All those pads – it took virtuoso finger drummer Mad Zach to take advantage of them.
Mad Zach’s five free Drum Racks accompany today’s release of Ableton Live 9.2. Since he, frankly, makes most of us look bad with his agile use of the Push hardware, I wanted CDM to talk to him more about what he’s doing. He joins us to share some tips for live performance, production, DJing, and more.
But today, in addition to the release, we get a closer look at the free Mad Zach sample pack included to help you exploit all 64 pads of Ableton’s Push hardware — plus some insider details on changes to the Live API that will impact power users and add-ons for Live.
First, let’s review what 9.2 adds. It’s some subtle stuff, but details I think a lot of you were anticipating:
Better latency compensation. Lower latency for plug-ins and Max for Live, plus latency-compensated automation.
Warping sounds and works better. Downbeat detection is better (phew!) and you can Warp Selection for the first time. Also, warping is more precise and punchier (in the better-sounding Complex and Complex Pro modes).
There’s a tuner. Hardly earth-shaking, but good that’s finally standard – whether you’re using a guitar or synth.
Max 7. The latest-and-greatest Max is now baked into Live – and that’s a great thing, given the cool stuff Max 7 includes (a lot of it waiting on this very Ableton update).
Push is better at aftertouch. Push harder. Aftertouch implementation itself is improved, and it’s supported in more factory sound patches, too.
Push touch strip does mod. You can now add modulation with the Push touch strip – maybe even more useful than pitch bend (already supported).
Push has a 64-pad layout. Whereas previously triggering samples and such split the Push layout into a separate step sequencer and pads, now you can use all 64 pads if you choose.
And, the bonus: to exploit those 64 pads, you get a free pack from Mad Zach pre-loaded with samples to try out. He walks you through that video here: Continue reading »
As the transformation of music heats up, the discussions are heating up, too.
Case in point: yesterday’s report on Eternify certainly earned some angry responses.
I was of the opinion that Eternify was a decent gimmick – a way of showing just how small fees from streamed music are. Imagine if the music you bought only got a fraction of a cent to the artist each time you played it. I don’t think there’s practically an album in my collection I’ve listened to enough times that streaming fees would add up to purchase fees.
Now, does that mean that Spotify or Apple Music are the end of music? Not necessarily. It’s clear that the industry built around record labels hasn’t always served artists well. (Cough. Understatement.) Streaming services offer more questions. What sort of access will artists have to getting their music on these services directly – even bypassing a label? What sort of control will they have once it’s there? How can they help people find their music, and what sort of data about listeners can they collect?
In other words, we’re entering a more multi-dimensional industry. Instead of focusing on the actual purchase price of a recording, or even a per-play license fee in the conventional collections model, the game now is really about what the total value of a service is to artists. Continue reading »
What initially seemed to be a conversation about streaming revenues for artists more or less this week became a conversation … about Taylor Swift.
But it’s the debate behind Apple Music that is somewhat puzzling. Taylor Swift wasn’t the only one focusing concerns on Apple Music’s quarterly free trial. Labels were fixated on the same worry.
The reason this is odd is that it ignores the fact that even when users pay for a subscription, rates are woefully inadequate. Music Business Worldwide reported a study from France that confirms what many had suspected. Majors get a whole lot of the cash from a subscription fee. Most of the money stays in the hands of the labels; artists see as little as 11% of that ten dollar monthly fee. (The one bright spot: they’ll get a bit more if they’re registered as the writer, too – separate fee.) These numbers seem to be typical not only of France and something like Spotify, but other countries and Apple Music, too. (One difference: Europe takes an astonishing bite in the form of tax, which is a bit frustrating in a business that already has razor-thin revenue.)
The most telling stat to me is the one that was least reported from that study. Net income is an stunningly low 5% for the labels. The MBW article is suspicious of that figure, but I could believe it isn’t far off the mark. Essentially, marketing costs are such that labels are very nearly paying to have their music played. And that seems feasible given that a lot of people play music after searching for it – without the marketing budget, that music might not get played at all.
So kudos this round not to Taylor Swift, but to Ohm & Sport, who this week built a tool called Eternify. The Web app finds 30 seconds of your favorite artist and plays it over and over again – running up play counts and revenues. Leave Eternify running, and you can at least get beer money. But the app – whose 30-second loops prove oddly hypnotic if you actually leave your speaker on – just shows the absurdity of the streaming business model.
Eternify figures revenues of half a cent per play. Spotify has estimated fees as high as $0.08, but you still get the idea. And even if Apple Music sets a higher rate, you can do the math. Streaming earns a fraction of what downloads did. Continue reading »
This is the way DP – Digital Performer – looks in version 9. The tried-and-true Mac DAW now has Retina Display support on that platform, and looks like a viable option on Windows, too.
DP9 may not get the amount of attention on the forums and such as some rival DAWs (Logic, Cubase, Ableton), but it has a hugely loyal user base and dominates in film and TV production. The DP9 release seems mainly about giving that loyal user base the stuff they want.
The big features: Retina UI on the Mac, lots of workflow improvements (including score export), and new bundled MX4 synth and effects, including one effect that turns your guitar into a synth.
First, the internal features:
Separate automation lanes when editing sequencing (for audio, MIDI automation, plug-in settings, etc.), as seen in some other DAW arrangement views. That same view also gets a Spectrogram.
Retina themes – Retina resolution for existing themes and that purty new DP9 theme. Unfortunately, this is Mac only, so doesn’t help you if you’re running a PC at higher resolution (though I suppose that’s more rare).
Add tracks quickly with the ability to have at all the track types you need in one go.
Keep plug-in windows floating.
MIDI learn with plug-ins, including Custom Consoles.
Mute MIDI notes
Search by Markers, Chunks, and plug-in preferences.
On a very personal note, I’m saddened this week to learn of the news of the death of the great film composer James Horner.
See him talk about his approach to scoring Field of Dreams at top for some of his approach. Best of all, you get to see him at the piano.
When I was a kid, Horner was one of the people who inspired me to investigate composition. I was entranced with the sweeping romanticism of the Star Trek II score that was his big break – an aching, yearning, but dreamy vision of the future, filled with tension in the right moments and fine details of inventive timbres, a panoramic view of space. (I expect I wore out my cassette tape of that soundtrack, and the almost unimaginably long litany of films that were the accompaniment to growing up as an orchestral music lover and young cinemagoer in the 80s.)
This interview regarding Aliens is perhaps the best fit for the case. He talks about the struggles of working with James Cameron up against the clock, and even the woeful inability of the vaunted Abbey Road studio to handle more complex ideas (or patching synths).
“When you grow up, you can be whatever you want. you don’t have to be a dj.”
“This is lit.”
“It’s just really fun dancing and stuff.”
I’ve spent some time at Cielo and – all due respect to the residents – these kids.
It’s funny, my Dad and I were on the phone yesterday and somehow wound up in a conversation about SFX Entertainment, and he asked me about their confusing use of the acronym “EDC” for electronic dance culture. It’s this. Then everything else will work out. There’s hope for all the rest of us yet. And, uh, thank you Vfiles, whoever you are.