soundcloudscreen

SoundCloud Partners with Warner; What Does That Mean?

Since the summer (or earlier), you’ve been hearing that online streaming service SoundCloud would partner with big content makers. But noticeably absent was any official announcement of a label. Well, a huge chunk of that picture just came together. SoundCloud and Warner Music Group today announced that they had inked a new partnership. The WMG announcement is huge – the global music conglomerate is just shy of 42% of worldwide market share. They’re the major among majors, the biggest US label, and the biggest publisher. Oddly, many in the press jumped the gun on this announcement, claiming Warner had made …

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Massive Traktor Kontrol S8 Controller is Here – Now Who’s it For?

The Kontrol S8 is now standards bearer for Native Instruments’ DJ line. It’s such big news, you might hear about it outside the world of DJ tech followers. You’ve likely seen it already – this may be the most-leaked, most-teased DJ product in history. But now that it’s fully revealed, the S8 is almost certain to fan the flames of an ongoing debate: Just what is digital DJing, anyway? First, we can at least work out what the S8 is. It’s an audio mixer with control surfaces on both sides. It’s hardware made specifically to sell software (or the other …

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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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touchdj

This Prototype Imagines DJ Controllers with Touch, Today – No iPad in Sight

While everyone has been pouring over leaks of Native Instruments’ new Traktor controller, few took notice that one enterprising engineer has made his own touchscreen prototype – an entirely DIY effort, from the guy who first took controllers to the market. Kontrol-Dj, the decade-long, one-man engineering shop for DJs, over the summer quietly showed a custom solution for adding touchable displays to existing DJ controllers. There’s capacitive multi-touch support – out of the box, working with Image-Line’s Dekcadance software. And for now, this little video is about the only DJ rig not involving an iPad or Android tablet that uses …

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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 …

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Apple Watch a Likely Target for Music Making Applications – Experimental and Otherwise

Apple Watch could be the first in a new wave of wearable technology for musicians. The idea isn’t new. We’ve seen various notions involving wearing extra controls for music. In fact, the whole category of alternative interfaces is deeply indebted to Michael Waisvisz, who helmed STEIM for many years and whose interface The Hands inspired generations of musical gloves and gestural interfaces. Guitarists have had various rings to wear; IK Multimedia is currently experimenting with rings that aid in gestural control of iOS. Apple Watch may not become the accessory the iPad and iPhone have for music, but – partly …

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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 …

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Dark Shadows: Listen to Stroboscopic Artefacts’ Lucy Mix and Reflect on Music and Society

Here, in the season so many associate with sun and sand, the gothic factories of dark techno continue to clang away. So, yes, the results may not be cheery. But the music defining this new generation of adventurous techno is uniquely focused on timbre. It is a soundscape set against the groove, not only about tweaking just the right high hat, but forging some terrain of sonic design, taking the listener on a journey to actually find something new. It makes landfall on undiscovered countries, rather than simply assembling an expected framework for the dancefloor. It also carries with it …

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Can a Pioneer Turntable Do What a Technics Turntable Couldn’t?

I stand by the plot as far today’s announcement that Pioneer is remaking the Technics 1200. This is a straight-up remake, bearing no real direct relevance to the rest of Pioneer’s offerings other than name. But as with the KORG MS-20 or the Moog Keith Emerson Modular, just reissuing something from the past already adds a subplot. First, it’s worth reconsidering what Panasonic, makers of the Technics turntable, said when they exited the market: We are sure that retailers and consumers will understand that our product range has to reflect the accelerating transformation of the entire audio market from analogue …

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Wu Tang Debuts Song in Hackable Form: New Track on Blend First

If the album business model is collapsing, the frantic rush to everything else is at least interesting. Hip hop as a genre, of course, came from a deconstruction and reconstruction of the album, from the early evolution of DJ techniques and sampling. So, the fact that Wu Tang is skipping the conventional release altogether is new, but it’s also connected to history. Sure, plenty of artists have gone for remix contests and the like. What’s different in Wu Tang’s case is that this time, the debut track “So Many Detailz” from their Parent Advisory will head straight to Blend as …

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