Twitter’s Tip Jar lets people get paid for their best Tweets

Image Credit: Souvik Banerjee

Tip Jar is a way for people on Twitter to easily give other users money as a reward for their good content, and musicians can benefit via Bandcamp.

All Twitter users have seen the customary “I don’t have a SoundCloud but…” after someone’s viral tweet, followed by a request for monetary contribution – offering a way to show appreciation beyond likes and retweets. Now, as a neater alternative, Twitter has added a Tip Jar feature directly onto the platform.

Users can now display their gratitude for a well-researched thread or hilarious tweet by giving money to the creator through an integrated feature on the app. Everyone using Twitter in English can send tips but setting up a Tip Jar is initially only available for select users, who can add certain payment services and platforms for donations. So far the services available at launch include Bandcamp, Patreon, and PayPal among others.

Image Credit: Twitter

The Tip Jar icon appears at the top of the user’s profile next to the follow button. Other users just tap the icon and select a payment service. Android users can also send tips within the recently launched Spaces area of the app. The easily accessible feature could prompt more spontaneous contributions from users, and makes things easier for creators who no longer have to send out links every time they’d like to ask for a donation.

Image Credit: Twitter

Tip Jar will roll out to more languages and more users beyond the initial “creators, journalists, experts, and nonprofits” approved at launch. Twitter said it’s the first step in their work to “create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter – with money.”

The addition of Bandcamp as a payment platform is certainly a step forward for musicians, producers and bands looking to make a bit of money from their presence on Twitter. A further positive push would be for the platform to license music, so that video clips using music can generate revenue for the artist. Currently there’s no equivalent of YouTube or Facebook’s Content ID on the platform to ensure that rights holders get the money they deserve.

Get new SweepDelay advanced delay plugin totally free

Image Credit: SaschArt

Give your tracks an extra little bit of something special with this advanced delay free VST from SaschArt.

SweepDelay is an advanced delay plugin that SaschArt are offering as a completely free plugin to use in your tracks. Add an extra layer of creativity to your effects.

The simple free delay plugin offers surprisingly versatile results. With two resonant filters and a delay rate that offers normal, dotted or tripled notes, you can create inventive texture and colouring.

The free plugin has cool ping pong settings to play around with in your DAW. Despite being a powerful delay plugin it’s super-light and not going to trouble your CPU. Contribute as little as $5 and the annoying pulsing “Donate Now” button disappears.

The free delay plugin is available as 32 or 64bit VST or AU.

Get SaschArt’s SweepDelay plugin for free here.

Keys Magazine releases Sawrizor Lite free synth plugin

Image Credit: Sugar Audio

Get an exclusive free virtual synthesizer plugin from Sugar Audio and Keys Magazine.

Sawrizor Lite virtual synth is an impressive, simplified version of the Sawrizor plugin by Sugar Audio – which Keys Magazine are kindly offering as a free plugin.

The free synth plugin offers an 11-fold saw oscillator. Effects-wise, the Sawrizor Lite offers reverb, delay, chorus and EQ, lending creative depth to the sound. An oscillator and sub-oscillator gives it that punch, with different wavetables to pick from.

Use the synth lead and bass sounds in your electronic music production to instantly dominate the track. Keys Magazine have also included a preset bank by sound designer Carlzon, offering classic EDM sounds.

Meanwhile the more advanced paid pro version of Sawrizor, which has a bigger set of features, is available to buy for €30.

Sawrizor Lite is easy to install and use, and nicely low on CPU use. There’s no sign up required to download the free synth plugin.


Features:

  • Voice unison with detune, mix and other features
  • Three sinewaves, drive, triangle, saw and square waveforms
  • Available in VST, AAX and AU formats
  • Not compatible with macOS Big Sur or later

Get Sawrizor Lite free synth plugin for free from Sugar Audio and Keys Magazine here.

Trap and hip-hop sample pack ’50 Kits Bundle’ from Studio Trap is currently 89% off

Featuring 50 trap and hip-hop construction kits, 554 WAV loops, and 50 multi-track MIDI templates, the bundle is only $20, down from $185.

50 Kits Bundle is comprised of 10 full sample packs, each costing between $15 and $20. Producer Spot is currently selling the entire bundle for just $20. Inspired by artists such as Lil Baby, Travis Scott, Da Baby, Migos, Gunna, 808 Mafia and Future, the pack is full of contruction kits, WAV loops and MIDI files, with complex melody patterns, trunk-rattling 808s, hard kicks crisp snares and claps, and more.

Included in this bundle are sample packs Bank Roll, Dripp, Fast Life, Hip Hop Plug, Jet Life, Mask On, Out Da Mud, Slatt Talk, Slime Music and Woo Gotti. Everything is 100% royalty-free, allowing you to mix and match the audio to create your own unique sound, then upload your music to stores and streaming services, without any licensing issues or fees.

Music education app Yousician secures $28m in funding

Image Credit: Yousician

Subscriptions to the Yousician music learning app increased by 80% in 2020 and the company has raised millions in its latest funding round.

The world’s leading music education platform Yousician has raised a hefty $28m in a Series B funding round. The company’s two apps, Yousician and GuitarTuna, have a combined 20 million monthly active users, and counting. Those millions of users earned the company $50m of revenue in 2020.

GuitarTuna is the number one guitar tuning app in the world, and Yousician is an on-demand music school. It lets people learn piano, guitar, bass, ukulele or singing, with a Guitar Hero-esque interface that makes the learning process as accessible as a game. Users can get started for free. The platform provides real-time feedback through audio recognition technology, and also provides lesson plans from music teachers.

Yousician music app and Guitartuna app
Image Credit: Yousician

Chris Thür, co-founder and CEO of Yousician, said: “This is a very exciting time for Yousician and aspiring musicians everywhere. With this new funding round, and investors that really understand what we are doing and why, we are poised to bring learning and playing music to more people, in more places, than ever before.”

Yousician said it would use the funding to expand its hiring, further develop its product offerings, and make investments in marketing. Also on the cards are new partnerships with professional musicians to provide tutorials on the app. Previous artists providing lessons include Jason Mraz.

When the pandemic shut down in-person music lessons last year, Yousician offered music teachers and students free access to its “Yousician for Teachers” platform. Meanwhile, as people looked to learn an instrument to fill their time in isolation, subscriptions to Yousician increased by 80%.

The funding round brings the total raised by Yousician to $35m. New investors in the company included the Alexa Fund from Amazon. MusicAlly reasoned that therefore smart speakers may well play a part in music education on the platform in the future.

The top free VST plugins in 2021

What are the best free VST plugins out there right now? Everyone has a favourite. We’ve found 6 top free plugins to bring something new to your music producing.

Producers of all kinds are lucky to be living at a time when there’s so many delicious free plugins available to download, ripe for stuffing any DAW fill to the brim. Falling into a rabbit hole hunting out free VSTs can get overwhelming, fast.

It’s sometimes hard to separate the good from the bad and the ugly – while there’s thousands of free music software plugins out there for producers and musicians, they need to be stable and from a reliable source.

As a taster, here are six of the best free VST plugins available now, from great virtual instruments to stunning effect plugins. Let’s dive in.


Tape Cassette 2
Image Credit: Caelum Audio

Lo-fi hip-hop and bedroom pop sounds are still all the rage. Luckily you can get the perfect vintage dreaminess and add a warm classic sound with the Tape Cassette 2 free plugin.

An update on Tape Cassette 1, Caelum Audio’s free VST can be used on your entire track or on individual channels for a hit of nostalgia. Mess around with your synths for added experimental textures and create cosmic soundscapes.

Features:

  • Selectable Type 1 Cassette Impulse Response (IR)
  • Dynamic saturation curve algorithm implementing hysteresis and including oversampling
  • Wow & Flutter engines rebuilt to focus on smoother emulation
  • Real sampled noise from a Type 1 Cassette
  • Low Pass range increased down to 5kHz

Get the Tape Cassette 2 free plugin and find out more here.


Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover
Image Credit: Spitfire Audio

Get every exquisite sound of the BBC Symphony Orchestra within a simple free plugin from Spitfire Audio that’s compatible with all major DAWs.

No more tinny, fake-sounding virtual orchestral instruments. Fill in a simple survey and you’re on the list for a huge free 33-strong orchestral instrument library worth waiting the 14 day online delivery for. The sounds work as individual instruments in your DAW.

Ever wondered how to be a classical music producer? Now’s your chance.

Get the BBC Symphony Orchestral library free from Spitfire Audio here.


DearVR Micro

Whack your headphones on to experience the 3D capabilities of the DearVR Micro free plugin. A collaboration between Sennheiser and DearVR, the Micro is the redesigned successor to the previous AMBEO Orbit plugin.

The updated plugin has got full 360° panning, immersing you directly in the middle of your track. Put your sounds anywhere in the stereo field – not just left and right but above your head and behind you. Freaky and completely free.

Features:

  • Full 360° panner
  • Highest audio quality using Dear Reality’s advanced HRTF filters
  • Azimuth and Elevation control
  • Width control
  • Adding spatial accuracy by defining shoebox-shaped binaural room reflections
  • Five different wall materials to control the reflection timbre
  • Focus parameter using the patented AMBEO Clarity algorithm for a maximum spectral balance
  • HRTF selection to choose Sennheiser AMBEO Orbit HRTFs
  • Support for mono and stereo input signals

Download DearVR Micro VST free here.


Diablo Lite
Image Credit: Cymatics

Cymatic’s Diablo Lite free plugin beefs up your 808s, enhancing drums to cut through your mix. The Punch transient shaper and clipper features make the loudness of sounds hit so much harder, making your kicks smack just as powerfully as you dreamt they would, without affecting the .dB. Get your teeth into that.

Find out more and get the Diablo Lite plugin free here.


Satellite Plugins 2.0

This collaboration plugin lets you work with anyone in any DAW at any time, so you can work together without bouncing tracks. The audio or MIDI recorded into the Satellite Plugins 2.0 plugin automatically syncs between producers working within major DAWs. You can work together in real time and easily export audio.

Especially valuable at the moment, when remote working is the norm for so many musicians.

Features:

  • Collaborate with anyone, anywhere, within your own DAW
  • Connect Ableton, Logic Pro X, FL Studio, Cubase, Studio One, Bitwig, Pro Tools, Reason, Reaper, GarageBand and Digital Performer DAWs through Satellite Plugins 2.0
  • Invite collaborators to your session, record and export audio and MIDI
  • Assign Host, Co-Host, VIP+, VIP and Viewer permissions to determine who can upload/download tracks and invite others to the session
  • Use Satellite Plugins 2.0 in your streams on Twitch and YouTube and invite your audience to collaborate
  • Back-up your sessions seamlessly to the cloud
  • Perfect for remote session work, bands, and mixing/mastering engineers

Satellite Plugins 2.0 is free for a limited time so grab it quick here – apologies if you’ve missed the boat!


TAL-Chorus-LX
Image Credit: TAL Software

A cheeky little free VST. Small, simple but effective – turn the stereo width and wet/dry knobs and press the two buttons to recreate the chorus from the classic Roland Juno-60 synth. Two settings, one to add a subtler texture and the other a richer sound, together faithfully recreating the much-loved synth.

Get the TAL-Chorus-LX plugin free here.


Hungry for more free plugins? Of course you are. Check out these great free synth plugins, top free guitar and bass VSTs, best free mixing and mastering plugins and best free effects plugins.

And there’s far more besides… what’s your favourite free plugin? Show off your knowledge in the comments.


Want everyone to hear how incredible those VSTs sound in your finished tracks? RouteNote can get your songs onto all the major streaming services and stores. Before you know it you’ll be earning money from your music – and the best part is, it’s free. Find out more here.

Get all Ocean Swift Synthesis plugins and virtual instruments for free

Image Credit: Ocean Swift Synthesis

Ocean Swift Synthesis have made all their products, including synthesizers and sound packs, available for free download.

The good folk at Ocean Swift Synthesis are moving on to other things, but have left an amazing parting gift. You can now get everything on their website free of charge. That’s all the free synthesizer plugins and sound packs, wavetables and tools that your storage will allow.

Ocean Swift Synthesis, which was founded in 2015 by Fernando Abreu and Yaron Eshkar, posted a statement on their Facebook:

Hey amigooooos! We decided to make ALL the products on Ocean Swift Synthesis FREE for everyone to enjoy! These were a labor of love and our babies, but since Yaron joined NATIVE INSTRUMENTS and Fernando started his company Sounds2Inspire we had little time and could not offer commitment to support our products.

We would be very glad if people continue to enjoy them and be inspired by our sound and the passion we put into everything you can find there. Have a go! A HUGE, but I mean really HUGE thank YOU for everyone who supported our journey in so many ways, it was a wild ride and brought us both to where we are now. Ocean Swift, signing off! ❤

The free synthesizer plugins for example include the Polyphenom 2, an advanced hybrid synthesizer which offers detailed polyphonic tones for gorgeous mystical sounds.

Serial keys can be found on each product page. All the free plugins are available in 32/64-bit VST Windows formats, and the Kontakt instruments will require Kontakt 6 or above.

Head to the Ocean Swift website to see the full range of products available. Well done and thank you to the Ocean Swift team for their generosity.

6 best DAWs for recording a rock band (2021)

What’s the best music software for recording bands? Check out our guide to the best DAWs for recording live instruments.

All those hours of band practise have paid off and your songs are ready to record. There’s no need to pay for studio time – all you need is a good home set up, and a DAW to record your instruments.

Whether you’re a solo musician planning to record all the live instruments yourself, or a band ready to get your debut EP down for release, which music software to use for recording is a bamboozling question. It’s both a matter of personal preference, and slightly dependent on what style of music you’re playing.

As an indie rock band for example requires the recording of live guitars, bass, drums and so on, the DAW needs to have audio tracking capabilities and a smooth workflow to make recording effortless. Pretty much all DAWs have the capability for live instrument tracking, and most musicians find they can make any DAW work for whatever purpose they need.

However, some digital audio workstations were developed with electronic music in mind, rather than recording and editing live band instruments for genres like rock music, and their audio editing tools are simplified as a result. Loop and sample-based DAWs include FL Studio and Ableton. That’s not to say you can’t use them for recording a band – except the “Fruity” edition of FL Studio, which doesn’t allow audio recording – but it’s just all about making the process as efficient as possible. Recording live can feel nerve-wracking for the performer, so you don’t want to spend ages messing around getting the software set up.

A good beginner DAW for recording a band needs simple audio editing tools. That’s tools to cut up, trim and fade recordings. It’s also good to look out for plugin compatibility, such as amp and effect plugin capabilities. Number of tracks are also a factor, as some more basic versions or free DAWs have a limit.

Let’s explore some of the top options for the best DAWs for recording live instruments and recording your band.


Reaper

An affordable and powerful DAW. It’s easy interface and great audio editing tools are a tempting bonus. Individual track mixing is a breeze.

Reaper’s price, only $60 for the complete full version, means it’s a great starting point for beginners looking to record their band, or a multi-instrumentalist just starting out with music software. Bonus – you can also try it for free.


PreSonus Studio One

Developed to be used mainly for audio, Studio One is built for recording live instruments. As such it makes recording a breeze, and offers a dazzling array of audio editing tools. It’s also especially good for solo musicians, with intuitive composing tools included. It has a fully-featured set of virtual pedals and amplifiers and unlimited tracks.

It offers easy-to-use but powerful tools beyond just hitting record, too. You may think you don’t need all the bells and whistles or digital elements like extensive MIDI-editing capabilities, but who knows where your music-making might take you in the future. Just something to bear in mind.

Cons:


GarageBand
GarageBand

If you’re looking for a way to get your music digitally recorded quickly and you have a Mac, don’t let the snobs put you off the surprisingly versatile GarageBand. It’s a free DAW that comes with Apple products, including on mobile.

When you don’t have the time or energy to invest into learning the ins and outs of a full professional DAW, you’re not bothered about getting a professional quality result or as a band you just want to hear how your first song sounds, GarageBand might be all you need.

Cons:

  • Only basic capabilities
  • Only supports AU plugins
  • Only on Mac

Steinberg Cubase

Cubase is a popular choice for bands and multi-instrumentalists. The music software was built for recording live instruments, with extensive audio editing and recording tools. It’s also a great DAW for beginners, with its easy to navigate workflow.

Cons:

  • Pro version is expensive. Elements starts at $89

Logic Pro X

Apple’s Logic Pro X is the grown-up version of GarageBand. Its live recording abilities are very accessible for beginners. With take management you can overdub a tricky part of a track with a couple of clicks, or use Varispeed recording to playback at a slower pace, for practise until you’ve nailed that section of your song.

The DAW also comes pre-loaded with decent amp simulators and effects.

Cons:

  • Passable audio editing capability
  • Only supports AU plugins
  • Only available on Mac

AVID Pro Tools

The traditional studio-standard professional DAW, which professionals swear by as the best for recording live instruments and bands. It has detailed audio editing, and if you’re sending your tracks over to a professional studio that also uses Pro Tools it makes the process super-simple.

Cons:

  • The price might make your eyes water (Subscriptions start at $30 a month)
  • Challenging layout for the beginner with a steep learning curve
  • Dated interface
  • Limited plugin capability – only compatible with AAX format plugins

If you’re serious about spending a lot of time in a digital audio workstation, outside of simply quickly getting your band’s instrumental parts recorded, it’s worth investing in a professional DAW. A good option is to download free trials of DAWs before you commit to buying any music software.

Happy researching. It’s never been easier to get your songs recorded to a professional standard – and you can do it all yourself from home.


Happy with the way your tracks sound? RouteNote can get your band’s songs out onto the biggest streaming services across the world, from Spotify to Apple Music and beyond, so you can start making money from your music – and the best part is, it’s free. Find out more and sign up here.

Discord Ends Negations With Microsoft And Remains An Independent Company

Image credit: Alexander Shatov

Talks between Microsoft and Discord have broken down and the gaming focused voice chat software will remain an independent company, for now.

We recently reported that the popular voice chat software Discord was potentially being acquired by Microsoft for a whopping $10 Billion. Epic and Amazon were also rumoured to be interested in purchasing Discord. 

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, Discord has decided to remain an independent company and won’t be selling to any interested party at this moment. 

Discord is now potentially looking to make the company public, but Microsoft’s deal is rumoured to be still on the table to “rekindled” at a later date. 

We will have to wait and see what Discord decides to do either way. One thing is for certain though, the company is set to make a lot of money. 

Top FL Studio keyboard shortcuts to master for a fast workflow

Image Credit: Image-Line

Work faster and more efficiently in your DAW by getting used to shortcut keys in FL Studio.

When you’re in the creative flow making music in your DAW, knowing shortcut keys makes moving your mouse and clicking seem like moving at a snail’s pace. It seems obvious, but keyboard shortcuts in FL Studio really help speed up your workflow. After a while they become second nature for producers, just like how you copy and paste text without a second thought.

It’s almost like your computer keyboard becomes a musical instrument itself – something about the immediacy of hitting hotkeys gets you closer to the artistic process of producing. All the keyboard and mouse shortcuts for FL Studio can be found within the DAW software manual, with substitutions for Mac users, but read on for some quick examples of shortcut keys to get you started.


F Keys

F1 – Pulls up the FL Studio reference manual. Before searching YouTube for a fix to your problem, check the manual and chances are it can be found there.

If you click on a section and press F1, the help for that specific section will appeal.

F2 – To name pattern and assign colour

F3 – Open file window

F4 – Create a new pattern in the channel rack

F5 – Collapse/bring up the playlist window

F6 – Open/close the channel rack

F7 – Open Piano Roll

Ctrl + F8 – Pattern picker

F8Plugin picker. Forgotten which cool reverb effect you used in your last track? Seeing all your plugins laid out in front of you often jolts your memory.

F9 – Open/close mixer window

F10 – MIDI settings

F11 – Project settings

F12 – Close everything


Channel rack

Select multiple channels by holding down shift and clicking so the channels turn green.

Shift + Ctrl + R/L Arrow Key moves the channel steps sideways in the sequencer whilst keeping their position from each other, so that you can move multiple steps and keep the rhythm.


Piano Roll shortcuts

Alt + Right Click on note/group of notes – Play from that point.

Ctrl + A – Selects all the notes in the piano roll. No more clicking and dragging, or scrolling but still ending up missing a couple of notes.

Ctrl + Up/Down – Moves the selected note up or down an octave. You can create basslines in this way, and change up the spacing of your sounds.

Shift + Up/Down – Transpose a selected note by semitone.

Shift + Left/Right – Shift the selected note left or right, to change up the rhythm.

Try making your notes legato so that they connect smoothly from one to the other. Ctrl + L makes the notes connect to each other. Shift + D meanwhile shortens the notes, making them staccato.

A quick chop shortcut is Ctrl + U, slicing your selected notes into 1/16ths.

Quantize your notes immediately by hitting Ctrl + Q, moving your notes to the closest beat to keep everything in perfect time. There’s nothing worse than something being just slightly off.


Playlist shortcuts

Hover over each tool to see the keyboard shortcut appear in the Hint box:

P – Draw Tool           

D – Delete                  

S – Slip Tool

T – Mute

B – Paint Tool

C – Slice Tool

E – Select

CTRL + C and CTRL + V – Copy/Paste, the same as with lots of apps. Pasting randomly drops your selection into the track, so if you want to duplicate something over to the next available slot on the track, Ctrl + B is what you’re after.

Ctrl + Mouse Scroll for horizontal zoom, Alt + Mouse Scroll for vertical zoom.

Right Click + I – Insert a new track.

Right Click + G – Group a track with the track above.


Mixer shortcuts

Alt + L – Highlights which instrument or sample is being sent to the channel at a glance.

Select a channel and Ctrl + L – Sends the channel to the mixer and copies the name and colour.


Check out the full FL Studio manual and get those shortcuts memorised. Use DAW hotkeys often enough and your fingers will soon be moving to the keyboard shortcuts before your brain even has time to catch up.

Do you have a favourite FL Studio tip or trick? Let us know in the comments.


Spending most of your life in FL Studio and producing some amazing tracks? RouteNote can distribute your songs online so you start making money from your music. And it won’t cost you a penny. Find out more and get started here.