Artistopia – Music Community

artistopiaA community site for independent musicians, this site has a rather home-made feel, artists submitting grainy photos and live recordings. They do seem quite an active bunch, however, and it’s another place to introduce yourself to other artists for mutual support. They publish a regular newsletter, with music industry news and self development tools for artists and producers. They also have music sales onsite, so you can punt your physical product – we’re still here for all your digital distribution needs, though…

RapidShare Have Been Handing Over User Information to Record Labels

The popular Germany-based file hosting service RapidShare has allegedly begun handing over user information to record labels looking to pursue illegal file-sharers. The labels appear to be making use of paragraph 101 of German copyright law, which allows content owners to seek a court order to force ISPs to identify users behind specific IP addresses. Though RapidShare does not make IP information public, the company appears to have given the information to at least one label, which took it to an ISP to have the user identified.

Read the rest of the article over at ArsTechnica.

Amazon Mp3 Launches UK Store on Wednesday

RouteNote partner Amazon has launched their ever popular music store Amazon Mp3 in the UK. Amazon Mp3 contains over 5 million DRM free tracks. On an individual track basis, the store has variable pricing, with songs starting at 59p, but other categories for tracks costing 60p-69p, 70p-79p, and over 80p. Albums are more variable, although £6.49 appears to be one popular price point for new albums. However, I have noticed at the moment they are pushing out major track downloads for only £0.29.

Amazon Mp3 for the UK was launched on Wednesday of last week without any press although British-based music blog MusicAlly was the first to spot it.

The increased competition brought about by a heavyweight like Amazon stepping into the ring may already have had an effect on music pricing in the United Kingdom. MusicAlly reports that as Amazon MP3 launched there, Apple dropped its prices on key albums in the British version of iTunes, including those by Oasis and Fleet Foxes, to under $6.

RouteNote and Our Progressions

Here are RouteNote we have been very open about our statistics and offering from the beginning. Today I just wanted to run through how RouteNote is progressing and what you can expect for the future moving forward.

RouteNote Growth:

As most startups in the current economic climate RouteNote is no different, we have a very limited advertising and marketing budget which of course means growth doesnt have the possibilities as it would otherwise. However, we have been seeing an increase in traffic every month which is quite positive. I think this increase in traffic has a lot to do with the great press we have been receiving from all over the web (Rev2, Techcrunch UK, CNet, and more).

Additionally, we have been keeping track of how long it has taken RouteNote to reach goals of 1000 track intervals. It took RouteNote 199 days to reach 1000 tracks online, but the next 1000 tracks only took 109 days, and this last 1000 tracks which now brings us to over 3000 tracks online took 76 days to reach. The site is rising and our service is increase and becoming more efficient everyday.

Partners:

RouteNote has been developing new partnerships will all different types of companies in a variety of areas. Here at RouteNote we believe that diversity in digital music distribution is key. With download stores there are really only three main players at the moment, iTunes, eMusic and Amazon, and RouteNote has partnership argeements with all of these stores. Soon we will be adding more partnerships to help our musician push their music across the entire internet with the aim of allowing them to reach the mass market, while at the same time offering them top royalty and revenue schemes that are the best in the industry. Watch out for RouteNote partnering with some of the biggest growing music services on the web.

New Features Coming Soon:

Here at RouteNote we launched in the same way as many other startups. First you have private beta, then beta, then launch the site with a full service. Here at RouteNote we followed the same kind of structure but for us the beta tag is only there because we were yet to release our desktop upload tool. This tool and the beta tag should be completed in the coming months. Additionally, we are looking to add more services in our tools section which aims to help artists find great deals and provide them with the right tools to help self-promotion.

Overall:

RouteNote is still growing at a steady pace and we are aiming over this time to increase our offering as much as possible. As a RouteNote user you will see added partners in terms of stores, mobile, streaming, licensing and others, as well as a much more rounded product offering.

Who Are The Top Musicians on Twitter? Here Are The Twitter Music Charts

According to information assembled by data partner BigChampagne, these are the top acts with the most followers on Twitter (as of April 20th):

1. Britney Spears (995,807)
2. John Mayer (760,522)
3. Diddy (612,586)
4. Coldplay (542,764)
5. Sara Bareilles (424,737)
6. A Fine Frenzy (394,429)
7. Soulja Boy (350,114)
8. Jimmy Eat World (281,989)
9. Heidi Montag (247,120)
10. Ashlee Simpson (222,548)

There arent really too many surprises, but I dont really class Heidi Montag as a musician!

Make sure you head over and follow RouteNote on Twitter, www.twitter.com/routenote

PRS Have Paid Out £117 Million for the First Quarter of 2009 to British Songwriters

PRS for Music has announced that its members will be paid their share of a record distribution of £117 million for the first quarter of this year, based on analysis of 19.7 million performances of more than 743,000 individual works.

UK royalties accounted for 65% of that, with the remainder coming from international markets.

In its announcement of the Q1 payout, PRS for Music says that talks between it and Google/YouTube “are yet to reach a satisfactory conclusion”. This coming after Google announcing that they were going to pull all their premium music videos from YouTube.

Study Finds Pirates Buy 10x More Music Online than Non-Pirates

A study from the BI Norwegian School of Management has found that those who download free music from services like BitTorrent are also the biggest legitimate consumers of downloadable music.

In fact, among all 1,901 Norway-based study participants (all of whom were over the age of 15), it was found that those who downloaded “free” music were 10x more likely to download pay music. In other words, music pirates are the music industry’s largest online consumers.

Note: “Free” music obviously implies pirated music, but it also encompasses legitimate free music download services.

The findings also included that, in the 15-20 age range, 50% of participants had bought a CD in the last six months. So that trusty format isn’t dead quite yet.

Since we relied on Google’s translation from the original Norwegian, anyone who speaks the language is encouraged to glean for more specifics and post them in the comments.

Source: Gizmodo

Pirate Bay – File Sharing Verdict

skull_and_crossbonesThe Pirate Bay’s trial in Sweden has resulted in their four founders being found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison each, on top of some horrific fines. While we understand that artists are being damaged by file-sharing, it’s certainly in the interest of consumers to obtain music through p2p channels, or they wouldn’t be doing it.

So who is actually at fault here? The Pirate Bay arose in response to a demand from music and media consumers that wasn’t being met by other retailers and content providers, and they were arguably only providing a roadmap for their users to find files that others had put up on the web. Their site was a tool capable of helping people make copies of files, like Microsoft’s Media Player is capable of allowing people to burn copied CD’s of other people’s music, or indeed music that they’ve copied from the internet. It’s not Bill Gate’s fault that millions of people have used Microsoft’s software to burn those CD’s, and it’s arguable that the Pirate Bay’s owners and operators are only providing a tool in the same way.

Whatever the morality of file sharing – it’s here to stay. The Bay have vowed to put up servers in countries all round the world, so that the site cannot be taken down as the result of a judgement in a single territory, and sites like mininova are not only taking down all the contested content, but also paying healthy lumps of tax to their native governments, making them much more respectable in the eyes of the law. What needs to happen is for a method to be designed that brings revenue back to the artists or other content originators from torrents or other file sharing methods, so that consumers can have their cake, and artists can eat it too. My suggestion? Sanctioned releases from labels or artists that are monitored by legit sites (like mininova) and funded by a combination of ISP’s taxing bandwidth, and the torrent tracking site’s advertising.

VST Drum Plugins

When it comes to sequencing drum tracks, there are a whole load of different plugins available, for free or otherwise. The first one we’re going to look at is a little home-grown number called MyDrumSet from Norwegian site Blue Noise. It’s a .vst plugin made from recordings of the producer’s Ludwig kit, with separate mic outputs from each drum, as well as a couple of overheads. No strange or fantastic sounds here, but a solid basic drumkit that you can drop in to your tracks.

If you’re unwilling to get your wallet out but you’re looking for something a little less basic, there are loads and loads of other free plugins listed over at the AudioMastermind database. It might take a little sifting, but you’re not going to spend any money.

Working on something with a more live feel? Fully sequenced drums not giving you the juice you need, or just unhappy with the sound you’re able to record? You can replace the drum tracks you’ve got with sounds from this plugin – Drumagog which uses the existing drum hits as triggers for the sounds in it’s databank (which contains 4 gig worth of samples), retaining the rhythm and feel of anything you’ve recorded but replacing the sound.

Next up is the number 2 application on the market, Toontrack’s Superior Drummer – this is the second version of their DFH Superior software, and they’ve made significant improvements to the graphic user interface, and the detailed control you have over your mix. Sound-On-Sound has this to say about it:

It’s difficult not to be impressed by what SD 2.0 has to offer. Toontrack have managed to strike a sensible balance between very detailed control of your drum mix and an interface that is relatively easy to use. And as the samples themselves sound excellent, the only limits to your creativity are your programming ability and your host computer — unless you have a reasonably well-endowed one.

Unfortunately there’s not a demo version for you to try out, and this product does have a pretty hefty price tag on it unless you’re of a piratical bent, which we certainly can’t condone.

If you’re considering spending $400 on a new plugin synth then you should also take a look at FXpansion’s BFD2. This is the Ferrari of plugins, offering you a vast battery of sounds, principally recorded at Hampstead’s phenomenal looking AIR studios, it’s also got a load of dedicated EQ’s filters and other gubbins built in. It’s getting massively good reviews all over, and there are some sample tracks mixed using the plugin on their product listing page that demonstrate what it can do.