machine quotidienne

Icon

Behringer unveil Eurorack Go case; what does it mean for the rest of modular?

Behringer’s anticipated moves into Eurorack are arriving – with a Eurorack case to get you started. There’s no price, but the product does look a lot like an existing competitor.

Behringer had already teased that they were planning low-cost entry into Eurorack modules, largely cloned from Roland’s decade-old vintage analog line. Behringer promised prices around fifty to a hundred bucks, deeply undercutting the prices of Roland’s own system 500, made in collaboration with boutique independent manufacturer Malekko. Those modules haven’t shipped yet, though.

Making a case as an accessory is a no-brainer for Behringer, given their desktop synths are already made to fit Euro cases and power. So, now we get Behringer’s own case entry.

And, no surprise, it looks … very familiar, based on an existing product in the market. Here’s a video with a run-down, plus a look at some modules.

What we know: it’s very close in design to the Tiptop Audio Mantis case’s unique form factor, handle, and stand design, minus some important details – more on that in a moment.

You get 2 rows of 140 hp, power supply, (+/-12 Volt and +5 Volts at 3 A), and a carrying handle that doubles as stand.

Significantly – it’s bigger (30% bigger) than the Tiptop offering, despite the “go” moniker, and it appears to lack the extra fold-out stands Tiptop added which may provide more stability on the Mantis. Of course, if you want more space, bigger also means more of that.

What we don’t know: the price.

Judging from comments on social media, to say nothing of sales of past products, for all those users who care about originality, a lot of other users really don’t. They either are unfamiliar with the other brand and product, or are familiar but don’t care so long as they get a cheaper price. (This is presumably the same logic that now has us flying cramped airplanes with no seat recline and no food and no luggage allotment because some fares appeared a little cheaper on an online search.)

But it’s also clear that Behringer critics and fans alike both are going on the assumption that the Behringer product will be the vastly cheapest offering, even though Behringer haven’t announced a ship date or price.

I mean, is that a fair guess? Maybe, sure. But the fact that Behringer doesn’t even have to announce a price before people assume it’ll be the cheapest is relevant. The Mantis isn’t terribly expensive, either, at 339EUR. Will Behringer be a little cheaper? Half the price? I don’t know.

Behringer is now able to make copies of shipping products, and then without shipping anything or announcing a price, it can already encourage customers to defer purchases of competing products.

Behringer now to almost everyone equates as the low-cost option. They now own the very idea of cheap – even before they ship anything.

Who’s to blame for this? Well, in part, the very people trying to attack Behringer’s brand reputation. Even as Behringer sometimes attacked its critics, all the buzz – the people complaining about them, the people defending them – cemented the idea that whatever had the Behringer name on it would be cheapest. That’s not to say you shouldn’t criticize companies. It is an illustration that you have to watch the perception of your message, especially if you’re criticizing a company as a competitor.


On closer examination, the Mantis from Tiptop makes the Behringer form factor look bare-bones. Yes, there’s the stand/handle design – but also a sleeker, airplane overhead-style shape, and extra fold-out stand for more stability.

The Mantis also has an option of a soft carry case. The extra space means you can accommodate a fully-patched rig, cables and all. No word on whether the Behringer Eurorack Go will do the same.

I think there are some takeaway lessons here for anyone in the industry wanting to compete:

  1. Don’t only play to customers on originality. There’s significant historical precedent for this in business. Apple Computer, for instance, infamously made a lot of noise about Windows “ripping off” their OS (in the form of the first versions of Windows). The upshot was that they inadvertently telegraphed to users that Windows was a good copy of the Mac, instead of focusing their message on why the Mac was a better choice and … well, the rest is history. Customers should hear a message about value, not just about what is or isn’t a ripoff.
  2. Assume most musicians now own some Behringer. Related to (1) – don’t shame Behringer customers, because at this point just about everyone has something the company has made, even if it’s some simple mixer or someone decided they couldn’t resist a Moog or 303 clone. Guilting users about gear is not a good strategy, ever. That said –
  3. You can reclaim cheap – and “shippingness.” Competing always works better than complaining. There are plenty of affordable products, plenty of original new products, shipping now. I do hope we don’t see the market just become high-end stuff for rockstars and then Behringer stuff for everyone else, because frankly, that’d be stupidly boring for those of us who love variety and are on a non-rockstar budget. So if Behringer now owns the notion of cheap or value, that is partly the fault of anyone who lets them claim the word. And customers love stuff they can get their hands on now – meaning if you’re shipping something and Behringer isn’t yet, that’s obviously an opportunity.

In fact, I think it’s telling that you’ll often now hear people say Behringer started the idea of cheap analog. That shows that many (all?) competitors lost control of the narrative. KORG’s original monotron line, for instance, remains one of the cheapest mainstream electronic instruments ever, as does their extensive volca range.

We need to get out of this echo chamber, which means to stop allowing conversations to become polarized between two sides. So let’s get back to the facts.

As far as Behringer Go – and whatever modules may ship – we have to wait and see – how’s the price, what’s the actual quality of the thing in use.

But you don’t have to wait for inexpensive options. Take a look at the Tiptop offering – and tons of stuff from Eurorack originator Doepfer, including cases. There are also products like the ultra-portable Pico from Erica Synths, or more recently the Crea8audio line, which also features the NiftyCase, with audio and MIDI integration built-in. Crea8audio have a starter bundle, too, for around $270 street.

And that’s to say nothing of the many desktop and software options, which for some people are a better starting point anyway, something lost in all this hype about wires.

But surely the thing that really will burst the Eurorack bubble is if it stops attracting fresh customers – because it is an ecosystem. In a world of unsustainable growth, it’s also one area that is reasonably positive – people discovering advanced sound synthesis.

Affordable modules and cases to get people started are ultimately something the modular market needs – and has already started to figure out. Handled carefully and competitively, the entry of Behringer will be a net positive.

The post Behringer unveil Eurorack Go case; what does it mean for the rest of modular? appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Hello, piano: Roland just added Alexa to their digital keyboard

Roland’s latest play for making digital pianos commonplace: add the popular Alexa service, and sell on Amazon.

Roland’s GO:PIANO is their consumer-focused line, touting beginner- and family-friendly features. There’s Bluetooth connectivity, and integrated iOS and Android app that promises to teach you ear training and score reading – there’s a reason that pic has an iPad on it. It’s a shame the styling is pedestrian, because otherwise this is more futuristic than some of its competition.

Add to that Alexa integration. Strangely, the press release I got suggests maybe you want to order a pizza with Alexa after finishing practicing.

I’m guessing any household that sees Alexa as a selling point already has a device to do that. Here, I’m guessing this is more about two things – one, adding voice control and music integration using Amazon’s tech, and two, selling through Amazon’s channel.

Alexa commands let you call up sounds directly, instead of paging through them with buttons. And – maybe more useful – you can also use voice control for hands-free metronome operation (start, stop, tempo change, change beat). You can also listen and play along to Amazon Music and other supported streaming services.

So, this may give a glimpse of what future business models look like – offering sheet music, karaoke versions, backing tracks, and full songs all together. Sheet music was and still is a major part of the business for many songwriters, so while this may be foreign if your last album was a violent noise record with Satanic verses recited by your cat, for other more mainstream artists …

Wait, I’ve lost my train of thought. Alexa, play karaoke version of “Hail, Satan, and stop working I’m sitting on your keyboard and want to cuddle, meow, die die die blood pain meow.” I would totally get down on that jam.

The catch to all of this isn’t really whether or not this gimmick is a good idea, but that the current Silicon Valley tech wars are likely to bleed over into the musical instrument channel.

That’s unlikely to ease controversies – some music artists have been unhappy with how Amazon streaming impacts their business, and protested labor practices and work with controversial US government programs targeting immigrants. And with any of the new voice tech, there are concerns like this:

Silicon Valley Is Listening to Your Most Intimate Moments [Bloomberg]

But I don’t think any of these concerns are things the music tech industry can simply opt out of. So reasoned debate may be exactly what it needs. And it’s good at least to see companies like Roland working to make their products stand alongside other consumer goods – even if you switch off the Alexa features and stick to playing it like, you know, a piano.

https://www.roland.com/us/products/gopiano_go-61p/

Also, just saying, Roland is the only company for you when you need a piano to match your new Tesla CyberTruck:

Hey, Roland had a few years’ head start on Tesla, too:

https://www.roland.com/global/promos/piano_design_awards/winners/grand_prize/

The post Hello, piano: Roland just added Alexa to their digital keyboard appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

No fear: ???? is an expressive, transgressive space in Sweden, built by electronic music

It’s a place for the misfits, bound by a love for electronic music and self-expression. Russian-born DJ and event organizer Lana Lain talks about her journey, from cassette to rave to the phenomenon that is ????.

On the ???? site, you’ll find a podcast, a code of conduct, registration (events require an invite), and this description of what the project is about:

???? is a gay- och fetish friendly club, aimed to unite closed lgtb communities into a new inclusive subcultural concept. ???? promotes progressive visuals, queer installations and musical performances to people who, because of their lifestyle and overall preferences, can’t associate themselves with the major scene. Those who enter ???? can experience freedom of sexual expression and acceptance, in surroundings of quality sound, lights and visual art.

Even progressive-seeming Scandinavia often poses the challenges of an alcohol-fueled, hetero-normalized mainstream club scene, to say nothing of Russia. So I wanted to talk to Lana about the realities of making parties that are different – why people do that, and how artists and organizers make it work.

It helps that Lana is a killer DJ with finely-honed techniques and tastes. So, as always, the general rule in this joint is – no abstract discussions without some fine music to go with it.

And it goes without saying that this music really is connected with that scene – with its fantasies, its kinks, its quirks, its joy.

Let’s start with Lana’s own set – more (including live) below…

What’s your background in this scene and nightlife; how did you first get involved? 

I was 14 and influenced by raves in St. Petersburg, which by that time were so huge that they were held in stadiums. I listened to cassettes with recordings of CJ Bolland and Jeff Mills live on Russian Radio Rekord and was addicted to mixing music on my old double-deck cassette player. I got my first vinyl records when I was 16 and tried playing them in local clubs in my hometown. Yeah, I was bold – learning to play vinyl while the public was dancing around. 


Pride week 2019. Photo: Sylwia Dziobon.

Pride week 2019. Photo: Sylwia Dziobon.

I started doing parties in 2011. I had just moved to Stockholm from Karelia [Russia] and started DJing in local raves. I met a guy who was organizing a party series called “Socially Hazardous” (oh, so 2000!), with mostly progressive techno and local DJs. By then, I realized that people in Sweden had no idea about electronic music from Russia or Eastern Europe, understandably so. Like, how would they know? So I came up with an idea of booking DJs from Russia and adding some sense of humor, playing with those “red” cliches, making visuals and art with 30s Soviet Propaganda animation. Together with my friend, we invited people to a “comrade gathering” called Russian Connection. I didn’t expect we would get a great response, but it seemed everybody just was waiting for this. People went to a local Russian shop and bought ushankas and other military kitsch, and we had a huge queue at the entrance. It was a very fun rave/masquerade series of parties, and that’s how Stockholm’s public first got to know about the likes of Stanislav Tolkachev, SCSI-9, DJ Slon, and others.

Take us back to the birth of
this event. How did it come about; you’ve been really
a primary organizer, yes? 

Well, my friend was the one who knew “the s***”; I was too young and too inexperienced to make any decisions or give orders to any people in the rave scene. The scene is a tough thing, as everything you do is basically not legal. My role was [technically] “art director” and “artist booking manager.”


Two inimitable artists – Lauren Flax hangs backstage with Geraldo. Photo: Lana Lain.

How did you come to the ???? series, then?

I
became more and more involved in the Stockholm underground. People
voted for me as the best underground female DJ,
and somehow the local fetish community invited me to play,
as well. That went well, and they invited me
to be their resident. I got to know this community
more and more,
and fell in love with the atmosphere of dedication and respect.

 [Normally], the Swedish fetish community has many rules, and the music is not a focus. During one of the raves in 2016, I met Marija from the fetish club Dekadance, and I shared my ideas about starting a new concept. Together, we came up with these communities, divided by interests or fetish – Stockholm Leather Man Club, Wish Club for Lesbian women. [The idea was for people to] come together, and yet not follow so many rules

Marija and her colleagues shared invaluable experience about do’s and don’t’s. I had also gotten to know the organizers of [Berlin’s] Herrensauna and the Belarusian techno duo Energun. So these experiences, plus my attraction to Eastern European music and dedication to the local community, shaped into ????. 


Photo: Rikard Jarl.

Imagine we walk into ???? for
the first time… what do you want our feeling to be?

Check the wardrobe first, as you want to take off your clothes, leaving as little as possible on. Mostly each event is in a new venue, so you’ll start by checking out the different rooms. Probably, you’ll meet some new friends, as people are very open here. I hope you’ll keep your mind free for new experiences, new music, and new friends – so the feeling I’d want would be I guess “endless curiosity.” And constant satisfaction. ???? 


Rikard Jarl.

Rikard Jarl

I think from the outside, a lot of us Americans may see Sweden as a sort of progressive, idyllic world. But I get a reality check from friends who grew up that there’s some conflict between conservative values and conformity, just as people experience in so many other places, too. What does it mean for Stockholm to have a party like this?

It’s true, the Scandinavian nightlife is limited by a lot of
laws, plus restrictions on alcohol licences. The authorities think that
places where
people drink have to be monitored. Because clubs close down so early, it
creates an atmosphere where people want to get drunk as
quickly as possible, which can lead to aggressive
behavior.

In
the fetish scene, people are not so eager to get drunk;
people like to socialize and experience things. This is a great playground to
discover art and music.

Many Swedish rave-lovers travel to Berlin or Amsterdam, which is causing demand for techno parties [in Sweden] to grow. Luckily, there’s a loophole that makes it possible to organize private parties, members’ clubs or Svartklubbar – literally, “black clubs.”  The system is that people have to sign up in advance, and then we can dictate the opening hours ourselves. Because you have to register in advance, we can label our parties as a closed gathering. It’s allowed to sell “folköl” (up to 3,5%). Laughing gas balloons are still a gray zone. [Ed. Uh – be careful with that last one. CDM is not endorsing any use of these!]

Many of these events [in Sweden] can be closed by police, when there were neighbor complaints or if police could discover illegal alcohol sales or any traces of drugs. 

???? is a fetish and gay-friendly member’s club, that also complies with Swedish rules. The venues are usually booked with the contract and no complaints were filed so far. In official Stockholm venues, it’s not allowed to have darkrooms or to take off your clothes, so for the community, our party is a little island of freedom. 

Commercial clubs aren’t allowed to filter the audience, either, but we can. We send a link where you can register, and we make sure that link remains in certain circles. At our parties, guests experience freedom of sexual expression and acceptance, and we try to create a safe environment for the LHBQT [LGBTQ] and fetish scene. We have always been honest and clear about what kind of event ???? is.


Rikard Jarl.

My readers will also think of Sweden as the land that has given us Elektron, Propellerhead, and Teenage Engineering. Are there any compelling projects you’ve brought in as far as producers? Live acts? Maybe there’s just something about that Swedish climate with its long summer days and long winter nights that makes people crave electronic sounds?

I agree, Sweden has long time been a cradle of engineers, dynamite developers, and music channels such as Spotify.  I like to follow the discoveries that are made by Sound of Stockholm Festival or Fylkingen – Collective,  too. I must say, the Swedish electronic music scene has been full of talents for as long as I can remember.  There are always new, upcoming artists for the rest of the world to discover. I don’t know if it’s the climate or governmental support of music artists, or the natural industriousness of Swedish people. The long nights can give anyone some food for thought, for sure. 

Some of the live acts I was happy to invite as our guests included Alvar, Gijensu, Fjäder, Celldöd. I think they lifted up the vibe and created a real, live experience. 


Sylwia Dziobon.

I
have also run ???? shows for fnoob techno radio, where I invited live acts such
as Lodbrock, Karabasan Drane, and Dawid Dahl.
They recorded original live sets for
this show, which is available on our SoundCloud. We
also invite queer DJs and queer art to take part in
our events, as we want to create a space that’s
open to innovative ideas or concepts.

Obviously, ???? contains a nod to your Russian heritage… are Swedes getting the Cyrllic? I know you’ve also made some interchange with the Russian scene, bringing ???? to St. Petersburg’s terrific RAF25 – what can you say about how the connection between these countries? Are there common elements? 

I liked that this word has both F – for “fetish” and OMO – for homo (gay-friendly), but I didn’t want people to associate this with any “fear.” ? is a beautiful letter which many people recognize from Greek, too, and it looks as a new brand-word. Many of my Swedish friends had to install the Russian alphabet in order refer to the right “?omo” ????  

I was excited to bring ???? to Raf25 [in St. Petersburg.] This Soviet bunker with a maze of various rooms is very sexy, indeed. I see a connection to our sound, concept, and aesthetics. I think this could be a good place in Russia for opening the scene to subcultural communities that, at the moment, unfortunately, don’t have their own space. 


Sylwia Dziobon.

Rikard Jarl.

What does it mean to you to tie together queer identity, queer activism, and this party project?

As ????, we always will stand on the side of our LGTB and fetish communities. We create a safe space where people can share experiences, understand each other better, and have fun together, without any labeling or other shit. My colleague Marija has lots of experience with queer activism and helps invite the people who we think feel that they really belong. 

We’re
happy to see that we attract visitors who feel that they don’t belong to the larger, mainstream
scene or don’t feel welcome there. We’re
glad to see newcomers discovering new sides of their sexuality. Our
experienced ambassadors and hosts are always present in the event and are there
for the other guests, in case people have questions or they think somebody
doesn’t behave correctly. 

They
are also ???? – they’re the ones who know how party responsibly,
but also are extremely friendly and positive people. 

During Pride 2019, we had a big night event at the local Bronx Sauna Club – it was a perfect match for us since we started in 2016 in a similar venue. Pride 2019 was the craziest party we’ve made. I invited Tommy Four Seven, Madalba and Popoff Kitchen from Moscow.  Also, thanks to collaboration with our local DJ and promoter Dgeral, this event could invite queer artists as Lauren Hex and Femanyst. People were dancing on the table, we had queues like those in Berlin, but with our own, local vibe and color. I’m pretty sure many people felt deeply in their hearts what Pride is about, a joy about who you are. 


Tommy Four Seven. Photo: Janek Magnusson.

 So, what should we know as you gear up for this week’s
event
?

This week, Sweden celebrates the day of St. Lucia, which coincidently falls on Friday the 13th. It’s a Swedish tradition, singing songs in the church, while a maiden in a long white toga slowly walks through with candles on her head. We decided to celebrate 3 years of ???? and let people explore this tradition on their own way, calling our party “Find Your Dirty Lucia.” We booked Janzon from Code is Law and Knigi Live.  You are all welcome to join if you’re in town!

The next party is this Friday, 13 December; register to attend (or make your own party at home with CDM and these mixes, you know… black out the windows for the Swedish December experience of light).

https://fomoclub.net

More listening…


Rikard Jarl.

Sylwia Dziobon.

Sylwia Dziobon.

Rikard Jarl.

And one more – from Venezuela’s Dgeral:

The post No fear: ???? is an expressive, transgressive space in Sweden, built by electronic music appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

FL Studio 20.6 does what FL does best – adds more great toys to play with

It’s still tough to beat FL Studio when it comes to, well, playing with stuff – in a tool in which that play can get very advanced indeed.

There are some great new toys here:

Distructor is a new pedal-style distortion and multi-effects plug-in. What’s especially nice is you get four slots, each of which can be assigned to one of four modules. There are different distortion models and then filters, chorus, and speaker cabinets. Those different distortion models (Blood overdrive, Soft Clippor, Harmor, Distructor, and Crusher) each have their own various algorithm choices, so this thing is deep. And the filters give you every shape you would want.

This reuses some existing FL stuff, but in a very nice way, and you can mess around with all the different bits and re-route them. In fact, it occurs to me that this is really what the scattered distortion and cabinet devices in Ableton Live probably should have been. Advantage, FL on this one.

If you want to go even crazier, the amp/cab bit is based on Fruity Convolver. So you could instead of limiting yourself to Distructor alone, chase the Distructor plug-in with Fruity Convolver and then load any impulse you want for some serious mayhem.

The Euclidean Rhythm Generator lets you fill in patterns with this now weirdly ubiquitous mathematical means of generating symmetrical rhythms, which work well as polyrhythms and in techno. Right-click a channel, and choose Advanced Fill.

Control Voltage is a new Fruity Voltage Controller for integrating with analog gear. It works with any DC-coupled interface – which now includes those affordable MOTU boxes I looked at recently for a low-cost solution. (Or just use a Eurorack rig with an audio interface inside it.)

“Burn” MIDI. Got an interesting pattern coming out of the Arpeggiator, note effects, or other plug-ins? Now you can right-click the channel and record to MIDI. Yeah, this already works in DAWs like Logic Pro, but it really fits the FL workflow perfectly.

NewTime time warping. Warp, quantize, and groove shuffle audio. This is a far cry from the early days of FL Studio where everyone seemed to be making terrible trance tracks with only the default step sequencer options in the main view. FL now gives well-known, much more expensive DAWs a proper run for the money.

Oh speaking of mangling audio – the Fruity Granulizer now has a display and visualizations so you can see what you’re doing, so together with NewTime, you can mess with sound really easily.

Plus there are tons of other improvements – convert playlist tracks to audio, “don’t show this in the future” checkbox for popups, and a ton of little details. (FLEX has a modulation speed for reverb time, for instance.)

Both Image-Line and SoundCloud sent me press releases emphasizing that you can upload directly to SoundCloud from FL. I have a feeling if you have the patience to read my writing, you already know how to upload to SoundCloud, but … now you know.

More importantly, Image-Line continue their lifetime free updates tradition – think of it as the reverse of horrible subscriptions in certain pro graphics apps. The subscription model: pay continuously, see updates that you mostly don’t want. The FL Studio model: pay once, see updates you want, continuously. (You need a supported account, but it can be worth it.)

The latest – and there’s a lot of it:

FL Studio 20.6 released [Image-Line news]

The post FL Studio 20.6 does what FL does best – adds more great toys to play with appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Terrible Christmas mashups with Mariah Carey are now practically their own genre

It’s a magical time of year when the whole spectrum of humanity comes together as brothers and sisters in a shared belief: that this endlessly looping Christmas music is seriously going to make us all go completely mental.

But don’t resist. Lean in. Let’s just pile on as much Mariah Carey Christmas as we can handle. No, scratch that – let’s swallow more than anyone can handle, like doing a bong full of egg nog.

Amazon Music is here with a documentary just about Mariah Carey, who – many people will find this relateable – has feelings about Christmas. I guess this documentary is serious. It pronounces “Mariah Carey is Christmas.”

And of course, that’s given us “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” The documentary reveals every detail. She went to a record label. There are people singing about Jesus, who I have come to think may be related to this whole, like, situation. There are anecdotes about … things. She plays notes on a piano, sometimes it sounds like at random. (Hey, her description, not mine, but I’ve been there, Mariah.) Hanging snow, and unwrapping stockings, and presents falling from the sky, or whatever that whole stuff is.

And then she wrote a song. A Christmas song, which they then recorded with ideas that they thought would make it more of a Christmas song, so it feels like your childhood or happiness or … I think they’re saying they were going to make a s*** ton of money with this one.

Okay, now that you can’t get those eleven minutes of your life back, what if you could obliterate still more minutes, but also ruin other songs at the same time, in a way that’s timeless? Timeless as in – you will obliterate your fragile grip on the passage of time and all other reality. Let’s do this.

But this makes you happy – you just want to sing and dance.”

Mariah Manson – “All I Want For Christmas is the Beautiful People” (probably tbe best-crafted of these)

Radiohead – Creep But It’s All I Want For Christmas.

(Thom, I’m sorry. So sorry. Yes, this mash-up is about as elegantly executed as the Photoshop but … can’t … stop … listening. I am kind of a creep, it turns out.)

Oh, and when you get to “running out the door,” well – got any family you want to make run screaming from your house?

Welcome To The Christmas Parade – Mariah Carey vs. My Chemical Romance (Mashup)

The chemical part is right.

Hey, let’s have another one. Why not? I mean – don’t answer that.

Don’t Stop Christmas Now – (Mariah Carey, Queen) – Mashup

I kept thinking mash-ups would go away. Or maybe they would be better executed. I’m a little scared of what machine learning might do here.

But the Christmas spirit endures.

God bless us, every one.

Which of these is the best/worst? Listen repeatedly, over and over again, until you can tell us in comm–ohhhhhh no don’t do that I was kidding!

The post Terrible Christmas mashups with Mariah Carey are now practically their own genre appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

L7 is what the Loop Station would be like as an iOS app, not hardware – and now it’s just $4

For years, musicians have asked for software to do what the BOSS RC-505 Loop Sta­tion does, and make looping easy. The Audiokit L7 does just that.

Okay, before this sounds like it’s an emulation of the RC-505 with some fake pedals and knobs and such, don’t worry – they didn’t do that. Coming from the makers of iOS sound framework Audiokit, the L7 has the sort of simple, standard visual interface you’d expect from an app, not hardware. So you get high-contrast visuals and waveforms and all that.

But they did adopt the RC-505 looping workflow, combining it with the convenience of touchscreen, visual interface, and – so long as you’ve got an iPad or iPhone handy, always-available mobility. (Heck, since this makes sense as a dedicated device, it might even be worth picking up a cheap iPod touch so your phone doesn’t do double duty.)

So you layer loops successfully as you play – the magical Loop Station formula. The difference is, now you can also layer effects easily on top of that, without losing track of what you’re doing (since there’s more visual feedback on both audio layers and effects).


Step one: layer loops as you play, Loop Station style.

Step two: add effects to each layer, and perform with them live.

And yes, if that seems like a missed opportunity for Roland/BOSS – it is. (There’s still time. They have to call this L7, not Loop Station, so Roland still has an opportunity – plus Audiokit don’t support popular Android phones.)

Meanwhile, Audiokit are a model for other developers. You buy the app once – no ads, no subscriptions, no in-app purchases, no nonsense. US$19.99 is the regular price, which seems reasonable – major caveat, I haven’t tested it fully yet. But they’ve got an intro price on for US$3.99, which basically means you shouldn’t wait for my review. (That’s the point where I start to just pay four bucks to save the trouble of waiting for a promo code.)

And wow, the features definitely show they’re listening. I can’t wait to give this a spin on the iPad.

+ Record up to 16 tracks
+ 8 ef­fects per track + mas­ter ef­fects & in­put ef­fects
+ Pan
+ Re­verb
+ Tremo­lo
+ Tem­po de­lay
+ Pitch shift (± 12 semi­tones)
+ Comb fil­ter
+ High pass fil­ter
+ Low pass fil­ter
+ “Voice ­tune” (inspired by Auto-tune) with 144 dif­fer­ent scales, con­trol amount & speed
+ Au­to­mat­i­cal­ly trig­ger ef­fect changes hands-free
+ Vari­able loop length with auto-stop
+ Mute / un­mute in­di­vid­ual sec­tions of a track
+ Over­dub tracks
+ Save ses­sions and ex­port wave files and mixdowns to use in your fa­vorite DAW
+ Im­port au­dio from any file for­mat (wav, mp3, aiff, m4a, etc.)
+ Au­diobus com­pat­i­ble
+ Sync with oth­er apps us­ing Able­ton Link
+ Works with most USB au­dio in­ter­faces
+ Best with wired head­phones

Hardware is still desirable in a lot of situations, but I bet a lot of people will just do both.

US$3.99 on the App Store, starting now. Check out this app, their other work, and their stuff for developers, on their site:

https://audiokitpro.com

Here is, I hope, a great looping performance (I am embedding this from 40,000 feet on Japan Airlines, so you’ll find out probably before I do what happened):


iPad Pro is how I would use this – and it looks really great in large format.

Effects look even more usable on iPad.

Of course, having this in your hand is also great.

What do you think? Got a looping app (or hardware) you prefer, and want to hold it up against this? Let us know in comments.

The post L7 is what the Loop Station would be like as an iOS app, not hardware – and now it’s just $4 appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

L7 is what the Loop Station would be like as an iOS app, not hardware – and now it’s just $4

For years, musicians have asked for software to do what the BOSS RC-505 Loop Sta­tion does, and make looping easy. The Audiokit L7 does just that.

Okay, before this sounds like it’s an emulation of the RC-505 with some fake pedals and knobs and such, don’t worry – they didn’t do that. Coming from the makers of iOS sound framework Audiokit, the L7 has the sort of simple, standard visual interface you’d expect from an app, not hardware. So you get high-contrast visuals and waveforms and all that.

But they did adopt the RC-505 looping workflow, combining it with the convenience of touchscreen, visual interface, and – so long as you’ve got an iPad or iPhone handy, always-available mobility. (Heck, since this makes sense as a dedicated device, it might even be worth picking up a cheap iPod touch so your phone doesn’t do double duty.)

So you layer loops successfully as you play – the magical Loop Station formula. The difference is, now you can also layer effects easily on top of that, without losing track of what you’re doing (since there’s more visual feedback on both audio layers and effects).


Step one: layer loops as you play, Loop Station style.

Step two: add effects to each layer, and perform with them live.

And yes, if that seems like a missed opportunity for Roland/BOSS – it is. (There’s still time. They have to call this L7, not Loop Station, so Roland still has an opportunity – plus Audiokit don’t support popular Android phones.)

Meanwhile, Audiokit are a model for other developers. You buy the app once – no ads, no subscriptions, no in-app purchases, no nonsense. US$19.99 is the regular price, which seems reasonable – major caveat, I haven’t tested it fully yet. But they’ve got an intro price on for US$3.99, which basically means you shouldn’t wait for my review. (That’s the point where I start to just pay four bucks to save the trouble of waiting for a promo code.)

And wow, the features definitely show they’re listening. I can’t wait to give this a spin on the iPad.

+ Record up to 16 tracks
+ 8 ef­fects per track + mas­ter ef­fects & in­put ef­fects
+ Pan
+ Re­verb
+ Tremo­lo
+ Tem­po de­lay
+ Pitch shift (± 12 semi­tones)
+ Comb fil­ter
+ High pass fil­ter
+ Low pass fil­ter
+ “Voice ­tune” (inspired by Auto-tune) with 144 dif­fer­ent scales, con­trol amount & speed
+ Au­to­mat­i­cal­ly trig­ger ef­fect changes hands-free
+ Vari­able loop length with auto-stop
+ Mute / un­mute in­di­vid­ual sec­tions of a track
+ Over­dub tracks
+ Save ses­sions and ex­port wave files and mixdowns to use in your fa­vorite DAW
+ Im­port au­dio from any file for­mat (wav, mp3, aiff, m4a, etc.)
+ Au­diobus com­pat­i­ble
+ Sync with oth­er apps us­ing Able­ton Link
+ Works with most USB au­dio in­ter­faces
+ Best with wired head­phones

Hardware is still desirable in a lot of situations, but I bet a lot of people will just do both.

US$3.99 on the App Store, starting now. Check out this app, their other work, and their stuff for developers, on their site:

https://audiokitpro.com

Here is, I hope, a great looping performance (I am embedding this from 40,000 feet on Japan Airlines, so you’ll find out probably before I do what happened):


iPad Pro is how I would use this – and it looks really great in large format.

Effects look even more usable on iPad.

Of course, having this in your hand is also great.

What do you think? Got a looping app (or hardware) you prefer, and want to hold it up against this? Let us know in comments.

The post L7 is what the Loop Station would be like as an iOS app, not hardware – and now it’s just $4 appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Here’s how to add proper dark themes for Ableton Live, SoundCloud, embrace darkness

Dark themes are all the rage these days, from phones to desktop OSes. Now it’s time for stuff you use every day to go properly to black, too – hello Ableton Live and SoundCloud.


Ultra Dark. And you can grok what I’m listening to on SoundCloud, as well. Yes, I go and then buy stuff from Bandcamp et al.

Okay, dark themes actually have inspired some controversy when it comes to usability and even eye fatigue. But it’s pretty understandable why they’re using in music. Let’s face it – we’re commonly in the dark. Dark themes save battery life, and they’re less disturbing when you’re listening in bed, in darkened studios, onstage – you get the idea.

macOS Mojave added Dark Mode for apps; Windows 10 is (as usual) following piecemeal but has now largely caught up. Recent iOS and Android versions and apps also have added support.

Two apps I use a whole lot – Ableton Live and SoundCloud – weren’t quite there. Live’s dark themes are grayish, but not black (without customization); SoundCloud seems to have adopted its color scheme from the garish white and orange of easyJet. (I swear this was because early on the founders were commuting between Berlin and Stockholm on that airline. I’ve never confirmed this with them because it’s more fun to just make up the story. You know.)

Let’s take these two Berlin-based music tools and drain them of color and light so they’re ready to queue at Berghain. (And probably get rejected, but still, on-message.)

SoundCloud

For websites, Stylish has been a favorite of customization lovers since its debut for Firefox way back in 2005. It’s now graduated from hacker status to something anyone can use, with versions for the new faster Firefox, Chrome (and any Chrome-compatible browser), Safari, Opera, and whatever else you may use. (I’m using it now in Vivaldi, and there’s even a new Android app.)

The official site from developer Jason Barnabe has what you need:

https://userstyles.org

And then you’ll find various options for SoundCloud when you search.

The most popular and up-to-date is Quite Dark:

https://userstyles.org/styles/143738/soundcloud-quite-dark

But I’m partial to “Ultra Dark.” I do find this makes me enjoy using SoundCloud more, recalling black album colors and high-end studio electronics. And in Stylish you can swap themes or disable customization if you find a portion of the admin side when uploading that isn’t skinned.

https://userstyles.org/styles/176264/soundcloud-ultra-dark

Ableton Live

Live for me is more necessity – the wrong theme can be blinding under weird club conditions, and I find equally hard to focus on in the studio.

Wait, I’m writing that, and lately I haven’t been playing with Ableton Live onstage. So, okay – maybe it’s just aesthetics. But let’s do it anyway. Sometimes just varying the scheme can help you get over two decades of using this tool.

We’ve covered Live skins before – the most comprehensive source remains the wonderful Sonic Bloom site, which also handles customization techniques and other information. But I wanted something extreme, which right now means going to long-running fan art gallery Deviant Art. (It’s another holdover from the Beforetimes, when the Internet didn’t totally suck so much.)

And Dark 2 is totally delicious for those of us who want extreme blackness. (Blackest ever black?)

https://www.deviantart.com/anthonymilano/art/SKIN-Dark-2-for-Ableton-Live-10-735023504

Thanks to creator anthonymilano, whoever you are, for this gem. Image from his page, which also includes install intructions.

More ideas?

What else do you want to go dark?

Bitwig Studio already has a pretty blackened scheme by default; I actually haven’t gotten as far as customizing it yet. (Anyway?) Ditto Renoise.

I was going to add Reaper to the list but they went and overhauled the customization of the themes in Reaper 6, so it’s a little premature.

But I bet our readers have loads of ideas. Fire away.

Now someone really needs to bring back the reverse-lettered “evil” t-shirt for Ableton Live. I love that I even got asked by an airline flight crew about that.

The post Here’s how to add proper dark themes for Ableton Live, SoundCloud, embrace darkness appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Here’s how to add proper dark themes for Ableton Live, SoundCloud, embrace darkness

Dark themes are all the rage these days, from phones to desktop OSes. Now it’s time for stuff you use every day to go properly to black, too – hello Ableton Live and SoundCloud.


Ultra Dark. And you can grok what I’m listening to on SoundCloud, as well. Yes, I go and then buy stuff from Bandcamp et al.

Okay, dark themes actually have inspired some controversy when it comes to usability and even eye fatigue. But it’s pretty understandable why they’re using in music. Let’s face it – we’re commonly in the dark. Dark themes save battery life, and they’re less disturbing when you’re listening in bed, in darkened studios, onstage – you get the idea.

macOS Mojave added Dark Mode for apps; Windows 10 is (as usual) following piecemeal but has now largely caught up. Recent iOS and Android versions and apps also have added support.

Two apps I use a whole lot – Ableton Live and SoundCloud – weren’t quite there. Live’s dark themes are grayish, but not black (without customization); SoundCloud seems to have adopted its color scheme from the garish white and orange of easyJet. (I swear this was because early on the founders were commuting between Berlin and Stockholm on that airline. I’ve never confirmed this with them because it’s more fun to just make up the story. You know.)

Let’s take these two Berlin-based music tools and drain them of color and light so they’re ready to queue at Berghain. (And probably get rejected, but still, on-message.)

SoundCloud

For websites, Stylish has been a favorite of customization lovers since its debut for Firefox way back in 2005. It’s now graduated from hacker status to something anyone can use, with versions for the new faster Firefox, Chrome (and any Chrome-compatible browser), Safari, Opera, and whatever else you may use. (I’m using it now in Vivaldi, and there’s even a new Android app.)

The official site from developer Jason Barnabe has what you need:

https://userstyles.org

And then you’ll find various options for SoundCloud when you search.

The most popular and up-to-date is Quite Dark:

https://userstyles.org/styles/143738/soundcloud-quite-dark

But I’m partial to “Ultra Dark.” I do find this makes me enjoy using SoundCloud more, recalling black album colors and high-end studio electronics. And in Stylish you can swap themes or disable customization if you find a portion of the admin side when uploading that isn’t skinned.

https://userstyles.org/styles/176264/soundcloud-ultra-dark

Ableton Live

Live for me is more necessity – the wrong theme can be blinding under weird club conditions, and I find equally hard to focus on in the studio.

Wait, I’m writing that, and lately I haven’t been playing with Ableton Live onstage. So, okay – maybe it’s just aesthetics. But let’s do it anyway. Sometimes just varying the scheme can help you get over two decades of using this tool.

We’ve covered Live skins before – the most comprehensive source remains the wonderful Sonic Bloom site, which also handles customization techniques and other information. But I wanted something extreme, which right now means going to long-running fan art gallery Deviant Art. (It’s another holdover from the Beforetimes, when the Internet didn’t totally suck so much.)

And Dark 2 is totally delicious for those of us who want extreme blackness. (Blackest ever black?)

https://www.deviantart.com/anthonymilano/art/SKIN-Dark-2-for-Ableton-Live-10-735023504

Thanks to creator anthonymilano, whoever you are, for this gem. Image from his page, which also includes install intructions.

More ideas?

What else do you want to go dark?

Bitwig Studio already has a pretty blackened scheme by default; I actually haven’t gotten as far as customizing it yet. (Anyway?) Ditto Renoise.

I was going to add Reaper to the list but they went and overhauled the customization of the themes in Reaper 6, so it’s a little premature.

But I bet our readers have loads of ideas. Fire away.

Now someone really needs to bring back the reverse-lettered “evil” t-shirt for Ableton Live. I love that I even got asked by an airline flight crew about that.

The post Here’s how to add proper dark themes for Ableton Live, SoundCloud, embrace darkness appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

No, sharing your Spotify year-end artist stats is not a good idea – here’s why not

If you’re following music acts, odds are you’re already seeing Spotify-generated stats and graphs from artists. There’s a backlash to the practice – and with good reason.

First, before I sound immediately anti-Spotify or anti-streaming, this isn’t necessarily about that. There are reasons to distribute music to streaming services, and ways of leveraging that distribution to financial benefit (albeit largely indirect).

Putting aside the streaming business model itself for a moment, though, let’s consider what artists are doing here. Spotify sent an email last week to all artists registered for the Spotify for Artists program, with a link to “2019 Wrapped for Artists.” You need to be an artist with music on Spotify, but that’s it – the company even says you only needed three (!) listeners prior to the end of October to qualify for the “Wrapped” report. (Mine for some reason isn’t available, so I’m guessing there’s some lag from demand.) The service coincides with a “Wrapped” report for listeners/fans, which shows which tracks they streamed most. (Richard Lawler wrote this up for Engadget.)

The artist email email concludes with the instruction to “share your highlights with your fans on social.”

Here’s where things get weird – a whole bunch of artists just read that, and did as instructed. (Top tip to those artists: if you get a deal from a Nigerian prince or someone promising to, uh, improve some aspect of your anatomy, I suggest applying some caution before you act. Cough.)

Ironically, I heard about the backlash to the wrapped artists before I started seeing reports. Here’s one good example:

Do not post your Spotify wrap posts fellow artists, it’s crass and I’m tired of reminding you all that you’re being tacky and perpetuating the idea of music as just another commodity in our current capitalist sea despair, don’t you dare @ me, I’ll post this again next year

— Telefon Tel Aviv (@telefontelaviv) December 5, 2019

To that thread alone, there were some compelling responses:

Honestly, even looking mine up would just be discouraging and defeating. If I focus on metrics like that to define myself, I'm gonna rip myself down before I can write anything new.

It's not worth my time to look those stats up. Who cares. Make art for art, right?

— Derek Roberts (@teigMusic) December 5, 2019

If you live by the numbers your career also dies by the numbers

— Scott Harris (@ScottHarrisM) December 6, 2019

But then once they began appearing, the flood of reports posted to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has become unnervingly commonplace. With apologies to those of you who did share this for some reason already, here’s why I think critics are justified in sounding an alarm.

What stats are included:

  • Total fan hours streamed
  • Highest number of fan streams per hour
  • Increases in followers, total listeners, new listeners, streams, and playlist adds
  • Number of hours fans streamed between 1am – 6am
  • Number of countries where fans are based
  • Country that grew by the highest percent of listeners
  • Number of fans that had the artist as their #1 artist

Source: Hypebot.

Note that of these, only one element – growth by country – is really useful for gathering data about how you’d want to expand your fan base or, for instance, where to tour. (SoundCloud has offered similar data, too, for years, in greater detail.) The rest is all about feeding Spotify’s goals, which is to say, increasing the amount of streaming engagement on Spotify. Even without considering the pittance of income that generates for artists, it isn’t about you. It’s about building Spotify’s business, Spotify’s growth, Spotify’s core data – improving engagement for them, on a platform they own and control.

But why should I make that argument, when Spotify makes that argument for me?

In a statement, the company says they’re “dedicated to growing careers and sustaining momentum.” The key is how they define “momentum,” which is driving up playback stats and getting music “on repeat.” But unlike a platform like Bandcamp, that doesn’t include ownership of the music or any way to offer merchandise (which generates more revenue) or ownership of listener statistics, which might assist you in planning a tour or connecting with fans directly. And even if more Spotify streaming helps you get gigs by increasing your fan base, or helping people discover your music through playlists, that still doesn’t explain why you need to share those stats with fans.

https://artists.spotify.com/blog/artist-wrapped-2019

Growth, growth, growth. As Spotify puts it, “for 2019 we’re focused on growth and velocity: all the ways your career grew, your music exploded, and your fans had you on repeat.”

What is that growth for, exactly? Well, it drives Spotify’s membership, and crucially it allows them to collect data they can offer back to advertisers.

It’s sick and twisted. By pushing you to focus on streaming stats, and then to share those same stats with your own fans, Spotify is driving home the idea that musical success is not how well you’re making out financially or how deeply fans care about your music or how it’s doing critically or your individual artistic satisfaction or literally any metric other than how much valuable user infomatics it is generating for a third-party corporation.

If they were just doing this to you, that would be one thing. But then they’re asking you to telegraph the very same message to your own fans.

Having made you do all of the work of making the music and promoting the music and then figuring out how the heck to get people to find it on their closed-box platform, they now want you to do additional work of pushing their corporate propaganda to everyone you know. (Heck, even in a pyramid scheme, you at least sell some inventory. Here you give it away for free and still lose out to the folks at the top.)

Here’s the only answer you really need to offer:

“But wait, isn’t all of this valuable to me? Shouldn’t I be grateful to what this service is offering me in promoting my music?” Okay, while I try to sort out the weird BDSM relationship we all now have with this corporation, here’s more evidence they really don’t have your interests at heart. In the same statement unveiling the service, they proudly announce:

“[We have a] steady stream of new features and resources, dedicated to growing careers and sustaining momentum; tools like Canvas, which lets artists add looping visuals to their music, and Marquee, which gives artists and labels the ability to sponsor new music recommendations.”

Let’s just translate there. they’re now giving you the ability to produce visuals for their platform on top of the nearly-free music you’re providing, and then to give you the “ability” to pay them money to get your music out there.

Wheee! So I can celebrate with my fans how much I’m part of a faceless algorithmic streaming service for which I earn nothing, punish myself for not getting heard that much, then pay the service to try to get heard more! Oh, and like make animated loops for them. Fun!

Because that’s the other evil part of this: the more Spotify dominates music listening, the more their ability to charge artists and labels for the privilege of being heard rather than the other way around. It’s just the old-fashioned pay-for-play scheme. I don’t doubt that some artists are blowing up this way, in which case, great! But the rest of us should delete this idea and move on.

Oh and by the way – this system benefits big industry conglomerates who are put of why Spotify is able to grow so fast. Those industry giants will often lock you into contracts where you pay them to pay for playlists and other exposure to get into the most-streamed music on the service.

This is not to say that streaming itself is evil. Streaming on its surface is just a different way of delivering digital files. And if your music is distributed at all on Spotify – either via your own self-released music, via distributor, or via another label – it makes sense to register for Spotify for Artists. By registering, you can track stats and control how your profile is seen, as well as find some other resources. Read the FAQ on that. It’s just dubious that you should join in sharing statistics, even though normally thanking fans is good practice.

There is at least some hope that we could see a better business model for it. On Bandcamp, streaming is already tied to ownership – and at least for my part, I love streaming that music from the Bandcamp app even as I was happy to pay for downloads (or sometimes cassettes or vinyl or merch) on the site. Beatport’s streaming service for DJs is new, and the jury is still out on whether it’s good or bad for independent artists, but at least it attempts to a) set higher subscription fees for listeners, b) get a bigger chunk of money back to producers and labels, and c) drive casual DJs to spending more on serious consumption. I’m still researching whether the service delivers on the company’s claims, but even as far as the claims, this is a far cry from Spotify, who seem to openly celebrate the fact that they’re screwing you over for stats and revenue for someone else.

And again, maybe you’re happy with how Spotify is working for you. In that case, though, I’d still ask if you want to be sharing stats, assuming you’re in this music business to be in the business of actually making music.

In this rapidly shifting landscape, we need to keep a critical view of these tools, and constantly adapt to make them work for us, not turn into corporate shills for their agenda. That may well include actively engaging Spotify, but it almost certainly doesn’t include “sharing” corporate media with your fans.

I’ll tell you what makes me happy, though. I’m deeply satisfied that artists are striking back, and often in witty and hilarious ways.

So, Spotify, if you expect to “see us in the 20s” as you so proudly proclaim through a deep fog of corporate positivity – you may be seeing more of us in a way you didn’t expect.

Artists generally having fun:

Sorry @telefontelaviv ??????????????? pic.twitter.com/JWYXxGpXvi

— Truncate (@truncate_la) December 5, 2019

Many artists are sharing their stats, and then sharing how little they earned (these guys got twelve bucks):

Music Without Borders editor Anil Prasad shared this detailed takedown, which also deals with Spotify’s corporate backers:

Here’s a thought: share music instead.

Oh and … no, listeners aren’t necessarily happy either:

Spotify Wrapped: users alarmed by their own listening habits

Maybe in the next decade, we’ll decide that all these stats aren’t such a good thing.

More memes and text

Here is Anil’s full text, so it isn’t locked away on Facebook (reused by permission of the author):

The streaming truth no-one wants to hear or deal with: We’re all being hit by tons of “Spotify Wrapped” and “Spotify for Artists” propaganda, currently. Artists are engaged in a creepily-competitive, private-parts-waving campaign to show the magical number of streams and listeners they have, notably excluding the complete lack of survivable income any of it generates.

Once again, I’m going to lay out why things are the way they are in the streaming universe. Here is precisely why musicians don’t get paid anything meaningful. It’s a lot to take in and involves sitting there and pondering the monumental, corrupt expanse of it all. So, here it is. Choose to understand or continue living in blind ignorance, selfishly feasting on “free” without worrying about the macro, unsustainable consequences. It’s up to you.

The actuality of what articles on “How streaming saved the music business” written by the ill informed cover is six major businesses: Spotify, Apple, Google, Warner Music, Sony Music, and Universal Music. The first three are technology companies. The latter three are in fact, not music companies, but pieces of mega-media multi-billion-dollar conglomerates. Warner Music is part of Warner Media. Sony Music is part of the larger Sony umbrella. Universal Music is owned by Vivendi. All six companies are publicly traded on the stock market.

The latter point is the most critical. Before delving into that, remember that Warner, Sony and Universal are all investors in Spotify. None of these companies are interested in the vagaries of music, musicians and royalties remotely as much as they are interested in stock performance, valuation and market capitalization. It is why there is such callous disregard for the musicians and indie labels so drastically affected by their actions.

All these companies care about are aggregate numbers: the hundreds of thousands of new streaming accounts, paid or unpaid (it almost doesn’t matter) added and the hundreds of millions of streams that occurred across the current fiscal quarter.

These numbers are then revealed to the companies’ investor communities on quarterly earnings calls. These “performance metrics” then rapidly translate into investor interest and if the numbers are good, send the stock price higher, increasing market capitalization value.

Specifically, this is why all that matters is streaming numbers. Physical sales are irrelevant, as are download sales. It is also why artists are pounded on to promote and boost their streaming numbers to the exclusion of everything else. The corporations say this is in the artist’s’ interests. No, it’s exclusively about how to boost their stock price.

Now, in the case of Warner, Sony and Universal, they win in multiple ways. As investors in Spotify, they benefit from Spotify’s stock value increasing. And when Spotify’s stock value increases, guess what? It has a positive effect on their own stock. Boom. There’s the rub. Those three also benefit from the same awful contracts that paid out next to nothing in the physical realm. They keep the lion’s share of all streaming royalties too, leaving musicians with next to nothing, comparatively. Yes, it’s a wonderful triple play for them. You may want to re-read the last paragraph again. It is literally the crux of “How streaming saved the music industry.”

If any article you read on streaming and the music industry doesn’t mention any of the above, the writer almost certainly has no idea what they’re actually talking about. Sadly, that’s pretty much every writer. These concepts are way too heavy for the average, superficial music journalist to contemplate and the streaming companies love that fact and use it to their advantage.

Do what you will with this information. If you actually made it this far, congratulations. You’ve swallowed the red pill and get to contemplate the bitter, uncomfortable reality it delivers.

Anil Prasad is editor of Music Without Borders.

Again, I would actually go further than he does, which is to say conglomerates like Universal now also offering distribution and marketing services. They’re effectively double-dealing: in a world where a growing number of people want to be artists, they can charge for the privilege of promoting music, then collect those same charges (if they control the playlists), then negotiate their own fees to make money again from the music being streamed. This isn’t so different from the kind of model that fueled the industry before, but there you see where this “we saved the industry” idea came from. It wasn’t your industry they were saving.

And there’s a darker side, too – they could starve out the very people wanting to make music in the first place, partly by controlling what gets streamed. And that, in turn, is why you should avoid the stats.

This obviously deserves more investigation, and if you haven’t read a lot about it, that could be because there’s some pretty strong disincentive to people blabbing about it.

On the other hand, it looks good if you’re a Universal investor, I guess. Give away your music, make somewhere else, and buy stock? Dunno.

The problem there – the whole thing could burn out cash and implode. So there’s that, even for the investors. Worse, the rest of music has to climb out of the crater that’s left, now with everyone’s expectation having shifted to music being “free” and people forgetting how to collect music on their own without algorithmic help. Fantastic.

Some other memes that have been circulating, though I couldn’t locate a source (if someone wants to claim them):

The post No, sharing your Spotify year-end artist stats is not a good idea – here’s why not appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

RSS College Art Association

RSS inside higher ed architecture

RSS inside higher ed: outside architecture