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No, Beatport’s subscription will not kill music – here’s how it really works

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Labels,Scene | Fri 17 May 2019 7:18 pm

Pioneer and Beatport this week announced new streaming offerings for DJs. And then lots of people kind of freaked out. Let’s see what’s actually going on, if any of it is useful to DJs and music lovers, and what we should or shouldn’t worry about.

Artists, labels, and DJs are understandably on edge about digital music subscriptions – and thoughtless DJing. Independent music makers tend not to see any useful revenue or fan acquisition from streaming. So the fear is that a move to the kinds of pricing on Spotify, Amazon, and Apple services would be devastating.

And, well – that’s totally right, you obviously should be afraid of those things if you’re making music. Forget even getting rich – if big services take over, just getting heard could become an expensive endeavor, a trend we’ve already begun to see.

So I talked to Beatport to get some clarity on what they’re doing. We’re fortunate now that the person doing artist and label relations for Beatport is Heiko Hoffmann, who has an enormous resume in the trenches of the German electronic underground, including some 17 years under his belt as editor of Groove, which has had about as much a reputation as any German-language rag when it comes to credibility.

TL:DR

The skinny:

Beatport LINK: fifteen bucks a month, but aimed at beginners – 128k only. Use it for previews if you’re a serious Beatport user, recommend it to your friends bugging you about how they should start DJing, and otherwise don’t worry about it.

Beatport CLOUD: five bucks a month, gives you sync for your Beatport collection. Included in the other stuff here and – saves you losing your Beatport purchases and gives you previews. 128k only. Will work with Rekordbox in the fall, but you’ll want to pay extra for extra features (or stick with your existing download approach).

Beatport LINK PRO: the real news – but it’s not here yet. Works with Rekordbox, costs 40-60 bucks, but isn’t entirely unlimited. Won’t destroy music (uh, not saying something else won’t, but this won’t). The first sign of real streaming DJs – but the companies catering to serious DJs aren’t going to give away the farm the way Apple and Spotify have. In fact, if there’s any problem here, it’s that no one will buy this – but that’s Beatport’s problem, not yours (as it should be).

WeDJ streaming is for beginners, not Pioneer pros

This first point is probably the most important. Beatport (and SoundCloud) have each created a subscription offering that works exclusively with Pioneer’s WeDJ mobile DJ tool. That is, neither of these works with Rekordbox – not yet.

Just in case there’s any doubt, Pioneer has literally made the dominant product image photo some people DJing in their kitchen. So there you go: Rekordbox and and CDJ and TORAIZ equals nightclub, WeDJ equals countertop next to a pan of fajitas.

So yeah, SoundCloud streaming is now in a DJ app. And Beatport is offering its catalog of tracks for US$14.99 a month for the beta, which is a pretty phenomenally low price – and one that would rightfully scare labels and artists.

But it’s important this is in WeDJ as far as DJing. Pioneer aren’t planning on endangering their business ecosystem in Rekordbox, higher-end controllers, and standalone hardware like the CDJ. They’re trying to attract the beginners in the hopes that some of those people will expand the high end market down the road.

By the same token, it’d be incredibly short-sighted if Beatport were to give up on customers paying a hundred bucks a month or so on downloads just to chase growth. Instead, Beatport will split its offerings into a consumer/beginner product (LINK for WeDJ) and two products for serious DJs (LINK Pro and Beatport CLOUD).

And there’s reason to believe that what disrupts the consumer/beginner side might not make ripples when it comes to pros – as we’ve been there already. Spotify is in Algoriddim’s djay. It’s actually a really solid product. But the djay user base doesn’t impact what people use in the clubs, where the CDJ (or sometimes Serato or TRAKTOR) reign supreme. So if streaming in DJ software were going to crash the download market, you could argue it would have happened already.

That’s still a precarious situation, so let’s break down the different Beatport options, both to see how they’ll impact music makers’ business – and whether they’re something you might want to use yourself.

Ce n’est pas un CDJ.

Beatport LINK – the beginner one

First, that consumer service – yeah, it’s fifteen bucks a month and includes the Beatport catalog. But it’s quality-limited and works only in the WeDJ app (and with the fairly toy-like new DDJ-200 controller, which I’ll look at separately).

Who’s it for? “The Beginner DJs that are just starting out will have millions of tracks to practice and play with,” says Heiko. “Previously, a lot of this market would have been lost to piracy. The bit rate is 128kbs AAC and is not meant for public performance.”

But us serious Beatport users might want to mess around with it, too – it’s a place you can audition new tracks for a fairly low monthly fee. “It’s like having a record shop in your home,” says Heiko.

Just don’t think Beatport are making this their new subscription offering. If you think fifteen bucks a month for everything Beatport is a terrible business idea, don’t worry – Beatport agree. “This is the first of our Beatport LINK products,” says Heiko. “This is not a ‘Spotify for dance music.’ It’s a streaming service for DJs and makes Beatport’s extensive electronic music catalog available to stream audio into the WeDJ app.” And yeah, Spotify want more money for that, which is good – because you want more money charged for that as a producer or label. But before we get to that, let’s talk about the locker, the other thing available now:

WeDJ – a mobile gateway drug for DJs, or so Pioneer hopes. (NI and Algoriddim did it first; let’s see who does it better.)

Beatport CLOUD – the locker/sync one

Okay, so streaming may be destroying music but … you’ve probably still sometimes wanted to have access to digital downloads you’ve bought without having to worry about hard drive management or drive and laptop failures. And there’s the “locker” concept.

Some folks will remember that Beatport bought the major “locker” service for digital music – when it acquired Pulselocker. [link to our friends at DJ TechTools]

Beatport CLOUD is the sync/locker making a comeback, with €/$ 4.99 a month fee and no obligation or contract. It’s also included free in LINK – so for me, for instance, since I hate promos and like to dig for my own music even as press and DJ, I’m seriously thinking of the fifteen bucks to get full streaming previews, mixing in WeDJ, and CLOUD.

There are some other features here, too:

Re-download anything, unlimited. I heard from a friend – let’s call him Pietro Kerning – that maybe a stupid amount of music he’d (uh, or “she’d”) bought on Beatport was now scattered across a random assortment of hard drives. I would never do such a thing, because I organize everything immaculately in all aspects of my life in a manner becoming a true professional, but now this “friend” will easily be able to grab music anywhere in the event of that last-minute DJ gig.

By the same token you can:

Filter all your existing music in a cloud library. Not that I need to, perfectly organized individual, but you slobs need this, of course.

Needle-drop full previews. Hear 120 seconds from anywhere in a track – for better informed purchases. (Frankly, this makes me calmer as a label owner, even – I would totally rather you hear more of our music.)

There should be some obvious bad news here – this only works with Beatport purchased music. You can’t upload music the way some sync/locker services have worked in the past. But I think given the current legal landscape, if you want that, set up your own backup server.

What I like about this, at least, is that this store isn’t losing stuff you’ve bought from them. I think other download sites should consider something similar. (Bandcamp does a nice job in this respect – and of course it’s the store I use the most when not using Beatport.)

The new Beatport cloud.

Beatport LINK Pro – what’s coming

There are very few cases where someone says, “hey, good news – this will be expensive.” But music right now is a special case. And it’s good news that Beatport is launching a more expensive service.

For labels and artists, it means a serious chance to stay alive. (I mean, even for a label doing a tiny amount of download sales, this can mean that little bit of cash to pay the mastering engineer and the person who did the design for the cover, or to host a showcase in your local club.)

For serious users using that service, it means a higher quality way of getting music than other subscription services – and that you support the people who make the music you love, so they keep using it.

Or, at least, that’s the hope.

What Beatport is offering at the “pro” tiers does more and costs more. Just like Pioneer doesn’t want you to stop buying CDJs just because they have a cheap controller and app, Beatport doesn’t want you to stop spending money for music just because they have a subscription for that controller and app. Heiko explains:

With the upcoming Pioneer rekordbox integration, Beatport will roll out two new plans – Beatport LINK Pro and Beatport LINK Pro+ – with an offline locker and 256kbps AAC audio quality (which is equivalent to 320kbps MP3, but you’re the expert here). This will be club ready, but will be aimed at DJs who take their laptops to clubs, for now. They will cost €39,99/month and €59,99/month depending on how many tracks you can put in the offline locker (50 and 100 respectively).

You’ll get streaming inside Rekordbox with the basic LINK, too – but only at 128k. So it’ll work for previewing and trying out mixes, but the idea is you’ll still pay more for higher quality. (And of course that also still means paying more to work with CDJs, which is also a big deal.)

And yeah, Beatport agree with me. “We think streaming for professional DJ use should be priced higher,” says Heiko. “And we also need to be sure that this is not biting into the indie labels and artists (and therefore also Beatport’s own) revenues,” he says.

What Heiko doesn’t say is that this could increase spending, but I think it actually could. Looking at my own purchase habits and talking to others, a lot of times you look back and spend $100 for a big gig, but then lapse a few months. A subscription fee might actually encourage you to spend more and keep your catalog up to date gig to gig.

It’s also fair to hope this could be good for under-the-radar labels and artists even relative to the status quo. If serious DJs are locked into subscription plans, they might well take a chance on lesser known labels and artists since they’re already paying. I don’t want to be overly optimistic, though – a lot of this will be down to how Beatport handles its editorial offerings and UX on the site as this subscription grows. That means it’s good someone like Heiko is handling relations, though, as I expect he’ll be hearing from us.

Really, one very plausible scenario is that streaming DJing doesn’t catch on initially because it’s more expensive – and people in the DJ world may stick to downloads. A lot of that in turn depends on things like how 5G rolls out worldwide (which right now involves a major battle between the US government and Chinese hardware vendor Huawei, among other things), plus how Pioneer deals with a “Streaming CDJ.”

The point is, you shouldn’t have to worry about any of that. And there’s no rush – smart companies like Beatport will charge sustainable amounts of money for subscriptions and move slowly. The thing to be afraid of is if Apple or Spotify rush out a DJ product and, like, destroy independent music. If they try it, we should fight back.

Will labels and artists benefit?

If it sounds like I’m trying to be a cheerleader for Beatport, I’m really not. If you look at the top charts in genres, a lot of Beatport is, frankly, dreck – even with great editorial teams trying to guide consumers to good stuff. And centralization in general has a poor track record when it comes to underground music.

No, what I am biased toward is products that are real, shipping, and based on serious economics. So much as I’m interested in radical ideas for decentralizing music distribution, I think those services have yet to prove their feasibility.

And I think it’s fair to give Beatport some credit for being a business that’s real, based on actual revenue that’s shared between labels and artists. It may mean little to your speedcore goth neo-Baroque label (BLACK HYPERACID LEIPZIG INDUSTRIES, obviously – please let’s make that). But Beatport really is a cornerstone for a lot of the people making dance music now, on a unique scale.

The vision for LINK seems to be solid when it comes to revenue. Heiko again:

LINK will provide an additional revenue source to the labels and artists. The people who are buying downloads on Beatport are doing so because they want to DJ/perform with them. LINK is not there to replace that.

But I think for the reason I’ve already repeated – that the “serious” and “amateur”/wedding/beginner DJ gulf is real and not just a thing snobs talk about – LINK and WeDJ probably won’t disrupt label business, even that much to the positive. Look ahead to Rekordbox integration and the higher tiers. And yeah, I’m happy to spend the money, because I never get tired of listening to music – really.

And what if you don’t like this? Talk to your label and distributor. And really, you should be doing that anyway. Heiko explains:

Unlike other DSP’s, Beatport LINK has been conceived and developed in close cooperation with the labels and distributors on Beatport. Over the past year, new contracts were signed and all music used for LINK has been licensed by the right holders. However, if labels whose distributors have signed the new contract don’t want their catalog to be available for LINK they can opt out. But again: LINK is meant to provide an additional revenue source to the labels and artists.

Have a good weekend, and let us know if you have questions or comments. I’ll be looking at this for sure, as I think there isn’t enough perspective coming from serious producers who care about the details of technology.

https://www.beatport.com/get-link

The post No, Beatport’s subscription will not kill music – here’s how it really works appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Leading French label joins forces with Mixtape – RadioandMusic.com

Delivered... | Scene | Fri 17 May 2019 4:33 pm
Leading French label joins forces with Mixtape  RadioandMusic.com

MUMBAI: In a bid to strengthen Indo-French culture exchange, members of La Fine Equipe, the label's founders have teamed up with the Mumbai based music ...

Francois X Selects 10 Stress-Relieving Tracks That He Likes To Hear After The Party

Delivered... chloe | Scene | Fri 17 May 2019 2:43 pm

The post Francois X Selects 10 Stress-Relieving Tracks That He Likes To Hear After The Party appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

Beats, rhymes and strife: how ravers raised the roof on mass protest

Delivered... Libby Brooks | Scene | Fri 17 May 2019 12:55 pm

A new film about Glasgow’s thumping 90s clubland traces a lineage of grassroots radicalism still thriving today

Beats is a gem of a film that has drawn attention not just for its exuberant depiction of early 1990s rave culture but the deeper questions it raises, 25 years on, about the legislation that criminalised the free party movement – and about how the UK pivoted from Reclaim the Streets, via Cool Britannia, to Brexit Britain.

Set in the summer of 1994, as the Criminal Justice Bill threatened to outlaw musical gatherings around “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”, the film charts the friendship – by turns madcap and tender – between teenagers Johnno and Spanner as they struggle to escape the restrictions of family and class on their West Lothian housing estate. With the help of a sisterly gang of older girls, the boys bounce into their local rave scene and soak up the ethic that “the only good system is a sound system, and if I can’t dance then it’s not my revolution”.

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Novex inks exclusive public performance rights deal with Nucleya – TelevisionPost

Delivered... | Scene | Fri 17 May 2019 5:17 am
Novex inks exclusive public performance rights deal with Nucleya  TelevisionPost

MUMBAI: Music rights company Novex Communications has secured the public performance rights for Indian electronic music producer Udyan Sagar, who is ...

The best UK garage tracks – ranked!

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Thu 16 May 2019 5:38 pm

It’s 20 years since Sweet Like Chocolate became the biggest UK garage hit. Time to re-rewind and select the scene’s best tracks

The apotheosis of UK garage as pop, Sweet Like Chocolate was a platinum-selling No 1 in 1999. A noticeably more toothsome and commercial take on garage than its predecessor – Straight from the Heart, recorded when Shanks & Bigfoot were still called Doolally – it was apparently beloved of Britney Spears.

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Looking at “Legal” Marijuana and CBD Advertising – A Presentation on the Issues

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Thu 16 May 2019 4:59 pm

Perhaps some of the most controversial areas in broadcast advertising are those surrounding the advertising of cannabis products. While many states claim to have legalized marijuana, either for medical or recreational purposes, the Federal government still considers its possession a felony, and has specific laws that criminalize the use of radio frequencies, the Internet, and publications to promote its use. At the same time, the Federal government has recently decriminalized the possession of various hemp products with less than .3% THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in the 2018 Farm Act. This has led to an explosion in the sale of CBD products – even though the production of such products is, for the most part, to only be conducted after either the adoption of state laws approved by the US Department of Agriculture or under Federal rules that the USDA is supposed to approve – none of which has happened yet. With all these issues outstanding, I was recently asked to talk about the advertising issues surrounding these products before a continuing legal education seminar sponsored by the New York State Bar Association. The slides from my presentation are available here.

As we have advised broadcasters before, as they are Federal licensees, and marijuana is still a federally prohibited substance, there is substantial risk in running any advertising for products supposedly “legal” in the state in which they are being used. These ads are particularly of concern during the license renewal cycle that begins next month, as objections from anti-marijuana activists could put this issue directly before the FCC. Even though states may have adopted rules governing advertising for these products, the federal law still poses great risks for broadcast licensees – just as it does for other federally-regulated entities. That is one of the reasons that federally-chartered and insured banks have stayed away from taking deposits from marijuana-related businesses (a bill is presently pending in Congress to allow banks to take deposits, but its prospects are uncertain).

We also wrote extensively about broadcast advertising for CBD products, and how those are in even a greyer area – as there is no blanket federal prohibition against possession of CBD, and there is at least theoretically some legally produced CBD that was grown for experimental and research purposes under the 2014 Farm Act. So, theoretically, some CBD may have been legally produced though such production was not expected to be for widespread commercial exploitation, but even if a CBD product was legally produced, it is subject to substantial promotional restrictions under FDA and FTC rules (see our article here). With these concerns, and rules to come from both the USDA and the FDA on these products, ads remain risky and must be scrutinized on many levels – including under state law where, in many states, the rules governing these products are murky at best and potentially ban their sale (see this recent NY Times article about local prosecutions of CBD sellers).

This makes advertising – especially on broadcast stations – a matter than needs close scrutiny. As we always advise on this kind of controversial issue, talk to your own counsel about these issues and be sure that you are fully informed about the risks of any such advertising. The money from the ads may be enticing, but the risks could easily outweigh those short-term benefits.

KORG’s nutekt NTS-1 is a fun, little kit – and open to ‘logue developers

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 16 May 2019 4:50 pm

KORG has already shown that opening up oscillators and effects to developers can expand their minilogue and prologue keyboards. But now they’re doing the same for the nutekt NTS-1 – a cute little volca-ish kit for synths and effects. Build it, make wild sounds, and … run future stuff on it, too.

Okay, first – even before you get to any of that, the NTS-1 is stupidly cool. It’s a little DIY kit you can snap together without any soldering. And it’s got a fun analog/digital architecture with oscillators, filter, envelope, arpeggiator, and effects.

Basically, if you imagine having a palm-sized, battery-powered synthesis studio, this is that.

Japan has already had access to the Nutekt brand from KORG, a DIY kit line. (Yeah, the rest of the world gets to be jealous of Japan again.) This is the first – and hopefully not the last – time KORG has opened up that brand name to the international scene.

And the NTS-1 is one we’re all going to want to get our hands on, I’ll bet. It’s full of features:

– 4 fixed oscillators (saw, triangle and square, loosely modeled around their analog counterpart in minilogue/prologue, and VPM, a simplified version of the multi-engine VPM oscillator)
– Multimode analog modeled filter with 2/4 pole modes (LP, BP, HP)
– Analog modeled amp. EG with ADSR (fixed DS), AHR, AR and looping AR
– modulation, delay and reverb effects on par with minilogue xd/prologue (subset of)
– arpeggiator with various modes: up, down, up-down, down-up, converge, diverge, conv-div, div-conv, random, stochastic (volca modular style). Chord selection: octaves, major triad, suspended triad, augmented triad, minor triad, diminished triad (since sensor only allows one note at a time). Pattern length: 1-24
– Also: pitch/Shape LFO, Cutoff sweeps, tremollo
– MIDI IN via 2.5mm adapter, USB-MIDI, SYNC in/out
– Audio input with multiple routing options and trim
– Internal speaker and headphone out

That would be fun enough, and we could stop here. But the NTS-1 is also built on the same developer board for the KORG minilogue and prologue keyboards. That SDK opens up developers’ powers to make their own oscillators, effects, and other ideas for KORG hardware. And it’s a big deal the cute little NTS-1 is now part of that picture, not just the (very nice) larger keyboards. I’d see it this way:

NTS-1 buyers can get access to the same custom effects and synths as if they bought the minilogue or prologue.

minilogue and prologue owners get another toy they can use – all three of them supporting new stuff.

Developers can use this inexpensive kit to start developing, and don’t have to buy a prologue or minilogue. (Hey, we’ve got to earn some cash first so we can go buy the other keyboard! Oh yeah I guess I have also rent and food and things to think about, too.)

And maybe most of all –

Developers have an even bigger market for the stuff they create.

This is still a prototype, so we’ll have to wait, and no definite details on pricing and availability.

Waiting.

Yep, still waiting.

Wow, I really want this thing, actually. Hope this wait isn’t long.

I’m in touch with KORG and the analog team’s extraordinary Etienne about the project, so stay tuned. For an understanding of the dev board itself (back when it was much less fun – just a board and no case or fun features):

KORG are about to unveil their DIY Prologue boards for synth hacking

Videos:

Sounds and stuff –

Interviews and demos –

And if you wondered what the Japanese kits are like – here you go:

Oh, and I’ll also say – the dev platform is working. Sinevibes‘ Artemiy Pavlov was on-hand to show off the amazing stuff he’s doing with oscillators for the KORG ‘logues. They sound the business, covering a rich range of wavetable and modeling goodness – and quickly made me want a ‘logue, which of course is the whole point. But he seems happy with this as a business, which demonstrates that we really are entering new eras of collaboration and creativity in hardware instruments. And that’s great. Artemiy, since I had almost zero time this month, I better come just hang out in Ukraine for extended nerd time minus distractions.

Artemiy is happily making sounds as colorful as that jacket. Check sinevibes.com.

The post KORG’s nutekt NTS-1 is a fun, little kit – and open to ‘logue developers appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Post-album techno: 9 years of live sequence data, from Shawn Rudiman

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 15 May 2019 5:45 pm

Here’s techno as it’s lived in the moment – the actual improvised grooves of nine years of live sets, echoed as a flood of glitchy, modem-like sounds from a war-tested Alesis MMT-8 sequencer.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Shawn Rudiman may not be a household name in the age of Instagram dance music, but his live reputation proceeds him everywhere he’s played. Shawn’s the kind of guy who leaves a gig – as does his gear – covered in sweat and grime. He’s someone who can power through bursts of improvised patterns as seamlessly as some people sync USB sticks.

This habit of techno as opus for headphones can be wonderful, but it clashes a bit with that world.

Well, here’s about as geeky and as close to the reality of machines grinding away for the dancers as you can get. The machine in question here, the Alesis MMT-8, is a MIDI warhorse if ever there was one – dismissed by snobs and deep-pocketed artists in its day, but quietly powering a whole lot of music since its late 80s introduction. The box looks like it’s a label printer or something, and doesn’t even bother with fancy extras like, you know, swing. But it sports 96 ppq resolution, is cheap enough for the impoverished, and does its job without question. (You might also know its sibling, the HR-16, which doubles as a drum machine.)

This is the box to horde just in case there’s an apocalypse and we need to figure out how to get through the last raves of the endtimes. It’s the jeep of sequencers.

And Shawn has taken the plunge and dumped years of live performance practice from his backups, in an irrationally specific media archaeology experiment for techno nerds. This beast was the audio dump for Shawn’s live sets, and now he’s dumping it on the rest of us for a few bucks.

You’re not supposed to listen to the audio, which means of course I did – I love that vintage modem-like sound of digital data encoded as sound. You’ll need one of those two Alesis boxes to make use of the data. Or someone can try to be clever enough to decode SysEx from the sound files – I had a brief hack on this and failed, but I know it’s possible. Once you have SysEx, a utility like Pete Kvitek’s will do the trick. (Windows only, but got it running on my latest 64-bit Windows 10 install – bless you, PC.)

Here’s what Shawn wrote:

FINEST QUALITY, BIG TIME DATA” an entire 12 track album of Alesis MMT8 tape dump, audio DATAs.

THIS IS DATA. IF YOU LISTEN TO IT, IT SOUNDS LIKE 90S MODEM CONNECTIONS. I WARN YOU NOW.

this is spanning 9 years of live sets.

i give you all the genetic codes to my live sets from these times. each “track” contains a full mmt8 memory dump. roughly 80+ riff/track/song amount of data for your use *****per track on the album!!!!**** . each is a full mmt8 dump (like 92% memory use) they are named as the original files i used were and dated for your perusal. there are also extra pics and some info for those that purchase it. Ill warn you .. it will take some deciphering!!!!!

all sequences were originally made on an mpc 3000. the mmt8 accepts 96 ppq timing. so there you go. mpc 3000 swing on alot of them.:)

te rest is up to you to figure out.:) merry xmas you freaks.

i talked the shit about doing it… now im walking the walk. 🙂

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – another crowd-pleasing, trend-following CDM linkbait post.

Have at it.

And, hey, if you can’t work out what to do with this data, dig into some great live music vaults deep in the Shawn Bandcamp collection. He’s been dumping some wonderful music, too – like the kind you can hear without decoding or if you’re human and not Alesis drum machine. (Me, I was raised by sequencers, so I speak both languages.)

https://shawnrudimanmusic.bandcamp.com/

If anyone does work out how to translate audio streams back to sysex data, I’d love to hear about it.

The post Post-album techno: 9 years of live sequence data, from Shawn Rudiman appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

What Do New Drug Ad Price Disclosures Mean for TV?

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 15 May 2019 4:26 pm

Last week, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted a new rule mandating, at some point later this year after Paperwork Reduction Act approval, that prescription drug advertising on TV contain certain price information. Specifically, HHS will require TV ads for prescription drugs covered by Medicare or Medicaid to include the list price for a month’s supply or for the usual course of therapy, if that price is $35 or more. While some advertising groups argue that this requirement is an unconstitutional infringement on free speech (see this article from the ANA – the Association of National Advertisers), assuming that the rule goes into effect as planned, what effect will the rule have on TV?

Most importantly, the new rules do not impose obligations on TV stations themselves. Instead, the rule looks to the Lanham Act for enforcement. As noted in the HHS rulemaking order, that means that the primary means of enforcement will be by one drug manufacturer suing another for failing to meet the new guidelines under Lanham Act provisions governing false and misleading advertising. Thus, it appears that TV stations themselves will not be principally in the line of regulatory fire on this issue. But, as with any other government-mandated advertising disclosure, broadcasters should be aware of their clients’ obligations to make sure that clients are not putting themselves at risk, and be sure that in any production done for an advertiser, the ads are placed appropriately and presented against a contrasting background for sufficient duration, and in a size and font style that allows the information to be read easily. So far, the rules have not been extended to radio or online, but HHS says that they will monitor advertising to see if future additions are warranted. Obviously, check with your own counsel for more details on this new requirement – and be prepared when one more disclosure likely comes your way later this year.

 

Actress x Stockhausen Sin (x) II review – transcendent AI-driven opera

Delivered... John Lewis | Scene | Wed 15 May 2019 12:47 pm

Royal Festival Hall, London
DJ and producer Actress strays even further from the dancefloor as he takes on Stockhausen’s famously over the top Mittwoch by sampling Westminster debates

You can see why Karlheinz Stockhausen might appeal to the DJ and producer Darren Cunningham, AKA Actress. Like Stockhausen, Actress makes mischievous soundscapes that gleefully cite arcane references, from absurdist Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama to sculptor Anish Kapoor, from Milton’s Paradise Lost to Jungian psychology.

Tonight’s performance is loosely based on the opening act of Mittwoch, part of Stockhausen’s bonkers 29-hour opera cycle Licht. The complete work famously features a dancing camel and a quartet of cellos, each playing in separate airborne helicopters. This section is adapted from the opening act, Welt-Parliament, in which a group of politicians – played by a medieval-style plainsong choir – discuss the meaning of love. (Tonight’s script uses actual quotes from a recent Westminster debate.)

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Nathan Micay Explains How Lifting Weights Has Helped Him Be A Better Music Producer

Delivered... Derek Opperman | Scene | Wed 15 May 2019 10:40 am

The post Nathan Micay Explains How Lifting Weights Has Helped Him Be A Better Music Producer appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

The ultra-rare Sequential Prophet T8, reborn as a flagship add-on

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 15 May 2019 8:41 am

It was the stuff of legends – a richly capable polysynth from the mind of Dave Smith, with only 800 units making it into the world. But now as makers chase the same clones on repeat, the T8 finds its way onto another innovative and overlooked flagship, today’s Sequential Prophet X and XL.

I wouldn’t normally write about sample packs, let alone add-ons for particular hardware. But Sequential’s Prophet X and XL are already uniquely sophisticated instruments – monster polysynths combining dozens of gigs of “deep sampling” sample content with analog synthesis, in a hybrid giant. The sample shop that assembled the sounds for that Prophet, 8dio, have gone back to painstakingly recreate the T8 as an add-on to the new Prophets.

The resulting combo could be the best modern Prophet available at the moment. The T8 had the soul of a Prophet-5 architecture, but was decades head of its time by unveiling polyphonic aftertouch keys (take that, MPE). Those T8 sounds, sampled here in detail, are a natural pairing with the Prophet X’s stereo analog filters, deep modulation, dual digital effects, and polyphonic step sequencer, plus its own superb keyboard.

8dio worked with Dave’s own, immaculately maintained T8 for the samples.

8dio has also made add-ons featuring the ARP 2600 and OBX.

The pack is just US$48, so while picking up a Prophet X or XL is hardly cheap, what you do get here for your investment is a serious alternative to assembling a bunch of software plug-ins for this sort of sound design depth.

Sequential Prophet X/XL Add-On 5 T8

The bad news here is really about a limitation of the new Prophets – Sequential doesn’t do polyphonic aftertouch or MPE on their new keyboards (though there is polyphonic glide). I’m rather hopeful that the reemergence of the T8 prods Dave and team to consider doing that, following Bay Area leaders like Roger Linn who helped drive the adoption of polyphonic expression in MIDI. These sounds deserve some control from more than one of your fingers at a time. (You get just mono aftertouch on the Prophet X/XL.)

But whether you’re a Sequential owner or not, it’s worth spending some time revisiting the T8 in all its 1983 glory – this is an early 80s synth that seems more like something you’d get now.

You absolutely should check out this copious review / history from greatsynthesizers.com for everything you could hope to want to know about this axe:

https://greatsynthesizers.com/en/review/sequential-prophet-t8-pure-analog-luxury/

There’s a lot of stuff in that keyboard – optical sensing, release velocity as well as polyphonic aftertouch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAN-hnr4HCg

Photo at top – greatsynthesizers; seriously, do go check them out!

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Heard it all before? Talking sound, discovery, and inspiration

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Events,Scene | Tue 14 May 2019 8:37 pm

Sometimes lost in conversations about technology or specific musical genre or minutia of social media is the fundamental question of what sound is and what we can discover. From Berlin’s tech/culture conference re:publica, we got to tackle some of those questions.

I got to ask three fascinating individuals about their connection to sound and where future sounds might be discovered. On the panel last week:

Kathy Tafel, now at Native Instruments, has one of the broader backgrounds in the entire music technology realm, spanning the birth of the DAW (Deck II!) to key roles at Apple to her ground-breaking multimedia band D’Cückoo. And now she’s charting the course of projects like Sounds.com and TRAKTOR and – I have to say, I’m optimistic about the direction she’s taking them. (Kathy probably merits a separate story on this site if I can compel NI to agree to it.)

I don’t know whether Kathy wants this trip down memory lane, but let’s go there – a MIDI ball:

Valentin von Lindenau has diverse work across audio and music, and with his firm kling klang klong has established himself as a rare leader in audio interaction experience and design, in a way that leads this medium internationally.

Lucrecia Dalt has come from Colombia to making a name for herself in the packed artistic landscape of Berlin, with unique poetic-musical hybrids. Maybe better to let her speak for herself:

We tread lots of ground here – I can’t take credit for either the topic/theme or the selection of panelists, but I’m grateful to have participated in the program.

And actually – I’m glad to even flounder on this sort of topic, but ask ourselves those kinds of deeper questions. I have my own opinions, naturally, but I was keen to get these fresh perspectives.

The full topic:

Can music and sounds be developed infinitely, or is everything at some point composed and tried out? If we follow John Cage and reserve the word “music” for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century instrument, the contemporary “organizer of sound” will not only be faced with the entire field of sound but also with the entire field of time. Matthew Herbert on the other hand stands with his manifesto for a kind of artistic self-limitation, demanding for instance that the sampling of other people’s music is strictly forbidden and that the use of sounds that exist already is not allowed (No drum machines. No synthesizers. No presets). For our reality check, we want to discuss what sound engineers, designers and artists are working on right now. Which sounds actually sound new and why? And also – which new applications for such sounds are in the works or theoretically conceivable?

+++

Sources / inspirations:

John Cage
«The Future of Music – Credo»
http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/source-text/41/

Matthew Herbert
P.C.C.O.M.
https://matthewherbert.com/about-contact/manifesto/

And I’m interested to hear your reflections, too – do let us know your answers, whether the sound that first inspired you as a kid or the way you get in the flow for new sounds now.

I’m still pondering some of the ideas all three of our panelists raised about flow and inspiration. Keep listening.

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Harder software: Reason Rack Extensions, in actual hardware racks

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 14 May 2019 6:55 pm

Once upon a time, Propellerhead ran an ad showing a bunch of hardware synths in a trash bin to make a point. This time, we get the opposite – a KORG Polysix for Reason running back in hardware.

By now, these arguments about analog versus digital, software versus hardware are all surely irrelevant to music making. But recent developments go one step further: they produce an environment in which inventors and developers no longer have to care. The vision is, make your cool effects and synthesis code, then freely choose to run them inside a host (like Reason), inside hardware. or even on the Web.

Propellerhead showed me some of these possibilities of their Rack Extension technology when I visited them this winter and talked to their developers.

You can actually try the Web side of this right now – Europe for Reason runs in a browser. It’s not just a simulation or a demo; it’s the complete Rack Extension. That clearly offers a new take on try-as-you-buy, and allows new possibilities in teaching and documentation – all without threatening the sales model for the software:

https://www.propellerheads.com/europa

A browser may be a strange place to experience the possibility of Rack Extensions running in hardware, but it’s actually the same idea. ELK MusicOS from MINDMusicLabs allows the same tech to run on a Linux-based operating system, on any hardware you want. So if you want self-contained instruments with knobs and faders and buttons – and no distracting screens or awkward keyboards – you can do it.

It’s not so much post-PC as it is more PC than your PC. Computers should be capable of ultra-low latency, reliable operation, even running general purpose systems. The problem is, musicians aren’t the ones calling the shots.

MusicOS can cut latency below 1ms round-trip, runs on single Intel and ARM CPUs, and has official support for VST and Rack Extensions – plus full support for connectivity (USB, WiFi, Bluetooth, 4G mobile data, and MIDI).

What was cool at Superbooth was seeing some recognizable hardware prototypes using the technology. We saw a VST plug-in just before the show from Steinberg; for the Rack Extension side of things, you get a Eurorack module version of KORG’s Polysix, using their own Component Modeling Technology. (So it is a software model, but here with hands-on control and modular connectivity.)

For now, it’s just a prototype. But Rack Extension support, like VST, is officially part of MusicOS. Now it’s just up to hardware makers to take the plunge. Based on interest we saw from CDM readers and heard around the show, there is serious market potential here.

In other words, this could be the sign of things to come. ELK’s tech works i such a way that more or less the same code can target custom hardware as desktop software. And compatible systems on a chip start around ten bucks – meaning this could be an effective platform for a lot of people. (I’m not clear on how much licensing costs; ELK ask interested developers to ‘get in touch’ so it may be negotiated case by case.)

https://www.mindmusiclabs.com/powered-by-elk-eurorack-synth/

https://www.mindmusiclabs.com/

Previously:

Hardware VST? Steinberg Retrologue plug-in gets physical version

The post Harder software: Reason Rack Extensions, in actual hardware racks appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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