Archive for the ‘Digital’ Category

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An in depth look an Ableton 8

May 5, 2009

New groove engine

Groove patterns dynamically influence the timing and velocity/volume of audio and MIDI material. This can add life and swing to straight patterns, give a track more drive, or lend a piece an easy, laid-back feeling.

groove_browser

Live 8 enhances Live’s existing groove power with some important new features:

  • Apply groove patterns to any audio or MIDI clips in real time. Change the feel of the whole piece or just selected clips.
  • Choose from an extensive library of groove patterns, captured from songs played by some of music’s most original, expressive and soulful drummers.
  • Extract groove patterns from any audio or MIDI source to build your own groove library from your favorite tracks.
  • Quantize audio and MIDI in real time: non-destructive velocity and timing adjustments for rhythmic correction.
  • Randomize audio and MIDI timing for a more human feel

New warping engine

Live 8 is the next logical step in warping evolution with a new, more intuitive warping paradigm and some important Warp Mode enhancements.

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  • New, intuitive warping allows you to adjust events on the timeline instead of stretching and squeezing the timeline around the events.
  • Transient handles: Live analyzes and assigns handles to the transients in audio files automatically.
  • Slice by transient: slice audio to MIDI based on Live 8’s new transient analysis.
  • Enhanced Beats Warp Mode for improved warping of percussive material and new control options.
  • Improved Complex Warp Mode using élastique Pro for warping complex, polyphonic material with fewer artifacts.

Looper

Looper brings the creative power of classic sound-on-sound looping to Live, without the limitations of a hardware device. Inspired by some of our favorite sample/delay devices plus a good deal of Ableton wizardry, Looper provides plenty of scope in a super-simple interface.

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  • One-touch operation: Looper is set up for remote operation, so you can record, overdub, undo and more using a single footswitch (not included) and without touching the computer.
  • Endless overdubs, tape-loop style for infinite improv jams.
  • First loop sync: Live reads the tempo from the length of the first loop you record and automatically syncs up. This eliminates timing issues and lets you record without the click.
  • Simple loop management: drag and drop a loop from Looper into a clip slot to make a clip; drag a clip back again to reload it into Looper.
  • Multiple Looper sync lets you run as many Loopers as you want without any synchronization headaches.

New effects

Live 8 includes five powerful new effects, each with a strong personality and serious “classic” potential. These effects add a special Ableton shine to the well-known aspects of these devices, giving you effects that are not only practical and easy to use but also inspiring.

Vocoder: the famous “singing robot” effect. Vocoder is classic vocoding plus advanced, intricate control for flexibility and rich sound design.

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Multiband Dynamics: effective processing plus a refreshing approach to visualizing the dynamics involved lets you really see and hear what’s going on.

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Overdrive: models the circuits found in legendary stompboxes and forms a perfect complement to Saturator and Dynamic Tube.

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Limiter: an effective brick-wall limiter that will keep your peaks in check.

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Frequency Shifter: frequency shifting and ring modulation for flange effects, atonal harmonics and the sound of Fifties science fiction.

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Workflow enhancements

Version 8 makes Live easier with a number of most-wanted enhancements and some deceptively simple detail work.

Crossfades in Arrangement View: This much requested feature gives you real-time, non-destructive crossfades, neatly integrated into Live’s familiar workflow.

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The enhanced MIDI editor now features step recording, an insert marker and editing improvements.

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Group tracks let you group selected tracks (e.g. a group for drum tracks or a group for all backing vocals). Each group works like a separate mix buss with its own effects and routing settings. You can also collapse grouped tracks to preserve screen real estate.

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Multi-parameter manipulation: want to lower the volume of six different tracks? No need any more to adjust six different faders; just select all six tracks and adjust one volume control.

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Magnify the user interface for optimal visibility on dark stages or hi-res screens. Zoom out for the big picture.

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Browser waveform display: Audio and MIDI browser preview now with waveform display and scrubbing for more informed browsing and file selection.

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Plug-in parameters: Improved configuration and control for plug-ins with numerous parameters.

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And many more workflow improvements: Yes, that feature request you sent may well be in there somewhere…

New in Ableton Suite 8

Ableton Suite 8 is a package which gives you a rich world of sound, perfectly complementing the tools and features in Live 8. Suite 8 provides all the instruments a musician could hope for, including a wide range of synths, a powerful sampler, electric and acoustic drums, mallets, numerous sampled instruments: 10 instruments in all. Here’s what’s new in Suite 8.

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Whether you’re 5 or 95, you can benefit mentally, physically and socially from playing a musical instrument

May 5, 2009

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Everyone knows that playing musical instrument is fun and entertaining.  But did you also know that playing music is scientifically proven to benefit peope of all ages.

Children and Teens — Playing music positively affects the development of children’s cognitive skills.  It builds confidence, self-discipline and inspires creativity.  Also playing music can increase productivity and help kids and teens connect socially with their peers.

Adults and Seniors — Playing excercies the brain and helps fight memory loss.  It helps reduce stress and lower blood pressure.  And it can stave off depression and loneliness.

Science says there are good medical reasons to play…

  • Playing a musical instrument can reverse stress at the molecular level, according to studies conducted by Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems (as published in Medical Science Monitor)
  • Making music can help reduce job burnout and improve your mood, according to a study exposing 112 long-term care workers to six recreational music-making sessions of group drumming and keyboard accompaniment. (as published in Advances in Mind-Body Medicine)
  • Playing music increases human growth hormone (HgH production among active older Americans.  A study following 130 people over two 10-week periods measured participants’ levels of HgH.  The findings revealed that the test group who took group keyboard lessons showed significantly higher levels of HgH than the control group people who did not make music. (University of Miami)
Music lessons: Take up an instrument to enrich your life, mind thumbnail

You’ve decided to invest in music lessons for your child – not because you believe they’ll ever grace the professional stage, but because of the many other ways music can enrich a person’s life.

Or maybe as an adult you finally have the desire to commit to an instrument in a way you never did as a somewhat scattered 12-year-old.

Learning an instrument takes a fairly substantial commitment of time and money to realize those sought-after benefits – poise, discipline and better concentration, to name a few. So here are several important tips that can help the budding musicians in your house get more out of their musical education.

Gallup was commissioned by the National Association of Music Merchants (Namm) in the US to carry out a survey, which revealed 97 per cent of people either strongly or completely agree that music can help to develop creativity.

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In addition, 96 per cent feel playing in a school band can assist children to develop team working skills, while 93 per cent believe music can help them to make friends.

A further 88 per cent said music can boost school performance and 94 per cent think it can help kids to relax.

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Why not take advantage of our FREE Dolphin Music Lesson Blogs.

These are user generated videos picked by us here at Dolphin Music to save you time trawling the Internet for hours….

Have a go today!

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Get in touch on our forums and visit our artist pages

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Roland Announces Juno-G Version 2.0- Free download

April 30, 2009

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Roland has announced the release of a major system upgrade for the Juno-G Workstation Keyboard, adding Fantom-series audio sampling functionality that you can use alongside all the other Juno-G features.

The Version 2.0 software upgrade is a free download.

Included in the Juno-G Version 2.0 upgrade are these new features:

  • Sample audio from external sources or import audio phrases from the removable flash memory.
  • Samples can be assigned to trigger from the Juno-G’s function buttons or the Juno-G’s keyboard.
  • Velocity and note number can be assigned individually for each sample.
  • Adjust Start, End and Loop points using the Juno-G’s front panel control knobs.
  • Advanced sampling editing such as Truncate, Normalize, Emphases, Sample Chop and Combine are included.
  • Samples can automatically match bpm in real time to changes made to the tempo of your song.
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iPhone Roundup: Field Recording, DJ Tools, Odd iInstruments, Cinco de Mayo

April 29, 2009

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Now we’re talking: FiRe turns your iPhone into a serious recorder. No, really, a serious recorder – with advanced features and actual mic support.

Your pocket is bulging with power.

Anyway, the mobile software revolution continues. There’s so much stuff out there that it can actually be hard to track. Here’s a round-up to help you navigate everything that’s going on this week.

And even if you can’t stand another word about the iPhone, consider this: the explosion of iPhone software, more than just a fad, illustrates what happens when you give developers tools to make multimedia capabilities easier, then provide a distribution outlet. I don’t love everything about the iTunes approach, but those are lessons that could easily be learned in desktop and mobile development alike. The iPhone platform, if nothing else, is surprisingly uncompromising in the sound and visual interaction departments, especially for a mobile platform. And even desktop platforms could benefit from this kind of distribution mechanism (see also: Steam for games).

Also, we do have some of the first signs that the iPhone won’t be alone for long – new functionality on Google’s Android could take that platform in new directions. See my next story, Android/Linux/open source fans.

Disclaimer: don’t worry. I’m not giving up on desktop apps. Relax. In fact, even now as I look across these applications, while there are lots of cool ideas, it’s still clear this is a nascent area. The experience is nowhere near as rich as you get on the desktop. But it’s nonetheless worth exploring some of the ideas before we return to our (more powerful) desktop applications for music.

Field Recording, Microphones for iPhone + iPod touch

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The big news this week was FiRe, which promises to be the “first professional field recorder” for the iPhone and iPod touch. The developer behind it is one of which we’re already big fans: Audiofile Engineering. AE make Wave Editor, which has rapidly become the secret weapon of choice for Mac audio producers and sound designers, as well as the batch-processing Sample Manager and adoptive parents of the excellent Rax plug-in host. Anything these guys do would get our attention, and then they go and add specs you wouldn’t expect to see on the iPhone:

  • Accurate real-time waveform display
  • Live, touch-controlled waveform navigation
  • Audio markers
  • Broadcast WAVE metadata
  • Instant downloading in multiple formats – and easy sharing via FTP, Web server, or even a SoundCloud account
  • Tag recordings with location data
  • Overdub mode
  • VU meters for input and output
  • Configurable time units
  • Mic flexibility: use Blue Mikey, Alesis ProTrack or even the internal mic

http://www.audiofile-engineering.com/

iTunes link (which is tricky to find otherwise)

Let’s just cut straight to it: this is, bar none, the most full-featured app out there. It’s the first one that would make me seriously consider using this platform for recording.

This, of course, raises the question of which mic you might want to use.

If you’re on the iPod touch, you don’t have even a built-in mono mic. (Don’t knock it: I’ve put together entire pieces based on simple mono mic samples. Creative sampling artists will use anything.)

Even on the first-generation iPod touch, you can use some simple solutions that will let you do basic sound.

The SmartTalk mic poses for the Smule blog.

The Smule blog has a terrific round-up of recommendations for touch owners wanting to use their Ocarina app. Their technical needs are much lighter than what you might need for FiRe, but this is still worth a look if you have any interest in recording at all:

Microphones for iPod Touch Ocarina

The Griffin SmartTalk wins out for 2G owners. I have Griffin’s TuneBuds mobile, which has worked well enough for applications like RjDj. (Note that Smule have managed to get their app working with the first-gen hardware; FiRe requires the newer generation.)

At the fancier end:

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Blue Microphones’ Mikey is a slim-line stereo condenser capsule that plus into the iPod accessory port. It’s hinged so you can play with placement at least a little, and there’s basic gain control (3 settings). It runs about US$80 street, which means it doesn’t have to compete with standalone recorders. Update: Audiofile Engineering say they’ve seen some issues with FiRe and Blue Mikey, and can’t officially support the combination. Readers have had some issues themselves. If you’ve already got a Mikey, this might be worth a try, but otherwise, you can await updated information as Blue and Audiofile Engineering attempt to address the problem.

Specific update: The problem sounds as though it is the combination of the production Mikey with second-generation iPod touch units running the current OS. This is expected to be fixed with the next OS release. Stay tuned for more.

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Tha Alesis ProTrack is even more impressive-looking, but at US$249 list, it does start to get into the realm of “you could just go buy a dedicated recorder.” The ProTrack extends the iPhone by adding a shell with an X/Y stereo mic pair – one that looks quite a lot like the Zoom H4 mics – and even has onboard XLR jacks and phantom power. You also get LED monitoring, a limiter, additional power (four AAA’s), a mic stand mount – basically, it turns your iPhone into a real mobile recorder.

The Alesis has its own app, but the Audiofile Engineering option is looking more powerful. Naturally, that’s the advantage of software – because the iPhone is essentially a computer, you can add whatever software you like.

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I still think there’s a good place for a dedicated recorder. I’ve started testing the Zoom H4n,seenat right. (Not an iPhone hiding in a shell.) I’m already blown away – it corrects most of the navigation and quality issues with its predecessor, and unlike an iPod or iPhone, has fantastic battery life and onboard XLR input jacks. (Okay, the ProTrack does have XLR’s, so this is getting a little more interesting.) In other words, I’m not sure I’m giving up on dedicated recorders in favor of one of these yet. It’s still handy to have, though – and who says you can’t use both, given how essential it can be to have a backup recording in many situations?

Paul Van Dyk’s DJ Tools

This one was a bit of a surprise: Paul Van Dyk has released a DJ app, but it’s not just a quick, attention-grabbing, “DJ on your iPhone” gimmick. It’s more like a utility belt for DJs. I’m surprised to see that as a result it’s actually gotten some criticism. To me, finding some genuinely useful stuff you might want to have on your mobile device is the whole point.

What’s in there?

  • BPM counter
  • Frequency analyzer
  • Noise level (the “NYPD Application”), with an oddly beautiful visualization
  • Seismic reader (for testing your turntable, not for telling if there’s an earthquake happening – that you’ll probably figure for yourself)

And then some silly stuff, too – glow stick, anyone?

http://www.paulvandyk.com/

Not yet available – coming late May 2009

Nine Inch Nails App

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NIN, of course, had their app become available on 4/14. There’s been quite a lot written about it – so much, in fact, that I feel like the whole thing is a bit overhyped. The basic development here is that NIN is taking all their fan data and making it location specific. On the upside, this is a lot more than many high-profile bands have done with iPhone development. But then, these guys should be doing more – they have the budget to hire real developers. I do like the idea of fans being able to interact on their mobile device; that clearly makes a lot of sense. But few artists will inspire the kind of loyalty NIN does, which means the real question is, will someone be able to build a platform for everyone else? And if you are a more obscure artist, what should you be doing?

The app is free, so just a conduit for fans, really.

iTunes link

http://www.nin.com/

Gestural Beat Sharing, Celebrate Cinco De Mayo

ZoozBeat is the application I looked at in the fall: the idea is to make musical improvisation more accessible by allowing people to use fun gestures, taps, and the like to assemble beats. The software is not only for iPhone, but the powerful Nokia N95, too.

That story is worth checking out from the perspective of gestural music in general, not just iPhone or mobile apps:

Gestures, Mobile Music, and the “Low Floor” for Novices: ZooZBeat on iPhone, Nokia

The latest news: the guys have gotten funding, for one. More importantly to end users, ZOOZ Mobile is adding a sharing component, much like what we saw with Smule’s Leaf Trombone. New upgraded software adds a Latin component with Samba and Tejano rhythms and is ready-to-go for Cinco de Mayo. Sounds great to me – and the Latin market has been oddly ignored by a lot of musicians and developers. There are also new Pop, Hip-Hop, and Techno beats.

http://www.myzoozbeat.com/

Unusual Instruments

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You’ve got plenty of faux-808 apps for the iPhone now. Our friend Henry Lowengard is taking a very different tack, with drone-friendly creations and detuned pianos. He describes this as well as I could, so here’s what he writes to tell us about.

Imagine a piano in a summer home on a small lake, far in the north of the Northeastern United States. Imagine the piano sitting there for 60 or 70 years, untuned and unmaintained.
The naturally prepared timbres of the Lake Piano are now here for you, each missing felt, each individual nuance of the key action and character-filled tones. Briskly recorded one summer in lo-fi, these samples also contain sounds of children, cats, screen doors, and the summer breeze.

The first version of Lake Piano is relatively minimal, Henry says, played as a double row of scrolling piano keys and the ambient sounds stolen from a videotape he recorded. Henry promises more playability and more ambience in an upcoming upgrade, but you’ll get that automatically when it’s done, so you can always go play now.

Palm Recorders

Edirol R-09HR Including Free 4GB SD Card

The R-09HR is a professional, high-definition recorder that travels light and performs like a heavyweight. With crystal-clear 24/96 fidelity, the R-09HR is the new flagship of EDIROL’s award-winning R-series recorders. Features 24-bit/96kHz linear PCM high-resolution, low-noise recording and more! View details…

Line 6 BackTrack + Mic

Great songs begin with great ideas. Capture all your revelations, epiphanies and inspirations the moment they strike. Inspiration Insurance Inspiration is spontaneous, and BackTrack™ + Mic is your guitar’s instant replay button. Easy to use, BackTrack + Mic captures everything you play without ever hitting record. View details…

Zoom H4 4-Track Handy Digital Audio Recorder

The palm-sized Zoom H4 Handy Digital Recorder is ideal for recording live musical performances, interviews, podcasts, meetings, classes and seminars. The Zoom H4 records linear PCM at up to 24-bit/96-kHz sampling rates or compressed MP3 format at up to 320kbps bit rates. View details…

Zoom H2 Handy Recorder

The H2 will record via the integral one point stereo design microphone, and achieves the Mid/Side (MS) Stereo technique by using a 3 microphone capsule configuration and digital signal processing. Affordable and very versatile!  View details…

Yamaha Pocketrak 2G

There are so many compelling reasons to record band rehearsals or music lessons for later review that a portable recorder is an essential item. Recording conferences and meetings has become a matter of course too. Naturally, the smaller and lighter that recorder is, while delivering top-class sound quality, the better. View details…


Source: http://createdigitalmusic.com


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How to Start A Band!

April 29, 2009

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Here is a great article on the starting stages of beginning your own band…….sound advice!

For the solo musician, playing music with others is a whole new experience. If you love playing music on your own and with recordings, you’ll probably find playing with others challenging and rewarding. It requires a new set of skills, including listening to others, making space for their playing, and learning what role you play in the music.

If you enjoy it enough, you might consider starting a band. That’s harder than you might imagine. Few bands last years, let alone decades. Very few find fame and fortune.

I was sitting at home one Saturday afternoon when the phone rang. “Adrian, it’s Eugene. I’m putting together a band, and I’d like you to play keyboards.”

Eugene was a talented lead guitarist, and owned the music store where my wife bought a case for her electric guitar. Since then we’d learned that he was related to some of our best friends.

“I’m not sure, Evvie. Uni is really busy right now. It may not be the right time for me to commit to something like that.”

“It won’t be a problem. Just think of it as the occasional jam session. We’ll only get together every few weeks. The other guys are busy too. Wally’s working days and studying and night, and the drummer is in Year 12. We’re all busy.”

I reluctantly agreed to give it a go.

When I arrived at the practice venue I could hear the band rehearsing from up the street. They were loud! And impressive. Things came together really well. We didn’t just play together well – we inspired one another to play better than we’d ever played before. There was a sense of anticipation. Maybe even a sense of destiny.

I was surprised at the end of the practice when Eugene said there would be another practice the following week. Then the next week. And the next again. Around a month later Evvie announced disappointment at our lack of commitment, and (other than playing together at a few parties) the band ended shortly afterwards. I still have the utmost respect for every one of those musicians, and sometimes wonder about what might have been.

Bands don’t work out for all sorts of reasons. The issues this band faced had to do with timing and expectations. Here are some principles that might keep yours together.

Plan Your Rehearsals

There are no rules on how to run rehearsals, but it is important for everyone to have the same expectations and understand one another’s availability. The bigger the band, the harder it is to organize. Luckily, you’re probably starting fairly small, maybe with just a few friends. Be clear about dates and times, and make sure everyone writes them in their diaries. It may be worth following up with an email or SMS.

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Once you’ve sorted out when and how often to rehearse, here are some other things to consider:

  • Provide music/chord charts. It’s amazing how much time you can save at a practice by doing some preparation beforehand. This is especially true of providing chord charts. One simple chart can save hours of arm-waving and explanation.
  • Don’t annoy your neighbors. It’s better to practice in a local hall rather than at home. If you do have to practice at home, be kind to your neighbors. Keep the volume as low as possible, and consider warning them in advance. Especially if you live in an apartment.
  • Avoid unnecessary volume. Be kind to your ears, too. Volume can be fun, but it’s not healthy, especially over long periods of time. Make sure that the volume is loud enough for everyone to hear themselves, and no more. Besides, too much volume can cover up some fatal flaws in your sound. Crank it up from time to time just for fun, though.
  • Have a separate rehearsal for vocals. It’s hard to focus on two things at once. You don’t want to keep stopping the band that’s sounding great to deal with a problem with the singing. You’ll make more progress on the melody, harmony and arrangement of the singing parts if that’s all you’re thinking about.

Get Some Equipment

Unless you’re an a cappella singing group, you’ll need some equipment. As a group of musicians, you’re bound to have some already, including your instruments. You may need to purchase microphones, stands and a PA.

The usual rule with buying music equipment is to purchase the best you can afford. But when you’re starting out, you don’t want to break the bank.

Consider buying some of your gear second-hand. A lot of used musical gear is in excellent condition, and is being sold because the previous owners are upgrading. You may also be able to find some slightly out-of-date gear on special.

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Decide on Who Makes the Decisions

Decide in advance who makes the decisions – it may save some arguments down the track, or at least make the arguments shorter. Does your band have one main leader – a dictator – who makes the decisions, or will you make them by consensus after careful discussion? And when there are disagreements – and there will be – how will the disagreement be resolved? Will you vote, or will someone have the final say?

If your band becomes successful and you sign with a label, it may be that most of your decisions are made by someone else. Discuss in advance how much control you are willing to give away.

It’s not bad to have strong personalities in a band. It’s just not easy! Strong personalities can give your band the distinction and sense of direction it needs. In fact, a band with two or three strong personalities can develop a style and image that is very attractive – if you survive the disagreements and arguments that are bound to follow! Hang in there, it’s worth it. In a successful band, personality often trumps musical talent.

Decide on money matters early on, too. If you manage to make any money, how will it be divided? Where will the money for buying more equipment come from? And what happens if someone leaves?

Develop a Distinctive Style

Probably you share similar tastes in music to the other band members, or you wouldn’t want to play together. Try to identify the style(s) of music you enjoy, and especially the styles of music that seem to work best when you play together. A recognizable band has a recognizable style.

You may want to start by playing other people’s songs rather than writing your own. You’ll get to learn which styles work for you and which don’t, and you may stumble on some interesting sounds that start to define your band. Watch out for the songs and styles that feel good when you play together.

Sometimes what stands out in a band

is not what the individual musicians are doing, but how they blend and respond to one another. That only comes by practice – lots of practice.

Here are some things you need to learn:

  • Listen to the other musicians, and be aware of what they are playing.
  • Make sure everyone is not playing in the same range. Spread your sound out over the octaves.
  • Don’t always blend. Sometimes you need contrast.
  • Make space for the other musicians so they have somewhere to play. Intentionally stop playing or simplify your playing so they are able to step in.
  • Intentionally leave gaps in your playing. You don’t need to fill every gap – a second or two of silence here and there can be very effective.
  • Listen to the rhythm of the other players, and intentionally emulate it or play against it.
  • Listen to the phrases of the other musicians, and play something to answer them.

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Start Gigging

At some stage you will realize you have a sound and style that is distinctive and works well, and enough material to fill an hour or so. It’s time to take things to the next level, and find a gig.

You won’t fill an arena for your first gig, and you probably don’t want to. Choose something safe, like a party, especially if you haven’t played in front of an audience before. You’re enjoying your own playing, but how does the audience react? Do you get people moving, or put them to sleep? Do people move to your music, or stand there watching? The band should get together afterwards and conduct a careful evaluation (or post-mortem) of how you went and how you can improve. Try to identify positive points as well as negative.

You may not make much money to begin with. But you need the experience. Look out for local events where you can play and become better known.

In your first gigs you probably won’t bring the house down. See those gigs as an educational exercise. Take any criticism on-board. Carefully watch audience reactions. Try to identify the type and age of the people who enjoy your music. Start your life-long career of improving your music!

Once you are convinced that you’re going somewhere, you may want to consider getting an agent and/or a manager. But do it carefully. An agent can make contacts for you with the right people. Make sure they can deliver. A manager can look after the business side of your band while you focus on the music. Make sure you’re actually busy enough to need a manager, and you get someone you trust. Get good advice before signing anything.

Consider Your Stage Setup

Before your mind jumps to lights and smoke machines, consider the more simple requirements of stage setup – they’re important. You need to make sure that everyone can be seen, everyone can see each other, and everyone can hear the music.

Some stages are quite small, and it may be a challenge to fit you all on it. Other stages are huge, and you may want to spread out as much as possible. Try to make sure that each musician can see the others. It’s possible for musicians to communicate with one another on stage with just a look or a nod, but you have to be able to see one another. Don’t set up in a straight line, make it more like an arc.

The placement of foldback speakers and on-stage amps are important. Make sure that everyone is standing close enough to foldback that they can hear themselves. If possible, have one for each musician. Guitarists and keyboardists may have their own amps. Try to angle them so that everyone can hear them. And make sure that every musician can hear everyone else.

You may like to place the bass player close to the drummer so they can see the bass drum. Physical proximity can help give you a tight sound.

Once you have all of that organized, consider lights and smoke machines. You will need a dedicated person (or team) to run them, and probably someone to keep an eye on the mix of the music.

Develop an Image that Sells

A band without a distinctive image won’t be remembered. A band’s image should support and reinforce its musical style. It should also be consistent.

A band’s image takes on the style and sound, looks and dress of the band, hooks it together with a name, and delivers it in a memorable way to the fans and audience.

Take time choosing the name of your band. It should probably be a group decision, and you may need to work through dozens of potential names before choosing one.

Work on your stage presence. How will you engage the audience and keep their attention? Will you talk between the songs, and entertain the crowd with witty banter? Will you work on your dance moves, or just do what comes naturally? Will you dress for success, or wear your favorite ripped t-shirt? There are no rules. You need to find what works for your band, and stick with it.

Create an online presence for your band – a website or MySpace page or both. Consider recording some of your best songs and making them available for download or streaming.

You will have more success with agents and clients if you have a distinctive image and definite stage presence. Work on it like you work on your songs. Being a successful band is not just about being talented musicians, it’s about having a recognizable product to sell – your band.

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Learn About Marketing

Hard to imagine Jimi Hendrix doing a in H.N.D. in  Music Performance containing “music business” modules, but chances are that’s what a 17 yr old with an interest in a music career does now! Artists have to have more than basic foundations in music if they want to standout from the crowd. An understanding of marketing , multimedia, sound editing, copyright law, people management are just some of the assets you may encounter in a good days band work and that’s without even playing a note.

The days of  ‘waiting’ to get signed by a label are over!  Now an artist or band can fully empower themselves  by composing,  recording, mixing , mastering, burning a CD, distributing an Mp3 across the world via the internet through iTunes and even taking payments for merchandise through Paypal!

All this can be done without even leaving your bedroom!! John Peel would be proud!

It’s pretty safe to assume most musicians see the power of computers in the modern music making process, but what do you do after you have made your track??  How do people to find your music exists??

There are many sites available now to help with the management of artists and bands. Most musicians have a Myspace page but there’s more to life than that! You could do far worse that take a look at these.

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AmieStreet.com – A social network and music marketplace for indie artists. They give the artists 70% of the sale.

AnyGig.com – A place for musicians to get listed for small gigs, or find venues to play at.

Artistopia.com – An online venue for performers to give themselves an online presence with a profile and display their work.

BandBuzz.com – A social network where artists can set up a profile, upload their music and get reviewed and recommended by users.

BandChemistry.com – A site for musicians to find new members for their group or form a whole new band.

Bandwagon.co.uk – A social network for lovers of indie music where the bands can sell mobile content such as ringtones and wallpapers.

Bbc.co.uk – One of the most encouraging sites out there. Lots of good advice and the chance to get your music on actual Radio. Its easier than you think so get in touch with them!

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ChampionSound.com – Free mailing list manager for artists, promoters, and venues.

Elisteningpost.com – A way for musicians to upload their music and sell it just about anywhere they want such as MySpace and Facebook.

Drowned in Sound.com – Online Magazine and busy user community, promote you things here!

FireGigs.com – A site with the aim of promoting unsigned bands by arranging to get their music to be played in the background at cafes, coffee shops and more. Also promote you through a Facebook app and MySpace widget.

Fuzz.com – Lets performers upload their music sell it, as well as manage mailing lists and more.

HumbleVoice.com – A place for all types of independent artists, including musicians, to upload their work and promote it.

iJamr.com – Indie musicians upload their music and bloggers can display your songs on their sites for free, and if a sale is made, they blogger gets a cut.

Indistr.com – A company letting independent artists sell their music directly to the public and the musicians receive 75% of the sale.

mTraks.com – An online marketplace and network for indie artists to promote and sell their music.

Mubito.com – Allows you to set up a band website easily and sell MP3s. Two levels of stores with one of them being free.

Musicane.com – Promote and sell your music and ringtones.

MusicNation.com – A community of musician profile pages that engage regularly in competition for various prizes.

Panjea.com – Bring all your clips from the web together and put them in to one player so they take up less space on your page, so you can promote all your music easily.

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Planbmagazine.com – Magazine with good online presence, lovely reviews and great forums for mindless self promotion! Owned by the Everett True so can’t be a bad thing.

PocketFuzz.com – A place for musicians to sell ring tones of their works and notify their fans of news via mobiles.

Popfolio.net – A music widget provider for blogs that lets independent musicians upload their songs for inclusion, and possible sales.

PumpAudio.com – A service for indie artists to get their music licensed for television and film.

Ripple9.com – A site to help bands promote themselves on mobile devices to their fans. New sign-ups are frozen while they are being purchased by Google.

Scriggleit.com – Software you can use on a laptop at your merchandise table so people can sign up for your mailing list.

SessionSound.com – A site for independent musicians to try to stay indie by selling their music online.

Sonicbids.com – Allows you to construct a low cost electronic press kit that can be constantly updated so the recipients always get the latest version.

Tunecore.com – USE THIS SITE! This allows you for very little costs to upload your music and it will distribute it to iTunes, Napster, Amazon, e-Music and most of the major download sites.  It truly is the answer

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Unsigned.com – A site for unsigned to put up a profile page and host a play list of MP3s to attract new listeners.

Youtube.com – Obvious be true! More videos, more specific keywords, more subscriptions, more ‘fans’

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Sweden Takes Internet Pirates To Jail!

April 21, 2009

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The “game” of internet piracy has been escalating over the past few months; becoming a trial of who can enlist the strictest rules and combat the most “pirates.” Well, we’re going to say Sweden is the first place contender in this pirate capturing battle, having convicted four men who were linked to a popular file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay. Anyone think of sending the RIAA to Somalia?

The four men involved with the file-sharing site, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, and Carl Lundstorm were all sentenced to a year in prison by the Stockholm district court, and were ordered to pay over $3 million dollars back to various media and entertainment groups like Columbia, according to Yahoo! News. The four men were convicted on charges that said they assisted millions of users to download music, movies and computer games for free, violating Sweden’s copyright law.

Despite Pirate Bay not actually hosting any of the illegal content, the court said the men helped users break copyright laws “by providing a Web site with sophisticated search functions, simple download and storage capabilities.”  According to Yahoo! News Swedish officials cracked under scrutiny from the U.S. who cracked down on The Pirate Bay three years ago.

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Reminder: Tonight’s Cakewalk Event Postponed! Plus New V-Studio 100 Coming Soon

April 15, 2009

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Postponed Till Further Notice!

Unfortunately the event has had to be postponed until further notice. Keep checking back with a new date for this event .

Whether you are interested in purchasing SONAR V-Studio 700, SONAR 8, or just want to see it the two products in action, Cakewalk Product Specialists will soon be at the Leaf Tea Shop & Bar to offer one-on-one training and clinics .

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And news just in on a new addition to the V series …

It’s called the V-Studio 100 and, unlike the flagship 700 system, it can operate with or without a computer.

Difficult to classify, the new device is in fact a number of products bundled into a compact, sturdy-feeling box. It’s got an eight-input mixer, on-board effects- and dynamics-processing, a metronome, and a built-in flash-memory recorder and player, but it can also operate as a multi-channel USB 2.0 audio interface and a mini DAW controller for Mac and PC.

Its single fader is motorised and touch-sensitive; two of the audio inputs
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feature phantom-powered mic preamps, and there’s transport control and assignable buttons for mouse-free computer control. What’s more, the V-Studio 100 comes with a collection of plug-ins and virtual instruments, the VS Production Suite, which work on Macs and PCs and provide tools for everything from instrument-processing to peak limiting; electric pianos to wavetable synthesis.

As you can imagine, there are dozens of potential applications for the new V-Studio. Cakewalk say that it’s perfect for small bands performing live, who could play backing tracks from the SD card, while using the mixer section to feed the PA. Also, for home studio users, who need a basic USB interface, a mixer for signal routing, a stereo master recorder, and DAW control for ease of use.

Source: SOS

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Play At Manchester’s In The City 2009

April 14, 2009

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The legendary music industry schmooze, In the City, has just opened it’s books for unsigned bands’ performance registration.

Taking place in Manchester from October 18th – 20th, the event is one part conference, one part music festival – and one massive media spotlight. Founded in 1992 by the late Anthony Wilson from Factory Records and Yvette Livesay, In The City (ITC) has become one of the most important dates in the UK music industry calendar.

Held at The Midland Hotel and throughout the venues and bars of the music-oriented northern city, everyone from record label executives to part-time fans descend on the city for this event. For many, being there is a must.

Applying to play is free of charge and the ITC team welcome submissions from artists of all genres and nationalities. The ITC Unsigned spotlight has one of the biggest signing ratios of any similar event, and has claimed to spawn top acts like Oasis, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and many more.

If you’re part of an unsigned band or act, apply online here

You’ll need to include music, biography and an image. For those more in favour of the old skool methods, you can also send three-track CDs with info and pics to the ITC office – details of which are also available by clicking through to the link above.

Bands from outside the UK can apply via SonicBids too. Winning choices from abroad receive up to $1000 towards their travel costs. You can’t get much fairer than that.

The ITC crew are still putting together the keynote speakers, showcases and panels for the conference. Last year Jarvis Cocker and Gold Blade singer and Manchester writer John Robb held talks, and there were panel discussions on topics like What Value Is Fashion To Music? and Can The UK Grime And Dubstep Scene Produce A World-Beating Artist?

Those interested in showcasing themselves on a panel, through sponsorship, advertising or exhibition can click onto the In The City site for more details.

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Universal Music Group and Google are now partners in the music-video business

April 14, 2009
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Universal Music Group and Google are now partners in the music-video business.

The largest of the four top recording companies and YouTube’s parent company announced on Thursday that they are working together on Vevo, a new music and video entertainment service set to launch later this year. YouTube will handle the technology while Universal Music supplies the content. The two companies will share ad revenue.

The companies said and at this point it appears that Universal’s content and artists will be the only label represented on the site. However, Doug Morris, Universal Music’s chief executive, said in a conference call with the media that he is in negotiations with other top record labels and is confident they will join.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said on the same conference call that YouTube and Universal Music have renewed their existing licensing agreement. YouTube will continue to be licensed to allow visitors to use songs from Universal Music. Professionally made videos from the label will only appear on Vevo, the companies said.

This is the first time that YouTube has launched a satellite Web site, Schmidt said but he added that he hopes there will be more.

For Universal Music, the move means that Morris has obtained the standalone music-video service that he has long wished for. Ever since MTV became a cultural force and huge financial success by offering music videos on TV, the record industry realized that it goofed in thinking of music videos as a promotional tool. Morris has said that in this era of declining revenue in the sector, he doesn’t see anything as “promotional” and argues that music videos are worth cash.

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Korg Kaoss PAd 3 and Beardyman! Unbelieveable skills!

April 14, 2009

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Darren Foreman  also known as Beardyman is a beatboxer from London.

Foreman moved to Brighton in 2001 to study at the University of Sussex. After seeing Rahzel play live, he started beatboxing at an improv show in 2002. He was given the nick-name “Beardyman” because at the time, he had a beard. Foreman also often uses the moniker “Professor Bernhard Steinerhoff” when performing for crowds during seemingly serious lectures; often he will begin a serious lecture in a German accent then break into the beatboxing.

Beardyman often uses humour as well as beatboxing in his act. He has impersonated Elvis, dressed as a monkey on stage at Bestival and once posed as an Austrian climate change lecturer before breaking into his set, with over 1 million views on YouTube

Beardyman also features in the Funky Sage ring tones in which he plays a floating head who beatboxes and gives good advice. His video “Kitchen Diaries” which features him combining beatboxing with cooking has been viewed more than 3 million times on YouTube. “Kitchen Diaries” also makes an appearance in ‘South Coast’, a Brighton based documentary about Hip Hop in the UK.

If you have ever wondered what a box of tricks the Kaoss Pad can be this chap reinvents its usage! is equipment list is awesome,1 mic,  2 Korg Kaoss Pads and a Loopstation!. Its all  you nee..

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