Vinyl’s Resurgence Thanks to Indie Stores, DJs – And It’s Growing

For years, pundits have wondered what physical form would accompany the ephemeral nothingness of digital downloads. Maybe it would be USB sticks, or t-shirts, or big coffee table books, or strange sculptural totems, or USB sticks shaped like cassette tapes. Funny story. What if it turned out just to be the vinyl record? What if vinyl, reborn, really is what today’s digital music scene looks like in tangible form? The counter-narrative, domain of the naysaying cynic, is that the vinyl record is an ill-conceived throwback, a punchline to the joke of valueless music. Vinyl as hipster parody, as Portlandia sketch, …

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Post-Christmas Deals on Apps, Software, More – Even a Game with Procedural Music [Bargain Roundup]

As more sales – particularly software – move online, we’re finding that musicians can save a lot on their tools by waiting on sales. Black Friday / Thanksgiving / Cyber Monday saw steep discounts on some terrific stuff, and now there are loads of sales in the quiet period from Christmas to New Year’s. Half off Lemur (through 19 Jan). One particularly tempting deal – especially if you’ve got a winter project in mind – comes from our friends at Liine. Lemur, my favorite controller app on iOS, is now 50% off. And LiveControl 2 has just added essential support …

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MeeBlip Open Synth: Read Reviews, Hear It, See It

CDM, working with Reflex Audio in Canada, makes hardware. We would love for you to have it, so we’re doing two things. Through Sunday night, 11:59 PM North American Mountain time, we’re shipping our flagship synth for free. And, oh yeah, we’ll also start talking more about it. The sale is now over, but thanks to all of you who responded! We look forward to getting a lot of MeeBlippery to you!) Lately, I’ve been having a surprising, repeat conversation. It’s a reason you should never, ever hire me to do your PR. It goes something like this: “Oh, and …

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VIDEO-SL, Video for DJs, Turnablists: $99 Deal, CDM Giveaway, and How it’s Used

VIDEO-SL is the video plug-in for Serato’s Scratch Live, extending the turntablist / virtual vinyl metaphor from sound to the realm of video. Once loaded, you can manage video clips and control them with vinyl or CD as if they lived on records, a clever rendition of something that would technically be impossible (or at least difficult) in the non-digital world. Ed.: A reader notes that in fact there are encoded “video vinyl” records; I’m not sure the behavior, however, would be the same as audio – that is, what’s unique here is treating the vinyl video signal as exactly …

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VIDEO-SL, Video for DJs, Turnablists: $99 Deal, CDM Giveaway, and How it's Used

VIDEO-SL is the video plug-in for Serato’s Scratch Live, extending the turntablist / virtual vinyl metaphor from sound to the realm of video. Once loaded, you can manage video clips and control them with vinyl or CD as if they lived on records, a clever rendition of something that would technically be impossible (or at least difficult) in the non-digital world. Ed.: A reader notes that in fact there are encoded “video vinyl” records; I’m not sure the behavior, however, would be the same as audio – that is, what’s unique here is treating the vinyl video signal as exactly …

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Topspin vs Bandcamp vs Both: One User’s Thoughts on DIY Web Music Platforms

With direct-from-the-artist sales catching on and some superb tools, the question for the independent artist or label is, which tool is worth your time? We’ve seen plenty of discussion revolving around Topspin Media and Bandcamp. Bandcamp earned interest early with a dead-simple DIY digital store for artists; Topspin has become widely available more recently, but had as an early draw merch stores and free download email capture as major features, among many others. Artist Tricil sung the praises of Topspin in April. Since then, I did my own LP release on Bandcamp, about which I hope to share experiences soon. …

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Tricil Measures Topspin: One Solo Artist on Making it Online, Comparing Bandcamp

We hear plenty of hype about the Web’s power for artists, but what happens in the real world? That question is doubly interesting now that Topspin, already influential in its early test run, is available to everyone. Atlanta-based artist Tricil joins us for a special guest post to answer just that. It’s a chance to peer in the head of a Topspin power user. (If anyone wants to rebut this with the Bandcamp perspective, go for it.) I was curious, having followed this solo electronica performer, how his use of Web promotion and commerce tool Topspin was working for him. …

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Black Friday Deals: NI Half Off, Rain Computers, and Gorgeous $150 TMA Headphones

Photo (CC-BY) Lululemon. (Bonus points if you spotted their logo, yoga fans, though “ohm” works well for us, too!) Black Friday, named originally for the day on which retailers typically broke even for the first time in the year (think black ink), has become a holiday for sales in the US. I’ve seen a handful of deals even in our world of music making tech; here are a few of the best. Native Instruments has a sale through Monday that cuts prices in half on individual Komplete instruments and effects. Note that this is just for a la carte additions; …

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An Ode to the CD by CD Baby; Could You Really Love Music Buyers This Much?

A tower of plastic, and a photographic reflection on the strange physical form music took at the height of the CD. Photo (CC-BY-SA) William Hook. Can music as a physical object have value and meaning again? For many music enthusiasts, that affection has turned back to the vinyl record, not the CD. (How many artists have we seen lately offering vinyl as the “premium” package for listeners?) At an extreme, there’s Alessandro Cortini’s SuONOIO, an album that has its own accompanying custom synthesizer. But while we ponder this question, the one that seems the perpetual topic for music conferences and …

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Cyber Monday, Ongoing: Delicious Synths, Effects for $5-20 from audioMIDI

The EMS VCS3 has inspired a virtual synth. You can try to get someone to give you a hardware EMS for $20 – or you can take advantage of this deal. Photo: Rosa Menkman. Online retailer audioMIDI has begun a new sale I really love called the “No Brainer” series. They offer some carefully-selected instruments and effects for prices like $5, $15, or $20. These aren’t clearance bin deals, either; they’re some of the best plug-ins on the market, in either full versions or slightly stripped-down (but fully-functional) editions. audioMIDI has exclusively released details of the deals they’ll offer Monday …

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