOISE for free for iPhone and Android now and start playing with the free sound packs.

Will.I.Am has another stupid endeavour; this time a Siri and Alexa rival

Will.I.Am won’t quit with his ridiculous attempts at innovation and now he’s taking on the biggest tech companies in the world with his own voice powered AI.

Did you know that ex-Black Eyed Pea Will.I.Am has his own tech startup called I.am+? If not probably because it’s a ridiculous attempt at entrepreneurship that has resulted in very little. If so then this news probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you.

Despite all the odds Will.I.Am has somehow managed to secure a big sum of $117 million in funding for his new voice assistant according to a report by Reuters. Why anyone would want to fund I.am+ following multiple failures and criticisms of their past tech is beyond me, but they have. According to the report a majority of the investment ($89 million) was raised in a funding round in March by an investment group including Salesforce Ventures.

Will.I.Am’s aim is to create another voice assistant in what has quickly become a saturated market with options from Amazon (Alexa), Google (Assistant), Apple (Siri), and others. Speaking on his new product he said: “I wanted to create something that allows us to do many things. There’s so much you can do with a voice platform.”

Will.I.Am’s voice assistant, called Omega, will see its first use with German telecommunications company and parent of T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom AG. According to Reuters’ report they have been using Omega since July this year to power an automated customer support bot with plans to add voice integration soon. So at least someone takes it seriously, whether they can grow from here to an established technology though is anyone’s guess.

I.am+ has been all about creating ‘wearable’ tech with fashion in mind and is now a company employing around 300 people (somehow). If that were something anyone really seemed worried about then it could have been successful, but just look at Apple’s ugly Airpods. The fact is what people really want is quality builds from trusted brands or innovative startups not a rapper-cum-popstar-cum-developer. It seems they got the message and moved away from fashion, but I don’t think that jumping on a bandwagon is the way to create success.