Amazon Separate Prime Video and Launch Monthly Subscriptions

Today Amazon have introduced an alternative monthly plan for their Prime service and give a separate option for just Prime Video monthly.

Amazon’s Prime bundle service has long been a bargain with next-day delivery, music streaming, video streaming and more all for $99 a year. Now Amazon are updating their service so that you can subscribe monthly, for those who want to try it out or pay throughout the year rather than a one-off payment.

For $10.99 you can now have access to all of Amazon Prime’s perks for a month at a time. Additionally a new option has been added for just Amazon Prime Video, Amazon’s answer to Netflix, for $8.99 a month. This is a clever move as Netflix plan to raise their monthly price to $9.99 over the next few weeks, putting Amazon’s rising rival service at a cost advantage.

Prime video monthly

These new monthly plans provide a great option for customers who want to trial the service or are looking just to use the video streaming aspect. Amazon’s yearlong Prime subscription is still the best option however giving you access to everything in Prime for $99. The monthly subscriptions add up to $107.88 a year for Prime Video and $131.88 for Prime if subscribed for a year.

Amazon have slowly been making their name in video streaming with quality original series and movies like The Man in the High Castle and Mad Dogs. Now available as a standalone TV and movie streaming service Prime Video is now in direct competition with Netflix. Amazon’s ambiguously successful music streaming service remains part of a bundle however Amazon revealed last year they plan to separate their music service and provide a better experience with it soon.

YouTube Developing Music Talent Worldwide In New Initiative ‘Foundry’

A new initiative from YouTube titled ‘Foundry’ aims to help existing and upcoming musicians with their presence on the video streaming site as well as improve relationships with the industry.

With music accounting for over 30% of videos on YouTube it is clearly a massive part of the site, something they’re recognising in their latest initiative to help artists make the best use of YouTube as musicians.

So far YouTube have hosted two workshops for Foundry in London and Los Angeles, teaching musicians the best ways to use the world’s largest video hosting site. An upcoming workshop is expected later this month in New York and will feature five artists including BJ the Chicago Kid and Gemaine.

foundry
Gemaine & BJ the Chicago Kid will take part in New York’s Foundry workshop

Videos of these sessions will be uploaded to YouTube so that people around the world can get involved and learn how to best upload and format videos as artists. The videos will be available on desktop and will reportedly be prominent as a playlist in their mobile app.

As important as music is for YouTube, YouTube can play a large role in artists’ careers as well. Justin Bieber for example was discovered on YouTube playing guitar and singing and is now one of the world’s biggest musical acts.

YouTube music artists
Justin Bieber found fame after a marketing exec stumbled on a video of him singing

Despite this however the industry’s relationship with YouTube has been turbulent as low streaming royalties have been criticised by artists and labels. As major record labels’ licenses with YouTube recently ran out they’ve been put in a position of power over the video streaming giant to try and negotiate fairer royalty rates. As of yet YouTube are acting off a monthly license basis until discussions end.

So Foundry may be an attempt to reach out to the music world and say: “Hey, we really like you and your ad revenues please don’t go.” But at least they’re supporting artists and they provide a platform for discovery and advertising, even if they aren’t a sustainable source of music consumption. We’ll have to see whether YouTube and the record labels can come to an agreement over the next few months.

Stamp Let’s You Easily Transfer Music Across Streaming Services

Each streaming service has it’s own perks whether that be exclusive music, features, or just a different layout. So it’s understandable that a lot of people use more than just one service, the problem with that is you’re constantly having to adjust your music for each service separately. Stamp is a service that streamlines all your accounts so you can easily use multiple streamers.

When you add your services to Stamp it will automatically search your music and import new favourites and playlists to your Apple Music, Google Play or Spotify. The service can transfer music FROM, but not to – Rdio, YouTube, CSV, and Deezer, on top of the 3 you can also send to.

Stamp saves at least 10 hours of continuous work when you move an average of 1200 songs. No more collating your songs, and searching for them one by one to add into your playlists on other services.

Stamp is currently available at 50% off for $4.99 from The Next Web until next week.

iHeartMedia and What’s Trending Team For Charity Tubeathon

The two media companies are coming together for a one-off charity live-stream of music and entertainment with star guests and the Twitter equivalent of a phone bank.

This wednesday, the day before American Red Cross’ Giving Day – a day dedicated to raising awareness on how to handle emergency disasters,  media companies What’s Trending and iHeartMedia team up for a charity ‘Tubeathon’. The show will be streamed on Twitch and feature guest stars from American Idol and Dancing With the Stars.

American Idol runner-up La’Porscha Renae, Mark Ballas, Christina Grimmie and Sam Tsui from Dancing With the Stars, and Alex Boye will all feature on the variety show. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark is also getting involved, donating $1 to the Red Cross for every tweet with the hashtag #Help1Family.

The show starts with a pre-gaming show at 2:00 PM EST before officially starting at 4:00 PM. From there, hosts Shira Lazar, Bart Baker, Quddus, and Taryn Southern will run the stream through it’s various shows. performances, and also keep tab on the ‘Tweet Bank’ donated by Craig Newmark.

Every year the Red Cross respond to 66,000 disasters like house fires where families lose everything they have. When this happens it costs under $90 to help a family of three for one day with urgent relief, food, blankets, and other must-haves. As well as tweeting with #Help1Family you can donate yourself at redcross.org/givingday or donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

In lead-up to this charity event What’s Trending and iHeartMedia enlisted YouTube stars Glozell Green, Frankie Grande and Brittany Furlan for a home-fire awareness PSA in February.What’s Trending held a Tubeathon in 2014 which achieved an excellent $53,000 in donations for Covenant House, providing shelter and essentials for homeless and runaway youths.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nr-irGW9bw?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Tune in to What’s Trending’s Twitch channel on the 20th at 4:00 PM EST to catch the Tubeathon (2:00 PM for the gaming pre-show).

This Fantastic Tilt EQ Plugin Is Totally Free

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ID_qcbSGP0?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

HOFA plugins bring you HOFA 4U+ DynamicTiltEQ a free plugin that aims to match the abilities of the high quality analogue models.

This free plugin comes from the brilliant minds over at HOFA and gives you high-quality EQ editing capabilities. HOFA really wanted to make a quality Tilt EQ plugin with this one.

Here’s what they say about it:

HOFA 4U+ DynamicTiltEQ is the best freeware Tilt EQ. It can do everything the legendary analogue models could:
Use just one knob for the perfect balancing of low and high frequencies on the highest audio level.
This alone is a fantastic feature, but (of course) was not enough to suit our idea. We brainstormed about the setup of the best Tilt EQ of all times and came up with a list that leaves no wish unfulfilled. The freeware includes:
  • Gain/cut up to 24 DB
  • Variable tilt width for transparent adjustments as well as musical sound shaping.
  • Splittable bass and treble tilt
  • Low and highcut filter (6 & 12 dB/octave)
  • Individual routing for stereo, mid, side left and right processing
  • Up to 32x oversampling
  • Support for Mac and PC, 32- and 64-bit DAWs

It’s extremely rewarding to activate the dynamics for the low and high range and the integrated analyzer for very little money. In combination with parallel processing and a dry/wet control this makes for fascinating creative possibilities.

Despite all these extras,  HOFA 4U+ DynamicTiltEQ is a simple, self-explaining sound shaper – so just install it, start to work and enjoy the good sound!

Check it out for yourself, it’s FREE! hofa-plugins.de/en/plugins/4u-dynamictilteq

X-FDBK is a Plugin That Automatically Eliminates Feedback Live

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjdLF4CUxcg?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

X-FDBK identifies the precise frequencies that cause feedback and surgically cuts them, dramatically shortening the setup time of monitors and PA speakers.

Developers Waves claim to have created the first plugin to provide a complete automatic feedback suppression solution with X-FDBK. It works within seconds to analyze your mix and decipher where the source of feedback is coming from, and makes the life of sound engineers way easier.

To eliminate feedback by ear you need to push your volume up until you can hear feedback, then use a graphic equaliser to find and remove feedback – an arduous process. With X-FDBK the process takes seconds as it identifies feedback quickly and precisely cutting them with a narrow notch to preserve the fidelity of the wedge or PA so you can push the gain without worrying about feedback.

X-FDBK dramatically improves the “ringing out” process and shortens it to a matter of seconds. It identifies the feedback frequencies quickly and precisely and cuts them with a narrow notch, preserving the fidelity of the wedge or PA and enabling you to maximize the gain without getting feedback.

All you need to do is turn up the levels on your wedges and PA until they start to feedback. Then activate the plugin and wait a few seconds until you hear the feedback disappear. The plugin’s graphic frequency spectrum shows you all feedback frequencies and the degree to which they were cut, letting you tweak them manually if you wish.

Here’s a feature overview:

  • Automatically cuts the frequencies that cause feedback
  • Get a clearer, louder, feedback-free sound from your monitors and PA
  • Set it and forget it
  • Dramatic improvement to your live sound and workflow
  • Quick and easy to use
  • A must-have survival tool for any live sound engineer or live performer

X-FDBK is available now at a promotional price of $99 (normally $149) from Waves website.

Free Music Streaming Has Increased Vinyl Sales Over 5x

Picture: Digital Music News

Free music streaming isn’t just the biggest source of music today, as it’s been revealed it plays a massive part in the vinyl revival.

A poll by ICM, revealed to the BBC, shows the massive role music streaming is playing in the massive boost in sales vinyl records have seen in the past decade. It showed that half of those who purchased vinyl records recently had listened to the album before on streaming services.

The practice is apparently more common between free, ad-supported services like SoundCloud, YouTube and Spotify free but not limited to these. (I myself pay for streaming and will buy Vinyl and CDs of albums I discover and love) The poll also showed some strange results, for example it reported that 48% of people who had bought vinyl in the past month hadn’t even played it yet, but wait… it gets stranger.

7% of those who had bought vinyl in the survey didn’t even have a turntable to play it! Whilst 41% didn’t use their turntable to play the vinyl they buy. It’s no secret that a lot of the appeal in Vinyl is it’s collectible appeal, with large cover arts and sleeves that feel less tacky than a plastic case. This still doesn’t justify neglecting the warm crackle of listening to your albums on vinyl to me – but hey, as long as they’re investing in the music industry.

figures vinyl sales

 

Jordan Katende, a student in Manchester told BBC News: “I have vinyls in my room but it’s more for decor. I don’t actually play them. It gives me the old-school vibe. That’s what vinyl’s all about.”

18 year old Helena added: “It’s really nice to have an object that you can hold and physically play. I also think it’s important to support artists financially if you can. I like it if someone puts effort into making a release look special.”

The news of streamings importance in vinyl’s resurgence comes just days after the IFPI showed that the global music industry was growing in revenue for the first time in 20 years, thanks nearly solely to music streaming with a boost from vinyl sales.

Where do you stand – do you buy vinyl and does streaming play a part in your purchases? Let us know in the comments below.

UK Takes Back Spot As 3rd Biggest Music Market in the World

The UK has surpassed Germany and reclaimed it’s place as the number 3 music market globally, IFPI report reveals.

The IFPI released their global music report for 2015 last week, showing that the music industry was on the up for the first time in 20 years, thanks to digital music streaming and downloads. The report also revealed that the UK had re-entered the top 3 music markets in the world with a growth of 0.6%.

With revenues totalling $1.354 billion in 2015 the UK just slipped past Germany, who saw a drop of 0.3% with a total revenues of $1.310 billion from music, pushing Germany into fourth place. The US of course remains number 1 with unrivalled revenues of almost $5 billion, up 1% on 2014. Japan meanwhile also maintains it’s spot as the second largest market with a 3% rise equalling revenues of $2.447 billion. Japan was also revealed to be the biggest market globally for physical music sales.

Whilst the UK’s total music revenues rose they placed fourth in the sales of physical music, however came in second for revenues from performance rights and synchronisation. Meanwhile on the other side of the world the music market with the biggest growth in 2015 was China which grew an exponential 63.8% on 2014, thanks largely due to a crackdown on music legalities.

Behind Germany for overall revenues in the music industry was France at No.5, Australia at No.6, Canada at No.7, South Korea at No.8, Italy at No.9, and Brazil at No.10.

Gibson Support Music Students Partnering With Abbey Road Institute

Abbey Road Institute, a music education initiative from renowned London recording studio, have partnered with Gibson and affiliates to offer up their instruments.

Abbey Road Institute saw it’s first year of their new initiative last year with the objective of providing “students with the highest standard of theoretical teaching mixed with our unique approach to studio education”.

Now just over a year since their first students started on the 12 month course in March 2015, Gibson and their subsidiaries have partnered with Abbey Road to offer their quality music instruments and equipment to support education at their established institutes around the world. Gibson will offer up a range of Gibson and Epiphone guitars, NEAT Microphones, and KRK’s professional studio equipment.

Managing director at the Abbey Road Institute in London, Luca Barassi said: “We’re honoured to be working with a manufacturer of Gibson Brands’ quality and standing, and are delighted that our students are having the opportunity to use the very best instruments around.”

Gibson guitars

CEO and chairman of Gibson Brands, Henry Juszkiewicz said: “Gibson Brands is dedicated to developing and supporting programs that offer students the opportunity to further their musical education and skills. Our commitment to quality extends to all musicians, and we are pleased to be able to support Abbey Road Institute students in their aspirations of pursuing careers in the music industry.”

Meanwhile Giulio Rusconi, a student at London’s Abbey Road Institute, praised the partnership saying: “As a guitarist I always use a guitar riff as a starting point when composing, and having these wonderful Gibson Brands products in our school is simply the best way for me to develop my ideas. Even my classmates, who mostly play different instruments, are making amazing tunes with them!”

Abbey Road

Beyond the famous Abbey Road Studios in London they have set up Institutes in Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Melbourne with sites in Sydney and Amsterdam planned to open later this year. They say on their website: “Our programme was designed by the industry for the industry. We maintain the highest educational standards, support ‘hands-on’ practical learning, provide the best professional lecturers and give students access to state of the art equipment.”

You can find out more about the 12 month course and the studios at abbeyroadinstitute.co.uk.

Google Play Music Is Getting Podcasts Next Week… At Last

Last October Google Play Music announced they would be adding podcasts, then in February a famous podcaster said it was coming that month, now another 2 months later podcasts are actually arriving on the streaming platform… probably.

Google revealed they were introducing podcasts last October and expressed a passion for making them work in their music streaming service – Google Play Music. 6 months later, and one false alarm from Bill Simmons, and we’re finally being treated to podcasts from Google, we hope.

Podcasts leak tweet
Bill Simmons tweet, deleted shortly after

This time the reveal comes from NPR, so still not Google themselves. However we remain optimistic, assuming NPR take their reputation a little more seriously than Simmons. Android Police got ahold of an email sent out by NPR to members, letting them know that their podcasts would be arriving on Google Play Music next week.

The email reads as follows:

Google will launch podcasts on Android and other platforms next Monday, April 18, inside of Google Play Music, a streaming service similar to Apple Music. Please note: this information is embargoed and should not be shared or promoted externally until Monday. NPR has worked with Google to ensure that public radio is represented in the Google Play environment.

It seems pretty legitimate, though delusional if they expected their members to keep it under wraps – they were tempting them by saying not to share it. A Google spokesperson said to The Verge: “That’s a story we’ll have to explore. Check back soon for our next episode.”

Fingers crossed for podcasts to launch next week on Google Play Music. If it’s true be sure to hear about it here.