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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2018 » February » 05


Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Mon 5 Feb 2018 7:00 pm
Bon Iver, The National, Modest Mouse, David Byrne all headline! Tyler The Creator, Ray Lamontagne, Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, Spoon and Grizzly Bear also top the lineup!

The Super Bowl is Over – Let’s Talk About the Olympics and Trademarks

Delivered... Mitchell Stabbe | Scene | Mon 5 Feb 2018 6:16 pm

Last month, we posted some updated guidelines about engaging in or accepting advertising or promotions that directly or indirectly allude to the Super Bowl without a license from the NFL.  “As Super Bowl Approaches, Advertisers Should Be Aware of The NFL’s Efforts to Protect Its Golden Goose – 2018 Update”  Now, that is behind us (for another year), it is just in time to think about these issues in the context of the Winter Olympics!

The guidance from last month’s blog addressed the following subjects:

  • Advertising that refers to the Super Bowl or other NFL trademarks;
  • Advertising that uses non-trademarked terms that will be understood by the public to refer to the Super Bowl;
  • Conducting or sponsoring events and parties for viewing the Super Bowl;
  • Sweepstakes or giveaways that use “Super Bowl” as part of its name or offer prizes that include game tickets;
  • Offering “special” coverage relating to the Super Bowl, accompanied by advertising;
  • Congratulatory advertising; and
  • Whether disclaimers will provide a defense to a claim.

The concepts advanced in that discussion apply equally to the Olympics, but the US Olympic Committee has a unique weapon in its arsenal, so there are additional considerations of which you should take note.

Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act

In addition to having trademark rights based on registration and use, the USOC is the beneficiary of a special federal statute, the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which grants it the exclusive right to use various words and logos commercially or in connection with an athletic event, performance or competition.  These marks include “United States Olympic Committee,” “Olympic,” “Olympiad,” “Pan American,” “Citius Altius Fortius,” “Paralympic,” “Paralympiad” and the symbol of the International Olympic Committee – the five interlocking, blue, yellow, black, green and red rings (shown below).

As a result, unlike other trademark owners, to make a claim against a third party’s use of a mark, the USOC does not need to assert that the use of the mark is likely to create consumer confusion, dilutes the distinctiveness of the USOC’s marks or tarnishes the USOC’s marks.  However, if the mark being used is similar, but not identical, to an Olympic insignia, then the USOC must show a likelihood of confusion.

Why do the Olympics deserve such extra protection?  This law was enacted in 1968, a time when, unlike most countries, the United States did not use public funds to support amateur athletes, while barring them from receiving corporate sponsorships or support.  Thus, there was a perception that the United States was not able to be competitive with teams from countries that financially supported their teams directly.  Hence, the law was enacted in order to create and protect a greater income stream for the USOC from sponsors and supporters, which it could use to support US teams and their athletes.

USOC Trademark Protection Efforts

The USOC has not hesitated to use the rights granted to it aggressively.  For example:

  • Notably, in 1987, the Supreme Court agreed with the USOC that it could bar the use of “Gay Olympic Games” for a proposed international event, because the use would be to promote an athletic event and because aspects of the use were commercial.  The event was renamed the “Gay Games.”
  • In 2010, the USOC prevailed on a claim against a children’s sports camp called “Camp Olympik” and its use of a symbol consisting of five unconnected rings and a torch.
  • In 2012, Athens Voulgaridis, the operator of a small Greek food eating establishment in Pennsylvania that had been named “Olympic Gyro” since 1982 received a cease and desist letter from the USOC.  He changed its name to “Olympia Gyro.”

Use of Olympic Insignia by the Media

Significantly, the Ted Stevens Act does not provide any basis for challenging “fair use” of the Olympic insignia, such as in news reporting and commentary (such as this blog).  The statute also permits the use of the word “Olympic” that began prior to September 21, 1950, or to refer to businesses located in Washington State, west of Washington’s Cascades (or Olympic) Mountain Range, provided that operations, sales and marketing outside this area are not substantial.  Nevertheless, the USOC has pushed the envelope on the scope of these limitations.  For example:

  • In 2009, the USOC challenged an attempt to register “Daily Olympian” for the primary newspaper located in Olympia, Washington, which had used the name “The Daily Olympian” since 1889 and changed it to “The Olympian” in 1982.  Ultimately, the opposition was withdrawn after the newspaper agreed to amend its application for registration to a daily newspaper “targeting residents of Olympia Washington and surrounding geographic area.”
  • In 2001, the USOC sued a newspaper that published a magazine entitled, “OLYMPICS USA” which also incorporated the Olympic words and marks.  The magazine included layouts for various Olympic events containing photographs of athletes participating in the events, full-length article profiles of some of the athletes, an event and broadcast schedule and paid advertisements.  A motion to dismiss was granted on the basis that sales of newspapers, books and magazines do not constitute commercial speech.  Even though they may be motivated by profit, the marks may be used to solicit customers to buy the publication, and advertising appears in the publications, the publication was not considered “commercial speech: because its primary purpose was not to “propose a commercial transaction.”
  • I am aware of and responded to a claim by the USOC against the use of the Olympic rings as part of what was clearly news coverage of the games.  The cease and desist letter was sent because, in the online version of the publication, the Olympic rings appeared behind the text of a news story as a watermark, but the logo downloaded more quickly and was visible a second or two sooner than the text of the story.  (After the technical reasons for this occurrence were explained, the USOC did not pursue the claim.)

Thus, as with advertising or promotional activities that reference the Super Bowl, March Madness or other sporting events, broadcasters and other media may want to consider whether to engage in activity that may invite a claim, and the resultant costs of defending against such a claim, regardless of the likely outcome.  In addition, however, because of the special statute protecting its marks, a claim by the USOC could have merit where a similar claim by other sports organizations would not.

Potential Liability for Publishing Infringing Advertising

In certain circumstances, the federal trademark statute (the Lanham Act) limits the liability of publishers who carry third-party advertising that infringes the trademark rights of others.  Under this “innocent infringer” defense, on a claim under the Lanham Act, if the advertising is published without knowledge that it may be infringing, the publisher is only subject to injunctive relief — monetary damages will not be awarded.  Claims by the USOC, however, may be based on the extraordinary rights granted to it under the Ted Stevens Act and the “innocent infringer” defense may not necessarily apply.

Ambush Marketing

One other potential area of risk involves what is known as “ambush marketing,” i.e., marketing that attempts to create an association with an event such as the Olympics without specifically referring to it.  This type of advertising is considered to be a worldwide problem by the IOC and other sports organizations.

One ingenious example (of which there are many) was an advertisement by a New Zealand telecom that used the word ‘ring’ (which ostensibly referred to the sound of a telephone) in print advertising.  The word appeared five times in two rows, three times in the top row and twice in the bottom row, in the colors blue, black, red, yellow and green, i.e., the same configuration and color scheme as the Olympic rings.  The court in New Zealand that considered this claim ruled in favor of the telecom, reasoning that the typical newspaper reader browses advertisements and the ad would be viewed as mildly amusing and not as having been published with permission by the Olympics.

In recent years, however, the IOC has requested host countries and potential host countries enact broad legislation directed at stopping ambush marketing.  The 2028 Olympics will be held in Los Angeles, so it remains to be seen whether additional legislation to benefit the IOC and the USOC will be proposed and enacted in the United States.  In any event, given the special status given to the marks controlled by the Olympic Committee, be especially careful in your advertising and promotions during this Olympic year.

TX Modular is a vast, free set of sound tools in SuperCollider

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 5 Feb 2018 6:10 pm

Granulators, drones, mixing, synths, effects, control, and on and on – TX Modular is an insanely huge set of tools, and the cost is zero.

SuperCollider, the free and open source sound creation environment for Mac, Windows, and Linux, is vast and powerful. The problem is, actually getting into it is … a little arcane. Talk to many frequent SuperCollider users, and what you’ll find is that they’ve assembled personal libraries of code snippets to work with it. So it can feel a bit like trying to talk your way into a secret society, if you’ve come from another sound creation environment.

Paul Miller writes to share his TX Modular System, which gives you the keys to a huge treasure trove of modules, and some easier ways of combining them.

All of this also means you don’t have to touch SuperCollider code if you don’t want to – though you can add that, too, if you like. (And you can run some code without having to build everything else you need from scratch.)

And it’s all just kind of mind boggling. Just to give a small overview, you get – among other things:

Synths and drones. In addition to the more conventional stuff you’d expect, there are a range of unique morphing synths, wave terrain instruments, drone and noise makers – rare, creative stuff. And there are polyphonic synths with a special emphasis on physical modeling and filter-based sound.

Samples and granulators. Grains are part of the appeal of SuperCollider – these instruments have lots of variations to experiment with sound, plus more conventional players, loopers, and sample-based synths.

Effects. There’s an insane amount here: delays, amp simulation and distortion, waveshapers, bitcrushers, extensive dynamic processing, EQ and flter, resonators, reverbs, and then extra stuff like spectral delays, harmonizers, and vocoders. From studio-style processing to weirder realms, it’s the full gamut, and within a modular paradigm.

Mixing and processing. Need a Mid-Side encoder? Faders? It’s there, too.

Control. Arguably, the rise of Eurorack modular has renewed the interest in actually getting creative and musical with patching itself. So, here you get clock dividers and a rich variety of envelopes and the like, in addition to basic LFOs and such. And at the same time, you get modulation that’s only possible in the digital realm, like random walks and Perlin Noise (a particular digital algorithm with nice, organic results), plus physics models of balls and springs.

Hardware input. Here, too, you get some of the advantages of the computer: work with OpenSoundControl natively, add Wiimotes, plenty of MIDI processors, and more.

Sequencers. Most modular environments break down when it comes to the sort of sequencing in DAWs – but not here. There are scale, chord, note processing, and piano roll sequencers, not just some limited step sequencers. You can even work with multiple tracks or use sequencers for modulation and actions.

UI. For building interfaces, you get various widgets for knobs and sliders.

And of course, you still have SuperCollider for extending all of this, with convenient modules for adding your code to the modular environment.

A mature release is out now as of last month, with a powerful new multitrack sequencer and note processing, FM granulator, a new reverb, and module improvements. (In case you were already up and running with TX, you’ll find what’s new in this release, entitled 087, included in the release notes.)

It’s almost ridiculous that Paul has created this for free. But it’s a beautiful, completely open source solution:


On Mac, you can download a standalone, but the whole environment works on Mac, Windows, and Linux so long as you install SuperCollider first.

The post TX Modular is a vast, free set of sound tools in SuperCollider appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Hookworms: are they the most cursed band in pop?

Delivered... Dave Simpson | Scene | Mon 5 Feb 2018 4:55 pm

Fraud, flood, the loss of their back catalogue and all their new songs … the Leeds band reveal how they bounced back from all this and more to make knockout new album Microshift

‘It was like being in a disaster movie.” That’s how Hookworms singer Matthew “MJ” Johnson remembers Boxing Day in 2015, when the river Aire burst its banks, engulfing the band’s studio and rehearsal space. He was having lunch at his parents’ house several miles away at the time. The moment he heard the emergency flood alert, Johnson abandoned the meal and drove through rising water to the studio, which was soon five feet under. “The electricity was off and there was an eerie calm,” he says. “It was genuinely scary. I’ve got strong legs through cycling but I kept getting knocked over.”

Because the building, in the Kirkstall area of Leeds, was on a flood plain, he’d been unable to get insurance (even though the last flood had occurred in 1866). By the time he went back two days later to assess the damage, the waters had taken his car, much of the band’s back catalogue, their new recordings and – since he ran the place as a commercial studio – his livelihood. “I looked around,” he says, “and there was nothing left.”

Related: Hookworms: Microshift review – vast leap forward into a psychedelic future

We were being ripped off. It's a steep learning curve

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Ox Blood Can Mean a Lot of Things

Delivered... Christophe Thockler | Scene | Mon 5 Feb 2018 4:02 pm

«Images can hit harder than war», writes the music video director Christophe Thockler. Here, he reports about the shoot of the song «Arterial» from the Electronica musician Lusine for which he used real ox blood. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Still from the video of the song «Ox Blood Can Mean a Lot of Things» (Photo © by Christophe Thockler, 2014)

Butcher: «You are a vampire?»
Director: «No, no! I am only a director.»

The butcher looked very strangely at me when I asked him to give me five liters of ox blood. Electronica musician Lusine from Seattle had approached me: «Let’s do a video with blood!» To make a dark and gloomy music video had been my plan for a while, so I found myself in the butchery, really excited. You have to respect the material. The video needed to be real.

I dribbled and poured blood over old harddisks and screens, mobile phones and other electronic waste, and I shot seven thousand photos and thirty minutes of video over several weeks. Filming it felt like a militant creative act, but it was not easy. You can keep ox blood in the fridge for several days, but when working with it on a film set you have to be quick—the blood stank under the hot lights. It was pretty disgusting!

I call the result an electro-organic video. You can watch it aesthetically, enjoying poetic images, or you can also find hidden irony: the blood seems only to power these computers so that in the end they can screen the credits of Lusine and me. You can judge blood either as something you ignore and fear, or as the essence of life—someone told me that this video is celebrating life. You can ask philosophically: Are computers powered by blood? Or are computers bleeding? Furthermore, you can recognize historical links with cyberpunk, in which machines and humans melt. I really like to use the evocative power of images to help the viewer create his own story.

I hope «Arterial» has the potential and power to mean all of these things. I prefer artworks open to multiple readings to ones with clear and heavy-handed statements. Inspiration for this video came from sci-fi movies and from directors of the 1920s who played with the minds of their viewers. They showed that putting images next to each other is an inherently political act. The power of images can be more violent than an act of war. They are much more subtle. If they manage to trigger big questions or truths, they can hit much harder than war.

The text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Cornelia Lund and Holger Lund: «Toward a New Love? Gender Shifting in Contemporary Music Video»
> Hannes Liechti: «Drunken in the Streets of Brussels»
> Brooke McCorkle: «Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of»

War Against The Machines: How AI Is Changing The Way We Make Music

Delivered... By Chloé Lula | Scene | Mon 5 Feb 2018 11:35 am

Friday, January 12 marked the date of Flow Machines’ first musical release. Spearheaded by the highly venerated French composer Benoit Carré, the 15-track pop album entitled Hello World—a nod to the text traditionally used to test the functionality of various computer programs—is the collaborative fruit of many artists’ labor, including the Canadian folk artist Kyrie Kristmanson, the Belgian production team The Bionix and the Mercury Prize-nominated artist C. Duncan—as well as the Artificial Intelligence algorithm that ultimately crafted all of the album’s songs.

AI has increasingly become associated with modernity and the age of convenience. While sophisticated Artificial Intelligence has been, until recent years, only a speculative feature of science fiction, it now drives our cars, provides us with medical diagnoses and plays—and conquers—the world’s greatest chess masters. Now, it’s even bleeding over into our creative industries. The research project Flow Machines, an outgrowth of the Sony Computer Science Laboratories in Paris, is one of a handful of emerging enterprises exploring the possibility of using algorithms to create music.

Such machine learning-powered software is unique in its ability to produce complex outputs that can serve as decisions, predictions and recommendations that are based on patterns extracted from large data sets. In the case of Flow Machines, a project first conceptualized in 2012 and led by AI researcher François Pachet, a catalog of 13,000 songs was used to train statistical models that represent information about how atomic musical events, like notes and chords, follow in succession across different musical styles. These statistical models are then used to generate new melodic and harmonic sequences in a chosen style, serving as suggestions to musicians using the software during composition.

“The idea is that when an artist uses the system, the first thing he has to do is to decide which songs he wants the machine to be inspired by, whether that’s in the form of scores, lead sheets, or audio stems” Pachet said in an interview at the Flow Machines public launch in Paris. “The machine then analyzes all of these inputs, and the user asks, ‘Please generate a score based on whatever I gave you.’” The ostensible aim of the software, however, is not to replace musicians; it’s to help them generate new and unique ideas by giving them access to harmonies and melodic structures otherwise outside of their usual purview, not unlike a modern reimagining of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies.

Carré and Pachet both maintain that Flow Machines is the logical next step in the history of music production. Visitors to the album’s launch party in Paris were greeted by posters depicting milestones in the history of music technology, such as the advent of Pythagorean tuning or the invention of Pro Tools. The effect was clearly intended to underscore the inevitability of AI-produced music. The installation also forced visitors to challenge their traditional perceptions of music-making. “What is a musician?” One sign on the wall asked. “We enter a new realm of music technology, producing music that couldn’t possibly be done before created by people who might not ordinarily think of themselves as musicians,” it answered.

This emphasis on technology’s role in democratizing and advancing supposedly antiquated forms of music production was echoed throughout the rest of the evening. The exhibition provided a primer for a presentation on the development and application of the Flow Machines algorithm as well as a preview of one of the album’s songs. As the event’s video explained, each of Hello World’s tracks was created by fusing every artist’s individual input with the algorithm’s own variations on lyrical sequences and rhythms.

The result, which was played on surround-sound speakers, was a summery, undeniably pastiche take on classic radio ballads, featuring harmonized chords and melodic progressions not dissimilar from its non-AI-produced cousins. Although it’s clear that Carré had agency over each song’s basic structure, the algorithmically-indebted stylistic flourishes were uncomfortably artificial. Tracks like “One Note Samba,” “Magic Man” and “Mafia Love – 16 Bits” were sung over by seemingly normal pop vocals that had been inordinately skewed, chopped and transposed by the algorithm. Their synthetic feel was off-putting and clumsy rather than novel and innovative.

If the Flow Machines algorithm is designed to act as a creative tool for composers and musicians, then, it’s only in its first steps. Hello World is unusual in its algorithmic approach to composition, but the music itself is only a kitschy and conventional take on modern pop. And while this vein of AI-produced music doesn’t currently appear to be a boon or a bane to musicians, it does raise significant questions about the implications of using algorithms to generate music and populate our listening outlets. How are listeners supposed to feel about AI-generated music? At what point will these algorithms be able to make “hits”? In a feature in The Guardian, music industry consultant Mark Mulligan suggested that AI music is not inherently about the quality of the music that it creates. “As long as the piece has got the right sort of balance of desired instrumentation, has enough pleasing chord progressions and has an appropriate quantity of builds and breaks then it’s good enough,” he said.

An approach to music production that sidesteps the creator points to the potential financial benefits that streaming services can receive by funding AI. Given that Flow Machines is publicly affiliated with the streaming service Spotify, it’s possible to assume that by padding playlists with music made by algorithms—and not by people—the company can avoid paying royalty fees to copyright holders after the music’s publication. When asked about the legal copyright procedures associated with Hello World’s production, Pachet merely answered, “The machine is never credited—it isn’t technically possible to credit a machine. And the music that we’ve put into the machine we’ve already received the right to use.”

It’s not difficult to overlook the possibly adverse applications of artificial intelligence in music. But it also seems that this conceivable reality won’t be realized for quite a few years, and that even if it is, algorithms like those pioneered by Flow Machines will likely be yoked with the more formulaic compositional styles of pop, EDM and modern folk. For now, AI music is a novelty at minimum and a creative tool at most, and Pachet and Carré are dedicated to exploring and expanding the contours of the Flow Machines tool. They’re even planning a second album to be released on their nascent record label, Flow Records. “The next album won’t be the same story,” Pachet said. “It will have different musicians and a different style. More focus on lead sheets and composition and less on orchestration. We’re trying to start songwriting in a more classical way. Maybe the third one will even be about rap. We’ll see.”

Hello World will be released on vinyl this March. Listen to the single “Magic Man” below and stream the entire album here.

Read more: How Artificial Intelligence will change music forever

The post War Against The Machines: How AI Is Changing The Way We Make Music appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

The month’s best music: Jonghyun, Marmozets, Peggy Gou and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 5 Feb 2018 11:00 am

Our monthly playlist has camp country by Kylie, freaky funk by George Clinton, a dub odyssey by Leslie Winer & Jay Glass Dubs and more. Subscribe to the playlist of all 50 and read about our 10 favourites below

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