Signs of Change, Ingenuity in Music Distribution

Photo (CC) Clonny. Details on Flickr. With the weakened world economy, content in general faces plenty of gloom and doom. Advertising models are severely weakened. But, oddly, in the world of music, there are some positive signs that the shift to decentralized, online distribution might actually be going well — and maybe economic pressures are simply ensuring the parties involved find some way to make the adjustment. And music distribution is becoming wonderfully weird and diverse – maybe far more so than in recording’s so-called golden age, an era in the past dominated by racial division, predatory labels, and a …

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Universal Music: Out with DRM, In with Google Android and Mobile

Photo (CC) lee leblanc. CNET has a terrific interview with Rio Caraeff of Universal Music Group’s eLabs. Caraeff is a new breed of record exec – the kind of people we’d actually want running the industry. He’s a software guy and a mobile guy. UMG digital chief on iTunes, DRM, and Android [CNET Digital Media] The record industry has clearly seen the light on DRM, so that’s not really news, except that now you can see them saying it in public (and I imagine there has been long-running internal lobbying from those in the industry who got it long ago). …

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Nodal: Generative Music Software for Mac (Free for Non-Commercial Use)

If you’re interested in generative and algorithmic music – music that evolves organically rather than being pre-composed in start-to-finish linear fashion – you won’t want to miss this site. Nodal is a free (for non-commercial use) app for developing generative musical systems and transmitting MIDI. You’ll need a Mac (PowerPC/Intel) to run the software, but even if you’re on Windows or Linux, you’ll find a number of interesting research papers on the site. vinayk writes: The program is called Nodal – osx only, BEAUTIFUL interface, and FREE, it does a bit more sophisticated things but I basically plugged the output …

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Deckadance DJ Software Now in Beta for Mac

Ed.: Deckadance DJ software has been on our radar for some time on the DJ software front: lots of MIDI control (with one caveat; see below), agnostic support for multiple vinyl timecode systems, and most interestingly the ability to run the whole app as a VST plug-in. Dreams of loading Deckadance into Ableton Live danced through DJs heads. The app even added built-in support for Nintendo Wii remotes. But the software, from the development house that brought us FL Studio (“Fruity Loops”) was Windows only. No more: Image-Line has just released the latest beta of Deckadance, 1.20RC3. This version is …

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Wormhole2: Tool Routes Audio Over Networks, Now Open Source

Wormhole2 is a powerful, cross-platform (Windows + Mac) VST plug-in capable of transmitting audio between computers over networks. It allows effects chain routing between networked computers, boasts low-latency performance on LANs, and even works over WiFi or Firewire. But Wormhole2’s niche audience kept it from catching on more widely, and we hadn’t heard much from it lately, leaving some users worried Wormhole had fallen into a black hole. plasq, the wonderful people who brought us Skitch and Comic Life, have been giving their audio tools new lives rather than orphaning them. We’ve already seen plasq’s live performance-savvy instrument and effects …

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Digital Music, Universal, and Why Water is Thicker Than Coke

Photo: Ende, for AdBusters. Universal CEO Doug Morris makes an easy target for the blogosphere. This is the old-school record industry executive who called iPod owners thieves and wanted broad legal enforcement against piracy — enforcement that, in the end, seems to pale in comparison to the revenue generated by actually offering online sales. So, now that Morris has gone up against Wired, the blogosphere can easily see him as a dinosaur. Universal’s CEO Once Called iPod Users Thieves. Now He’s Giving Songs Away. [Wired News] But as artists, all of us face a fundamental problem: how do you put …

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NI Gets KOMPLETE Upgrade, But Spektral Delay, Vokator No More

Happily, despite this image, NI is not adding Apple iTunes-inspired CoverFlow to KOMPLETE. But they are refreshing synths and effects, updating to the shiny, new Kontakt 3 sampler, Guitar Rig 3 guitar rack, and Massive synth, and cutting the price. Lost in the shuffle: vocoding and spectral delays. Native Instruments remains the unchallenged heavyweight of instruments and effects. Apple’s Logic Studio 8 recently got a formidable upgrade and a big price drop (US$499), but its bundled instruments and effects, behind cosmetic improvements, are largely unchanged from previous versions. Cakewalk, Digidesign and others have also gotten in the ring, but no …

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Rax Rescued: Mac Virtual Instrument Rack Finds a New Home

Rax, the clever audio effect and instrument host for Mac, got a major update last year with performance rigs, custom visualizer support, and a slick UI designed by plasq. It’s an ideal tool for loading up some instruments and effects and playing on your Mac, especially if you want software that gets out of your way while you play another instrument or sing and don’t need a full app like Logic or Live onstage. But it never caught on with Mac users, even after I wrote a glowing review in Macworld. And it has certainly been overshadowed by more popular …

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GURU 1.5 Update is Free; Ultimate Soft Beatbox Arrives?

Ed.: Our friend Wallace wanders in search of truly transcendent software use, and he’s taking the leap to GURU. Expect a review soon, but here’s why we’re interested — especially with a welcome update arriving free. -PK. FXpansion has released the long-awaited Guru 1.5 update, which fixes numerous outstanding bugs and incorporates almost 100 new features. What’s amazing is that they’re offering this update for free to existing users. Again, this is another case of a company that could have slapped a major new version number on it and charged at least a modest fee for the update to existing …

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GarageBand 08 New Features in Pictures; Do Pros Use GarageBand?

Apple’s latest GarageBand 08 is nothing if not pretty. It remains a fun way for Mac users to get their feet wet in music making, and hopefully, simple as it is, something like Magic GarageBand will include users to brave the GarageBand icon that comes factory-installed on their Macs. But what about serious music making? There are still reasons to keep the latest GarageBand around. A streamlined interface makes applying effects much easier than before. Multi-take recording could make this version ideal as a sketchpad for recording ideas, even if you do the rest of your work in another tool. …

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