Discover your listening similarities with your favourite artists using Spotify’s Listen Alike

Find what listening habits you share with top musicians, podcast creators, influencers and everyday listeners with Spotify’s Listen Alike feature.

Using Spotify’s listening data, Listen Alike shows how listening to music connects us even while we’re apart. Simply choose a creator from the list such as Addison Rae, Alicia Keys, Anne-Marie, H.E.R, JaackMaate, John Legend, Megan Thee Stallion, SAINt JHN, Tones and I and more. Spotify will analyse your listening traits and calculate your Alike percentage. SEE MORE will show your what artists, tracks, genres and podcasts you’re both into. From here you can even save your shared playlist to Spotify.

Listen Alike works for Free and Premium users on mobile and desktop.

Turn any sound into an instrument with Google’s Tone Transfer Magenta project

Google’s latest Magenta project uses machine learning to take any inputted sound and convincingly output as a chosen instrument.

Google’s Magenta projects use machine learning to create art and music, while providing open source data for all to use and learn. Tone Transfer is no different, using DDSP to convert sounds into musical instruments. DDSP learns characteristics of a musical instrument and maps them to different sounds.

Play with the sample sounds or record your own music instruments, vocal performances or sound effects to accurately hear what they would sound like performed on flute, saxophone, trumpet or violin. For example turn your acapella into a saxophone solo or dog barking into a trumpet performance. You can then mix the original recording with the machine learned output.

Tone Transfer could be a great way to add some new instruments into your mix without sequencing, thus still retaining a real “recorded” element. Explore, create and input your new musical instrument into your next big project.

Google worked with five artists including Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Andrew Huang, Mija, Adam Taylor and Tems to turn their instrumental performances into machine learning models:

This development is important because it enables music technologies to become more inclusive. Machine learning models inherit biases from the datasets they are trained on, and music models are no different. Many are trained on the structure of western musical scores, which excludes much of the music from the rest of the world. Rather than following the formal rules of western music, like the 12 notes on a piano, DDSP transforms sound by modeling frequencies in the audio itself. This opens up machine learning technologies to a wider range of musical cultures.

Nida Zada – UX Lead, Google Research

Find Google’s write-up on exactly how the model works here.

Rockifi’s ‘Tinder for rock fans’ music streaming service relaunches

Whilst there are many music streaming services, few of them are dedicated solely to a single genre. That may just lead to Rockifi’s niche success.

Rockifi is a Scottish startup music service that makes the bold choice of focussing on one group of music fans. In their case it is, unsurprisingly given their name, a rock and metal dedicated music streaming service.

It’s been available for a few years and was described as “Tinder for rock fans” in 2018. That description came because it was created to embrace a community and allow you to meet and chat with other fans of artists.

The app are now looking for £350k in funding to expand and relaunch their service to make it even better for rock lovers. They relaunched the service this week with plans to stream live events from rock artists, purchase band merch and donate some of their funds to support artists during this tough time for music.

They’ve planned a live-streamed performance from metal band Ingested on their service which will take place on Halloween. They hope their platform will create a home for like-minded music fans to share their love of music, listen to the artists they love, and discover new ones.

Japan are slowly warming to streaming, Napster are cornering market

Japan have been surprisingly slow to take to music streaming despite their love of tech, but with Napster’s library heading there things could be changing.

Napster have signed a deal with Japanese telephone company NTT DoCoMo to bring their music library of over 50 million songs to their streaming service. Music streaming is still surprisingly low but the TelCo’s service dMusic is gaining popularity.

Offering a music streaming service with music and playlists as well as videos, they’re slowly winning over audiences with on-demand music in a country that has been reluctant to replace physical media and fully paid downloads.

The deal that brings Napster’s huge music catalogue to dMusic is being made through Japanese firm RecoChoku. The deal follows the recent announcements that Napster will also provide their catalogue for Sony Music’s Japanese Hi-Res service and another Japanese music service from Rakuten.

How is Spotify doing in Russia since launching this year?

Spotify finally launched in Russia this July. How is the country with 140 million potential listeners responding to the world’s leading music streaming service?

Spotify launched in 13 new markets in July, including Russia where they have been hoping to stream for years. It also allowed us at RouteNote to bring your music to millions of new potential listeners when you upload your music to Spotify with us.

So lets check in to see how well Spotify is doing in Russia so far.

Spotify says: “On the first day we had tremendous download rates, and the news about Spotify’s launch was so huge that three days after launch, headlines about Spotify were still trending on Russia’s largest news service.”

They’ve been working hard with local artists to highlight some of Russia’s very own music including Little Big, FACEGONE.FluddMARUVMotNina KravizMujuiceSharlotLevan GoroziaKlava KokaOlga SeryabkinaMalbecSiuzannaRauf & FaikMax BarskikhTima Belorusskikh and Noize MC.

Despite all of the local talent though, the BTS boys were found to be the most popular artist amongst Russian listeners in the first month. Those South Korean sweethearts steal the hearts of streamers no matter where they’re listening from, clearly.

Of course, everyone loves playlists on Spotify and so they made sure their curators had a special selection for launch in Russia. Amongst their introductory mixes for the country were Hip-Hop CannonPop Non-StopRock TodaySolarisIndie SquadMore Fume, and Hits of Russian Rock.

Spotify have also teamed up with Russian mobile TelCo MTS, one of the country’s largest, to offer over 78 million users on the network exclusive deals to sign up for Spotify Premium.

All in all, it looks like a great start to Spotify’s new presence in one of the world’s largest countries. I’m sure we will only see its popularity grow there.

Google’s updated Recorder app allows for easy audio editing and sharing

Google announce new exclusive Android features for their Pixel phones, including their updated Recorder app. Editing audio is as simple as selecting words on the transcription.

Google’s virtual Pixel event saw a Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G, Nest Audio and a host of other new and updated products.

Pixel 5 gets decent upgrades across the board:

  • 6” Full HD OLED
  • 4080mAh battery
  • 128GB storage
  • 8GB RAM
  • Holepunch camera cutout
  • Aluminium body
  • Reverse wireless charging
  • 16MP ultra wide
  • $699

In a recent blog post, Google outlined the new software tricks coming to the Pixel 5 phones, including an updated Recorder app, with smarter tools for easier recording, editing and sharing your interviews, podcasts or music ideas. Google’s new Recorder app was announced last year, with real-time transcriptions and search. Now the transcription tool can be used to edit the audio. Simply highlight the paragraph, sentence, word or “umm” to delete its corresponding audio or vice versa.

Once your audio clip is completed, Recorder can generate a video clip to make sharing on social platforms easier. Searching through transcripts has also been improved, with a smart scrolling feature that will automatically mark import words, so you can quickly jump to sections you’re looking for in long recordings.

All new features still work offline, allowing you to transcribe, search and edit anywhere. Find the Recorder app available on Pixel 2 or newer on the Play Store. We are currently unsure whether these new features will come to phones older than Pixel 5.

Spotify update collaborative playlists to make adding friends easier

Spotify make is easier to add collaborators and see who contributed which tracks.

As the lockdown continues to affect many aspects of the music industry, Spotify are making efforts to help bring music and podcast listeners together via streaming, such as the Group Session feature added earlier this year that allows users to listen together in real time.

Collaborative playlists have been around for some time now and are a great way to share music and podcasts between a friends, or create a playlist for the office or party that suits all tastes.

Now, Spotify are updating their apps to make creating collaborative playlists easier than ever. The new Add User button in the playlist header makes inviting contributors just a tap away. There’s a new list in the playlist header that shows the avatars of those adding songs. Finally, user avatars will also show in front of each track or episode added, making identifying who added Darude – Sandstorm easier.

It’s easy to get started with collaborative playlists.

  1. Head to the app on your mobile of tablet
  2. Tap Your Library
  3. Then Playlists under Music
  4. Tap any of your playlists or create a new one
  5. Find the new Add User button in the header to make the playlist collaborative
  6. Invite friends by sharing the playlist on social media, messaging apps or copy the link.

It seems the update is currently in the process of rolling out as the new feature is on one of two phones tested.

Top 5 small portable bluetooth speakers

Here’s our top pick of the best wireless speakers to take on the road.

Top criteria? The speakers must be small enough to slip in a bag, hold a decent battery and of course produce great, room filling sound.

If you’re after something cheaper, check out our top five speakers under $50.

If you’re after something for home, check out our top smart speakers.

1. Bose SoundLink Revolve+ – $299

Bose deliver the absolute best of the best, offering a premium 360 sound, in a premium design, while being durable with an IPX4 water resistance rating.

  • Delivers Deep, loud, jaw dropping sound with True 360 degree coverage
  • Built-in mic for speakerphone to take clear conference or personal calls out loud with a wireless range of approximately 30 feet.
  • Flexible fabric handle makes it easy to grab and go; seamless aluminum body is durable and water resistant (IPX4)
  • Enjoy up to 16 hours of play time from a long-lasting, rechargeable, lithium-ion battery
  • Wireless Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts allows you to easily take calls and access your phone’s virtual assistant — hands free
  • Pair two SoundLink speakers together for party mode or stereo mode or use Bose SimpleSync technology to pair with a member of the Bose Smart Home Family to play in sync

2. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P6 – $335.24 (sale price)

As with all of their products, B&O offer an elegant design at an eye watering price. If aesthetics are a top priority, you can’t beat the compact Beoplay P6. If you’re after something with water or shock resistance, this is not the one for you.

  • SIGNATURE SOUND QUALITY: Beoplay P6 wireless speaker delivers True360 Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound for a premium listening experience from any angle, at home or on the go.
  • AUTHENTICALLY BEAUTIFUL: Crafted with robust pearl blasted aluminum that encompasses the speaker’s curved grill, and a double-layered, genuine leather carrying strap for style and portability.
  • CUSTOM SMART FEATURES: The OneTouch flex button on P6 offers easy accessibility to a world of smart features including Google Assistant or Siri compatibility and access to Beoplay App preferences.
  • HERITAGE-INSPIRED DESIGN: Beoplay P6 is designed to pay subtle homage to Beomaster 6000, Bang & Olufsen’s iconic sound system. This is seen in the fine cuts and flexible nature of the buttons on P6.
  • PLAY LONGER: This Bluetooth speaker boasts a powerful built-in battery that lasts for up to 16 hours, and easily recharges in just 3 hours with the included USB-C cable.

3. LG PL7 XBOOM Go – $169.77 (sale price)

LG’s PL7 XBOOM Go is the battery life king. With a huge 24 hours, you won’t have to worry about plugging in for even the longest of day trips.

  • Easy Bluetooth pairing
  • Up to 24 hours playback
  • Water and weather resistant (IPX5 rated)
  • LED Lighting
  • Deep Rich Bass
  • Included components: warranty card
  • Output wattage: 30 W
  • Power source type: Battery Powered

4. Marshall Stockwell II – $182.25

Marshall’s Stockwell II speaker gets top marks for unique design, with their signature front grill and large dials in a small but capable package.

  • Stockwell II offers 20+ hours of portable playtime on a single charge. Its pint-sized frame and guitar inspired carry strap make it perfect to take with you.
  • Stockwell II utilizes Blumlein stereo sound Construction for a multi-directional experience that will immerse you in your music, indoors or out.
  • Stockwell II comes equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 technology for wireless music play. Play music with any Bluetooth device at a range of up to 30 feet away from the speaker.
  • Stockwell II features an IPX4 water-resistant rating, making it supremely rugged and durable. It’s encased in a silicone exterior and features a solid metal grille and the iconic Marshall script. Take it with you wherever the long road leads.
  • Stockwell II features multi-host functionality so you can easily connect and switch between two Bluetooth devices. Now you and a friend can take turns playing what you want to hear.
  • Three class D amplifiers power Its subwoofer, front and rear facing tweeters for a sound that’s brilliantly powerful and clear.
  • The cabinet is constructed with a bass reflex system that improves bass efficiency and extends the frequency response while lowering distortion.
  • You can track the speaker battery life with the visual battery indicator located on the top panel of the speaker.Maximum Sound Pressure Level: 80 dB SPL @ 1 m

5. JBL Flip 5 – $119.99

Fancy something a little more colourful? JBL have got you covered. 12 hours of battery life is on the lower end, however IPX7 allows submersion in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.

  • Wireless Bluetooth streaming
  • 12 hours of playtime
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Pair multiple speakers with party boost
  • Premium JBL sound quality
  • Connector type: 3.5 millimeter stereo
  • Power source type: Battery powered
  • Included components: Quick start guide

Check out our top five headphones here.

Check out our top five earbuds here.

How much can a livestreamed music performance earn you?

With 2020’s lockdowns, online performances have become huge and we’re starting to see just how profitable a livestreamed performance can be.

Artists around the world have taken to the internet to stream to their fans and connect in spite of the distance between us all this year. It’s proving to be incredible successful and goes to show that live music doesn’t have to end just because we can’t be together.

Everybody’s favourite boyband, BTS livestreamed a performance to over 750,000 people around the world earlier in the year. It’s predicted that they made around $18 million in ticket sales from that one home-concert. The more artists are getting involved, the more we’re seeing just how much potential is in concerts from home.

YouTube’s director of Black music and culture, Tuma Basa, revealed that Japanese artist Reol made $130,000. With her livestream bringing in 181,000 views at the time it’s estimated that the average buyer spent $34 on YouTube’s chat bonuses like ‘super chats‘ and ‘super stickers‘.

As it’s uncertain when in-person concerts will properly return many services have now started facilitating home gigs. Ticketmaster and Songkick are just 2 of the ticketing services which have made it possible for artists to book their gigs online and sell tickets to fans.

Spotify have recently added live event listing to artist pages as well so that listeners can easily see when the artists they love and listen to are performing online.

If you’re a performing artist who’s missing the stage, take it to the web! Your fans are probably missing you too. Spotify had some helpful advice for those thinking of performing a concert from home you can check out here.

Amazon are offering 4 months of Music Unlimited for $1 to Prime members

Prime members that haven’t already signed up can get 4 months of Amazon’s music streaming service Music Unlimited, with 60 million songs for just $0.99.

Prime members already get access to Prime Music for free. This service offers subscribers two million songs available for streaming. Amazon Music Unlimited is the companies full blown streaming service with access to 60 million songs. Amazon Music has seen massive growth in the last year, with Counterpoint Research recently estimating over 100% growth year-on-year.

With Prime Day scheduled for October 13 and 14th, Amazon are already offering some great deals exclusively for Prime members, such as two Echo Dots for just $39.98.

The offer is open to new subscribers of the streaming service. The same deal is available in the UK for just 99p. After four months, subscriptions will automatically continue for the usual (Prime member) price of $/£7.99, unless cancelled.

Amazon Music Unlimited

Find all early Prime Day deals here.

Non-Prime members can get Music Unlimited for just $/£9.99 per month, with the first three months for $/£0.99.