Twitter Investing In Connected Headphones Developer ‘Muzik’

Twitter are investing in Muzik, a company creating headphones that connect your music to social media.

Twitter have invested in a high-end headphone company that are designing “connected headphones”. What are connected headphones you may ask – Whether we need them or not connected headphones can connect your listening to your social media.

With Muzik’s wireless headphones you can control all functions and listening options using buttons on the headphones. The feature that is most likely what appealed to Twitter is the ability to share clips of what you’re listening to on to social media. With Twitter’s investment the headphones will have Twitter integrated directly onto the headset.

Muzik have been developing their headphones for a few years now, and even revealed their headphones in 2013. Despite turbulence along the way since then Muzik’s CEO Jason Hardi has been perfecting the product ready for launch this year.

Whether the social sharing feature will hold any appeal remains to be seen, but at a similar price to Apple Beats we hope they’re quality is still high-end.

Muzik’s first pair of headphones are coming in May and will cost $299 with plans to release an in-ear version later this year for $199. At Twitter’s display in CES this week Muzik will get a chance to show off some of their product.

BBC’s Sound Of 2016 Countdown So Far

The BBC’s yearly poll of music critics and industry experts to decide the most promising new artist in 2016 has begun.

Two different acts have taken joint fifth place for BBC’s Sound Of 2016 so far, with the fourth place revealed earlier today.

First up in joint fifth place are three-piece rap collective WSTRN, however they say they don’t like to be categorised citing influences of reggae, motown, hip-hop, R&B and pop music in their tracks. The three members all found their feet as individual rappers before cousins Akell Charles and Haile joined their friend Louis Rei to become WSTRN. Louis said: “It’s an eclectic sound, that’s rare and I think that’s why it’s so refreshing. It’s genuine and it’s feel-good and there’s not much of that anymore.”

Out of the 144 DJs and pundits involved in selecting the choice, the exact amount who voted for WSTRN also chose dance producer Mura Masa. Only a year since uploading his music to SoundCloud, 19-year-old Alex Crossan has amassed a large following for his unique dance tracks. Radio 1 DJ and one of Crossan’s voters, Annie Mac, said of him: “Intimidatingly talented for someone of his age, it’s obvious that Mura Masa’s breadth of production will stand the test of time. This guy’s not going anywhere!”

The latest act to be announced, in fourth place come five-piece band Blossoms from Stockport. The band’s music is described as psychedelic-pop, something they don’t shy away from saying: “Pop music is pop. It’s popular for a reason. We’re not ashamed of shying away from the fact we want to be as catchy as we can be. Our aim is to make people put their arms round each other and sing and be able to dance at the same time.”

The BBC were one of the driving forces behind Blossoms early fame after featuring on BBC Introducing in Manchester when they sent their music in to the BBC Introducing Uploader. The top 3 Sound Of 2016 will be announced throughout the week on BBC Radio 1. You can check the rest of the nominee list here.

What Was The Biggest Song in 2015?

The Official Charts Company have revealed what the most popular song in 2015 was and surprise… It’s not ‘Hello’.

Less of a surprise… the biggest song in 2015 was Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson. Despite being released in November 2014 Uptown Funk has since racked up over 500 million stream and total combined sales of 2.25 million. Uptown Funk was so popular that it spent 39 weeks in the Top 40 before dropping off in October.

The funky throwback dance track, created by Mark Ronson and featuring Bruno Mars, was the producers first spot at number 1, beating Ronson’s original high of number 2 with his popular take on The Zuton’s song ‘Valerie’ with Amy Winehouse. Although it’s great for Ronson, I’ll personally be happy not to hear this track on every radio station, every day in 2016.

Beyond the number 1 spot OMI’s Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix) came in as the second biggest song of 2015. After it’s release in January Cheerleader continued to grow until May when it reached number 1 and stayed for four weeks. Hozier’s Take Me To Church was third with 1.25 million combined sales in 2015.

The fourth most popular track last year was Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do which became a hit as part of the 50 Shades Of Grey soundtrack. Just behind Ellie came Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth with their tribute to Paul Walker for Fast & Furious 7 ‘See You Again’.

Adele may not have come in the top 5 but her lead single ‘Hello’ from her new album 25 managed to place sixth in the list despite having only two months in the year to rank. So, if you take into consideration the release dates, Adele probably tops yet another list. Either way Hello has become the biggest Number 1 in three years and her album 25 has become the first album to sell over a million copies over more than 1 week, with 3 weeks of over a million sales so far.

The Beatles Streaming Success… Two Weeks In

Following the launch of all The Beatles albums on Christmas Eve they have managed to re-enter the top 200 with millions of streams.

On Spotify alone The Beatles songs were played over 50 million times in the first 48 hours of becoming available to stream. At the time of writing The Beatles most streamed song is Come Together with almost 5-and-a-half million streams.

With the release of their music on streaming services on the 24th of December – 11 of their albums have returned to the Top 200 Albums Chart. In total 13 remastered albums and four compilations were added to nine streaming services including Apple Music, Groove, Deezer, Tidal Google Play, Amazon Prime and of course Spotify.

Reportedly 65% of those listening to The Beatles back catalog were under the age of 34, proving their music resonates beyond generations. 45 years since their break-up The Beatles albums are still charting. With their legacy cemented it appears The Beatles truly are timeless.

Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek said: “In seven short years, The Beatles created a body of work that changed the world. The music business was never the same, the way records were recorded was never the same, our culture in fashion and politics was never the same.”

Gracenote’s New EQ Naturally Adjusts Car Stereo’s Sound

Pretty much everyone listens to music in the car from any of the numerous music sources for cars these days. But almost no-one is setting their car stereo’s EQ for the best sound possible.

The problem with adjusting equalisers when listening to music is that each track is produced differently and sounds best with different levels, so setting the levels whilst driving is clearly inadvisable. Gracenote look to solve that problem with their Dynamic EQ for car stereos, that automatically adjusts the levels track-by-track.

Gracenote are already embedded in 65 million cars in the form of it’s music recognition and metadata technology which shows information about artists, albums, tracks etc. Using their cemented presence in the automotive industry Gracenote hope to deliver their new Dynamic EQ feature to cars.

Reportedly Gracenote have already created profiles for tens of millions of songs that have been analysed so they have preset equaliser options. Extracting a tracks ‘sonic profile’ Gracenote are able to look at the low, mid and high frequencies as well as the range in frequency.

Gracenote’s chief strategy officer and co-founder Ty Roberts said: “The idea is we look at hundreds of tracks – how they’re mixed, their sonic profile and then we create an EQ profile that reproduces them the way they should sound.  Gracenote is going into new areas with the idea that we’re going to change how you listen to music by affecting the sound using our metadata to power the experience. Our metadata has been about visually enhancing the audio experience and now it will be about audibly enhancing it.”

General manager of Auto at Gracenote, Brian Hamilton said: “Tuning an EQ can be incredibly complicated for the average music fan and virtually impossible for drivers who have to keep both eyes focused on the road. The introduction of Gracenote Dynamic EQ marks the first time that Gracenote, or any other company, has used track level descriptive metadata to drive the quality of the musical experience.”

Gracenote’s Dynamic EQ can work with all of your potential music sources from AM/FM radio, aux cable, USB, Bluetooth, CD and whatever other audio mod cons your car has.

 

Apple Music Could See More Beats Radio Stations

Apple’s recent trademarks suggest we could be seeing more Beats radio stations coming to Apple Music.

Last week Apple filed trademarks for Beats 2, Beats 3, Beats, Beats 5, B2, B3, B4, and B5. Although this means nothing definitive it signals that Apple are at least considering expanding their roster of radio stations on their streaming service, Apple Music.

Currently Apple Music is host to Beats 1, a 24/7 online radio station hosted by renowned DJs and artists featuring special guests, segments and hosts. Whereas Beats 1 focusses on the biggest current music in the world variant stations could focus on other genres or take a different approach to their programming. Apple could progress in a similar fashion to the BBC radio stations where BBC Radio 1 is the home of mainstream music, BBC Radio 2 features “adult contemporary” content with musical specials, BBC Radio 6 focusses on all alternative music and so on.

Apple is already the unofficial home of the podcast, with roughly 82% of podcast listeners reportedly using iOS devices to listen. This means the potential is also there for talk shows, radio series, features and a whole host of content beyond music.

This potential could bring a much more varied audience to Apple’s streaming service which has so far been a great success since it’s release. However with a long way to go to catch up on their main competitor, Spotify, the introduction of new radio stations with alternate appeals could give them the boost they need.

A poll on 9to5mac shows that 65% of people would prefer to see new genre-specific music programming.Apple have yet to make any official statement on the trademarks, though fingers crossed a Beats roster expansion is on the way.

BoomStick Transforms Your Cheap Headphones Into High Quality

So you’re sick of the tinny sound from your phones earbuds and the lack of resonance in your cheap headphones, but don’t want to spend your life savings on a good pair? Enter BoomStick.

Now with the $99 BoomStick you can transform any headphones, earphones, or anything that uses an aux cable, into a high quality audio output. Using it’s intelligent algorithms the BoomStick augments the amplification of all the elements in a song  improving definition, clarity, and detail of the sound.

“The problem we’re trying to solve is that audio sucks,” This is what George Appling, BoomCloud 360‘s President and co-founder, said to The Verge. “If you put a CD in your car and there are four or eight speakers in the car, it’s pretty good. But if you stream Spotify on an iPhone, it’s terrible relative to that.”

We’ve all become complacent with average-to-poor quality audio as a result of extortionate prices for good speakers and headphones as well as portable devices awful mixing capabilities. Appling puts this down to our preference for ease over outcome: “People chose convenience and that makes sense, convenience is good.”

But Appling and his team feel it’s time we start pairing quality with convenience, at least when it comes to sound quality. The BoomStick is almost as easy to use as just plugging your headphones in, and at a price that will keep your wallet happy as well as your ears.

Boomstick

The BoomStick looks like a dongle and plugs into the aux port of your player, you then plug your headphones/earphones into the aux-port in the BoomStick. The device can last for 14 hours before it needs charging using it’s microUSB port, so you can use your Android phone chargers with it too.

Is the quality affected enough to justify $99 though? Well it depends on how picky you are. If you don’t have the money to spend on a really good pair of headphones but crave better quality on your cheap ones then yes, considering it will transform any and all earphones and headphones even if you upgrade it still has use. However the quality difference won’t entirely change the listening experience, just make it noticeably nicer. So it’s up to you whether the price is justified.

The company claim that the device’s algorithms translate just as well to movies and gaming as well as listening to music. Although the BoomStick increases the gain BoomCloud 360 promise to maintain safe volume levels when listening through the device. The volume is only slightly increased, mostly due to the boost it gives to all the various elements of tracks.

You can pre-order the BoomStick now from www.boomcloud360.com. From the website you can also listen from a selection of 3 songs to the difference with and without the BoomStick.

10 of the Greatest Funky Christmas Songs

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and merry, and gay, and all of that. ‘Tis also the season to be relentlessly barraged with the same 30 christmas songs you’ve heard every year for what feels like an eternity.

If, like me, the thought of hearing Wizzard one more time is enough to drive you loopy – then rejoice in this list of ten alternative christmas songs sure to get you in the festive groove.


Gary Walker – Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag

First up is one of my favourites – Gary Walker’s cover of James Brown’s Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag with a twist. This is a tune sure to make you forget that you just ate your own weight in turkey and get you up dancing round the Christmas tree.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2TblwhpECY?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Binky Griptite – Stone Soul Christmas

If this song doesn’t get your head bobbing then I don’t know what will. If you’re looking for a Christmas song that you can feel like a cool mutha whilst you listen to it then look no further than Binky Griptite’s brilliant venture into a Christmas song.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJCp-PqX67g?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

The Soul Saints Orchestra – Santa’s Got A Bag Of Soul

Okay let’s raise the tempo. This has got to be one of the hottest christmas tunes ever made, just listening to it burns my ears it’s so funky. Don’t take my word for it, get blown away yourself with this brilliant track.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T-3FtRFsxw?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Electric Jungle – Funky Funky Christmas

Here’s a track I don’t know much about… But there’s one thing I do know and that is that this song brings the funk and slings it right down your chimney. Whether you want to or not, Funky Funky Christmas will get your hips swinging.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qKHbQ1F18o?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

James Brown – Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto

We’ve already had a James Brown cover, but doesn’t Mr Brown have a few festive numbers of his own? You’re damn right! Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto has got to be my favourite of his Christmas tunes. Beyond James Brown’s signature groove and wonderfully layered horn sections this song also serves as a (very) subtle reminder that there are some less fortunate than us this Christmas, and to appreciate what we have.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cz48PR__uSo?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Milly & Silly – Getting Down For Xmas

This is the instrumental B-Side to Milly & Silly’s impossible to find ‘I’m A Xmas Tree’ single. You may be wondering how an instrumental funk song can be Christmassy. Wonder no longer as I guarantee the persistent sleigh bells are enough to bring the festivities into this raw, funky tune.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to31eImz5E8?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Jimmy Jules & The Nuclear Soul System with Jackie Spencer – Xmas Done Got Funky

Oh what to say about this track… just experience that sexy bass groove for yourself.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iemv2C6IYc?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Albert King – Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’

Wait… a legendary blues artist?? Well hold up there enraged funk fanatic, after solidifying himself as a blues master Albert decided to up and inherit the funk, and I’ll be damned if he didn’t do it well. Of course this christmas themed track wasn’t his only venture into funk, but this is a christmas song list and it’s nearly christmas… keep up.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjc2KwhlrtA?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Ike and Tina Turner – Merry Christmas Baby

We all love a duet at Christmas, right? Two lovers crooning at each other about how they only need each other, how love is what christmas is really about. Well Tina Turner doesn’t care about that, she want’s a diamond ring damn it! and she got it and I suppose we got this song because of that. It’s a fun Christmas song if you look past the expensive basis for Tina’s happiness at this joyous time of year.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LxeGQnQPeM?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa

I guess this is Clarence Carter’s answer to ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’. It’s a great bluesy funk track with some fun, christmas themed vocals from Clarence’s suitably gravelly voice. Listen out for his wonderful ‘ho ho ho’, that’s what christmas sounds like to me.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0NoalRsk5w?rel=0&w=480&h=360]


 

I hope you enjoyed the list and these songs gave you some inspiration to get up and jive this Christmas. Are there any funky or alternative Christmas songs that you love? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Christmas from all of us here at RouteNote. Here’s a bonus album full of James Brown Christmas songs, as our present to you.

Have a very funky Christmas!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jqq18_ld6pw?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Tesla Adding Spotify Premium To Cars Outside The US

Tesla are hooking their Model S and Model X cars up with Spotify Premium accounts for unlimited music streaming in the car.

As Tesla’s previous streaming partner Rdio closed today it has now been announced that they are partnering with Spotify for their cars in Europe, Australia and Hong Kong. From now on any Tesla cars (except the roadster) bought in those territories will come with a Spotify Premium Account.

Already have a Spotify account? No problem, you can transfer your details so that you have all your playlists and favourites available in your car. But you don’t need an existing Spotify account, either way you’ll get access to a premium Spotify account.

Using the cars’ built-in touchscreen you can access the full Spotify library, on the go for free. Both the Spotify account and the streaming data are completely compensated by Tesla, which slightly justifies spending over £50,000 on a car.

This isn’t the first partnership between car manufacturers and music streaming services as more high-end cars come with the ability to stream music on the road. Spotify have previously partnered with Ford and BMW/Mini, Spotify is available on CarPlay and Android Auto, Deezer are also partnered with BMW and available on CarPlay.

Google Spotlight Stories Become Interactive 360° Videos

“A humble caretaker is surprised when a mysterious stranger causes mischief on the roof. He investigates, but can’t seem to catch even a glimpse of the troublemaker. And so the chase goes… room to room… up and down… The stranger remains just out of sight, leaving behind only a trail of gifts… Meanwhile, you’re following the action at your own pace, from whatever angle you please—behind you, to your left, to your right, or in front of you. All on your mobile phone.”

This is Google’s introduction to their new Spotlight Stories on YouTube that are enhanced using YouTube’s 360-degree interactive functions. The story introduction is the premise for their first video produced by the award-winning Aardman Animations, creators of Wallace and Gromit, and Shaun the Sheep.

The first Spotlight Story is ‘Special Delivery‘ which Google describe as a “Pink Panther style holiday caper”. According to Google you’ll want to watch the video a few times as you look around the world within video, you’ll continue to discover new secrets and encounter the 10 subplots, three potential watchable endings and over 60 moments.

Using your mobile device you can watch YouTube’s 360-degree videos which uses your devices sensors to move the video as you do. The videos are their best when viewed with Google Cardboard so that you can completely immerse yourself within the worlds created in the videos.

There are two versions of the video available, one which is optimised for Android Phones from Google Spotlight Stories in YouTube app. There is also a 360 version available on iOS and web browsers as Google didn’t want anyone to miss ‘Special Delivery‘. It seems that in the future Google Spotlight Stories will only be available on select Android Devices, at least for now.