The creators of the popular platform for plugin and samples Loopmasters, now offers an innovative cloud-based space for managing, discovering and downloading samples, MIDI files and virtual synthesizer presets.
Loopcloud is based on the sounds of its creation and distribution, as well as on acquired libraries. The system allows you to localize content by BPM value and tags, besides allowing to import contents in your DAW by a comfortable drag-and-drop operation through a plugin.
With this system we will be able to synchronize our libraries and access them from anywhere, using web browsers or the plugin. This initiative comes from Loopmasters’s workers that were looking to unifying their growing catalog of samples and presets in an application that is integrated within a DAW.
This is, very probably, the sign of things to come.
With ARM boards becoming ever-more cheap, accessible, powerful, and efficient, the same technology that is transforming phones, laptops, tablets, and other categories can just as easily be the foundation of a musical instrument. And one “computer” in your life might not look like a conventional desktop or laptop.
So, we were both unsurprised and delighted to see a box emerge over the weekend looking like a quirky Pocket Piano, but providing lots of stuff useful to people interested in taking the world of synths and effects from Pd out of a computer and putting it on hardware geared for music making:
Now, if you are a Pd user or Linux lover, you probably have a hunger for more details. We’ve got some answers from the folks at Critter & Guitari (Owen & Chris) to satisfy some of those burning questions:
How do you load patches on the Organelle? Any USB stick will work? And then you have access to the file system for Pd?
Yep, any old USB stick will work. Pd has access to both root file system and USB (just like a larger computer) but we like to keep root file system in read only mode so the machine always boots up to the same state no matter what, so all the Pd related file I/O happens on the USB stick.
A USB stick has a folder called ‘patches’ and inside is a folder for each patch — the name of the folder is the name of the patch, and all files related to the patch go inside, with the main patch file named ‘main.pd’. So the path to a synth called “BasicPoly” would look like this: /USB-drive/patches/BasicPoly/main.pd
When you turn on the Organelle, the screen just lists the folders in the patches folder (their names being the names of the patches). When you select a patch (say BasicPoly), it starts pd with the main.pd file (/USB-drive/patches/BasicPoly/main.pd). If main.pd is not found, it will look for ‘run.sh’ and execute it. So a patch doesn’t necessarily need to be created in Pd (more on this later)
In terms of playing and recording sound files, you are really only limited by the size of USB stick.
What’s that HDMI out for? Could you do visuals on this? Or I assume it’s just to see the interface somehow?
You can connect an HDMI monitor (and USB keyboard/mouse) and fire up a simple desktop environment and edit/create patches right on the device. We have done preliminary HDMI visual experiments, and it is definitely a possibility, but we are focusing on audio right now.
Is Pd running -nogui [This is the mode in which Pure Data disables its graphical user interface.]
Yes, in normal operation Pd runs -nogui. When you connect a monitor and start desktop, Pd runs with gui for editing.
How do you prepare Pd patches for this? Anything special? How do the knobs and keys map? (I guess audio just maps as adc~ and dac~ in which means a lot of patches won’t need modification.)
We tried to the keep patches isolated from underlying hardware, so a patch receives knobs and key presses as regular Pd messages (e.g. [r knob1], [r notes] … etc), and sends and receive audio out (e.g. [s~ outL, r~inL]). There is a ‘mother.pd’ patch always loaded that is the other end to these sends and receives. It communicates with the actual hardware (using OSC), implements MIDI, and does things like volume control on the output before piping it to dac~
This way, a patch has no dependencies outside of Pd, so a patch can be run on the Organelle, a laptop, or even a libpd environment without any modifications (just needs a mother patch to send and receive with, or the mother program in the case of libpd).
When you say “low-level” programming is possible, what do you mean?
There is always writing externals [C code that executes inside Pd], and gcc [compiler] is installed on the box, so you can plug in a monitor and keyboard and start compiling (actually this is always how we have done it, never even bothered setting up a cross compiler!)
Also, as mentioned earlier, if ‘main.pd’ is not found in the patch folder, the Organelle will search for ‘run.sh’, which can be used to launch any custom program you like. So you could write a program in C that opened the ALSA sound device directly and started making sound. Or use a different programming environment all together — we have done preliminary testing with both Chuck and SuperCollider and they both work.
That said, currently the only Critter & Guitari supported way to make patches is with Pd, but at the end of the day, it is a Linux box, so it can pretty much be anything…
There are really just 2 screens, a menu, and a patch detail screen. The screen has a simple menu for system-related things like shutting down, simple configs, ejecting USB…. and then a list of patches.
When you select a patch, a second patch detail screen comes up that indicates what the four knobs and extra button do. This information is sent from the patch itself. In Pd, you can send messages to the screen to display text (e.g. [s screenLine1]). This is very useful, because the knobs can report the actual parameters (not just “Delay Time”, but “Delay Time 452 ms”). You could also print information other than Knob/Aux button status. For example, you could say: “Use this Patch on our first song” or “Make sure Knob 2 is set to 2 o’clock to start” or some other kind of note helpful for a performance, etc.
Picture: a version of the mother.pd patch, an actual patch in Organelle format (BasicPoly), and the resulting patch detail screen.
Thanks Chris and Owen. It’s funny, I’ve had lots of conversations over recent years about people wanting to do stuff like this. It’s great to see it in an actual product. (And I’m sure that will inspire more, in other form factors, which could be fun… like Eurorack forSOFTWARE PATCHING lovers, a new breed of instrument.) But the implementation here already sounds eminently intelligent. I want one; can’t wait to see it.
The internet is one of mankind’s greatest achievements, and it enriches all our lives with instant access to more information than a human being could digest in a thousand lifetimes.
The downside is that for the less tactful among us, it can be a highway to infamy and vilification. The impulsive online musician is only a few keypresses away from destroying their career with a rude comment, tasteless joke, or casual hate speech.
So then, here’s MusicRadar’s guide to the 10 worst ways musicians troll themselves online. Read on to discover how you can avoid falling into the potholes that litter the information superhighway.
1. Being a bigot on social media
Sure, you’ve got a beef with people of particular race, or maybe transgendered folk give you the willies. Don’t worry, it’s probably more to do with your socio-economic circumstances than inherent evil. However, you’re going to need to keep any bigoted views to yourself rather than post them online.
Without naming and shaming, it’s not too hard to think of certain misguided artists who’ve done this, followed by fallout that was nothing short of catastrophic.
So if the volleyball scene in Top Gun made you feel confused and angry, try to avoid getting up in the internet’s face. Maybe just buy a ticket to Magic Mike XXLand see how you feel after that?
2. Posting work in progress tracks
When you’re starting out with production, posting up WIPs can be a good way to get feedback. However, once you’ve reached a level of competence you’ll probably want to avoid releasing unfinished music.
New music is everywhere, so it’s a consumer’s market. Maximise your chances of getting a like or follow by ensuring that your tracks are only available once they’re up to a decent standard.
An alternative way of looking at it is that digital music is so common now as to be utterly worthless, so you might as well throw caution to the wind and upload your unfinished 27-track folk dubstep album about how much you miss your ex-partner’s dog Alan.
3. Posting awful cheesy remixes
Hurriedly producing a trap remix of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 and putting it on your SoundCloud account might seem like a good idea at the time, but is that the sort of thing you want to associate your good name with?
The best case scenario – getting a load of plays from novelty-seeking squares who probably don’t even own working TR-606s – might not sound too bad, but then you run the risk of becoming addicted to easy plays. This can only end with you posting a new future bass remix of Shania Twain every week to satisfy your cravings.
Communication over social media isn’t perfect: tone can be hard to convey, and innocuous comments can be misinterpreted. Also, the internet is full of people who won’t think twice before opening their big laptops and posting something rude about your latest YouTube video.
Even if you were legitimately engaged in a brief romantic relationship with their mother, it’s best to keep these kinds of details off social media. It’s rare for anyone involved in an online altercation to come off looking good, so the next time haters are giving you grief, simply ignore them and continue looking at pictures of fat baby animals.
Unless you use your computer for something boring like making music occasionally, there’s no justification for having a top of the range MacBook Pro to ogle capybaras on.
5. Wasting time
Given that you’re reading this, you already know how big a problem wasting time on the internet is for the modern musician. Did you know that, in the developed world, the average adult spends approximately eight hours browsing pictures of fat baby animals every day?
We all wish this could be more, but unless you use your computer for something boring like making music occasionally, there’s no justification for having a top of the range MacBook Pro to ogle capybaras on.
Remember that time some noob jacked your best Shania Twain bootleg? It was pretty annoying, and since then you’ve clashed on a mutual friend’s Facebook wall. From his profile picture he looks like he probably can’t throw a punch to save his life, so you’ll probably be safe discretely badmouthing him to a select four dozen or so acquaintances.
It’s tempting, but you’d just be mugging yourself off much like you were mugged off in the first place. The resulting double-mugging is the least dignified of fates, and should be avoided at all costs. Planning an elaborate, anonymous revenge instead is a smart PR move.
7. Being associated with un-PC social media pages
Your socio-economic background is letting you down again, and you find you have a strong emotional response when you see far-right propaganda on Facebook. It’s tempting to click ‘Like’ and let the world know that you’re not exactly onboard with multiculturalism, but hold your horses there cowboy.
Did you ever stop to consider that this ace fusion of cultures is what makes popular music so vibrant and exciting? Plus, everyone is going to assume you’ve got the critical thinking abilities of a parsnip, so stick to posting radio station memes and quizzes to determine which Harry Potter character you’d go Airbnb-ing with.
Stick to posting radio station memes and quizzes to determine which Harry Potter character you’d go Airbnb-ing with.
If there’s one thing people don’t like, it’s excessive entitlement. So, if you’re a superstar DJ, try to remember that not getting fluffy enough towels in your hotel room isn’t on a par with waterboarding, and your predicament is unlikely to solicit sympathy from your legion of fans who are lucky enough to work in the service industry or clean chimneys or whatever it is they do.
Though some might find hubris entertaining, for most it’s an unattractive trait. No one cares about how awesome you think your own productions are, or how attractive your partner’s toned young torso is, so keep your fabulous lifestyle to yourself thanks buddy.
Also be careful to avoid humblebragging – eg, “so bummed my juke remix of Vonda Shepard’s Searchin’ My Soul – AKA the theme tune to Ally McBeal – only got 10,000 plays on its first day, I’m such a loser LOL!?”
Pro tip: everyone loves schadenfreude. Play the underdog card (‘my audio interface is broken and my partner is a sea donkey’ etc) and get some sympathy likes. You’ll soon forget about how much you miss your dignity when you’re the undisputed king of social media!
10. Pestering and harassment
After spending hours upon hours on a project, the last thing you want to have to do is wait days for a DJ, label or another artist to give you feedback. You’d probably better Tweet them, post on their Facebook wall, and write them a message on SoundCloud on the hour every hour until they confirm your worst fear: your kick drum does indeed have slightly too much sub.
Harassment of this nature is a sure-fire way to alienate a potentially useful source of criticism, so please try to remember that some of these people are very busy searching for new ghost producers.
This is a 2015 re-boot of one of the first, and most popular “memes” I created for Dynamic Range Day
And the information it gives is just as crazy as it ever was.
Especially since none of these “loudness” differences will be audible in all the most popular places we listen to music.
Not on iTunes Radio.
Not on Spotify.
Not even on Youtube, any more !
And certainly not on radio or TV.
So if you’re wondering – “why do people still bother?” – you’ve got a point !
It’s not all bad news
Take another look at that infographic, though.
There are some interesting features.
Look at the 2015 releases.
As well as ridiculous results like Taylor Swift being as loud as Oasis, and Nicki Minaj being almost as loud as Metallica – there are two massively successful pop albums by Daft Punk & Mark Ronson that have great dynamics.
And D’Angelo’s critically acclaimed album “Black Messiah” measures DR8. In a genre like R&B where almost everything is clipped and crushed by default, that’s a serious result ! And it’s not alone – in an interview on NPR’s Hip Hop show, J. Cole described how he and producer Juro “Mez” Davis deliberately chose not to compete in the loudness war – and his fans loved the decision.
(To hear the right section of the interview, click here)
And there have been a host of other great-sounding, dynamic releases in the last year, too – some of them are nominated for the Dynamic Range Day Award 2015. Check them out, your ears will thank you…
It ain’t over yet…
Of course these are the exceptions, rather than the rule.
For every great-sounding success, there are ten more that have been smashed. As I said in my interview for CE Pro, the situation is getting more polarised, and will probably keep getting worse, before it gets better.
But loudness normalisation is a fact, now – and gradually, the music world will wake up to the new reality. Just as U2 and Pharrell and D’Angelo and Daft Punk and J.Cole and Opeth and Aphex Twin and Mark Ronson and Jack White and Paulo Nutini and The War On Drugs and many other already have.
This year’s crop of production tools focuses heavily on the analog renaissance that’s taken hold of the industry. In fact, with the exception of a software essential or three, this list is basically an homage to the return of warm, organic, one-knob-per-function synths that started the whole electronic music craze in the first place.
So, whether you’re a producer yourself, or just want the inside scoop on how next year’s tracks will be made, check out our annual assessment of what was hot in music technology this year.10. href=”http://www.waldorf-music.info/en/rocket-synthesizer.html” target=”_blank”>Waldorf Rocket Over the past several years, we’ve seen German synth company Waldorf rise from the ashes and transform itself into one of the cooler hardware manufacturers on the planet—no easy feat. While their new Pulse 2 has captured the attention of analog maniacs, we think their compact and lightweight Rocket synth is a real secret weapon for producers looking to add a dash of hardware to their otherwise digital productions. We’re most jazzed about its analog filter, which includes an external input for using it as an audio processor with your favorite DAW, but that’s just part of the appeal. The Rocket’s digitally derived oscillators deliver some unique tricks, including the ability to perform in paraphonic mode—just like its big brother, the Pulse 2. This means that at a street price of only $329 US, the Rocket was the first truly affordable polyphonic synth of 2013 with proper analog filters. What’s more, the unit’s lack of presets and super-intuitive panel controls make it easy for newbies to get a feel for the concepts behind synthesis itself, allowing them to develop their own unique sound quickly. 9. Novation Bass Station II Novation’s original Bass Station was a staple in studios during the early ’90s rave era. With its ability to sound uncannily 303-ish, but with a few added bells and whistles, the first Bass Station’s flexibility made it an irresistible choice in an era dominated by digital synths. Now that analog has returned as an essential part of today’s dance fashions, Novation wisely revived this classic and gave it a zillion more features—like multimode filters and extensive modulation amenities—while keeping the warmth and sizzle intact. There’s even an “acid” mode for producers who can’t quite afford two grand for an original 303 on eBay. Speaking of price, Novation nailed it again, with the Bass Station II retailing for a mere $500 US. 8. Xfer Cthulhu Beatport users will be most familiar with Steve Duda’s work as an artist, collaborating with Deadmau5 and a slew of notable DJs and producers. But engineers know Duda as a purveyor of software secret weapons that top producers rely on for, well, magic. His LFO Tool plugin is a mainstay for adding a visceral throbbing element to tracks. And his Nerve drum-machine plugin takes beatmaking to dizzying new heights. This year’s Cthulhu plugin puts hundreds of time-tested chord progressions at the fingertips of all artists, regardless of their musical background. Want to slice and dice a passage from Bach or Mozart to fold into your next big-room anthem? Cthulhu’s the ticket. Intricate patterns for your epic trance opus? Cthulhu’s ultra-deep arpeggiator has you covered. As every producer knows, true inspiration is music’s most precious element. Fortunately, you can now buy that element for 40 bucks. 7. Korg Volcas Oh, Korg, you rascals. Over the past three years, you’ve carefully tested the waters of the analog market, analyzing and refining your approach based on sales and popularity. First you released the all-analog Monotrons, which included impeccable recreations of the MS20 filter circuits. Then you launched the all-analog Monotribe groove box, which is still quite popular thanks to its slip-n-slide ribbon controller and absolutely musical sonic character. Now, you deliver the finishing blow with your shiny new line of Volcas. With specialized units for bass, polyphonic keys, and classic analog drums—fused with great sequencers and external MIDI control—you’ve raised the analog bar once again. Best of all, each unit is only $150 on the street. That is, if you can get one, because they’re still backordered at many outlets. That’s how cool they are. 6. Arturia MicroBrute Last year’s #1 slot went to Arturia’s MiniBrute, which gene-spliced the essence of the Roland SH-101 with a bunch of thoroughly virulent analog circuits, resulting in one of the nastiest-sounding analog synths of all time—so nasty that quite a few vintage fans bemoaned its lack of “smoothness.” But we all know that you don’t call a smooth synth a “Brute,” right? Right. Well, this year, Arturia took the critical bits of the MiniBrute—oscillators, multimode filter, basic LFO, and snappy envelopes—then added an industry-standard modular patch bay and step-sequencer that again reminded us of why a vintage Roland SH-101 is so damn hard to find on eBay. Oh, and they brought all this to market for $200 less than the original Mini: $300. 5. NI Maschine Studio Native Instruments’ original Maschine units became darlings of the DJ set thanks to their combination of super-groovy performance control and ultra-flexible sound engine. Pete Tong is a fan. So is Bass Kleph. And that’s not surprising, because NI’s Maschine combines many of the best elements of Ableton Live, Akai’s MPC, and NI’s own Battery drum synth. While we were certainly fans of the previous iterations of Maschine, this year’s new Maschine Studio pushed us over the edge with its festive cacophony of brightly lit LED controls, gorgeous OLED displays, and gigantic jog dial. The Maschine software received a major update also, with multicore support (finally!) and new drum synthesizer engines for designing your own percussion sounds from scratch. While it’s not a true DAW yet, Maschine Studio is definitely encroaching on the compositional flexibility of the MPCs—along with amassing a similarly passionate cult-like following. For producers looking to change their workflow in dramatic ways, Maschine Studio is going to snag a lot of new fans for around a $1000 US. 4. Dave Smith Prophet 12 Every year, Dave Smith manages to dazzle the music production world with another astonishing product. Last year, he unleashed the Mopho X4 keyboard. A year earlier, he unveiled the Tempest drum sequencer—a collaboration with none other than Roger Linn. This year, he brought it big time with the new Prophet 12, which fused the best of the classic PolyEvolver with the elegance of the original Prophet 08, then added a ton of forward-thinking new amenities. The resulting instrument is the most complex analog-hybrid synth I’ve ever had my hands on. It can sound massive, rich, airy, thick, warm, or straight-up belligerent with just a few twists of its huge array of controls. Yes, the $3000 price tag puts it out of the reach of most bedroom studios, but for power producers, the Prophet 12 is Mercedes-class synthesis and worth every penny. 3. Moog SubPhatty Since the reinvention of Moog Music back in 2000, every synth they’ve produced is absolute magic—from the high-end Voyagers, to their exotic Moogerfooger pedals, to the near-ubiquitous Little Phatty and its rackmount twin, the Slim Phatty. So this year’s addition to the Phatty line—the SubPhatty—has caused quite a stir among synth connoisseurs. First off, Moog has covered the SubPhatty with tons of knobs—one for every synth parameter in the beast. Secondly, they added a sub-oscillator to the original dual-oscillator configuration, giving this Phatty even more bass cojones than its predecessors. Finally, they took the original overdrive function and paired it with some truly magical compression properties, resulting in a sound with a lot of sonic impact. Countless reviewers have called this the best Phatty yet because, well, it is. 2. Korg MS20 Mini We should have seen it coming at NAMM back in 2011, when Korg hooked up their Legacy MS20 MIDI controller to an iPad running the virtual MS20 app and the combo drew almost as much attention as their Kronos flagship synth that debuted at the same show. All of the clues were there: analog Monotrons, mega-selling iOS versions of their vintage gear, and a clear vision for today’s analog renaissance. Well, they did it. They brought a perfect, fully analog reissue of their legendary MS20 to the masses—for a $600 price tag that had the competition reeling with envy. The MS20 Mini’s combination of semi-modular patchability, in-your-face dual resonant filters, quirky envelopes, and pitch-to-voltage converters give it a sound and flexibility that no synth in this price range has yet matched. Expect to hear it all over the place in 2014, once Korg’s mile-long backorder list has been fulfilled. 1. Ableton Live 9 We got a bit of static for not including Ableton Live 9 in last year’s Top 10, but you know what? It wasn’t shipping yet. Sure, the beta generated more heat than a Tomorrowland fireworks display, but that wasn’t enough. This list is for products that actually shipped that year. With that out of the way, it’s time to give Ableton the praise they deserve for delivering another iteration of their industry-leading performance DAW. With version 9, every aspect of Live has been overhauled in spectacularly musical ways. On the engineering side, Cytomic’s punchy Glue compressor is now baked into the standard array of tools. And the original compressor, gate, and EQ devices have all been brilliantly updated. There are also tools that convert recordings to MIDI data with surprising accuracy when given clean audio, which is something akin to sorcery if you think about it—and those are just the most buzzworthy highlights. On the subtler side, the new browser and search tools make working with massive collections of sound and software data a helluva lot easier. What’s more, Max for Live (and its Convolution Reverb and Buffer Shuffler devices) are now included standard with Suite. There’s a reason that the world’s top producers and DJs rely on Ableton Live every day, and version 9 makes that reason even more clear: Live is the ultimate blend of power, musicality, and intuitive interaction.
Artists may (or may not) have noticed YouTube’s implementation of the “TipJar.” When I heard the news, I didn’t think much of it, as TipJar has become one of many – Kickstarter, Patreon, Indiegogo, etc. It wasn’t until I received a call from one of my favorite writers at Billboard Magazine who asked the question – “how is the money allocated with major Label Artists” – that I took an interest. It’s a valid question – where does this money go and how is it allocated? The answer is grey, and it comes in layers. This particular writer forced me to think about a seemingly insignificant issue.
The inevitable will occur – some indie Artist will generate large revenue from TipJar, ultimately leading to a record deal. Much like Vine sensations, the fight is over the Vine account, not necessarily the Artist. Possibly a major Label Artist will generate tip money that goes unpaid to the Label, and the Label sues for lost revenue. In short, Tipjar will be a problem – for somebody. I don’t mean this in a negative sense; rather it’s an issue that has yet to be framed. Under current Recording Agreements “Tipjar” isn’t addressed in specific language, so what happens if (a) you’re an indie Artist who gets signed, or (b) you’re a major Label Artists that starts using the service? Where does this money go? It comes down to four (4) key concepts, so if faced with the situation, you’ll know what to look for and the right questions to ask.
Money at SoundCloud has in the past flowed in one direction: you, the uploader, pay for premium plans, and SoundCloud gets the cash. Now, for the first time, money is going the other way – from the service to artists and labels. In the process, that means one significant change: SoundCloud listeners will begin to hear ads.
It’s been interesting to watch the reaction – from people losing their minds over ads appearing on the service to more measured responses and genuine interest in the service “growing up” and adding income to become sustainable. This of course collides with worries about SoundCloud’s recent deals with major labels. But before we get into opinions about the changes, let’s first understand just what has changed for those of us who use the service.. Soundcloud have new plans, with new names and more upload time.Read the whole piece writen by createdigitalmusic‘s Peter Kirn here.
Ueberschall has announced the release of Summer 2014, a free collection of loops for the freewareElastik Player virtual instrument by the same company.
“Ueberschall has started the summer with a new free loop library for their free Elastik Player (which has been updated to v2.5.13). The demo package contains 678 MB of free sound material.”
The free sound bank contains a selection of audio loops from a number of commercial Elastik Playersound libraries. Over 15 different commercial products are featured in the freebie pack, resulting in quite a lot of variety when it comes to the sound & feel of included loops.
The free Summer 2014 loop collection contains 8-bit audio sequences captured from the Commodore 64home computer and its famous SID chip (get more of those sounds here), disco house drum loops, trap construction kits, EDM vocals, and loads of other stuff. The sound bank occupies 678 MB of hard drive space when extracted.
Please note that you’ll need to install Elastik Player on your machine in order to use the loops provided in the freebie library. This interesting loop based virtual instrument is available for free download on the product page linked below. If you need any help with installing and registering your free copy of Elastik Player on your machine, check out the official video tutorial.
Check out the Elastik Player Summer 2014 demo video:
Summer 2014 is available for free download via Ueberschall(498 MB download size, ZIP archive, contains 1 sound bank in ELASTIK file format for Elastik Player).
We’ve long warned DJs that they should not upload DJ mixes to SoundCloud – the popular audio sharing platform – because of the risk that their mixes will be removed for alleged copyright violation/s. It seems things have just gone from bad to worse in this respect, with a shocking piece of evidence that further reinforces that the platform really is utterly unsuitable for sharing DJ mixes on.
This week it has emerged on Do Androids Dance that SoundCloud has apparently granted Universal Music Group (one of the “big three” record labels alongside Warner and Sony) the right to remove content that it believes infringes its copyrights, without any involvement from SoundCloud itself in the process at all. This was revealed in an email trail involving a DJ called Greg Morris (“Mr Brainz” on SoundCloud) and the “SoundCloud Copyright Team”, in which they revealed to him that Universal is blocking content as it sees fit without SoundCloud’s involvement at all. Here’s that part of the alleged email trail:
From: Do Androids Dance
What this reinforces, alongside years of evidence that DJ mixes are taken down regularly and without warning (everything from radio shows to amateur mixes, although curiously big names seem to get away with it more), is that increasingly SoundCloud simply isn’t a safe place to upload your DJ mixes to.
Now, let’s put aside arguments over copyright here for a second: After all, “mix tapes” have always been a grey area (are they exploitative or promotional for the artists featured?) and indeed, Warner (for example) actually uses SoundCloud itself, unlike Universal which conspicuously doesn’t. Plus, we’re not talking about DJs making moey from their mixes, after all; we’re simply talking about being able to share our work. Instead, let’s look at the problem for DJs and how they can solve this.
The problem is that you need a way to show the world what you bring to the table as a DJ, and DJs by definition play other people’s music. That means copyright issues, and we’ve hopefully shown you that SoundCloud does not have your back on this. At best, you’ll put a great mix up, share the link with your friends and DJs, promoters etc, and when they come to listen, it’ll be gone due to a dreaded copyright removal. At worst, you’ll lose your work, have no backup of it, and it’ll be gone forever.
The fact is that for material you own the copyright in or have permission to use, SoundCloud is a great platform (we use it for our artist interviews in courses like the Digital DJ Masterclass, for instance), but for DJ mixes, it really is a complete no-go zone.
Alternatives to SoundCloud
So what are you to do? As ever, we recommend services like Mixcloud. Mixcloud may look similar, but it operates on a different type of licence. One of the stipulations of Mixcloud’s licence is that mixes on the service aren’t downloadable (an option you don’t have to have switched on in SoundCloud either, and which removes one of the bugbears of the piracy argument, although as you can see, that won’t stop your mix being removed), and also it is harder to reach a big audience on Mixcloud than SoundCloud, but you’ve not really got much choice in that. Similar services include House Mixes and Mixcrate. Find one you like and rest assured they’re made for DJs, not producers, and so your work should be safer on one of these.
Alternatively, you could host your mixes on your own site. Of course, you’re still technically potentially breaking the law depending upon where you are and how / where you’re hosting your mixes, but if you’re doing it for artistic expression or promotional reasons (ie not offering or worse, selling, downloads) and you have both a bit of technical knowledge and a bit of cash for the bandwidth, this can be an effective way of getting your work out there. Respecting any copyright infringement requests that come in would likely be advisable (unless you want Universal’s lawyers on your back, for instance), but you are crumbs in their big pie and it’s my guess you’d never have an issue (Note: I am not a lawyer.)
For us? It has to be Mixcloud – worry removed from your shoulders and your mixes safely available on a smart, stable platform. But whatever you choose, please stay away from SoundCloud. They don’t want you and it’s getting worse.
Revamp streamlines app to feel more like a personal radio.
Yesterday SoundCloud pushed an update to its iOS app for iPhones and iPads that puts the focus firmly on the music, discovery and personal playlists and profiles.
Speaking to Music Ally, SoundCloud co-founder and CTO Eric Wahlforss, who releases music as Forss, has given details as to the logic behind the move and the company’s plans for the future including the platform’s anticipated move to monetisation.
In terms of actual changes, beyond the visual layout and feel, the app no longer allows you to record – something that you’ll need to do via other bundled apps instead – and you can now listen to something while continuing to browse. The app is now squarely about making it easier for you to browse, find and listen to the myriad of songs available on SoundCloud, making it more inline with the “radio” feel of Spotify and the likes.
Explaining the move, Wahlforss said:
“For us, it’s a snapshot of how our vision of the listener experience has been evolving. Can we make it more visual and simpler, so it’s easier to discover and hear more stuff, to collect things and listen to them again.”
More features are planned for roll out in the near future including playlist creation and audio caching – the latter already in use by Bandcamp who also revamped their app recently.
Key to all this is SoundCloud’s claim that “two thirds of total listening now happens on mobile devices – up from half six months ago – with the service now reaching 250m people a month.” And that of course raises further interest in when and how exactly SoundCloud will start to monetise the platfom.
Wahlforss claims that SoundCloud have started experimenting with monetisation in the US, so we could be seeing a change soon.
“Right now in the US we’re experimenting with different monetisation approaches. We’re testing out different things: throwing a couple of things out there and testing the waters a bit. We’re super-excited about where this stuff can go. When you have millions of followers and millions of listeners, you’ve got some point expecting there to be some sort of monetisation there. We hear that loud and clear.”
You can read the full interview over at Music Ally which also includes some interesting insights into how Lorde became the first Soundcloud superstar, the move by the likes of Diplo and others to use the site as a curation platform and its recent copyright spat with Kaskade.