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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Uncategorized


What Do Broadcasters and Media Companies Need to Know About the GDPR?

Delivered... Emilie de Lozier, Aaron Burstein and Joshua Bercu | Scene | Fri 15 Jun 2018 4:16 pm

By now, you have probably heard that the European Union (EU) has a new data protection law on the books, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – but what are the new rules, and how might they apply to broadcasters? Below we address these and other commonly asked questions about the GDPR.

What is the GDPR? The GDPR is a new European privacy law that, as of May 25, 2018, generally governs how organizations – including those EU-based and many that are not – collect, use, disclose, or otherwise “process” personal information. While some limited exceptions exist (e.g., businesses with fewer than 250 employees are exempt from some requirements), the GDPR imposes an array of obligations on companies subject to it.

Who does the GDPR apply to? The GDPR clearly applies to companies established in the EU that collect personal information about individuals in the EU, but it also claims a broad extraterritorial reach. Indeed, it can apply to organizations, including broadcasters, without an EU presence. For instance, it can apply to broadcasters who collect or use data to provide services like streaming TV or radio to individuals in the EU. It also can apply to broadcasters who use website cookies and other online tracking mechanisms to “monitor” individuals in the EU (e.g., profiling for behavioral advertising). That said, it remains to be seen whether regulators will enforce the GDPR against companies that for the most part are not serving EU citizens and do not have EU operations, but may occasionally and unknowingly acquire data of an individual in the EU or an EU citizen in the United States.

The GDPR applies to both “controllers” and “processors” of “personal data” of EU citizens. “Personal data” is broad. It includes any information that relates to an identifiable natural person, including, for example, online identifiers and other similar information that has not always been considered personally identifiable information in the United States. Controllers and processors also are considered broadly. Generally speaking, a “controller” is a company that directly interacts with consumers (e.g., by providing a website) and collects their personal data. And a “processor” provides data processing services on behalf of a “controller,” such as, for example, cloud computing and storage.

If the GDPR applies, what do I have to do? Among other things, companies subject to the GDPR must have a “legal basis” for processing personal data. Consent offers one such basis. Consent must be “freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous,” and it cannot be inferred, so companies must allow consumers to “opt-in.” At a high level, to ensure that consumers are informed about data practices, privacy policies and other discussions of data practices should be written in clear and plain language (not legal jargon) and state, among other things, the specific purpose or purposes for processing individuals’ data. Importantly, consent previously obtained may no longer be valid if it does not meet the GDPR’s more stringent requirements.

Is GDPR compliance really that simple? The short answer is no. Obtaining consent, or otherwise establishing another legal basis for processing personal data, is only the beginning of GDPR obligations, not the end. Other obligations relate to access, accuracy, data security, data minimization, accountability, and providing a “right to be forgotten,” just to name a few. Companies subject to the GDPR may need to establish new internal mechanisms in order to address the expanded rights available under the law and the requests that can be made. As just one example, the GDPR provides the right to receive one’s data in a “machine-readable” format and transfer it to another company entirely.

So if I have good in-house practices, I no longer need to worry? Unfortunately, not quite. Companies subject to the GDPR may require greater oversight over, and cooperation with, vendors and other partners (e.g., cloud providers that provide storage). If your vendors and partners are processing data you obtained from consumers in ways inconsistent with the law, you could be on the hook.

If the GDPR is primarily an EU law, why are U.S. companies so concerned? U.S. companies are worried for several reasons, but one that may drive much of the anxiety is the exorbitant fines available under the GDPR: Severe violations of the GDPR can result in fines up to 4% of a company’s annual global revenue or 20 million Euroswhichever is higher! The GDPR also makes it easier for individuals to bring private claims against companies in EU court and/or complain to EU data protection authorities. EU data protection authorities also present a bit of an unknown – their enforcement priorities remain to be seen, but it’s clear that at least some intend to aggressively enforce the new law.

OK, I think I understand the GDPR and how it may or may not apply to me. Is that all I really need to focus on in terms of new privacy laws? For now, maybe. But the emergence of the GDPR could have trickledown effects both home and abroad. In particular, the GDPR to date has at least started some conversations about whether the U.S. needs to respond through legislation or other modifications to its consumer privacy approach. Time will tell, but for now, stay tuned!

The GDPR framework is complex, and detailed analysis of compliance should be undertaken with counsel qualified to interpret all of its nuances. So note that this article provides only a general description of the GDPR and should not be viewed as legal advice. If you think that your operations may trigger GDPR obligations, get that legal advice to provide a full analysis of your compliance obligations.

 

12 Years of the Broadcast Law Blog – Where We Have Been and What We Are Looking at Next

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 1 Jun 2018 4:19 pm

In 10 days, we’ll mark the 12th anniversary of my first post welcoming readers to this Blog.  I’d like to thank all of you who read the blog, and the many of you who have had nice words to say about its contents over the years.  In the dozen years that the blog has been active, our audience has grown dramatically.  In fact, I’m amazed by all the different groups of readers – broadcasters and employees of digital media companies, attorneys and members of the financial community, journalists, regulators and many students and educators. Because of all the encouragement that I have received from readers, I keep going, hopefully providing you all with some valuable information along the way.

I want to thank those who have supported me in being able to bring this blog to you.  My old firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP helped me get this started (and graciously allowed me to take the blog with me when I moved to my current firm six years ago).  My current firm, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, has also been very supportive, and I particularly want to thank several attorneys at the firm (especially David O’Connor and Kelly Donohue) who help catch, on short notice, my typos and slips in analysis for articles that I usually get around to finishing shortly before my publication deadline.  Also, a number of other attorneys at the firm including Mitch Stabbe, Aaron Burstein, Bob Kirk and Josh Bercu have contributed articles, and I hope that they will continue with their valuable contributions in the future.  Thanks, also, to my friendly competitors at the other law firms that have taken up publishing blogs on communications and media legal issues since I launched mine – you all do a great job with your own take on the issues, and you inspire me to try to keep up with you all. 

I’ve posted over 2000 articles in the last 12 years.  That works out to almost an article once every other day.  But there never seems to be any shortage of topics to write about.  In fact, what is in short supply is time – as clients and life need to come first, and blogging gets worked into the schedule when it fits.  But writing this blog has become an important part of my legal practice.  It has, I think, helped make me a better lawyer, as it has given me an incentive to keep up to date on developments in the law and in business that affect broadcasters and other media companies.  The articles, and the opportunities that the articles have opened for speaking and otherwise contributing to industry discussions, have introduced me to many people in the industry who are there pushing these developments.  Interacting with those actually in the business trenches provide even more to write about.

When we first started the blog, I don’t think that I was sure how it would turn out.  But, among the many goals that I set in my first post, was the following:

So some days, the blog may just report on FCC actions. Other days, we may link to interesting or provocative news stories that we see in the trade or popular press. But sometimes, we will tackle more fundamental issues. For instance, one of the first questions we’ll have to address is just what the broadcast industry is today. While we could limit the stories in this blog to just matters about the over-the-air broadcast industry, that narrow view would be far too limiting. Broadcasting is no longer an island unto itself. Instead, each day it becomes more and more clear that the world that traditional broadcasting inhabits is one that goes far beyond those narrow areas that the FCC has traditionally defined as a broadcast service. Thus, we will be pointing out developments and legal decisions that impact not only traditional over-the-air radio and television stations, but also those in the myriad “new media” that are now so crucial to any understanding of the broadcast industry. Media “convergence,” which has for so long been nothing more than a buzz word thrown around to make it seem like we’re thinking about the future, is finally here, and cannot be ignored in a discussion of the broadcast industry.

Looking back, that may have been an ambitious goal, but it is one that we continue to try to achieve. In fact, in the last couple of months, we published articles on the Music Modernization Act, legal issues for broadcasters in digital and social media advertising, a Supreme Court decision that may provide broadcasters with new revenue from advertising for sports betting, efforts to regulate online political advertising, and potential reform of the radio ownership rules based on the plethora of new media outlets for audio entertainment. It is clear that the initial vision of a broadcasting industry that has expanded far beyond its traditional over-the-air bounds was not just the first question that we would address, but it is one that we address every week.

And there still is an inexhaustible supply of issues that we need to follow. Of course, the current FCC is very active reforming the regulatory landscape for broadcasters, which will no doubt prompt many articles. Copyright issues are also more important than ever – look for articles in the near future on what’s next for the Music Modernization Act and on how Alexa, Google Home and other voice-activated legal assistants raise royalty considerations for program providers. Expect more coverage of changes in the broadcast ownership rules, and in many areas affecting the advertising landscape, including legal issues raised by programmatic buying (about which we have written before – see for instance here and here).

Thanks again to all our readers.  Keep reading, tell your friends about the blog, let me know if I can ever help you (I am, of course, a lawyer whose clients provide the resources to track all of these issues), and we’ll see what happens as we celebrate future anniversaries of the Broadcast Law Blog.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Law against Sports Betting – But Broadcasters Need to Proceed with Caution

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Sun 20 May 2018 4:44 am

On Monday, the US Supreme Court issued an opinion striking down a Federal law (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or “PASPA”) which prohibited state legislatures from taking any action to legalize betting on sports. PASPA also contained a restriction on advertising sports betting. The state of New Jersey challenged that law, arguing that it improperly limited the authority of state legislatures to act. The Supreme Court agreed, and invalidated the entire Act, including the restriction on advertising sports betting. Some trade press articles have suggested that this signals a boom for broadcasters and other ad-supported media companies as companies rush to start advertising legal sports betting now that the prohibition is gone. While in the long run that may be true, and there may be immediate benefits to stations in certain states, there are numerous caveats for broadcasters to consider before they recognize an advertising boom from sports betting companies.

The entire decision was not based on any analysis of whether or not betting on sports is a good thing, but instead it was a decision based exclusively on a question of state’s rights. The Supreme Court determined that Congress cannot tell state legislatures what they can and cannot do. While Congress may have the authority to ban or otherwise regulate sports betting, if they wanted to regulate it, they should have done so directly. Instead, as the law prohibited state legislatures from taking action to legalize sports betting and other actions predicated on that limitation on states rights, the Supreme Court determined that this was an exercise of authority that Congress does not have – Congress can’t tell state legislatures what to do. Based on the Court’s analysis that all parts of the act were premised on this ban on state legislative actions, the entire law was struck down. That means that there is no blanket federal ban on sports betting, and it leaves each state to regulate as it may wish. For companies ready to take bets on sporting events, and media companies who want to take advertising from sports betting companies, in most cases they need to wait for the states to make decisions on how to proceed.

As the Court noted, at the time of the passage of the legislation, three states (including Nevada) already had laws allowing betting on sports. Apparently, in addition to New Jersey, several other states have already passed laws allowing sports betting if the Supreme Court permitted it. And bills are pending to legalize sports betting in many other states. But there are many states in which there is no clear law permitting sports betting. As DraftKings and FanDuel found out in recent years as they attempted to establish their fantasy sports business, in many states local authorities were ready to challenge their authority to do so under state laws banning sports betting. While some of these laws were amended to allow for fantasy games, many still prohibit straight-on sports betting. Thus, as long as there are prohibitions in state law against sports betting, media companies in those states need to be restrained in their advertising for this activity.

Even in states where the concept of sports betting has been adopted, the state may still need to adopt regulations to implement the law, and licenses may need to be issued to companies who want to take advantage of the change in the law. And, in the days since the Supreme Court’s ruling, there have even been suggestions that Congress could step in and adopt some sort of legislation limiting sports betting, or that it could legislate some royalty to the sports leagues in connection with permissible betting. In short, broadcasters need to consult local counsel to carefully analyze the laws in their states in making decisions on whether or not they can take ads for sports betting.

Once permitted, there will also be questions of whether stations can take ads for legalized betting in other states. There was a Supreme Court case, Edge Broadcasting, upholding a federal law that restricts stations in a state that has no state lottery from advertising the state lottery in an adjacent state. See our post here about an FCC decision fining a station for violating this law by running an ad for an adjacent state’s lottery.   But there is also a Supreme Court ruling in the Greater New Orleans case that has been considered to permit truthful advertising for legal casino gambling. How sports betting will be treated remains to be seen.  Note, too, that there may well be further litigation to decide these issues.

Also, broadcasters should consider restrictions that may exist in various program contracts that can restrict specific types of advertising. As we wrote here, many sports leagues have restrictions in their contracts as to the type of ads that can be run when their games are being shown. Sports betting is likely to be included among the categories of impermissible advertising in many such contracts. Broadcasters should also consider the age of the audience for programs in which any advertising is being run to make sure that that audience is appropriate for receiving messages about legalized betting on sports.

All in all, the decision this week was a good one for media companies. But whether it will mean, in the short term, a big new source of advertising revenue for stations across the country remains to be seen.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Tabla with a difference // Mayur Narvekar

Delivered... Blog | Scene | Tue 8 May 2018 7:21 am

Mayur Narvekar is a composer, producer, DJ, remix artist, label owner, teacher and a multi-instrumentalist at BANDISH PROJEKT.

From the echo of festivals across India, Mayur has resounded in International festivals like Caldestino Sweden, Lile France, Glastonbury UK, Incubate Netherlands, Fringe Scotland, Melbourne Electronic Festival Australia and being the BBC Asian Network only official touring artist from India in 2007. Mayur started dabbling in music from age 3 and was then trained in Indian classical tabla. Mayur dived head-on into the world of percussion, earning repute as a tabla player, He was the winner of all India Radio competetion in 2000 (Percussion) and was awared the promising percussionist in 2001 by Pandit Nikhil Gosh Academy. After Bandish Projekt and Bhejafry Records (Record label) the recent venture is Bandish Beat Faktory a learning module for electronic music production and education which has also been getting a global accpetance.

He has used these roots to bring his taste for strange sounds and electronic noises that brings a certain wildness and rarity in his style while his classical element keeps him grounded. Mayur‘s need for experimenting takes him to unchartered scales, His music is his journey and it is that journey he explores!

The post EXCLUSIVE: Tabla with a difference // Mayur Narvekar appeared first on Blog.

Jasmine // Jai Paul

Delivered... Blog | Scene | Tue 8 May 2018 7:21 am

A year after BTSTU was released on to our ears; London’s Jai Paul is back to satisfy our audio craving with a new track titled ‘Jasmine’. It really is an intelligent piece of music covered in beautiful lo-fi distortions and crackling joined by guitar riffs adding that subtle element of funk grooves all the while keeping it fairly chilled out …

The post Jasmine // Jai Paul appeared first on Blog.

FreQ Nasty – Bon Merde Remixes // High Chai Recs

Delivered... Blog | Scene | Tue 8 May 2018 7:20 am

The Fiji born, producer and breakbeat innovator, FreQ Nasty is joined by High Chai label mates. Remixing his infamous signature style of drumstep, glitch-hop, dubstep, and all things bass-heavy is Liquid Stranger and FS from the US, India’s leading DJ, B.R.E.E.D and Canada duo Knight Riderz each bringing their own elements on this heavy remix EP compiled by label head dimmSummer.

The post FreQ Nasty – Bon Merde Remixes // High Chai Recs appeared first on Blog.

Sound Trippin’ across India // MTV

Delivered... Blog | Scene | Tue 8 May 2018 7:20 am

Last year Babble Fish Productions brought us The DEWARISTS a fantastic journey and exploration of sound and culture. Bringing together independent Indian artists and providing the with a platform to collaborate with their unique surroundings to inspire them.

2012, there’s a new show on the screens, Intel MTV’s Sound Trippin’. A show hosted by Sneha Khanwalker, a contemporary music director, breaker of stereotypes and rising star in the music arena in India. She is boldly going into the lesser-known India, backpack and recorder in tow, in relentless pursuit of authentic sound. Why sound? Because nothing captures the essence of a location of a community better than its local sounds.

The post Sound Trippin’ across India // MTV appeared first on Blog.

Return of The Punk-A-Wallahs!

Delivered... Blog | Scene | Tue 8 May 2018 7:19 am

The 2012 sees the return of The Punk-a-Wallahs, but this time in a different disguise – a tag team consisting of DJ PATHAAN and ANDREW T. MACKAY of the glorious BOMBAY DUB ORCHESTRA. Expect some of the finest remixes and tunes from this pair. If you have ever heard their tracks as individuals you will know that these two will only deal with the most refined and ornate music from around the world. You will not be disappointed …

To start their sonic adventure, heres their first remix of Steadfast from No Stranger Here featuring Ursula Rucker, Shubha Mudgal and Business Class Refugees.

The post Return of The Punk-A-Wallahs! appeared first on Blog.

MC Yogi’s New Album Pilgrimage

Delivered... Blog | Scene | Tue 8 May 2018 7:19 am

MC YOGI, spiritualist, graffiti artist and Yoga instructor will be dropping his long awaited follow up to the début, ‘Elephant Power’, on 19th June 2012. ‘Pilgrimage’ influences are all over the musical map: world beat, hip-hop, reggae, dance hall, house, and dub. Chaotic street sounds of India blast through the mixes, alongside madhouse beats, old-school turntable scratches and popping horns over which Yogi effortlessly drops his rhymes.

The post MC Yogi’s New Album Pilgrimage appeared first on Blog.

EXCLUSIVE Jelly // The Talvin Singh Archives

Delivered... Blog | Scene | Tue 8 May 2018 7:18 am

A wonderful track from the Talvin Singh Archives – Jelly, produced back in 2007, its a track that features all the glorious trademarks of Talvin Singh but will a bit of wobble to it.

Expect harmoniums, electronics, ambient scapes and tablas all woven with bass and hint of dubstep!

The post EXCLUSIVE Jelly // The Talvin Singh Archives appeared first on Blog.

Evolving sounds from the grand sires of Eastern Drum and Breaks

Delivered... Blog | Scene | Tue 8 May 2018 7:17 am

For over a decade now these gents have been evolving their sounds by channelling the contrast of electronic and Indian Classical music. They are the grand sires of Eastern Drum and Breaks, inspiring and influence an entire cohort of DJs and producers to create music of a similar nature.

Some familiar names come together on the Swedish label ‘Meerkat Recordings’ on the ‘7th Day’ EP. The Nasha Experience’s Nuphlo, Osmani Soundz is joined by Mumbai’s Apurva and drum ‘n’ bass crew Delta Star [Nuphlo and Ges-E] who make their debut with the title track. The EP has gone down immensely well with the listeners of both BBC Radio 1 and Asian Network proving its massive appeal.

Delta Star launches the EP with the self titled. A hard hitting drum & bass track, trickling with a dark melody fastened together by subtle eerie vocals. Osmani Soundz and Nuphlo pick up right where the Delta Star left off with what could very well be the most popular tune on the EP. ‘Sand Dunes‘, starts of as this elegant Middle Eastern inspired affair that quickly turns into a potent bass attack floor filler that is destined for greatness.

Carrying on the Middle Eastern vibe, Nuphlo treats us to a solo tune, ‘Kasbah‘ with an inscrutable beginning which in no time mutated into a grimier dubstep tune, executed dexterously. This is then juxtaposed with the penultimate track which is a summer anthem for sure. ‘Tea Rooms‘ by Delta Star is that ideal track you want to be listening to on hot day. A euphoric and lightly coated drum & bass track with a lot of textures, sounds like something Netsky would pull out of the bag! Definitely a favourite! Nuphlo and Apruva close the ’7th Day’ EP with ‘Conflict Resolution’, fuelled by merciless basslines that provide refuge for ethereal vocals and choppy rhythms that soften the track up.

This EP is evidence these pioneers have not wavered in their game since the beginning.

I caught up with Nuphlo for a quick Q&A

NB: So, what is the reason for working with Ges-e, Osmani Soundz and Apurva in this context on Meerkat?

Nuphlo: I think the reason for working with Ges-e and Osmani is simply because we make so many tunes together that dont get released, some of them needed to see the light of day I felt. Meerkat gave us that opportunity. Working with Apurva was purely through us meeting, raving and talking together in Mumbai. He’s on the level when it comes to good dnb. Hes very passionate about what sort of sound he wants to make, plus I only really make tunes with people I like.

The post Evolving sounds from the grand sires of Eastern Drum and Breaks appeared first on Blog.

It’s Political Broadcasting Season Again – What Broadcast Stations Should Be Thinking About Now, Before the Lowest Unit Rate Windows Open

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Thu 8 Mar 2018 6:09 pm

This week’s political primaries in Texas are but the first of many more election contests that will occur between now and November. Already, we are receiving client calls about the political rules, how they should be applied, and what stations should be considering in anticipation of the upcoming elections. I’ve discussed the general FCC issues to be considered by broadcasters in many different ways. In January, I conducted a webinar for two state broadcast associations on these issues, following a similar webinar that I conducted with the head of the FCC’s office of political programming back in November for about 20 additional state associations. The slides from the most recent webinar are available here. Our firm also has available a Guide to Political Broadcasting, here, that provides information about many topics that come up in this area every year. But, with the election still months away, and in many states primaries that don’t occur until the summer, are there issues that broadcasters should be considering today?

Yes – there are many such issues that broadcasters should be considering immediately. As we wrote here prior to the last Presidential election, it is important to start planning early for an election. As that article details, and as set out in our Political Broadcasting guide, there is much planning for lowest unit rates that needs to take place now – before the actual windows (45 days before the primary and 60 days before the general election) in which those rates apply. Stations are likely selling advertising schedules that will run during the windows later this year, and they are putting together advertising packages that will be offered to commercial advertisers during the window. Consideration needs to be given now as to how that advertising will be treated to avoid unwanted lowest unit rate implications during the window.

As that article and another that we wrote here make clear, there are many other issues that stations need to be considering outside the windows, as once a candidate is legally qualified, virtually all of the other political rules apply. A candidate becomes legally qualified once they have filed the necessary paperwork to qualify for a place on the ballot (and, in some cases, to write-in candidates as well – see our article here). Once they are legally qualified, the reasonable access, equal opportunities, sponsorship and disclosure rules, including all public file rules, apply.

So, for candidates for Federal offices, reasonable access requirements apply as soon as a candidate is legally qualified. That means that the candidate is entitled to have access for advertising in all classes and dayparts on all commercial stations. While there may be a bit more flexibility in providing that access early in a campaign than there is closer to Election Day as there are more opportunities to provide that access, nevertheless stations need to pay attention to candidate requests. See our article here for more information about reasonable access.

Equal opportunities also apply as soon as a candidate is legally qualified. So if you sell advertising time to one candidate in a political race (local, state or Federal as equal opportunities apply to all candidates for public office – see our article here), you have to provide equal access to all opposing candidates. Free time must also be provided to one candidate if given to another outside of an exempt program (exempt programs including bona fide news and news interview programs – see our article about these consideration, written before the last Presidential election here).

Other equal time issues arise in connection with employees of the station who decide to become candidates – even for local office. See our article here.   Equal opportunities issues can also arise in connection with a local advertiser who appears in his or her own commercials, and decides to become a candidate for political office. See our article here for some issues to consider if this situation arises in your market.

In addition to these matters, political file issues arise well before the opening of the political window. For candidates, once they have become legally qualified, any “use” by that candidate needs to be noted in the public file (a “use” being an appearance on the station of the candidate’s recognizable voice or likeness outside of an exempt program). Issue advertising – both state and Federal – also has political file disclosure obligations that arise outside of political windows (with Federal issues advertising having much greater disclosure obligations almost identical to those of candidates). With all new political documents now needing to be uploaded to the online public files of both radio and TV stations, these political files are subject to much more public (and FCC) scrutiny.

These are but some of the issues broadcasters should be thinking about in what is likely to be a very active political year. You should be talking with your station’s attorney and sales staff now to make sure that everyone is ready to take care of the potential tidal wave of political advertising that may be arriving in the coming months, without running afoul of FCC rules.

Update: FCC Still Conducting Nationwide EAS Test Tomorrow, September 27

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Tue 26 Sep 2017 3:05 pm

With no hurricane or other emergency seemingly threatening the United States tomorrow, the FEMA and the FCC announced yesterday that the Nationwide EAS test is being conducted as planned tomorrow, September 27. We wrote about that test here and here. Stations, except those in hurricane-affected areas who have been given more time to file reports on the results of the EAS test at their stations (see the FCC public notice here allowing stations in these areas to file when the ETRS Form 3 is due in November), need to file their ETRS Form 2 reports on the results of the test at their stations by the end of the day, Eastern Time, tomorrow. See the FCC Public Notice about the reporting requirements for the test here.

Fantasy Mansion is an EP that’s also a generative, 8-bit circuit with sync

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 19 Jun 2017 4:29 pm

The golden age of the recorded album may be long past, but the golden age of the album-as-instrument may be just getting started.

Captain Credible is the latest artist to embrace the idea of releasing his music as circuit board and interactive musical instrument and not just a set of tracks you can hear (erm, stream). So, yes, Fantasy Mansion is a set of tracks if you want it to be. But it’s also an 8-bit instrument.

This isn’t the Norwegian artist’s first go at something like this. But Fantasy Mansion is notable not just because of its adorable vintage video game haunted house looks, but also for some surprisingly sophisticated features – including sync.

This also wins the prize (to my knowledge) of coolest thing to put a download code on.

fantasy-mansionback

There’s an eight-track (linear) EP, plus the circuit board, with 32 step sequencer and three-part 8-bit sounds.

The instruction copy is hilarious. The board promises to “harvest compositions from adjacent parallel universes using a Perlington demon gate.” In, uh, more pedestrian terms, what you get is a lead melody, bassline, and drum part you can edit. There are parameters for decay and octave, and effects for glitch, repitch, and shuffle, plus a “Theremin” continuous pitch mode. And you get lots of shift functions, organized cleverly around “matter” and “antimatter” modes. (Sometimes that means something as simple as adding or removing steps in the sequencer, sometimes something much weirder.)

The modification features are dubbed “A.I.,” though that’s a bit of a stretch. (Well, one feature is the ability to “fuck up” patterns. I’m for that.)

You can sync send/receive as desired with other gear, making this a nice complement to stuff like the KORG volca series or Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators.

Here’s the instruction manual (click for full size):

operation-manual

Video teaser:

And longer explanation:

Captain Credible isn’t just a one-trick pony making an 8-bit circuit board and calling it a day. No, he can also be found playing “home made blinking pyramids, motion sensing helmets, candles, lasers and magic crystals.” Yeah. He’s one of us.

Behold:
livea

There is so, so, so much going on at Captain Credible. There are crazy destructive VST plug-ins. There are live performances. There are workshops and weird inventions, and a section called “Art” where installations are controlled by interactive helmets and powered by candles. If you’re in Norway or nearby, book this guy. If not, move to Norway, find some remote farmland, and start a festival so he can headline.

http://captaincredible.com

I’m listening to the music now. It’s surprisingly dreamy (relative to the hyperactive nerdgasm above), shoegaze-to-video game theme-to quirky jams. It’s gorgeous, eccentric, and ingeniously inconsistent, the output of somewhat with a broken attention span and overflowing imagination – in a way to be genuinely thankful for. Maybe it’s not attention span: maybe different dimensions are actually converging, some of them flat video game worlds, some of them introspective Scandinavian emotional odysseys. So enjoy!

The post Fantasy Mansion is an EP that’s also a generative, 8-bit circuit with sync appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

What does it mean that NI bought a startup that monetizes remixes

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 28 Mar 2017 2:38 pm

Native Instruments announced an acquisition that suggests a new area of intended growth for the company. They’ve acquired MetaPop, a firm that clears and monetizes remixes – and with the company, they also get the former CEO of Beatport. To work out what that might mean, you need to first understand MetaPop.

It’s safe to say remix culture isn’t what some predicted it would be. Instead of ushering in a bold new age where music is re-imagined by fans and artists find new opportunities to share ideas and earn money to support their art, we get — uh, takedown notices. And a lot of non-starters.

Into that somewhat desolate landscape, enter MetaPop. The startup was born at the start of 2015 in Los Angeles, founded by former Beatport CEO Matthew Adell. (Adell sold Beatport to SFX, though … that turns out to be an unpleasant story. It appears meanwhile MetaPop has only undisclosed seed money behind it – though that could be actually a good sign, in that acquisition could help it grow.)

Basically, the idea of MetaPop is to actively support fans making remixes, and squeeze revenue out of unlicensed remixes that are floating around online. When you just play music – as in a DJ mix or an online streaming service – you are required to pay a compulsory license, or a fixed license fee that is supposed to pay money back to the artist. That’s another discussion, but suffice to say even the US Commerce Department thinks that that license structure doesn’t make sense for remixes. (I will refrain from using the word “mash-up,” as I think it’s dead, like “information superhighway.”)

So MetaPop does two things. First, it actively courts remixes. There’s a marketplace of pre-cleared stems, where you can go and download stems for free and make your own remixes. There are promoted contests, too, like a recent one with Carl Craig. They’ll even host a remix contest for you for free.

Second, MetaPop supports labels and artists by searching for unlicensed remixes and monetizing them.

You can read Adell’s thoughts on this as CEO, as he speaks to Bas Grasmayer:
Monetizing remix culture: Beatport’s former CEO about his new mission

Carl Craig stems, anyone?

Carl Craig stems, anyone?

Now, it’s pretty easy to follow why Native Instruments might be interested in such a company. We’ve already seen that part of the company’s vision for the future of DJing is live remixing content with STEMS. MetaPop is literally a source of stems, if you want to look narrowly at what that might mean. But apart from remixable content on MetaPop being potential STEMS fodder for Traktor users, more broadly it seems to align with Native Instruments management’s idea about where DJing and electronic music are going.

I wouldn’t look at this as “what NI plans to do with STEMS, though.” It seems to me that NI are primarily acquiring Matthew Adell – and they’re not being secretive about that.

Keep in mind that NI had a financial stake in Beatport, and worked on strategic partnerships. Now, they’re bringing Adell into Native Instruments, naming him Chief Digital Officer. In today’s press release, NI CEO Daniel Haver says point blank, “we’re very excited to take our online offering to the next level.”

He’ll stay on in NI’s LA office. That office is now up to 50 people.

Let me break from script here, though, and say, quite frankly, I have some real questions and reservations about this direction.

The principle potential here for electronic music as service and remixing as medium is all on the DJ side. And Native Instruments has got to get their DJ offerings in better shape to remain competitive.

TRAKTOR is complicated, and subject to instability depending on the computer hardware it runs on. Then, some of its differentiation points are starting to look more like vulnerabilities. Sure, you can use elaborate NI controller hardware – but you’ve got to compete with a competitor who can tell you to just “carry a USB stick.” Then there’s the concept of doing live remixing with STEMS. I still like STEMS as an idea – I’ve released my own content on the format, other artists’ content, and I’ve used it and found it to be musically useful. But Native Instruments rolled out STEMS as a “standard” and has since utterly failed to bring on any major developers or vendor partners, or even to integrate it in their own production products (like Maschine). To me, it’s a great idea – but one that’s had next to no follow through, internally or externally. I say all of this as a TRAKTOR user.

That’s assuming this will have some connection to the existing TRAKTOR DJ product silo, but it’s hard to think remixing and online services won’t have some connection. (Again, DJs are the ones really driving consumption – worth saying.)

And let’s get real. This market has gone back to selling, buying, and playing vinyl records. That’s how devoted it is to reliability, tradition, and physical hardware.

I don’t doubt for a second that there are real opportunities in online offerings, too. Indeed, Adell identified some of those problems with MetaPop. Just getting music out and getting it in the hands of DJs (and remixers, if you like) is already a huge challenge to producers. That impacts NI products outside of just DJing, too – if you can’t get music heard, then you’re less likely to want to buy production tools. Solving these problems could well be valuable.

But this is the challenge Native Instruments faces. Whatever they do with digital offerings, I think they’re going to live and die based on hardware, because hardware is what we’re investing in. (Ask that competitive Japanese company that makes giant MP3 players that cost about as much as a used car.)

Sure, that may be an odd thing to say to the company that made its fortune by going to software. But look at it the other way round: NI has grown at each stage of life based on correctly recognizing trends. That includes the value of software development, then the potential of digital DJing and digital vinyl, then the combination of controller hardware with software.

They may well have it right by identifying online offerings as part of the next trend. But I think the thing to watch is whether that can work in tandem with a more robust offering for DJs, up against increasingly dominant competition.

Of course, that’s what keeps working in this business fun – it’s neither easy nor simple, and it connects directly to people’s most passionate feelings about music at a time when how music is made and heard is changing. So, as always, we’ll be watching.

MetaPop

The post What does it mean that NI bought a startup that monetizes remixes appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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