Posts with «music» label

Courtney Barnett's web app lets you remix her latest singles

You don't have to be a Kanye fan (or buy a gadget) to remix a new album. MusicTechnotes that Courtney Barnett has shared a free, web-based stem mixer that lets you chop up three singles from the Australian rocker's upcoming Things Take Time, Take Time. You can isolate or highlight elements like percussion and guitars, and there's even a simple loop generator with start and end points. You aren't about to produce a drum-and-bass mix of "Before You Gotta Go," but you might get closer than you think.

This is a promo for the album, of course, and it's notable that you can't (officially) save your compositions. This might teach you a thing or two about layering in music, though. And it's free — you won't need more than your computer and some headphones to experiment with Barnett's tracks. Don't be surprised if other artists follow suit, even if they're unlikely to pull a Nine Inch Nails and release the raw track files.

YouTube Music with offline listening comes to Wear OS 2

YouTube Music is rolling out to some Wear OS 2 smartwatches starting today. Gen 6 smartwatches from Fossil and Michael Kors will be able to stream music from the service, as will Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, Pro 3 Cellular/LTE and E3 models. The app was previously released for Wear OS 3 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

It's the first YouTube Music smartwatch app that supports offline listening. If you're a YouTube Music Premium subscriber, you can download songs you can listen to offline and without ads. You'll be able to leave your phone at home and still listen to music while you work out or go for a walk.

The app includes the Smart Downloads feature, which updates the songs on your device when it connects to WiFi. Google says Premium subscribers can listen to more than 80 million songs and thousands of playlists from their wearable. The app, which is available through the Google Play Store, will hit more Wear OS 2 devices later this year.

Spotify rolled out an updated version of its Wear OS app last month. It also lets users download music to their smartwatch and stream tracks without the need to have a phone nearby.

Algoriddim's djay iOS app uses Shazam to recognize and sync with live music

Algoriddim has been working closely with Apple for years on its djay apps and regularly appears in the company's keynotes. Now, it's integrating another Apple product, Shazam, into its latest iOS djay app with the release of iOS 15. The new feature lets you can scan your surroundings and identify any song playing, whether at an event, listening to the radio or playing sets with other DJs. Once it picks out the song, djay will instantly load it onto the virtual decks and play it in sync with the external music source. 

Once loaded, you can create a mix with similar tracks, remix the song, apply effects and deconstruct it into components using the company's Neural Mix tech. It can also save songs into iOS 15's music recognition history in the control center, "providing users with streamlined access to all of their song discoveries," the company said. 

While this sounds like cool technology in search of an application, Algoriddim has a few use cases in mind. The main one is that you can identify a track you might hear and get it into your library with the tap of a button, or create an automated mix based on the recognized song. "djay can instantly provide you with similar tracks to the one you just heard, allowing you to quickly immerse yourself in a particular style," Algoriddim told Engadget. 

Another, more marginal use case is with back-to-back DJing. If you're playing in tandem with another DJ or in a lineup, you can pick up where the last DJ left off by identifying and syncing with their song before phasing into your own set. This goes a step beyond beat matching, letting you match the last DJ's song exactly. Mind you, many DJs may not care to replay the last DJ’s song or work with a playlist inspired by it, especially if they weren’t familiar with the tracks

The Shazam-enhanced version of iOS djay lets you save recognized music to your Tidal (music and video), SoundCloud, Beatport and Beatsource libraries (not Spotify or Apple Music). Other new features include the ability to add effects to the master audio output, enabled by new Audio Unit (extensions) features in iOS 15. That will let you better tailor the sound for broadcast or to match a PA system. Algoriddim's iOS djay update for iOS is now available for free, or you can get the Pro version for $6.99 per month or $49.99 per year. 

Apple Music will use Shazam's tech to ensure proper royalties for DJ mixes

DJ mixes are mostly absent from "premium" streaming services. That's mostly due to the fact that properly sorting out royalties for all the samples is a nightmare. You can find them on platforms like SoundCloud (unless they get taken down), but these songs can have literally hundreds of rights holders between the DJ, original artist, labels and even a festival or venue. To remedy the problem, and to massively expand the amount of DJ-mixed content on the platform, Apple worked with both major and independent labels on a system that identifies and directly pays rights holders on a mix. What's more, the company leveraged Shazam technology to do it for Apple Music. 

Apple explains that its new tool will let the streaming service ID and compensate individual creators in a DJ mix, even artists who recorded any sampled tunes. It's also the first major streaming service to do so. In collaboration with DJs themselves alongside festivals, clubs, promoters, curators and independent labels, the company says it's working with all parties involved to ensure fair compensation. Apple says this will give DJ mixes a longer shelf life when it comes to revenue since individual tracks, collections, compilations and even full festival sets will be available to stream like studio albums on Apple Music. 

There are thousands of DJ mixes on Apple Music already, and the service says it's adding more all the time. The company has already commissioned mixes for Black Music Month and Pride in addition to housing content from Tomorrowland's 2020 and 2021 digital festivals. Thanks to this new system, there's about to be a lot more to choose from. 

Starting this Friday, !K7's DJ-Kicks archive will be available for streaming. The label explains that 14 of those editions haven't been "in the market" for more than 15 years. Previously unavailable for streaming, Tomorrowland performances from Alesso, Charlotte de Witte, David Guetta, Diplo, Major Lazer, Martin Garrix, The Chainsmokers, Tiësto and more will be easily accessible. Mixmag is opening up its vault as well, and livestream platform Cercle will have a dedicated hub on Apple Music where listeners can stream archived mixes and live performances. And yes, much of this will be available for lossless streaming and you'll be able to listen offline too. 

This isn't the first time Apple has dabbled in managing royalties for DJ mixes. In 2016, the company began working with Dubset to bring previously unlicensed content to Apple Music. Dubset used a Gracenote database of clips to identify and assign rights. The system even allowed original artists to prohibit their songs from being used in mixes and to limit how much of a track could be repurposed. Dubset was purchased by Pex in 2020, where the system is used to scan social media audio and video content for unlicensed material. Apple's new Shazam-based setup, on the other hand, compares all parts of a mix to Apple Music's library of 75 million songs.

As you can imagine, all of the new content will be easy to find. Apple says DJs will have artist pages, if they don't already for any original music. And while the focus is on DJ mixes for now, the company says this system can be applied widely, for things like assigning royalties for hip-hop remixes and more. 

Spotify’s shared Blend playlists will rank your music compatibility with a friend

Back in June, Spotify introduced Blend, a shared playlist that pulls together songs from your listening history and that of a friend’s. Today, that feature is not only rolling out to Spotify users globally, but it also comes with some new improvements.

To start, each time you create a Blend playlist with a friend, Spotify will generate a match score, telling the two of you how close you are on your musical tastes. Like with the company’s end-of-year Wrapped feature, it will now also create a shareable story that tells you some fun facts about the songs and artists that made their way into your playlist. Spotify says it has also tweaked the cover art to make it easier to identify each Blend playlist you create.

All users can try out the feature. However, if you’re a Premium subscriber, you’ll see whose music taste contributed to each song in a playlist. To make your first one, tap the “Create Blend” option in the For You hub in the Spotify mobile app, and then invite your friend. Once they accept, Spotify will handle the rest, and you can share the resulting story the company generates about your playlist.

Apple is building a classical music streaming app after buying Primephonic

Apple is expanding its music streaming options after buying classical service Primephonic. Apple Music aims to release a dedicated classical music app next year, which will combine Primephonic’s user interface with some of Apple's own features.

"As a classical-only startup, we can not reach the majority of global classical listeners, especially those that listen to many other music genres as well," Primephonic wrote in a letter to users on its website. "We therefore concluded that in order to achieve our mission, we need to partner with a leading streaming service that encompasses all music genres and also shares our love for classical music."

Primephonic has closed its doors to new users and it will shut down on September 7th. Subscribers will get a prorated refund and six months of Apple Music access for free. They'll be able to listen to hundreds of thousands of classical albums while Apple builds the forthcoming app. Apple says all of those albums are available in lossless and high-res audio. Hundreds of them have spatial audio support as well.

Apple is promising Apple Music subscribers a "significantly improved classical music experience" following the deal, including Primephonic playlists and exclusive audio content. In the coming months, it plans to harness the capabilities of Primephonic to offer classical music fans improved browsing and search functions. You'll be able to look for works by composer and repertoire, and see "detailed displays of classical music metadata."

“We love and have a deep respect for classical music, and Primephonic has become a fan favorite for classical enthusiasts,” Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said. “Together, we’re bringing great new classical features to Apple Music, and in the near future, we’ll deliver a dedicated classical experience that will truly be the best in the world.”

Kanye West's new album 'Donda' arrives on a remix-it-yourself gadget

Kanye West is no stranger to dabbling with technology (he discussed a Teenage Engineering collaboration in 2019), but now there's a device you can buy for yourself. The rapper and electronics design firm Kano have introduced a Donda Stem Player that, as the name implies, lets you remix music from Kanye's upcoming album Donda (plus your own tunes) using song stems.

The puck-like gadget reportedly lets you isolate song parts and control aspects like bass, drums, samples and vocals. You can reportedly split "any" song into stems. We've asked Kano how this works, but it's unlikely that it will perfectly separate song elements — that's a difficult feat for a full-fledged PC, let alone something as portable as this.

The Stem Player also includes familiar tools including effects, four-channel audio mixing, live sampling and real-time loop and speed controls. You navigate much of the interface through four touch-sensitive "light sliders" with haptic feedback and customizable colors, and you can save and share your creations with othrs.

You can pipe audio through the built-in speaker, Bluetooth or a 3.5mm headphone jack through a variety of lossy and lossless formats (including AAC, AIFF, MP3 and WAV). You'll have just 8GB of storage to work with, though — minus the bundled Donda stems.

You can order the Stem Player now for $200. That's not a trivial outlay if you're eager to tinker with songs, but it's relatively affordable as far as electronic music-making devices go. Just be aware that it's really just one part of a larger creative toolset, not your ticket to stardom.

AI startup Boomy looks to turn the music industry on its ear

Music publishers have been on a spending spree in recent years, buying the catalogs and copyrights for songs of famous musicians at a frantic pace. Last December, Universal Music Publishing Group bought up Bob Dylan’s entire discography in a deal estimated at more than $300 million. Similarly, Stevie Nicks sold an 80 percent share of her works to Primary Wave Music for an estimated $100 million that same month. But as all this money changes hands for the industry’s biggest stars, one songwriting startup has plans to open the firehose of music royalties to the everyman.

“You see these huge deals, like the Bob Dylan deal with the publishing rights and all this money,” Alex Mitchell, co-founder and CEO of Boomy told Engadget. “It started with a recognition that most people are going to be left out of that and it caused us to have a conversation about equity in the music industry, 'how do we fairly remunerate artists, what's the role of labels,' there's just chaos happening in the music industry right now.”

Mitchell realized that one major obstacle keeping amateur musicians from becoming published musicians was a technological one. Setting up a home recording studio is no small task, and teaching oneself how to navigate the hyper-granular control schemes of professional-grade DAWs (digital audio workstations) like Ableton Live or Pro Tools can take months, if not years, to fully master. But what if you had an AI-based co-writer to handle the heavy technical lifting instead, similar to what Tik Tok and Instagram do for their creators?

“We really started looking at what it takes to draw creativity out of somebody, what kind of tool can you put in their hands — where there's so much of the process that's semi- or fully-automated — that they can just add their own layer of humanity to it.” What they came up with was Boomy.

“There's already AI being used in studios and in the music creation process,” Mitchell said. “A great example of this is Ozone auto-mastering. They have used artificial intelligence to be able to create great mixes, put great final polish on tracks, things like that.”

“So what we've done is we've taken a lot of those concepts and we've rewritten this stuff from the ground up,” he continued. “[It’s] less to think about how people usually make music, and more in the context of, if somebody doesn't have any skills at all, how fast can we get them making some stuff that they think is pretty cool?”

The web-based app is, essentially, a one-button music studio. Users can compose wholly original songs in around 5 to 10 minutes simply by clicking Create Song from the homepage, selecting the desired style of beat — whether that’s rap, lo-fi, experimental or “global grooves” — and then fiddling with the composition and mix until they’re satisfied. That song can then be uploaded to any of 40-plus streaming and social platforms where the song’s author can earn royalties based on the number of times their song is played.

Embedded below is a loopable, meditative jingle I put together during the course of my research. Despite my inherent lack of rhythm and general disinterest in music production, I found this to be a rather relaxing and enjoyable experience. After choosing the underlying beat and waiting a half-minute for the AI to generate a mix, the production process largely involved just shuffling icons around to adjust the composition and fiddling with dropdown menus to the instrument sets until I got something that I liked and think vaguely resembles the Konami menu screen music I grew up with. The entire process took less than 10 minutes.

— Andrew Tarantola (@Terrortola) August 20, 2021

Unlike recurrent neural network analysis models such as OpenAI or Google’s Magenta which, for example, can analyze Michael Jackson songs to be able to recreate the King of Pop’s signature sound, Boomy is not trained on copyrighted works. This is due in part because of the highly-segmented nature of copyright law, which varies drastically between nations and territories, but also because of the black box nature of such systems. If the infinite monkey theorem is any barometer, there is always a chance (albeit tiny) that a system trained on Michael Jackson might randomly spit out a perfect recreation of “Thriller.” And that’s very bad for the system’s designer.

“If I'm a music publisher and I own the rights to Michael Jackson,” Mitchell said. “I'm going to look at that model I'm gonna say ‘great, you know what, that's all mine’… if you're making a copy of somebody else's work, even if it's transformed, you're probably going to owe some publishing on that.’”

Instead, the team is taking a bottom up approach, leveraging previous experience in A&R research to train its AI in building beats and compositions from scratch. “We have some really advanced algorithms that are doing automatic mixing, deciding what sound should go together — what are the features of those sounds, how do those fit together, what is the perceived loudness rate of those sounds,” Mitchell explained.

Those features grew from a brute-force development approach — putting together various combinations of beats and compositions, then presenting them to beta testers. “In our first iteration of our model had a 98-percent rejection rate, but a 2-percent stay rate,” he continued. “And in that 2 percent, over millions of sessions, we started saying, ‘okay, here are groups of features that go well together.’”

Mitchell doesn’t view Boomy simply as a music creation tool, but as a means to achieve “​​the ideal world that we want to create," one which would allow creators anywhere on the planet to register themselves as a co-writer of their work alongside Boomy at their local publishing rights organization. However, because copyright law varies from country to country, Boomy has established an alternative way to ensure that songwriters get paid for their creative works.

“So what we're saying here is, a real world example would be, we just built a music studio, we filled it with great equipment, and spent millions of dollars building the studio,” Mitchell told Engadget. “You can come in and use it for free, make whatever you want, and on your way out, we're assigning you to our label, and we're going to give you an 80 percent rev share on everything we collect from what you made in the studio.”

“The IP vests with us,” he continued, noting that Boomy has been used to create more than 3 million songs to date, “which actually makes us, ironically, the largest record label in the world.” For users who are either already established musicians or otherwise want to obtain sole ownership of their songs, ”they can submit a rights request, and we can basically either sell the copyright to them or come to some other arrangement.”

While Mitchell could not share exact figures with Engadget, he did estimate that in the two years since Boomy’s launch, the company has paid out “tens of thousands' ' of dollars in royalties to its user base.

Moving forward, Mitchell foresees Boomy’s UI to add more additional control features and composition inputs, “over the next several months, we're really gonna focus and double down on vocal, melody and top line,” he explained.

The company is also working on new methods to earn royalties for its users. “We’ve got a bunch of influencer groups lined up and we've been doing some stuff behind the scenes to place tracks into YouTube videos,” Mitchell continued. “If you're a creator, or if you've got a podcast, rather than go pay for music rights, why not get paid for the music that you're using?”

SiriusXM launches music channel dedicated to TikTok hits

You can't escape viral TikTok songs. They're everywhere, and you're bound to hear them over and over again if you spend time on any social media platform. If you actually like listening to TikTok earworms, you can now also listen to them on SiriusXM. The satellite radio service has launched TikTok Radio, a full-fledged music channel dedicated to viral hits from the platform that's now available in vehicles, on desktop, connected devices and on the SXM app.

According to the companies, the channel will sound like a radio version of the platform's "For You" feed. In fact, some of TikTok's most popular creators will be presenting music and sharing stories about the viral hits you can listen to. They named Billy (@8illy), Cat Haley (@itscathaley), HINDZ (@hindzsight), Lamar Dawson (@dirrtykingofpop) and Taylor Cassidy (@taylorcassidyj), in particular, though the channel will feature more creators in the future. 

One of the shows you can look forward to is The TikTok Radio Trending Ten, which will have the creators presenting the current most popular songs on the platform. It will stream every Friday at 3PM ET with replays throughout the weekend. You can also listen to it anytime through the SXM app. DJ Habibeats (@djhabibeats) and DJ CONST (@erinconstantineofficial) will also serve as the channel's resident DJs and will mix trending hits live simultaneously on TikTok and Tiktok Radio every Fridays and Saturdays starting at 7 PM ET.

Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer of SiriusXM, said in a statement:

"Our groundbreaking new channel with TikTok is a first-of-its-kind, capturing the pulse of the global music culture, vibrancy and vitality found on the entertaining social platform and recreated as a full-time music channel on live national radio and our streaming platforms. The creators, who are also presenting the music on TikTok Radio, are deeply involved in the channel and will reflect the unique sound and personality of TikTok that is so enmeshed with today's music culture and community. TikTok creators will be delivering new audio experiences for our listeners as they tap into the latest music trends on TikTok."

'Madden NFL' now has a soundtrack album

You'd think EA would have released a Madden NFL soundtrack years ago given its penchant for licensed music, but no — it's only getting to that now. The publisher has teamed with Interscope Records to release its first album for the football game franchise, Madden NFL 22: The Soundtrack. The title unsurprisingly tries to walk the line between big names and indie cred with artists like Swae Lee, Tierra Whack and multiple up-and-comers.

The full game will include more than 50 extra tracks while you're playing the new Yard mode, including originals from artists like Killer Mike and hit-of-the-moment songs from the likes of Drake and Lil Baby.

You can stream or buy the soundtrack through common services like Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer. This probably won't convince you to buy Madden if you weren't already sold on the formula, but that's not really the point. Much like other game soundtracks, it's another way to capitalize on the game beyond the usual sales.