(CC-BY) Flavio Ensiki.

Stems for DJs and More: Here’s How A New Format Will Work

The most important thing to know about Stems, a new multitrack specification for audio, is that it’s simple by design. That simplicity means that it could really take off as a way of sharing music with multiple tracks, for DJing or live-remix applications. Stems won’t solve every problem of file exchange and sharing. It’s not a multichannel spatialization format. It’s not a sophisticated project format for storing metadata. I say that, because after we covered Stems at the beginning of this week, I found my inbox flooded with every use case for every file format imaginable, and complaints that Stems …

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djay Pro for Mac: A Serious DJ App with Spotify Integration, US$49

A full-featured DJ app can be yours for fifty bucks, and it can stream the songs you don’t have right off Spotify. djay Pro is here, and with it and a new generation of contenders come some serious shifts in digital DJing. Algoriddim have been making user-friendly DJ apps for a while. That started with a beginner-friendly Mac app, but extended to iOS and the until-recently-neglected Android platform (which is now at last fairly viable for mobile DJing). djay’s ease of use was already enough to make it appeal to casual DJs. Then, in May, Algoriddim pulled an ace out …

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New FedByMachines EP is Haunting – As Cut Recs Label is Going Subscription

Big players have gone subscription. But what about a boutique label? That’s the different distribution DFRNT has chosen. And whatever the model, his latest EP is simply gorgeous. Matt Earp unearthed this one and reports back. The interplay between free vs pay-for music in the digital world takes new twists and turns every year. Everyone from the majors to first-time producers eventually have to make decisions about whether to “sell” their music or give it away, and then decide what exactly the concept of “selling music” even looks like in 2014. As a group, subscription models have been a fertile …

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The record lives. Drip.fm co-founders Sam and Miguel merge subscription ease and affordability with high-quality downloads you keep, and even closer connections to artists and labels. Think "fan club," not "utility company." Here, Sam tells CDM how it came about. Photo: Will Calcutt.

Saving Downloads, Fans? Sam Valenti IV Talks Ghostly’s Drip.FM As Label Roster Grows

PK: In the digital age, subscription services or “all-you-can-eat” music gives passionate listeners nothing if not flexibility and a wealth of music. But they can also distance music lovers from labels they care about – and the reliance on streaming threatens to sever the special relationship you have with albums that are really special. Drip.fm is different. Founded by Ghostly International, it has the affordable monthly subscription rate – but with actual high-quality downloads you keep. First launched with some of Ghostly’s boutique-quality electronic music, it has since expanded to some big names. Today could be a watershed moment for …

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Carrying her musical life on her back - in more ways than one. Zoe Keating, by Nadya Lev for Coilhouse. Photo courtesy the artist.

Zoe Keating, Cellist Who Exposed Her Musical Finances, Talks Music Making, Distribution [Interview]

She shocked the music business by revealing she wasn’t making money on Spotify – then shocked them again by revealing she was making money on our own. Now, CDM’s Matt Earp talks to cellist Zoe Keating about surviving as a creative musician, and keeping the music coming. Hint: “exposure” is not necessarily the key to survival. -Ed. Zoe Keating is an avant-garde cellist, a Canadian transplant to San Francisco who now lives on its far outskirts. Her sound slips back and forth between the classical and electronic worlds, conjuring sylvan images and dusty warehouses with equal clarity. Two self-released full-lengths, …

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Quickie: Make a CD Case Out of a Piece of Paper

Quick! You need to send music to someone! You need to make it count! I love SoundCloud and whatnot, but with everyone so overwhelmed by music, there’s something about making something physical. We’ve covered this topic before, but: 1. I think we can all use a break from 2,000 word posts with 150 comments and controversy over deadmau5 (or Paris Hilton DJ debuts – staying away from that one). 2. CDM can only rarely link to wedding sites. This is one of those times. 3. With many variations out there, this one is especially nicely done, and nicely photographed, and …

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On Record Store Day, Music in Physical Places – In a Forest, Even?

If you’re heading out into the wilderness to find a record store, why not actually head out into the wilderness – the one with trees – and find music there? Today, a you’ve no doubt heard, is Record Store Day. The official site is a useful resource, today and around the year. Today brings a number of special physical releases, favoring vinyl but also including CDs. A mobile app download will help you locate record stores in your city, both in the US and other countries around the world. All of this does raise some deeper issues. Record stores can …

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Useful Music Tools, Built with Max 6, Released on the Mac App Store: Downloads, Developer Info

Make it with Max, sell it here. Photo: CDM. (and yes, this is now the desktop, not the mobile, App Store!) If you’re a Mac user, we’ve got some cheap and free tools for you. And if you’re a Max patcher, you may be surprised with how they were built: they were all exported from Max 6. This week, we welcome a guest writer developer Dan Nigrin. Amidst some new controversy about Apple and app distribution, here Dan looks at how Apple’s marketplace can indeed be useful to developers using Max 6, the popular graphical patching tool. (Incidentally, the libpd …

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A Massive Bundle of Game Music, the Magical Machinarium Score, and the Quiet Indie Music Revolution

As musical old-timers repeatedly sing the sad song of the supposed demise of the full-length album, a funny thing has happened. Lovers of games have taken up a growing passion for game music, and in particular the indie score for indie games. Independent game publishing and independent music composition – from truly unsigned, unknown artists – go hand in hand. Indeed, the download and purchase charts on Bandcamp are often dominated by game scores. Fueled by word-of-mouth, these go viral in enthusiast communities largely ignored by either music or game reportage. Far from the big-budget blockbuster war game, these scores …

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Events: NYC Hosts Free Summit with Music Tech Makers, Production and Distribution Talks

I’ll be flying from Toronto to Amsterdam, so as the song goes, “remember me to Herald Sq– God, sorry. It isn’t the prettiest part of Manhattan, exactly. Go in there and talk about music and then go to one of New York’s nicer parts. High Line! Photo by/(C) Oliver Chesler from last year; see the whole set. CDM is a presenting sponsor of the IMSTA FESTA in New York on Saturday. It’s a completely free event, but registration is required. What’s notable about this sort of event is that it tends to be more directly musician-focused than big conferences like …

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