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As PRS battles SoundCloud, what does it mean for your own music?

PRS for Music, a UK performing rights organization, at the end of last month sued SoundCloud for copyright infringement on behalf of its members. The action may prove a decisive moment for the Berlin-based streaming service. It represents a collision between SoundCloud’s approach and the organizations involved in administering copyright, and more broadly, between the conventional models for sharing and monetizing music and those evolving on the Internet. I spoke to representatives from PRS and SoundCloud to try to get greater clarity. Those responses were naturally a bit guarded, as the two are actively engaged in legal action. However, there’s …

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Native Instruments CEO, SoundCloud CTO talk music’s future direction

With each creation tool, each means of broadcasting audio via the Web, the force of music technological access accelerates. What was once limited to an elite able to make use of studios and labels spreads to more corners of the globe. But what will that democratization mean? Earlier this summer, I got to speak to two people whose companies have been instrumental in the ways in which people make and share music today. Eric Wahlforss is co-founder and CTO of SoundCloud; Daniel Haver is CEO of Native Instruments. Those jobs keep them pretty busy, so this is the first time …

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iPhone app for making cover songs, a sign of a changing music world

The music industry is fantastic at hindsight. We’ve obsessed over the spread of online piracy, the death of the CD, then the impact of streams. But every measure of the business model is somehow framed around acquiring records. And it’s about passive consumption. We have to remember, though, that passive consumption is itself really the outlier. Until the dawn of recording, music only existed when you played it. Our current copyright and licensing system was first structured around sheet music. And that world never went away. Precise recordings can give you the experience of listening, but no technology can give …

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Grooveshark Streaming Site Dies, Apologizes

I fought the law and the law won. Grooveshark, announcing the April 30th shutdown of their streaming music service: We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation. They go on to concede that hundreds of other services provide the same ability to listen to music without violating the ownership of music. And they’ve lost everything, from patents to the site itself.

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Two Pacemaker – Spotify Screenshots That Show For Serious DJing, Downloads Are Here to Stay

Sometimes, images say it all. Pictured below is what happens when you try to use Pacemaker’s Spotify functionality on the iPad without an Internet connection. Tracks simply don’t play at all. Even though Spotify Premium users have offline access to their tracks when listening one at a time, you won’t be able to DJ that way any time soon. Above, you’ll see that you can’t record mixes even with an Internet connection if you try to use a Spotify song. But given how many small, boutique labels and independent artists rely on enthusiast DJs to care enough to download their …

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Push play, eh? Photo (CC-BY) Annie Roi.

Taking On Controversy, with RA Critics Roundtable, from Pressing Play to Running for the Border

Sometimes, it’s worth pushing pause on overheated blog diatribes and angry Facebook threads. Step away from the computer, you can have a real conversation. Resident Advisor, in the latest installment of their regular Critics roundtable, takes on three hot-button issues with a mix of people able to bring some nuance to the chatter. And since it’s a podcast – part of their excellent RA Exchange series – you can listen while doing dishes or driving to work. I’m one of the panelists in the series, but all three are touch some vital issues: Visas and cross-border international shows. Australian-born DJ/producer …

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A Glimpse of the Soundplane Controller, Innovative Tactile Multi-Touch, in the Lab; Call to Action

Alder Soundplane prototype with blanks of reclaimed redwood and Doug Fir. Photo by Randy Jones; used by permission. On tablets, on displays, multi-touch control these days is calibrated largely as a software interface – more Starship Enterprise panel than violin. As such, it works well for production tools and exploring compositional ideas. But it falls far short of being an instrument: even on the much-hyped iPad, touch timing and sensitivity is too imprecise, and the absence of tactile feedback and real, kinetic resistance makes you feel like an operator rather than a musician. Several projects in experimental instrument research seek …

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Ableton Delivers Max for Live Improvements and Guidelines, Responds to Feedback; Full Details

Max for Live, in action: a graphical programming environment inside Ableton Live. Photo (CC-BY-ND) akihiko.japan Max for Live, now into its second year, is a tool with an ambitious goal: take the custom music software creation, visual-patch-programming powers of Max/MSP, and put them inside live performance and production host Ableton Live. It’s not the only tool that allows you to hack your own instruments and effects, or customize how your music tool works – several hosts now offer scripting and patching options. But it’s both unique in its depth and breadth, and paired with the tool most popular with musicians …

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Creative Commons, CBC, and Music for Commercial Use: Addendum

The Canadian Broadcasting Centre, viewed from above. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Benson Kua. To me, a license is a tool: it’s a means to an end. But that means that the tool ought to be doing the job you chose for it. After news broke that the Canadian public broadcaster CBC was moving away from Creative Commons, we launched on CDM into a somewhat informal (and occasionally heated) discussion of CC licensing and specifically the non-commercial restriction most musicians attach to their music. Here’s a summary of what I can conclude from those conversations. Abuse of non-commercial CC material is rampant. Very …

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CBC Dumps Creative Commons; Non-Commercial Licensing to Blame?

I’m able to use this particular image as CDM is itself under a Share Alike license. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Andy Melton. I have no problem with copyrighting music. So I’ll be blunt: my ongoing impression of Creative Commons licensing is that you should either choose a license that allows for commercial use, or opt for traditional copyright and licensing. The popular “non-commercial” restriction is problematic. It does too little to prevent exploitation, and too much to prevent exactly the kind of use that’s the reason you’d choose CC in the first place. That’s not an effective compromise; it’s more like a …

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