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 …

READ MORE →

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 …

READ MORE →

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, …

READ MORE →

NI Traktor Kontrol S8: Big Screens, Remix Controls – and Why Killing Jog Wheels is Good

Numark may have announced this week that it’s shipping the Numark NV controller, adding two displays with a window on Serato. But Native Instruments, for their part, appear no longer to be satisfied letting you hear about their upcoming Traktor Kontrol S8 via leaks on forums and social media. (Yes, uh… some of you noticed that.) No, this time, we get to see the Kontrol S8 in an official Native Instruments video. And right away, you’ll notice a big difference between Numark’s and Native Instruments’ perspective on the future of the controller: the S8 ditches the big jog wheels. Frankly, …

READ MORE →

Pioneer DJ Got Sold So Pioneer Can Focus on Cars, and the DJ Division Can Keep Growing

Spin off those spinning CDJs. Pioneer DJ is now a separate company, sold to an equity firm in New York at the price of roughly US$551 Million. Pioneer Corp in its past form was diversified in the old-fashioned model of Japanese brands. So, yes, it made the mixer and the CD player in your discotheque … but also your car stereo, and iPod docks, and earbuds, and a system for monitoring your cycling activities while you pedal bicycles, and it put its name on all of them. (This is the same country where the Yamaha brand is on both jetskis …

READ MORE →

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 …

READ MORE →
discoipod

The iPod is Dead; Now Stop Being So Weepy and Start Looking at the Future

It happened just as Apple was giving us one thing many of us couldn’t imagine wanting (a watch), and one thing we definitely didn’t ask for (“buying” U2’s new record for us). Apple quietly killed the iPod Classic. That is, the iPod touch lives on as an iOS handheld minus a cellular radio, and there’s an app on iOS. But there is no standalone device, with the as-expected discontinuation of iPod Classic. Correction: there is one. The US$49, 2GB iPod shuffle is still available. But it’s a pale shadow of the iPod line. This is a big deal. It means …

READ MORE →

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 …

READ MORE →

Watch Elektron and Roland AIRA Sing, Live: Dark, Dubby Techno by Phelios [Video, Listen]

There was a time when “live” or live PA meant “I’ve hauled a bunch of gear to this gig and made a mess of cables and I’m going to improvise live for you.” Now, too often, it means “I’m going to DJ with Ableton Live instead of Traktor or CDJs.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s not so much about a laptop or hardware. But there is a spectrum – a useful spectrum, applicable to different artists at different times. And if you really want “live,” you want an artist who constructs music before your eyes out of building blocks. Electronic …

READ MORE →

Apple MacBook Refresh Makes 13″ Retina a Great Sweet Spot for Music

The laptop is such an obvious part of music making today, it’s almost easy to understate its importance. But here’s the bottom line: for many musicians, it’s the most important gadget they’ll haul around with them. The glowing Apple logo may be the butt of some jokes, but it’s there for a reason. It’s tough to beat the versatility of a laptop for music making – and it’s tough to beat Apple on value. No, I really said that. On paper, Apple’s machines are pricey. But while OS X, like any OS, is a complex beast and far from perfect, …

READ MORE →