In the Age of Beats and Spotify, Winners – and Opportunities

There is an accelerating transformation of music listening; that much is clear. And if you change the way people listen, you will change the way people produce. So who and what wins in this brave new world? Let’s consider. The month of May brought still more signs of tectonic shifts, with Apple buying Beats and Spotify showing no signs of slowing. The Apple acquisition of Beats can’t really be measured in dollars, because Apple has so much cash on-hand. (US$150 billion – and expect that dry powder to start getting loaded into cannons.) At least unlike Facebook or Google, Apple …

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Pioneer, The Company That Made CDJ a Hit, Teases a Turntable

The vinyl comeback couldn’t hit much more of a high note than this: it seems Pioneer, the company that popularized digital DJing and CDJs, is building phonographs. Pioneer isn’t saying anything about the hardware that’s under plexiglass at Musikmesse, only that it’s a concept prototype. But they hardly need to. The hardware looks like someone took the most popular DJ turntable of all time, the legendary Technics SL-1200, painted it black, and re-lettered it with Pioneer markings. I don’t think they literally did that, though it almost doesn’t matter; the effect is unreal, like entering a bizarro universe where Pioneer …

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scratchtrackplug

Scratch Anything, in a $20 Plug-in: MIDI, Turntables, and Hosts Like Ableton Meet

Turntablism is still alive, but surprisingly, turntable techniques haven’t entirely harmonized with modern DAWs. One of the first products ever covered here on CDM was Ms. Pinky, a combination of software and vinyl, which recently saw a Max for Live iteration. But Scratch Track is about the most universal, easiest way yet to drop scratching into a project. It’s a VST plug-in, compatible with OS X (10.6 or later) and Windows. It works with turntables. It works with MIDI. It works with host automation. It works with host automation and MIDI even if you don’t have a turntable. And there’s …

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UE_6

Simon Pyke’s Melodic Imagination, Dancing and Doodling in a Science Museum [Warp Records]

Move over, Music for Airports. Now there’s Music for Museums. At Media Space at the Science Museum, London, UK-based creative studio Universal Everything recently explored the ability of visitors to make their bodies and hands shape the space. In 1000 Hands, guests take on God-like, Darwinian powers of illustration, inventing new, fanciful life forms by sketching their work, then unleashing these creations in the museum exhibit. It’s the long-missing opportunity to scrawl on the walls of the museum. There’s an iOS and Android app, too, if you can’t make it to England: http://1000hands.universaleverything.com/ In the companion installation, Presence, the studio …

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Boiling-Hot Summer: nd_baumecker in 3 Hours of Boiler Room Music

To take us out this weekend, we turn to a wonderfully obsessive DJ and producer, Berlin’s nd_baumecker. It’s hard to introduce Andi without sounding a bit like you’re doing the lead-up to The Stig on Top Gear. “They say he owns more than 20,000 records*…” …and hones a new needle for each, using only his teeth. They say the Ostgut Ton label veteran* has a secret lair inside Panorama Bar accessible only by kayak in which he keeps an impressively-complete selection of home organs. “All we know is…” nd_baumecker puts together one hell of a three-hour mix. 200 albums along, …

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Full-On Music Geekout: Schneiders Buero and RoughTrade, for Musical Delights [Videos]

If someone were to buy you a shopping spree, letting you roam free to stash anything you wanted in your cart, you could do worse than winding up with Schneiders Buero, the Berlin-based music gear boutique. And for records, the wonderful RoughTrade in London would easily be a top pick. Let’s combine them. That’s what happens in a new series of Schneiders Buero videos, as the man Mr. Schneider himself takes to the aisles of one of the world’s best-known record shops – and his own in-store corner full of musical creations. Getting on to some specific gear demos, we …

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How Music Label Vlek Makes Ephemeral Sound Physical, While Giving Away Their Catalog [Gallery, Interview]

When music moved from live venues to radios and recordings, artists had to find a way to respond. Now, labels struggle to be heard in the era of Spotify and streaming, always-on, always-overabundant media. We could talk grander themes, but the possibilities of this conflict are most vivid in a microcosm. Call it post-digital or what you will, but being digital now means something different. For Belgian label, Vlek, that reality takes a number of forms, suggestive of the direction for independent electronic music. And so, in Ssaliva’s release for Vlek, executed by Dimitri Runkkari (part of Brussels’ design studio …

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MixEmergency 2.2: Layer, Sequence, Step-Sequence Effects, in Beautiful Update

MixEmergency has been the “DVJ” tool of choice among many readers here, a surprisingly-powerful visual tool that integrates with Serato Scratch Live for hybrid vinyl/visual performance. It already gives Serato’s own visual offering, Serato Video, a run for its money. The latest update has a powerful effects tool that could be the envy of any visual software – not only in Serato-land. There are various updates, including UI improvements and reduced CPU usage and a variety of fixes and tweaks. But it’s the FX Sequencer that looks especially nice, and might have you wondering, “why doesn’t my VJ tool work …

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Low-frequency sine waves make for a record that looks beautiful, too.

WOW: One Album, One Really Low Sine Wave, Most Minimal Record Ever

Digital or analog, it doesn’t matter: any sound you hear is heard in the real world. The playback device, the environment, all impact the sound. For evidence, try playing a record with a single frequency and nothing else. That’s the case with WOW. Perhaps the best recorded equivalent of John Cage’s legendary four-plus minutes of scored silence, the record WOW is in physical form as minimal as could be. It’s contains a single, ultra-low-frequency pitch (hear it on YouTube below, provided you have some speakers or headphones with enough low-end response). WOW is, then, about where it’s played as much …

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Mission accomplished. Photo (CC-BY) Thoth God of Knowledge.

Create (Really) Analog Music: Music Video Made on Historic Edison Wax Cylinder

The miracle of recording is somehow no less extraordinary in this digital age – the ability to capture sound, the revolution that transformed music making worldwide, for better and for worse. In fact, if anything, the abundance of digital music is causing some people to rediscover the recording techniques that preceded it. Andy Deitrich of Chicago’s Mucca Pazza writes to share the experience of returning to that means of recording. I love the saturated quality of the sounds you get: it’s really evident how much the medium here colors the sound. Andy writes:

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