Reclaim the Album’s Soul: Tips for Handmade CD Artwork, Make One Sunday

You hear the repeated chorus: music in the digital age has become meaningless and valueless, like turning on water from a tap in the middle of Rome. But, quietly, a movement is stirring that is reclaiming the value of music. Armed with nothing more sophisticated than markers, paper, collage materials, and imagination, they send mixes of music like grade school Valentines. Heck, they even use the mail. It makes the album more personal than it was even in its golden, mass-produced age. Many of the practitioners in this case are returning to the cassette and mix tape. But I was …

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Data+Music: Echo Nest and 7Digital on Discovery, Ping, and Social Music’s Future

Photo (CC-BY-ND) verityatthedisco. Remember the music industry? We used to talk about radio play and record deals. Now, we’re talking developers, APIs, and analytics. Of course, the test, now as then, is whether there’s actually substance for music listeners and artists. On Friday, we looked at Apple’s Ping and how, via TuneCore, artists who aren’t Lady Gaga can get their own pages. We also saw some vigorous discussion of TuneCore, which helps you get your music into “big bucket” sites like Amazon and iTunes, and SoundCloud, who together offer integrated sharing and distribution. The Echo Nest is an unusual animal …

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SoundCloud + TuneCore Get Your Music Sold Online; Hear Some Artists

Whether or not the ability to use TuneCore as a way to get an iTunes Ping page piqued your interest, if you’re generally interested in selling your music online, here’s some more interesting news. SoundCloud has teamed up with TuneCore to allow you to sell singles and albums in a variety of online stores, including Nokia phones, Amazon MP3, Zune, Emusic, and of course iTunes. TuneCore’s approach is pretty simple: accounts are free, and you play a flat fee ($9.99 per single, $49.99 per album) to distribute music online in all the stores. You keep all of the royalties; once …

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Want to Get on iTunes Ping? TuneCore Artist Ping Pages Go Live

Look, it’s not Katy Perry! Yes, individual artist pages are possible on Ping. TuneCore can help make the process easy. Shown here: singer/songwriter Andrew Belle, who helped TuneCore document the process. Check out his artist page in iTunes. What’s a social network for music discovery if there aren’t any artists? As covered previously, Apple’s Ping on launch was a pretty big flop. With no custom artist pages, artists felt left out of the party – and would-be users found themselves scratching their heads as iTunes mindlessly recommended U2 and Lady Gaga to everyone. At the very least, as expected, we …

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Rhythm Core Alpha: New Music Making App for Nintendo DS – DSiWare

With the recently-announced Korg M1 app and DS-10, the Nintendo DS handheld remains a surprisingly-good choice for handheld music making. A new app could take that further. Nintendo may have struck a blow to homebrew music developers by successfully blocking hardware that allowed it to run. But while it’s not nearly as open to development as Apple’s iOS, Nintendo’s DSiWare can work for an independent developer. The proof: Rhythm Core Alpha, created by T.B. Trzepacz. What’s unique about this application is that it emphasizes real-time production. Sound playback never stops during editing. The crowded interface packs some fairly powerful-looking features: …

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Apple’s Ping Launch is a Dud, But The Web is Alive with the Sound of Music

“ping” came before Ping – and it might just outlast it. Photo (CC-BY) Noah Sussman. And yes, when I asked readers about Ping, a number of people referred me to this one. Before diving into the litany of gripes from artists regarding Apple’s Ping social service, it’s worth saying: some critics say they expected better. Many artists want a smarter, more social iTunes. That’s the only reason anyone is spending time talking about the service’s perceived flaws. Cellist and laptop musician Zoë Keating, an independent artist with collaborations from Imogen Heap to DJ Shadow, reminded me of that via Twitter. …

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Preview: The Chemical Brothers Go Audiovisual for New Album ‘Further’

Out today in the US is the new release from The Chemical Brothers, ‘Further.’ From what I’ve heard so far, expect a full-bodied, raucous record of sounds, neither particularly retro nor modern. I’m withholding judgment on how successful the direction is until I spend some quality time with it. I find it interesting that the press materials suggest the result should sound a bit like a live set – and I likewise look forward to seeing the act live when they come to New York in early September. What’s also interesting about this release is that it’s an audiovisual album. …

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Music Game Revolution, Now Indie Friendly, as Rock Band Network Goes Live

They are the robots: Flight of the Conchords. Now, you are the robots, too, as Rock Band Network opens the indie floodgates to the music-distribution-as-game model. (And yes, you’ll get to sing along with the Conchords, too.) Photo (CC-BY-SA) kris krüg. Music games Rock Band and Guitar Hero are simple enough in terms of gameplay, but testifying to the power of people’s passion for music, their impact has been staggering. At a time when purchasing recorded music has waned from a 90s peak, downloads for games are proving surprising growth, despite pundits predicting the segment would cool off. The talents …

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TouchDJ Arrives for iPhone

You’re now approved to DJ with your iPhone. Or at least the app is. I’m not sure if I can take credit for getting Apple’s attention, but Apple has approved the TouchDJ application from Amidio. That’s big news, partly because developer Amidio has consistently been at the forefront of musical development on the platform, including their Noise.io synth and wild hexagonal JR Hexatone Pro. This also is a big blog to the theory that Apple is intentionally blocking DJ apps — and a big boon to the theory that the App Store is just plain clogged, even if it may …

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