AirPods 3 review: new shape, new fit (Video)

Image Credit: The Verge

The Verge run down the new features and design of the 3rd generation AirPods from Apple announced last week.

Announced by Apple last week, the third generation AirPods are available to order online and in store today. The Verge go over the new design, improved sound, water and sweat resistance, battery improvements, spatial audio head tracking, and finding lost buds with the Find My app. These and more new features join existing AirPods features we’ve come to expect such as seamless integration with Apple devices.

The Verge conclude by talking about how the buds stack up against stiff competition, but noting they are a fantastic open-ear style earbud for Apple users, providing you don’t need active noise cancellation.

Apple release HomePod 15.1 with support for lossless and spatial audio on HomePod and HomePod mini

Image Credit: Apple

Lossless and spatial audio with Dolby Atmos support finally comes to the HomePod and HomePod mini after launching on Apple Music in June.

Apple Music announced lossless and spatial audio with Dolby Atmos as a free upgrade to all paying subscribers earlier this year. At the time, Apple said support would come to HomePod mini and the (now discontinued) original HomePod later in the year. In July lossless and spatial audio support were spotted in the HomePod 15 beta. Despite being pushed back, HomePod 15.1 released to all on Monday finally brings the two features to the HomePods.

Lossless audio enables high-fidelity music streams and downloads on Apple Music. As higher bitrates are required for lossless audio, ensure you have the bandwidth and no data limits. Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos provides a 3D surround experience from speakers or a pair of headphones.

To update manually, head to the Home app on your device, select the HomePod, then scroll down to find the update prompt.

iPhone with the Home app and HomePod mini in blue
Image Credit: Apple

For more potential features coming to the next HomePod, click here.

Lossless and spatial audio support will come preloaded on the new HomePod mini colours due in November.

Click here to learn how to switch on lossless and spatial audio across devices and what equipment is required for hi-res streaming.

Click here to distribute your lossless FLAC audio to Apple Music and all other major stores, streaming services and social media platforms for free.

How to share and promote your Deezer music on Facebook Stories

Deezer have introduced sharing to Facebook Stories, complete with a 20 second preview and link to the full track.

Whether you’re an artist looking to share your latest track with fans or a music lover sharing your new favourite song with friends, Deezer streamers can now quickly and easily share tracks, artists, albums, playlists or podcasts to Facebook Stories. Before sharing, you can customize the Story with stickers, text, filters and emojis to make it personal to you.

Paying Deezer subscribers can click the logo in the top left corner to immediately stream, favourite or add the full track to their library. Free users can stream a 20 second sample or launch a mix related to the track and artist. Non-Deezer users will be directed to download the app to install and create an account before they can play the track.

Music sharing plays a big role in helping us discover new tunes and connect with our friends. Our integration with Facebook Stories lets Deezer fans share what’s on their minds through their favorite artist or track.

Matthieu Gorvan, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Deezer

How to share from Deezer to Facebook Stories

The new feature is available globally to everyone. All you need to get started sharing are the Deezer (iOS/Android) and Facebook (iOS/Android) apps installed on your mobile.

  1. Find any tracks, artists, albums, playlists or podcasts on Deezer
  2. Tap the share icon
  3. Tap Facebook Stories
  4. You’ll be taken to Facebook where you can customize the Story before tapping Share to Story to share with your friends and followers.

For sharing your music from Spotify to social apps, click here.

To share your music to Deezer, as well as Facebook and plenty of other stores, streaming service and social media platforms, head to RouteNote today for free music distribution.

New changes to Spotify for Artists will help you understand your listeners

Image: Spotify for Artists

Get to know your music fans better with access to more analytics on the Spotify for Artists desktop dashboard.

Spotify for Artists has just added two new desktop dashboard views: Release Details and Audience Engagement tabs.

The new analytics make tracking the performance of your releases clearer and more detailed – which will ultimately help you take your music to new heights.

New Release Details page

The update brings with it an improved layout of release stats. If you head to the Music tab of the dashboard and then Releases you’ll see that metrics have been added that show data per listener for any of your releases.

You can click on any release, album or song to see a bunch of data such as number of listeners, total streams, total saves, and how many streams per listener over a set amount of time. From that you can work out what worked and what didn’t from promotional campaigns of your release.

Audience Engagement Stats

The Audience tab meanwhile now has an Engagement section with new metrics to help you spot any listening trends that spread across your whole collection of released tracks.

Knowing how people are reacting to your music is just as important as knowing how often they’re streaming it, so there’s new sections to show you numbers of playlist adds and saves. You can see useful information like the average amount of times listeners have been streaming your songs.

Spotify for Artists is rolling out the new sections on desktop only. Head to your dashboard to see if you’ve got access. The update will help to show you what your listeners respond well to, and lead to you understanding your fans a little better.

Wondering how to release music on Spotify? Check out RouteNote’s free distribution. Once you’ve uploaded your music, you can use Spotify for Artists to track how your tracks are performing around the world. Find out more here.

Effect of music on mental health revealed

Image Credit: IFPI

A worldwide survey shows the positive influence of music on mental health, particularly in the pandemic.

A new global study by the IFPI has overwhelmingly proved the benefits of music on mental health – something that has been especially noticeable over the past year. As a global catastrophe grew, thousands of isolated people turned to music to help get through unfamiliar and overwhelming pandemic restrictions.

The Engaging with Music 2021 survey contacted 43,000 music fans from 21 countries around the world and looked at factors like listening habits and most popular music genres alongside music’s effect on wellbeing.

What do the results tell us? Three quarters of those surveyed agreed that music “provided a sense of normality,” which was clearly welcome in the year of the coronavirus pandemic. A similarly massive 80% said music helped their emotional wellbeing – and from respondents in India the figure was 97%.

Image Credit: IFPI

87% of respondents reported that music gave them “enjoyment and happiness.” Teens unable to be at school in person were especially grateful for the power of music during the pandemic, with 85% of 16–19-year-olds saying it had a positive impact on their wellbeing.

And at a time when gigs were being cancelled and rescheduled around the world, those aged 16-19 still managed to connect with their favourite artists, with 68% of the teenagers surveyed saying new releases had helped them get through the turbulent time.

Chief Execute of the IFPI, Frances Moore, said: “Music has provided fans with comfort and healing through these challenging times. Engaging with Music reflects music’s powerful contribution to emotional wellbeing. Younger fans in particular acknowledged the supportive role that music plays in their lives.”

Image Credit: IFPI

In 2021 the accessibility of music streaming became more essential than ever, and three quarters of people found time to still listen to music as a familiar constant despite their new routine. 63% found one positive during COVID restrictions was finding time to discover some new favourite artists.

The irony of the findings is that over the last 18 months whilst musicians were struggling from isolation and a serious loss of income, simultaneously listeners around the world were finding comfort from their music. It still continues to be a lighthouse helping the world through the pandemic.

The most popular music genre in the world

Image Credit: IFPI

A massive global study has revealed the most-listened music genre worldwide. Also – is 90s a genre?

In 2021 we take our easy access to a massive range of different types of music for granted. On streaming apps you can flick from garage rock to hyperpop in seconds. But, with all the world’s music available to us, what is the most popular genre of music?

The “Engaging with Music 2021” report by record label representatives IFPI gathered data from 43,000 people aged 16-64 in 21 countries around the world – so truly a global study. Here’s what they found out.

The Top 10 most popular music genres in the world

world's favourite music genres
Image Credit: IFPI

  1. Pop
  2. Rock
  3. 90s
  4. 80s
  5. Soundtracks
  1. Hip-Hop / Rap / Trap
  2. R&B
  3. Dance / Electronic / House
  4. 70s
  5. Soul / Blues

Arguably, some of the musical types listed aren’t what you’d call traditional genres –  “Soundtracks” for example could range from showtunes from musicals to instrumental movie orchestral scores. “90s” meanwhile includes subgenres of 90s grunge rock or Britpop.

90s-inspired music is certainly having a moment in 2021. Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR and Beabadoobee’s Our Extended Play EP both drip with 90s guitar music nostalgia, whilst Lorde has openly acknowledged the obvious influence of Primal Scream’s 1990 track “Loaded” on her comeback single “Solar Power.”

IFPI also shared some examples of the most popular genres and where in the world their fans live. More than 300 genres were identified, being the favourite music of least one person.

Different types of music listened to around the world.
Image Credit: IFPI

It’s a snapshot of the scope and variety enjoyed around the world, with types of music ranging from K Trot and space disco to hokkien song.

Frances Moore, Chief Executive of the IFPI, said: “IFPI’s Engaging with Music 2021 paints a rich and diverse picture of the growing ways that fans enjoy music around the world… We also see the continued embrace and love of local genres, celebrated within the unique music cultures found in each country.”

The “Engaging with Music 2021” report is available for anyone to browse online. The report is wide-ranging, with interesting insights into where and how people listen to music and discover new artists. Check it out here.

Are 1.3 million people wrong about the top DJ in the world?

Compare a popular vote about the best DJs in the world with cold hard chart data of top electronic artists, and there’s quite a difference.

Every year the world’s electronic music fans cast their vote for the top 100 DJs for a DJ Mag poll. In 2021, after over a million votes were cast, David Guetta was declared the top DJ in the world.

But when DJ Mag’s list of the top DJs in the world was analysed by Viberate and compared with real chart data, the results told a different story.

The top five in the popular vote were: David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, Alok, and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. Music analytics company Viberate’s data however shows that Marshmello, David Guetta, Alan Walker, Calvin Harris and The Chainsmokers made up the top five by cross-platform popularity between 2020-2021.

Why does any of this matter? The argument is, as Viberate notes, public votes are always a slightly skewed way of declaring a victor. (Nobody mention Brexit…)

There’s always personal bias when casting a vote for a “best” artist, and you won’t get a genuine result from asking hardcore DJ fans an opinion versus looking at the data of what electronic artists the wider world actually listen to.

Viberate uncovered some other stats about popular DJs in their data. David Guetta is a constant – it’s also the third time he’s topped DJ Mag’s popular vote. Alok came fourth in the DJ Mag poll and tenth according to Viberate’s chart data.

EDM artists reign supreme, making up a huge 72% of Viberate’s list, whilst 10% are House artists and other electronic genres fill the remaining percentage.

You can see the popular vote results versus real-life chart data in full below:

As Viberate point out, you can change an outcome of a poll by convincing others to vote for your “team,” but you can’t argue with neutral data from across a set period of time. That’s their take on it, anyway.

Please feel free to complain in the comments about who you think should have been number one on DJ Mag’s top 100.

RouteNote LOVE electronic music! We distribute tracks by producers, DJs and electronic artists to all the big streaming services around the world. If you want to release your music, sign up here. By the way – it’s free to upload your music, and you keep ownership of your tracks. What are you waiting for?

Sell merch on your artist page with Shopify now on Spotify for Artists

Spotify for Artists now offers artists the ability to add merchandise to their Spotify artist pages.

Spotify have teamed up with the too-conveniently-named-to-not-become-a-partner Shopify to offer merchandise on artist pages through their artist platform Spotify for Artists. Artists can now build the earning possibilities on their artist page by adding more for fans to find and purchase including merchandise, tickets for gigs, and more.

Spotify’s partnership with Shopify opens up the opportunity for all artists to simply load up their Spotify for Artists platform and linking it to their Shopify store. To get artists started with their new potential market, Shopify are offering a 90-day free trial to all Spotify artists who sign up for the first time.

Camille Hearst, the Head of Spotify for Artists says: “For many fans, Spotify is the primary way they interact with an artists’ music, and we are excited to give artists a new way to capitalize on that moment. We want to provide artists with as many resources as possible to help turn listeners into fans, fans into superfans and, ultimately, help artists earn more.

“The integration of Shopify’s powerful backend for powering commerce presents a significant step forward in our efforts to help artists maximize additional revenue streams and give them agency over their careers.”

Shopify’s Director of Product, Amir Kabbara said: ““Thousands of artists already choose Shopify as their commerce platform, and now we’re bringing fans and artists even closer together with the launch of the Spotify channel. Artists today are entrepreneurial. They’re building multifaceted brands and businesses, and now we’re making it easier for them to meet fans where they are. By bringing entrepreneurship to Spotify, we’re empowering artists to think beyond the traditional merch table with new ways to monetize, and to experiment with their brands through commerce.”

Head to your Spotify for Artists account, click the Profile tab, and then select Merch to get started. Artists are able to display three items for their store that they want to appear on their artist page. Artists need note that they can only add one Shopify store to their Spotify for Artists account.

Amazon Music make spatial audio available with any headphones

Spatial audio on Amazon Music no longer requires any special equipment. All you need is your phone and existing pair of headphones.

Amazon Music first introduced spatial audio to their music streaming service in 2019. With Dolby Atmos and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, spatial audio provides listeners with a fully immersive, three-dimensional audio experience with unparalleled space, clarity and depth in the music. Spatial audio was available to all Unlimited subscribers on select smart speakers. Now, Amazon Music spatial audio on iOS and Android will support more speakers and all headphones with no additional equipment required.

Spatial audio supported speakers includes select Alexa Cast speakers, including Echo Studio, as well as 360 Reality Audio on Sony’s SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 wireless speakers, and their HT-A9, HT-A7000 and HT-A5000 home theatre systems. Later this year, spatial audio on Amazon Music with Dolby Atmos is coming to Sonos Arc and Beam (Gen 2) soundbars.

We’ve always believed that the highest-quality audio possible should be the norm for streaming music, and that’s why today, we’re making spatial audio available to our customers without any special equipment needed, and no upgrade required. We can’t wait for even more fans around the world to be able to hear the vibrancy and nuance of music in spatial audio with just their favorite headphones, and discover new details in the albums they love for the very first time.

Steve Boom, vice president, Amazon Music

Since launching, Amazon’s spatial audio catalogue has grown by more than 20 times. Along with the update, Amazon announced some new artists and albums with spatial audio, including Coldplay, Lil Nas X, Remi Wolf‘s debut album Juno, FINNEAS‘ new album Optimist, Rüfüs Du Sol‘s fourth album Surrender, and Alicia Keys’ full catalogue in 360 Reality Audio, with classic albums such as Songs in A Minor and Girl on Fire. In November, Amazon Music will exclusively release Mercury – Act 1 (Amazon Music Live), the brand-new EP from Image Dragons in Dolby Atmos. The five-track EP includes music from the album’s release live stream, recorded from the rooftop of Amazon Music in Brooklyn.

We recorded our new album Mercury – Act I with Rick Rubin at Shangri-La studios in Malibu, and it’s great to have a new avenue for people to experience the space and depth in those rooms through these new Dolby Atmos mixes. We’re excited to share our first acoustic live EP of some of these tracks that we recorded with Amazon Music.

Imagine Dragons

Over the last year, my engineer Ann Mincieli and I worked passionately to reimagine my catalog in 360 Reality Audio, a process that found us pouring through music we love endlessly! Making these spatial audio mixes revealed unforgettable moments—little details that define a song but tend to hide in the mix. I’m so proud of the results, and I can’t wait for you to fall in love all over again with my music in 360 Reality Audio on Amazon Music.

Alicia Keys

Amazon Music aren’t the only music streaming service to offer spatial audio. Earlier this year, Apple Music introduced spatial audio with Dolby Atmos support at no extra cost. Apple’s USP here is dynamic head tracking with AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. A feature hard for others to replicate, as it requires tight integration between Apple’s software and hardware.

The update is now automatically available to all Amazon Music Unlimited Individual, Family and Student subscribers and is turned on by default.

Amazon Music Unlimited is available for $9.99 per month or $7.99 per month to Prime members. This gives users access to 75 million songs on-demand, ad-free and offline, as well as HD and Ultra HD music, podcasts and of course spatial audio. Amazon are currently offering 3-month free trials for new subscribers, for a limited time.

With RouteNote’s music distribution, you can get your own music on Amazon Music, Apple Music and many more, free of charge.

Spotify expand their limited release of Car Thing

Spotify are offering Car Thing, their in-car music and podcast player, to more people on the waitlist for $79.99.

Spotify officially launched their first hardware product in April earlier this year. Car Thing is the real name of their in-car player that gives you easy access to music, news, entertainment, talk and more on the road. With touch, physical and voice control options, Spotify’s Car Thing is designed to work alongside an existing infotainment system.

Spotify are now expanding their limited U.S. release of Car Thing to more people on the waitlist. Car Thing still requires a Premium subscription, either Individual, Family, Duo or Student, and a paired smartphone for data. Unfortunately the device is no longer free to those chosen on the waitlist. If selected, you will be able to purchase Car Thing for $79.99, which is worth doing regardless of whether you plan on using it, as the resale value is currently much higher. Anyone, Free and Premium users, can sign up to the waitlist here. Spotify says they are continuing to improve the device via software updates.