Apple’s new AirPods feature a new design, improved sound, longer battery life and more for $179

Image Credit: Apple

Apple announce the third generation AirPods (non-Pro) with spatial audio, Adaptive EQ, sweat and water resistance, and more for $179.

Apple launched the third generation of “the world’s most popular wireless headphones” at yesterday’s Unleashed event, as well as new HomePod colours and updates to the MacBook Pros. Boasting spatial audio, improved sound with Adaptive EQ, longer battery life, sweat and water resistance, and an all-new design, AirPods 3rd generation offer an almost complete package, minus active noise cancellation for $179. Replacing the second generation AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, the new AirPods will sit alongside the cheaper second generation AirPods with the Wired Charging Case, the more expensive AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation and the over-ear AirPods Max.

AirPods forever changed wireless headphones with their groundbreaking design, incredible sound, and magical experience. We are excited to introduce the next generation of AirPods, featuring unrivaled sound through Adaptive EQ and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, along with seamless interaction between Apple devices — making the world’s best-selling headphones even better.

Greg Joswiak, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Apple
Image Credit: Apple

All-New Design

The most noticeable difference on appearance is the new contoured design. AirPods third generation take on an AirPods Pro-like design, without the in-ear tips. While the lack of in-ear tips won’t provide the same amount of isolation as AirPods Pro, the new AirPods’ design and lightweight feel should ensure a comfortable fit, with audio directed into the ear. The AirPods also borrow the same shorter stems with force sensors for easy and intuitive controls of media and phone calls. Like the AirPods Pro, the new AirPods are also sweat and water resistant with an IPX4 rating on the earbuds and charging case.

Breakthrough Audio Features

Thanks to the H1 chip and Apple-designed acoustic system, the new AirPods should produce powerful bass with crisp and clean high frequencies, from a custom driver and a high dynamic range amplifier. The microphones in each bud are covered by an acoustic mesh to reduce the sound of wind for clear and natural voice calls, while an AAC-ELD speech codec will ensure full HD voice quality over FaceTime.

Video Credit: Apple

Computational audio brings breakthrough sound with Adaptive EQ to the new earbuds. As on the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, Adaptive EQ tunes the sound in real time based on how the AirPods fit the unique listener’s ears. Using inward-facing microphones, sound is constantly monitored and tuned so no low and mid frequencies are lost due to a poor fit.

Apple are also bringing spatial audio with Dolby Atmos to the updated AirPods. As on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking gives listeners an immersive three-dimensional theatre-like experience beyond traditional stereo sound on Apple Music, movies, TV shows and even Group FaceTime calls. Using advanced spatial audio algorithms and directional audio filters, AirPods are able to place sound all around the user, virtually anywhere in space by subtly adjusting the frequencies that each ear receives.

Sound coming from all around the AirPods wearer
Image Credit: Apple

Magical Experience

As has been the case with all AirPods, the new generation work seamlessly with Apple devices, with one-touch setup automatically pairing AirPods across all of your Apple devices, and Audio Sharing letting listeners share streams between two sets of AirPods or Beats on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple TV. New skin-detect sensors can tell whether the AirPods are in the ear, a pocket or on a table to pause playback when removed.

Hand-free Siri is always ready for your requests. Beamforming microphones block out ambient noise and focus on your voice to clearly pick up “Hey Siri” when you need to control music or ask questions.

Longer Battery Life

The third generation AirPods add an extra hour of battery life over previous AirPods and even the AirPods Pro with ANC turned off. The new AirPods provide up to an impressive six hours of listening time, five hours with spatial audio enabled, and up to four hours of talk time. The charging case provides four additional charges for a total of up to 30 hours of listening time. Pop the earbuds in the case for just five minutes for about an hour of battery life. The charging case now features MagSafe for convenient wireless charging. AirPods Pro have also quietly been refreshed with a MagSafe Charging Case for the same $249 price.

Image Credit: Apple

AirPods with iOS and iPadOS

Rolled out last month, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 give the new AirPods more exciting new features such as spatial audio and dynamic head tracking for Group FaceTime calls. This separates voices in virtual space so they sound like they’re coming from the direction they are places on the screen. Announced Notifications has Siri read out important time-sensitive notifications, so you can hear alerts from Messages, Reminders, Calendar and calls, as well as third-party apps that adopt the API. Find My brings AirTag-like features to the AirPods, with proximity view, Lost Mode, and separation alerts and sounds from the app.

Image Credit: Apple

Pricing and Availability

You can pre-order the new AirPods online today for $179. They will be in stores from Tuesday 26th October in the US and 26 other countries and regions. Apple offers optional free personal engravings if you want to add emoji, text and numbers to the case. All new AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max purchases come with six months of Apple Music for free, for new subscribers. For a cheaper Apple Music experience, see their new Voice Plan for just $4.99 per month.

Image Credit: Apple

Apple’s second generation AirPods with the wired Charging Case now starts at $129 on or $119 on Amazon. Amazon also have discounts across the rest of the AirPods line, with the second generation AirPods with Wireless Charging Case at $129, AirPods Pro at $197 and AirPods Max from $449.

Image Credit: Apple

Music streaming market in the UK to be probed by competition regulator

Big music companies watch out – the CMA is considering competition in the music industry. How fair is music streaming?

Do the biggest UK record labels control music streaming? We might be about to find out. Off the back of this year’s UK streaming inquiry, the Competition and Markets Authority watchdog is planning a market study of fairness in music streaming in the UK.

The CMA’s ultimate goal is to increase competition in the digital music industry – a market that economically hasn’t moved with the times since the age of CDs, and seems to be dominated by the biggest record labels in the UK and around the world: Sony Music, Warner Music, and Universal Music. The study won’t look directly at streaming services like Spotify, however.

What happens now?

Last we checked, the UK government had referred major music groups to the CMA, requesting a market study. The board has now agreed the findings warrant further scrutiny, and the next steps will be laid out for the study to get going.

The study will look at whether or not the Big Three labels and other major music groups have an unfair monopoly over the music industry in the UK at the expense of independent artists and consumers. The key will be to make sure they operate “in a way that promotes innovation and the consumer interest.”

The CMA is giving the project priority and it will be the next market study they launch. After all, as the music streaming industry continues to grow, any problems will only get worse.

Chief Executive of the CMA Andrea Coscelli informed the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee of the decision in a letter. The DCMS started the parliamentary inquiry into the economics of music streaming late last year.

In a statement Coscelli said: “The UK has a love affair with music and is home to many of the world’s most popular artists. We want to do everything we can to ensure that this sector is competitive, thriving and works in the interests of music lovers.

“Over the past decade, the music industry has evolved almost beyond recognition, with streaming now accounting for more than 80% of all music listened to in this country. A market study will help us to understand these radical changes and build a view as to whether competition in this sector is working well or whether further action needs to be taken.”

Will the study change the UK music industry?

The market study will look for and flag up any issues with competition between music companies. Unless the study finds the industry to have a “clean bill of health,” the CMA said it could wind up recommending changes in policy to the government, or push for music businesses to regulate themselves.

Other outcomes might involve taking competition law enforcement action against music firms, or simply using the findings to build evidence for a new, deeper investigation.

Any changes could affect not just the UK music industry but the global music world.

Whilst it’s still early days, this is the next step on a journey we’ll be keeping a close eye on, hoping the balance tips in favour of the independent artists and labels we work with at RouteNote.

Pandora partner with SoundCloud to launch a new hip-hop station for up-and-coming stars

Continuing their partnership with SoundCloud, SiriusXM bring The Lookout show to their music streaming service Pandora.

Satellite and online radio broadcaster SiriusXM invested $75 million in SoundCloud last year. In April earlier this year, SiriusXM launched a new show, The Lookout by SoundCloud, on their Hip-Hop Nation channel. Now SiriusXM are launching a station of the same name, with the description “Catch the next generation of hip-hop legends on The Lookout by SoundCloud.”

The Lookout by SoundCloud on Pandora hosts new songs featured on the SiriusXM show, from new artists weekly, such as Toosii, Sheff G, Metro Marrs, Young Devyn, $NOT, Dro Kenjo, Cico P, Flo Milli, Nevi, SoFaygo, Isaiah Rashad, Sleepy Rose, and more.

With a hit slot on SiriusXM’s Hip-Hop Nation and now a new home on Pandora, SoundCloud’s top playlist, ‘The Lookout’, is the go-to source with the largest digital audio reach for fans to discover the best in breaking hip hop. Joining forces with Pandora to expand ‘The Lookout by SoundCloud’ amps up our shared commitment to help the emerging hip-hop artist community to get heard and discovered.

Caiaffa, Interim Head of Music, SoundCloud

The show and new station originates from one of SoundCloud’s most popular playlists, The Lookout. Launched in 2019, the playlist has helped break some of the biggest names in hip-hop today into the mainstream, such as Pop Smoke, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Rod Wave and more.

This latest move is another step SiriusXM have taken to capture a younger audience, launching a TikTok Radio channel earlier this year. The channel features TikTok creators as hosts, hoping to be a radio version of TikTok’s “For You” feed.

Is Pandora still popular? New research show its rivals are catching up.

With RouteNote, you can get your own music onto Pandora and all other major stores and streaming services for free.

Is Pandora still popular? New research shows its rivals are catching up

Spotify and Pandora have the most listeners in the US – but not for long.

Amazon Music will soon overtake Pandora for US listeners, whilst Spotify is only going to gain more new listeners over the next decade. That’s the predicted trajectory for both users and new subscribers according to new research from eMarketer.

As recently as 2019 Spotify and Pandora were on par in terms of listeners. So why is Spotify so popular, whilst Pandora is on the decline?

Despite its roots in internet radio and song discovery, streaming platforms like Spotify now match and perhaps even outperform Pandora on playlist personalization. And while Pandora still has innovative new features and exclusive partnerships, it is stalling on areas like audio quality.

US digital audio listeners by platform 2018-2025 - Spotify most popular
Image Credit: eMarketer

As you can see above, Pandora is the second most-used audio platform with Amazon Music placing third. The two services are currently running close in the rankings, with Pandora out front at 54.2 million listeners and Amazon Music 49.8 million. But Pandora’s downward trajectory is estimated to continue, and Amazon Music will catch up and overtake it as soon as 2022.

And which streaming platform is more popular: Spotify or Apple Music? Spotify has the most listeners in the US – way out in front, and that’s not going to change in the near future. The research doesn’t divulge whether that’s in terms of paid or freemium listeners.

US digital audio subscribers by platform 2018-2025 - Spotify most popular
Image Credit: eMarketer

In terms of paid subscriptions meanwhile, eMarketer found that Spotify is still the industry leader. Incoming though is YouTube Premium, which is set to overtake Apple Music by 2023. eMarketer combined YouTube Premium and YouTube Music as one platform – as they note, listeners spend a fourth of their time on YouTube streaming music.

So, the only platform stagnating in sign-ups and dropping listeners is Pandora. But that doesn’t mean you should write it off as a service to upload your music. If you’re an independent artist you should release your music on as many platforms as possible for maximum reach, and that includes Pandora.

RouteNote’s music distribution gives you unlimited uploads to streaming services for free. Want to release your music quickly and easily, without signing away the rights to your songs or getting scammed by sneaky extra charges? Find out more and sign up to RouteNote here.

Latin music is the fastest growing in the world

Image credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Latin American music is getting more popular with the fastest revenue growth in the world.

Latin music’s recorded music revenues have grown a huge 37% first in the first six months of 2021 for the U.S.. This is according the RIAA’s (Recording Industry Association of America) mid-year Latin revenue report which reveals that Latin music generated $407 million in the U.S. market in the first half of the year.

This means that Latin music was the fastest growing sector in the entire U.S. music market, growing faster than the overall recorded revenues. The overall music market in the U.S. grew by 27% in the first half of the year, compared to the results in the first six months of 2020.

Overall, Latin music makes up 5.8% of the total U.S. music market. RIAA reveal that 96% of the overall $407 million music revenues for the U.S. were made from music streaming.

Latin music has been surging in popularity in recent years with artists like Daddy Yankee, Camila Cabello, Luis Fonsi, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin hitting the charts regularly. The genre – which largely refers to music spoken in Spanish and originating from Latin America – grew from $250 million in the first half of 2019, to $298 million in the first half of 2020, to an incredible $407 million in the first half of this year.

RIAA COO, Michele Ballantyne said: “It’s incredible to see continued double-digit growth in Latin music — outpacing the already strong performance we’ve seen across other music segments and categories and powering new opportunities and greater diversity across our business. This sustained and accelerating expansion speaks to a rising openness to new artists, music and ways of listening — with younger fans now spending 20% of their time listening in languages other than English.”

Clubhouse adds a new Music Mode with improved audio quality in stereo

Image Credit: Clubhouse

Boost the quality of your music streams and jam sessions on social audio app Clubhouse with their new Music Mode.

Clubhouse have introduced two new features, one of which is very exciting for musicians and music lovers.

Music Mode

If you use Clubhouse to work on and build tracks with band mates, host jam sessions, or demo new songs, you’ll want to sound your absolute best. Music Mode is a new option with stereo sound, above High audio quality. To make the most of Music Mode, hook up an external USB microphone or mixing board.

To enable Music Mode when speaking, tap the three dots in the top right corner, tap Audio Quality, then choose Music. Listeners will hear great sound quality with stereo sound when listening on headphones, speakers or just their phone. Stereo sound will also be enabled on Clips, meaning snippets shared of those recording with Music Mode will sound great after the fact.

Clubhouse haven’t shared any bitrate numbers, but we welcome the improvements all the same. You will be able to find rooms hosted by Axel Bomani, Tom Newman (not me) and more in Music Mode this week. Music Mode will roll out on iOS first, with Android as a “fast follow”.

Image Credit: Clubhouse

Updates to Search

Clubhouse are improving search to make it easier for users to find their favourite creators, clubs and rooms. Along with improvements under the hood, Clubhouse are also moving the search bar to the top of the hallway for easy access and you can even wave at friends right from search.

To find the search bar, simply scroll to the top of your hallway. As with Music Mode, these updates will come to iOS first, with Android coming soon.

Clubhouse universal search at the top of the hallway
Image Credit: Clubhouse

Share posts and Reels on more than one account with Instagram Collabs

Instagram Collabs is the perfect tool for sharing music promo and just about anything else across multiple artist and label accounts.

Instagram have started to roll out a new feature called Collabs. The co-author tool shares one feed post or Reel across two accounts. Both usernames appear in the header, both sets of followers will see the post in their timeline and it will show in the profile grids of both accounts. The single post or Reel shares the same view count, like count and comment thread.

Instagram have shared a couple of examples from Kylie Minogue / Years & Years, and J Grrey / Finn Askew. Instagram Collabs is similar to traditional tagging, but appearing on the timeline of both followers makes posts far more prominent, an idea I’ve yet to see on any other social platform. The new feature is great for music promo featuring more than one artist or perhaps across the artist and label profiles.

How to invite collaborators

The feature is still rolling out and only those receiving the test experience can be invited. The feature is only available to public accounts and collaborators must accept your invite.

  1. Tap the plus in the top right corner to create a new post or Reel.
  2. Choose POST or REELS in the bottom right corner.
  3. Take or upload a photo or video.
  4. Make your edits, then tap Next in the top right corner.
  5. Tap Tag people.
  6. From here you can either tag people as usual or choose Invite Collaborator.
  7. Search for your collaborator, then tap Done in the top right corner.
  8. Input any other metadata before tapping Share in the top right corner.

Click here to learn how to get your own music on Instagram and Reels for free, so you can start monetizing today.

Tom Morello recorded almost all of the guitars on his upcoming album using his iPhone

Image Credit: Travis Shinn via Rolling Stone

After hearing Kanye West records vocals using the Voice Memos app on his iPhone, Tom Morello was inspired and overcame his creative block.

After Rage Against the Machine’s 2020 world reunion tour was placed on hold due to the pandemic, guitarist Tom Morello found himself stuck at home with little inspiration or resources to record new music. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Morello said:

I didn’t pick up a guitar for the first six months. For the first time as a creative person, I felt wholly uninspired. It was made worse by the fact that while I have a studio in my home, I don’t know how to work it. There’s an engineer that normally does that.

Tom Morello to Rolling Stone

Morello says that inspiration came thanks to Kanye West:

I read a quote by Kanye West where he said he had recorded the vocals for a couple of his hit records on the Voice Memos [app] on his iPhone. I was like, ‘You can do that?’ And I started just playing guitar straight into my iPhone. I’d send the guitar riffs off to various producers, engineers, and artists around the world. That re-light the pilot light.

Tom Morello to Rolling Stone

Tom Morello’s third solo album The Atlas Underground Fire drops this Friday with collaborations from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Bring Me the Horizon, Chris Stapleton, Damian Marley and Mike Posner, who all recorded their parts remotely. Talking on the sound quality of recording guitar parts via the Voice Memos app on the iPhone, Morello continued:

I think my sound quality has been degraded since day one. I’ve aimed for that. [Laughs] I prefer a degraded sound quality. If you’ve heard the record, 95% of the guitars on that record were recorded on my phone. I have an engineering credit on the record since I hit the red button on my phone to record the guitar.

Tom Morello to Rolling Stone

When asked if he was finally going to learn how to use the recording studio in his home:

[Laughs] Now I don’t ever need to. Now there’s no need. I have engineered things a few times in the past few months and I can easily slide back into that way of recording, but I’m not afraid to just hit the red button on the voice memos, set the phone down on a folding char, and just let it rip.

Tom Morello to Rolling Stone

For more from Tom Morello about the upcoming album, life during lockdown and more, head to Rolling Stone for the full interview.

Tom Morello demos just how easy it is to get into professional music production in 2021. Once you’ve finished your own masterpiece, use RouteNote to distribute your music far and wide.

PPL announce the top 20 most-played female artists of the 21st century in the UK

Singer songwriter P!nk takes the top spot for the UK’s most-played female artists of the 21st century according to airplay data from PPL.

British music copyright collective PPL announced P!nk as the most-played female artists so far, this century in the UK, beating some of the most iconic women in music such as Madonna, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. This comes as PPL launch their new chart, using exclusive airplay data from UK radio stations and television channels, to celebrate the fourth National Album Day this Saturday. Find the full top 20 below.

National Album Day is a fantastic platform to showcase the importance of the album format and PPL is proud to be part of the celebrations this year with our chart of the century’s most played female artists. This chart brings together an incredible array of talent who have recorded some of the UK’s favourite music, including a number of the biggest and most influential albums of all time.

Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer, PPL

Deezer launch their ADE 2021 music hub in preparation for the festival

Loaded with electronic dance playlists from past and this year’s artists, Deezer’s ‘Best of ADE’ channel will get you hyped for the event.

Perfect for those attending the festival later this week and all electronic music fans, Deezer’s new music channel is dedicated to Amsterdam Dance Event 2021. At the top of the channel you’ll find this year’s selection, featuring the signature The Sound Of ADE 2021 playlist including tracks from this year’s performers such as Charlotte de Witte, Carl Cox, Claptone and Richie Hawtin, alongside six special playlists, with electronic sub-genres such as dance & EDM, techno & minimal, house & disco, hard dance, and trace & progressive.

Heading down the channel, fans will find a full collection of artist-curated playlists with hand-picked tracks from past ADE artists such as Floating Points, Ellen Allien, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Paula Temple and more.

Last year, Deezer found their ADE channel boosted included content, with 2020 by Nina Kraviz soaring by over 400% compared to the day before, and 2020 by Tiësto seeing more than double the streams by the end of the event.

This is the fourth year in a row partnering with ADE as we love to support the electronic community, including all the DJs that we respect and admire. Since there are still a lot of music fans who can’t fully experience ADE live, we’ve created a music hub to capture all the energy and buzz that you’d experience at a live festival.

Marc-Antoine Rousseau, Dance & Electronic Content Specialist, Deezer

ADE 2021 kicks off later this week, but if you weren’t able to grab tickets, be sure to stream all of the content above and more on Deezer.

For help on getting your own music on Deezer for free, click here.