Output raise $45m to make instruments, music tech, and even furniture for musicians

Output have big designs for what they can bring to musicians and producers including even furniture made especially with music-makers in mind.

Investment firm Summit Partners have just put $45 million into Output. The tech company was created by musicians to create technology that is tuned exactly to musicians needs and has been used for tracks by huge artists like Drake, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, and Rihanna.

Their current offerings include their Arcade software for playing loops as if they’re an instrument, a bunch of quality virtual instruments and effects, and their furniture which is created with the needs of musicians and producers in mind. Seriously, a production desk won’t meet your needs much better than these bad boys.

Output’s Founder and CEO, Gregg Lehrman says: “We are working to inspire a new generation of music makers with a platform that brings the power of a studio to anyone, wherever they are. Summit’s deep experience in consumer technology, digital media and e-commerce make them an ideal partner to help accelerate our global impact.”

Summit Partners’ Managing Director, Andrew Collins, has joined Output’s Board of Directors and said: “We believe Output is at the forefront of digital music creation, offering a truly elegant, professional-grade platform that is accessible to music makers at all levels.

“Gregg and team have built an innovative company culture and a vibrant community of musicians– and they have done it all in a thoughtful, capital efficient manner. We’re thrilled to partner with them for this next phase of growth.”

Interscope launches campaign to get people out to vote

The record label is home to Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Eminem and many more. Their new initiative is encouraging people to get out and vote.

Interscope Geffen A&M, one of Warner Music Group’s subsidiary record labels, wants to encourage United States citizens to get out and vote. Their new campaign is called Interscope X Votes and promotes early and mail-in voting.

With the big US election only weeks away and fraught with passion from all sides, Interscope aim to help poll workers who are currently in shortage. They have partnered with Vote Early Day, When We All Vote, Black Voters Matter, and Voto Latino.

The record label, which is home to some of the world’s biggest artists included Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga, cites low voter turnout in 2016 as the reason for their initiative. Only 56% of US citizens eligible to vote cast their vote in the last election.

The label’s vice-chairman, Steve Berman said: “Low voter turnout is a problem in the best of times, but coupled with the global pandemic, this year will be especially challenging. Interscope X Votes aims to reach all voters – including first-time voters, people who might not consider themselves political, or those who believe their vote doesn’t matter – with a message of hope and optimism: This is our chance to stand up, raise our voices and make sure we’re heard.”

All the music streaming services coming to Sony’s PlayStation 5

The next generation of games consoles are on the way and there’ll be plenty of choices for playing music on Sony’s next PlayStation.

The long awaited 5th generation of the PlayStation is on its way next month. Whilst the new generation brings with it lots of exciting new potential for games, it will also double up as a media centre for streaming.

Sony have revealed the music services available on the new console from launch:

Spotify

  • Listen while you play. Just as with PS4, users can play their favorite songs as background music in-game with Spotify. You can choose from more than 60 million songs while you’re battling bosses or roaming through an open-world adventure.

YouTube

  • Also integrated with PS5, you can broadcast and share your epic gameplay moments directly to your YouTube channel, or sit back and watch new and trending content shared from around the world.

It’s a fairly limited round up to start with but they’re planning to bring more streaming apps to the PS5 shortly after its launch.

Sony have announced a media remote that can be bought separately to control your streaming experience. It features built-in buttons specifically for Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, and Disney+ to take users straight there.

There will also be a variety of TV and Film streaming apps available from launch:

Apple TV

  • Enjoy Apple TV+, Apple TV channels, new and popular movies, and personalized, curated recommendations on the Apple TV app. That means users can enjoy Apple Originals like Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, Ted Lasso, and The Morning Show through Apple TV+, subscribe to premium channels, and buy or rent movies and TV shows and access past purchases from Apple. The Apple TV app will also be available on PS4.

Disney+

  • The dedicated home for movies, shows, shorts, and originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. From original series like The Mandalorian, to fan favorites like The Simpsons, you can watch your favorite stories right from your PS5 console.

Netflix

  • Catch up on top entertainment hits such as Stranger Things, The Haunting of Bly Manor and more. With thousands of TV episodes and movies in Netflix’s library, there’s plenty to choose from.

SiriusXM Q3 2020 results show Pandora’s monthly active users shrinking

US satellite radio broadcaster and owner of streaming platform Pandora report on their latest Q3 2020 earnings.

The latest report published by SiriusXM is based on data between July and September 2020. The higlights show SiriusXM has nearly 30.5 million self-pay subscribers after an additional 169,000 in Q3. “Self-Pay Subscribers Nearly 30.5 Million. SiriusXM added approximately 169,000 net new self-pay subscribers in the third quarter.” Q3 2020 revenue was up 1% year-on-year. “SiriusXM Revenue Increased 1% to $1.6 Billion.”

Pandora has seen continued decline in listeners over the year. Ending Q3 with 58.6 million monthly active users, down from 59.6m in Q2 and 63.1m Q3 last year “Monthly Active Users (MAUs) at Pandora were 58.6 million in the third quarter, down from 63.1 million in the prior year period.” However Pandora Plus and Premium subscriptions are slightly up, with an additional 105,000 subscribers for both tiers, nearly 6.4 million total compared to nearly 6.3 million last year “Self-Pay Net Adds of 105,000” “nearly 6.4 million self-pay subscribers”.

  • SiriusXM Self-Pay Net Subscriber Additions of 169,000 in Third Quarter
  • Third Quarter Revenue of $2,025 Million, Up 1% Year-Over-Year
  • Third Quarter Net Income of $272 Million, Up 11%; Diluted EPS of $0.06
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $661 Million in the Third Quarter, Up 1% Year-Over-Year
  • Company Increases 2020 Subscriber and Financial Guidance
  • Third Quarter Capital Returns Total $544 Million; Stitcher Acquisition Complete; Leadership Transition on Track

During the earnings call SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said:

We still continue to battle a declining listener base, with that said, it is still by far the largest listener base in the U.S. market and we’re working really hard on that problem

Jim Meyer, CEO, Sirius XM

Stitcher podcasts are now available on Pandora.

How Pandora stacks up against other streaming services in 2020.

How to monetize your music on SoundCloud for free

On top of distribution, RouteNote provide many extra tools to help users publish, monetize, promote and share their music across platforms for free.

Whether you distribute your music through RouteNote or not, we can help you earn revenue from your existing tracks on SoundCloud for free. What’s more, once your first track is monetized, your SoundCloud profile will automatically be upgraded to an Unlimited account free of charge, allowing you to upload limitless tracks. This is different from a Pro Unlimited account, you’ll have to subscribe for the extra features Pro Unlimited offers.

You are never locked in with RouteNote, if our service doesn’t work for you, you can leave at any time. Before uploading any music to RouteNote, please ensure you own exclusive rights to the tracks you’d like monetized.

Upload
  • Simply upload your music to RouteNote
  • Select what stores you’d like your music to be published to – be sure to select ‘SoundCloud’ here. If you already distribute your music with another distributor, just select the stores you’re not already on.
  • Choose whether you’d like Free Distribution or Premium Distribution. Free Distribution costs nothing, you keep 85% of the revenue generated. Premium costs a small fee for 100% of the revenue.

Enable your SoundCloud profile
  • Head to the SoundCloud Management page on RouteNote
  • Copy and paste your SoundCloud channel URL in the Profile URL box and click Submit
  • RouteNote will check your SoundCloud profile is valid and all being well enable your account within 72 hours. You’ll see the Status change to Active.
Enabling your SoundCloud profile

Monetizing your tracks
  • Once you’ve uploaded your tracks to RouteNote and your SoundCloud profile is active, you’ll see your RouteNote uploads appear under Not Cleared for Monetizing. Copy the SoundCloud track URL of the song you’d like monetized, paste it into the box beside the corresponding RouteNote track. Tick the box and hit Update. The track will then move into Cleared for Monetizing.
Clearing tracks
  • Once your release has been approved by our moderation team (usually within 72 hours), our SoundCloud team will get to work verifying everything is ready to send to SoundCloud. SoundCloud will turn on monetization for the tracks. This should take no longer than two weeks for SoundCloud to process.
  • You see This track is monetizing once monetization has been turned on by SoundCloud
This track is monetizing

If you’d like to upload a private track, you’ll need to omit the private extension code at the end of the URL when you submit the track. Please let our team know that you’ve done this, by providing your full SoundCloud link (with the extension) and track ISRC so they can push your release through verification: soundcloud@routenote.com. This is a great way to ensure monetization is active from day one.

More information can be found here.

Find our guide on linking your profile and music within the SoundCloud Management page on RouteNote.

For any help with anything SoundCloud, if you’ve been waiting over 14 days for tracks to become monetized or you’d like to remove yourself from our SoundCloud Network, email our SoundCloud team: soundcloud@routenote.com. Let them know your track ISRC and SoundCloud URL.

YouTube Music’s all-day indie artist festival available today

YouTube are bringing artists from their Foundry to play live at an all-day festival, completely online.

YouTube Music’s Foundry Festival is a showcase of the independent talent for on their indie artist development program: Foundry. With in-person festivals understandably unviable, YouTube are making the performances and interviews available today on-demand on YouTube.

Participating artists include Dua Lipa (15.7 million subscribers), Beabadoobee (392K), Omar Apollo (70.7K), Arlo Parks (20.4K), Joesef (3.24K), Rauw Alejandro (5.9 million), Gabriel Garzón-Montano (11.1K), Natanael Cano (3.57 million), Rina Sawayama (228K), Lost Stories (291K), Tessa Violet (1.8 million), Baby Rose (12.9K), Michael Brun (32.9K), Eladio Carrion (898K), Novelbright (256K), Lime Cordiale (32.6K), REI AMI (111K), Adam Melchor (13.3K), TESSÆ (42.9K), Guapdad 4000 (80.3K), and Isabella Lovestory (1.37K).

Throughout today they will all be premiering content on their channels. YouTube’s artist partnerships lead, said: “#FoundryFest is a testament to the resiliency of the artist community, and I’m excited for fans to explore what these artists are creating right now, and hear more about their experiences this year.”

Foundry Festival will raise money for the National Independent Venue Association, helping venues and events organisers during the pandemic.

JBL L82 Classic – retro style meets modern acoustics

These classic 8-inch bookshelf loudspeakers from JBL offer the absolute best acoustic performance from a pair in their price range.

Sporting the 70s vintage styling found on the larger L100 Classic, JBL’s L82 brings the beautiful design and advance acoustic technologies into a more compact cabinet.

  • Retro design with iconic JBL styling and vintage Quadrex foam grille in a choice of three colors: black, orange, or blue
  • Genuine satin walnut wood veneer enclosure with black front and rear panels
  • 8-inch white cone, pure pulp woofer with cast frame
  • 1-inch titanium dome tweeter with waveguide
  • Bass-reflex design with front-firing port
  • High-frequency L-pad attenuator
  • Matching JS-80 floor stands available (sold separately)

The modern acoustic compontents are housed in a genuine walnut satin wood veneer cabinet, fronted by a unique Quadrex foam grille available in three colours, black, orange or blue. The grille is held in with pegs and can be easily removed. The wood is the same dark colour for all colour options. Each speaker comes in at a weighty 28lb.

The L82 features a 2-way design, with a powerful 8-inch cast frame white pure pulp cone woofer operating in a bass-reflex design with a front firing tuned port. The 1-inch (25mm) titanium dome tweeter and shallow waveguide found on the L82 come directly from the L100.

A high frequency L-pad attenuator allows you to customise the output to tailor the sound, giving you control over the upper frequency response. The knob controls a large portion of the frequency range, changing the sound significantly making the song brighter or darker as desired. This is rare to see on passive speakers, as they require external amplifiers and thus no digital signal processing on-board.

Many 2-way design speakers struggle in producing a smooth transition between the lows and highs, however the tweeter is sufficient at hitting lower notes to smooth out the transition.

An asymmetrical speaker layout leads to the tweeter position being mirrored on each speaker. Swapping the speakers around, placing the tweeters on the inside or outside edge, adjusts the soundstage giving you a narrower or wider sound.

The speakers produce fantastic, large room filling sound, with an expansive soundstage, despite its small size. JBL keep the sound fairly accurate, without colouring the sound, exaggerating the bass or pumping the highs too much. The L82s slightly emphasis the midbass, but this is dependent on position. No need for a subwoofer, as the speakers comfortably hit lows of around 30Hz. They can be turned up to uncomfortably loud levels without distortion. The pair could double as studio monitors, though this is not where the speakers shine.

For a full in-depth analysis on how accurately it produces sound, head to TNW. TNW provide Quasi-anechoic Spinoramas and contour plot/polar maps on and off axis, plus a guide on how to read it. The outcome shows the L82 performs very well for a passive design without a built-in digital EQ, with a little messiness in direct sound around 1-2kHz that is mostly inaudible. The speakers accurately produce most audible sound. The result are almost identical to what JBL provide, that shows they’re not hiding anything. For more accurate results, you’ll need to look at active speakers or true studio monitors.


The L82s can be used with JBL’s JS-80 floor stands, which come in at $250 a pair, to be used in a freestanding environment, angling the speakers gently backwards and focus the sound to the listening position.

JBL’s L82 Classic doesn’t come cheap at $2499.98, but as stated, if that’s your budget these aren’t to be missed.

Teenage Engineering latest innovative design is… a radio?

Image Credit: Teenage Engineering

Teenage Engineering are back with the OB-4, an experimental radio and portable speaker that looks to smash preconceptions of how radios work.

If you know Teenage Engineering then you know the incredible musical creations that they create. Their OP-1 still has us licking our lips to this day and their pocket operators never cease to bring a smile to our faces with their hilarious simplicity yet creative potential.

However, their new device seems to forego user control for it’s own creative potential with sounds. The OB-4 is at first glance a radio and portable speaker than can tune in to stations, play music from Bluetooth devices, and a line-in lets you plug in instruments and use it as a portable amp.

In terms of its first appearances, it seems to be a powerful portable speaker with 72 hours potential of listening – 40 hours on average. The speaker has been tailor-designed to provide high quality audio and fill rooms with sound with 100 decibels of potential from two 4-inch bass drivers and neodymium tweeters.

What makes it cool then?

This is where it starts getting a bit weirder. There is a motorised dial on the speaker that mimics a tape reel. You see, the speaker is constantly recording whatever you’re playing up to 2 hours in the past. So, at any point you can dial things back and revisit what you were listening to before.

Sounds pretty cool, but is that it? It’s Teenage Engineering so, no of course it isn’t. If you skip through the radio function, past the Bluetooth setting, and pass by the line-in playback then you come to the ‘disk mode’ where the real Teenage Engineering fun begins.

There are currently three functions available on ‘disk mode’:

Ambient: The speaker generates powerful and ethereal drone sounds from snippets of radio broadcasts mixed into alien soundscapes

Metronome: From 1 BPM to 800. Set the metronome, plug into the line-in and play along without missing a beat. The OB-4 records it all.

Karma: “30 in 1 musical mantra box. your spiritual companion”… uhhh, yeah we’re not sure either but it sounds cool.

This is just the beginning for their plans with the OB-4. They’re calling their ‘disk mode’ their “public research space, where we allow ourselves to explore and prototype everything that this media-instrument, as we like to call it, can become.”

The OB-4 sounds like an impressively powered radio and speaker and could make for high fidelity busking with it’s huge battery life and quality internals. But it also sounds like there is a lot of potential for weirdness and creativity here and we can’t wait to see what they do with it.

Unfortunately both the plain black version and their limited red edition have already sold out in advance of the launch. But in any case, you can find out more here and hopefully they’ll have more in stock eventually.

This online AI tool writes lyrics from your keywords

Keyword2lyrics is a new free site that generates custom song lyrics from your random keywords using artificial intelligence.

A fun tool to play with if you’re struggling with quarantine creativity. Head to keyword2lyrics to give it a go. Simply enter your keywords, and a creativity value between 0.0 and 1.0 “the higher the value, the more creative/crazy the text.”

The AI was trained by extracting keywords from songs that Google lists under “top artists 20th century” and “top artists 21st century”. Because of this, the AI will mostly generate pop based lyrics, but developer of keyword2lyrics Mathi Gatti says he wants to add a larger variety of genres in the future, with the possibility of allowing users to select a genre style.

We’ve explored the concerning rise of AI taking jobs from creatives, but Gatti explains his optimism for what the breakthrough of AI will inspire from the creative industry. Speaking to TNW, Gatti said:

Sometimes I have a few ideas that I want to turn into a song, but I’m too lazy for that, so I thought it would be cool to make a program that generates lyrics from isolated keywords or phrases.
I think a lot of times you feed it with a phrase or words and it creates a reasonable song, similarly to what you would expect if you write it for yourself. That’s pretty cool for saving time but I like that sometimes it does completely the opposite, it comes with interpretations totally different to what you would expect, which is really enriching.
I think it’s similar to photography in the XX century, it didn’t kill painting or the creative process at all, it impulsed new art styles like photography and impressionism. In a similar way, I think tools like keyword2lyrics won’t kill songwriting, it’s just going to change the process.

Mathi Gatti developer of keyword2lyrics

Google introduce Hum to Search – “Hey Google, what’s that song that goes na na doo da?”

Image credit: Google

A new feature in the Google app help you find the song stuck in your head. Search with a hum, whistle, singing or “da na doo ohh”.

While Shazam can help when a song is playing, Google’s new Hum to Search helps you find a song without the song, lyrics, artist name or perfect pitch.

All you need to do is ensure the app is up-to-date, open the Google app or Google Search widget, tap the microphone, ask “What’s this song” or tap Search a song, do your thing for 10-15 seconds, then tap the relevant match to search in Google. Google will pull up information on the song and artist, or you can watch the music video, play it in your streaming app of choice, find lyrics and more.

The feature is also available in the Google Assistant app or on compatible smart speakers. Hum to Search is available in English on iOS and more than 20 languages on Android, expanding to more in the future.

Google uses machine learning algorithms to identify the most likely potential song matches, explaining song melodies are like its fingerprint, each is unique. Machine learning transforms the audio into a number-based sequence representing the song’s melody, matching your singing to the right “fingerprint” from thousands of songs around the world, based on sources such as humans singing, whistling or humming, as well as the original studio recording. Algorithms take away all other details like accompanying instruments and the voice’s timbre and tone.

Image credit: Google

Google started work on AI music recognition in 2017 with the launch of Pixel 2, using deep neural networks, Now Playing constantly listened for music playing around you using low-power music recognition. Now Google are advancing this as the original song needn’t play.