Starting music is the theme of a Novation product launch next week

Novation are promising something new on the 1st of October. Let’s just say whatever [redacted] may be, we’ll cover [redacted] when the time is right. But what I find interesting is the way they’re introducing the message. Just as Ableton did with Push, the message is about “starting something” – about getting past that initial creative impulse. I think we’re seeing a shift in the way we talk about music technology in general. The old way of selling was to make the process as mysterious as possible. Serious professionals would tell you how they had the killer tool that you …


Here’s How To Get Yourself on Apple Music – Even Unsigned

Okay, so you’re not Trent Reznor or Drake, but you do make music. Will you be able to get your music on Apple’s streaming service? And what about these artist pages for connecting with fans? Answer: yes to both, if you like. Apple today gave a lot of lip service to independent producers and “bedroom” music makers – even going as far as showing the latter in their video. (He had a vintage M-Audio Trigger Finger Pro and a new IK Multimedia iRig Pads, no less.) It seems there are specific plans, too, posted for the moment on a page …


As Startups Lure Music Makers to the Cloud, A New Incentive: Money

For most music producers, managing media involves scattered files on hard drives and the occasional file transfer service. There are now three fresh big players vying to convince you to start uploading, managing, and collaborating on music production online. Unlike most music technology products, traditional bootstrapped affairs involving selling software or hardware, these companies have the Internet – and startup culture and funding – in their DNA. And they’re fundamentally services. is a Dropbox-powered tool that focuses primarily on collaboration, and began its life in Manhattan incubator betaworks. On the two coasts, two other companies have millions of dollars …


Apple’s One-Click Link to Remove Unwanted U2 from iTunes Marks a Textbook Marketing Fail

Execution is everything. Musical tastes are personal. And it seems that force-feeding people a new album from U2, unsolicited, doesn’t go over well. Apple giving away U2’s new Songs of Innocence is in itself not a bad thing. But there are two problems. One, the album is poorly reviewed – think Paul McCartney “Wonderful Christmastime” rather than Abbey Road. Two, because the album simply appeared in purchased music – and because iTunes (cleverly enough) displays what you’ve purchased from iCloud – it showed up in people’s collections when it didn’t belong. So, we’ve learned something. This doesn’t work. And as …


SoundCloud Explains Their New Plans to Us – And How Ads Will Work

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 …


Propellerhead Balance, in Video, Succeeds in Being Different From Other Audio Boxes

As an addendum to our first look at Propellerhead’s new Reason 6 announcements (including incorporating Record), Propellerhead points us to a promo video of their new Balance audio interface. We’ve seen efforts before to make software more appealing to newcomers by bundling an audio interface, so this is, on the face of it, hardly “stop-the-presses!” sort of news for digital musicians. But there’s some evidence the Propellerheads may have hit on a new formula. One, Balance doesn’t look exactly like every other audio interface on the market. The design is distinctive, and the wedge-shaped form would appear to make it …


Augmented Reality CDs into DJ Tools; DJing with SoundCloud, Clock Faces, More

First Augmented Reality Music CD :: Latrama :: Love & Projects :: from musikame on Vimeo. Want the CD as object to come alive again? Here’s yet another approach: make it into an input for webcam-based augmented reality. The album “Love & Projects” by Latrama uses the packaging to trigger augmented reality “DJing” of the playlist. Put the CD in front of your webcam, head to a browser-based tool, and you get turntable controls for playing the album live, complete with scratching, pitch, delay, filter, and volume controls. There are more downloads available, as well. Of course, this raises the …


Listen: Auditory Canvas, Dreamlike Album Made with Crowdsourced Funding

The limited edition version of the album is actually an object you might care about. So, yes, as the digital album evolves from strange plastic jewel cases into ephemeral download form, it’s evolving the other way, too. If anyone had listened to the predictions, albums would be irrelevant by now. Instead, finding a way to weave music into a coherent narrative of tracks, and imbuing the object with meaning and value, matters more than ever. Finding time and resources is as much a challenge as ever, but there are some new tools for funding and finding music, even in the …


Bendable, Musical Shoes for Nike, and How They Were Made

Shoes are the new turnables. Or at least that’s the conclusion you might reach after watching a new Japanese campaign for Nike’s Free Run+ running shoes. Apparently wishing to tout the bendable qualities of its new footwear, Nike enlisted sound artists to transform its product into a musical instrument. The shoes get plugged in, switched on, and mixed up, battle-style, as they sense when the shoe is flexed or moved in space. And yes, everything you see in the video is real: the shoes really are controlling digital sound live. We even have the Max patch to prove it. Lovers …


Digidesign Name is Gone, But Avid Reassures Customers in Open Letter

Avid users of the future? From the Vancouver Film School Sound Design for Visual Media program (CC-BY). A big motivation behind the push to unify its brands, says Avid, is that a new generation of independent producers is blurring the lines between video and audio work. Get used to saying “Avid Pro Tools.” Avid is retiring the “Digidesign” moniker this month as it works to unify its product lines in music production, music notation, and video production. I spoke on the phone yesterday with Mark Williams and Adam Castillo of Avid’s Communications team to talk about their plans. Today, they …