Archive for the ‘Tips & Techniques’ Category

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Auto-Tune: Why Pop Music Sounds Perfect

February 11, 2009

If you haven’t been listening to pop radio in the past few months, you’ve missed the rise of two seemingly opposing trends. In a medium in which mediocre singing has never been a bar to entry, a lot of pop vocals suddenly sound great.

Autotuner brigade

Better than great: note- and pitch-perfect, as if there’s been an unspoken tightening of standards at record labels or an evolutionary leap in the development of vocal cords. At the other extreme are a few hip-hop singers who also hit their notes but with a precision so exaggerated that on first listen, their songs sound comically artificial, like a chorus of ’50s robots singing Motown.

The force behind both trends is an ingenious plug-in called Auto-Tune, a downloadable studio trick that can take a vocal and instantly nudge it onto the proper note or move it to the correct pitch. It’s like Photoshop for the human voice. Auto-Tune doesn’t make it possible for just anyone to sing like a pro, but used as its creator intended, it can transform a wavering performance into something technically flawless. “Right now, if you listen to pop, everything is in perfect pitch, perfect time and perfect tune,” says producer Rick Rubin. “That’s how ubiquitous Auto-Tune is.” (Download TIME’s Auto-Tune Podcast from iTunes)

Auto-Tune’s inventor is a man named Andy Hildebrand, who worked for years interpreting seismic data for the oil industry. Using a mathematical formula called autocorrelation, Hildebrand would send sound waves into the ground and record their reflections, providing an accurate map of potential drill sites. It’s a technique that saves oil companies lots of money and allowed Hildebrand to retire at 40. He was debating the next chapter of his life at a dinner party when a guest challenged him to invent a box that would allow her to sing in tune. After he tinkered with autocorrelation for a few months, Auto-Tune was born in late 1996.

Almost immediately, studio engineers adopted it as a trade secret to fix flubbed notes, saving them the expense and hassle of having to redo sessions. The first time common ears heard Auto-Tune was on the immensely irritating 1998 Cher hit “Believe.” In the first verse, when Cher sings “I can’t break through” as though she’s standing behind an electric fan, that’s Auto-Tune–but it’s not the way Hildebrand meant it to be used.

The program’s retune speed, which adjusts the singer’s voice, can be set from zero to 400. “If you set it to 10, that means that the output pitch will get halfway to the target pitch in 10 milliseconds,” says Hildebrand. “But if you let that parameter go to zero, it finds the nearest note and changes the output pitch instantaneously”–eliminating the natural transition between notes and making the singer sound jumpy and automated. “I never figured anyone in their right mind would want to do that,” he says.

Like other trends spawned by Cher, the creative abuse of Auto-Tune quickly went out of fashion, although it continued to be an indispensable, if inaudible, part of the engineer’s toolbox. But in 2003, T-Pain (Faheem Najm), a little-known rapper and singer, accidentally stumbled onto the Cher effect while Auto-Tuning some of his vocals. “It just worked for my voice,” says T-Pain in his natural Tallahassee drawl. “And there wasn’t anyone else doing it.”

VIEW AUTO-TUNE PRODUCTS AT DOLPHIN MUSIC

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Why Not Visit Our Dolphin Music Lesson Blogs..

February 6, 2009

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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!

drumlessons

Get in touch on our forums and visit our artist pages

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Steinberg Cubase RC application for the Apple iPod Touch / iPhone!!!

February 6, 2009

cubaserc-storypic

Available as a free iPod application from the iTunes store (starting sometime during the second-quarter, 2009) Steinberg Cubase RC, or Remote Control, will provide wireless control over many basic functions of the new Cubase 5.

The most obviously useful of these is the comprehensive transport controls. You’ll be able to use your iPhone / iPod Touch’s touch screen to remotely record, stop and playback your track — very useful if you’re recording yourself in the live room and your studio intern has called in sick again (a call you fielded with your iPhone; neat!). There are even controls for marker placement, metronome settings and toggling cycle mode on/off.

For live performance, Cubase RC provides complete access over the Cubase Arranger function in Cubase 5. Trigger playback stems, assemble playlists, jump between sections of a project and text all at the same time!

Cubase RC is compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows initialized iPods and iPhones, giving you remote control over Cubase 5 regardless of what operating system it’s running on.

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Artist Profile: DJ Daedelus

February 4, 2009

57125-500-343
Alfred Darlington isn’t your average cookie-cutter musician. From how he looks (early Victorian Dandism), to how he makes music, to how he expresses himself and views the world, his is a very individual, a ‘bespoke’ outlook.

Long established (and sometimes derided) as an electronic producer with whimsical, jazz-like sensibilities, Daedelus often plays with genre, from the summery samba sweep of 2006’s Denies the Day’s Demise to the bubbly avant-hop of 2003’s Rethinking the Weather and 2004’s Exquisite Corpse (all on Mush records). In 2008, he’s tackling rave music — specifically the “zoo rave” and hardcore/pre-jungle styles of the early ’90s — which he calls “my little temple, my little altar.”

“I’ve been collecting these records since ’92, when I was too young to know what I was putting my hands on, but I just liked the sound. And I’ve been buying them ever since,” says Daedelus. “Finally, I feel comfortable enough after this many years of releasing records to make a stab at it.”

The result is a pair of impressive releases. In January, influential L.A. imprint Alpha Pup issued Live at Low End Theory, a document of a Daedelus’ performance at the popular Los Angeles event. Throughout the 60-minute disc, Daedelus tweaks a Monome, a small MIDI device designed by engineers Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain, that’s connected via USB cable to a MacBook running a Cycling ’74 Max/MSP software program with the OSC protocol. The setup allows him to chop up dozens of tracks from his decade-long discography, remixing them into a furiously imaginative set.

Alfred was born in Santa Monica in 1977 to an artist mother and psychologist father. Musical from very early on, as a child he was classically and jazz-trained in a number of instruments, but his interests were broad and varied – less a prodigy than a renaissance boy whose obsessions ranged from Greek legend to the mountains of Wales. As a 15 year old he finally persuaded his parents to take him to the Principality. Whilst in a YMCA in London he flipped the radio dial, found a pirate radio station and taped some UK rave and hardcore. “It was my first ‘Eureka!’ moment in music,” he says.

Back in the US he joined local rock bands, jazz bands and ska bands, which he enjoyed but felt limited by,too. At home he was listening to Warp, Ninja and your harder electronic stuff. He started DJing out the more leftfield side of drum and bass and making his own rudimentary productions. They were meant to be drum & bass but they kept turning out different and from his outsider’s experiments his own style was born. He chose the name Daedelus as he had a childhood obsession with invention, and what was he doing, after all, if not tinkering and fiddling and experimenting like the “gentleman inventors” of old?

In 1999 he started DJing on Dublab.com for his “Entropy Sessions” and began dropping in his own early demo productions. Carlos Nino (of ammoncontact) had the show after him and usually pushed Alfred out the studio as quickly as possible as he was not so into Daedelus’ confrontational DJ style, but when he heard a tranquil Daedelus production he took, in typical Nino style, Daedelus under his considerable wing around the LA scene. Nino placed Daedelus tracks on two influential compilations and then persuaded Plug Research to release his debut album, “Invention” in 2002, Remixers included Madlib, who later took Daedelus’ accordian parts and used them on the Madvillain record, closely followed by his “The Household” EP on Prefuse 73’s Eastern Developments label.

In 2003, he was booked to play a show in San Diego by Brian Crabtree and Peter Siegerstrong and they asked him to test out an early prototype of the Monome box. “It’s a Non-traditional electronic instrument,” Daedelus explains. “Basically it allows for massive improvisation.” Since then Daedelus has continued to use this revolutionary box, bringing much genuine liveness to the sometimes static world of performed electronic/dance music.

In 2003 he did “The Weather” album with Busdriver and Radioinactive and the remix album “Rethinking the Weather” on Mush records (home of cLOUDDEAD, also on Big Dada/Ninja Tune). 2004 saw the release of “Of Snowdonia” on Plug Research, the album with which Daedelus says he first “felt true artistic confidence, finding a true voice. I was finally in the right zone.”

There was certainly no let up in his creativity. Also in 2004 he released the concept album “A Gent Agent” on tiny German label Laboratory Instinct. The 2005 album “Exquisite Corpse” on Mush album featured the likes of TTC, Mike Ladd, MF Doom. Ninja signed Daedelus for UK/Europe (a relationship which has reached its full expression on “Love To Make Music To,” his first album for the label worldwide and put together with the help of their team). In 2006 “Denies the Days Demise” came out, a record showcasing his love of Brazilian music. Last year he released his first live album, “Live At the Low End Theory,” and “The Fairweather Friends EP”. Later this year will see the release of his collaboration with his wife, Laura Darling, as Long Lost!

And while his reputation has grown internationally, his place in the LA scene has also solidified. The musician that many of the hottest names in the city turn to for everything from bass clarinet licks to advice on obscure electronics, Daedelus has worked extensively with Taz from Sa-Ra, the pair of them opening for the likes of DJ Assault, Justice and Two Live Crew as well as appearing in Erykah Badu’s most recent video.

As for “Love To Make Music To,” Daedelus says that this album is “the imaginary memory of a time that never was! It’s my drug/love record, harking back to that time in the YMCA in London, when I first heard rave…”

Daedelusis a flagship user for the Monome, a small MIDI device designed by engineers Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain, that’s connected via USB cable to a MacBook running a Cycling ‘74 Max/MSP software program with the OSC protocol. The setup allows him to chop up dozens of tracks from his decade-long discography, remixing them into a furiously imaginative set.

series

myspace.com/daedelusdarling
daedelusmusic.com
discogs.com/artist/Daedelus

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Concert Industry May Be A Bust This Summer

February 3, 2009

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There are already signs that 2009 will be a tough year for live music promoters.

For the last decade, the music industry has countered declining profits from album sales by raising the prices of concert tickets. The average price of a ticket to the top 100 acts rose a stunning 8.4% last year, according to Gary Bongiovanni, the editor in chief of Pollstar, a box office trade magazine.

“That’s not a prescription for a healthy business,” he says, “but that’s what we’ve been doing.

One month into 2009, the good times may be over.

Coachella, the annual rock festival near Palm Springs, Calif. produced by AEG Worldwide, recently announced it would offer a layaway plan for fans who want to spread out the $269 it will cost for a three-day pass. Like a department store pushing hard to sell furniture, the festival will let fans pay half now and the rest by April 1, or put 10% down with equal installments of $121.05 in March and April.

The business model has worked for StageCoach, the country companion to Coachella. Layaway tickets made up a quarter of all sales, promoters say.

Other festivals that offer layaway plans include the All Points West Festival in New Jersey, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee, and the Rothbury Festival in Michigan.

None of it bodes well for the live music industry. Even if customers are able to purchase tickets, they may not be able to purchase high-margin items like beer and T-shirts at the venue. For example, Live Nation (nyse: LYV – news – people ), the world’s largest promoter, loses 4% on each ticket sold, but makes 43% of its overall revenue from extra charges like parking and food.

That puts the company in a precarious place, analysts say. “Tickets are a luxury item that people cut back on,” said Alan Gould, an analyst at Natixis Bleichroeder in New York. David Kerstenbaum, an analyst at Morgan Joseph, agreed, saying, “The company is going to have to be very careful about its price points. They won’t be able to raise prices as much as they probably would have liked.”

Live Nation maintains customers are continuing to buy tickets because their typical consumer goes to just one or two concerts a year. The company says they saw little difference in ticket sales between 2007 and 2008, when the recession kicked in.

Artists, meanwhile, may be hit especially hard by any dip in ticket sales or prices. The upper tier of performers make 7.5 times more money from touring than from recorded music sales, according to a study by Marie Connolly and Alan B. Krueger at Princeton University.

Musicians have leeway in setting ticket prices but are often reluctant to cut prices. “They think ‘Well, so and so got that much, so I’m worth

Source: forbes.com

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Music Industry Inside: Ringtones can cost more than the actual song!

January 30, 2009

ringtones

Juniper Research released a report in 2005  stating that the ringtone industry could bloat to $9.3 billion (USD) by 2009.

Lets take a look at Britian’s  No1 in the charts right now to get a feel of where things are headed.  Introducing  Lady GaGa

Just Dance (Download)
by Lady GaGa

Price: $0.99
Remix "Just Dance Feat. Colby O'Donis"

Just Dance (Ringtone)
by Lady GaGa

Remix "Just Dance Feat. Colby O'Donis"
Hmmm so it appears the standard pricing is that the ‘actual song’ is nearly three times the cost to purchase than a snippet in ringtone format.

” While the downloads of mobile ringtones and realtones will comprise the bulk of revenues ($4.8 billion), the market for full-track downloads is expected to increase from just $20 million in 2004 to nearly $1.8 billion in 2009, while ring-back tones – already generating substantial revenues in Asia – should be worth $2.7 billion worldwide by the end of the decade”

And depending which source you read a staggering $14 Billion by the end of 2011 (ezinearticles.com)

Still waiting to find the results of that particular forcast however there is no deneying the effect that the music industry is in a strange position right now where the ringtone can cost more than the actual song.

Music sales worldwide fell by about 7 percent last year as another sizable jump in digital sales failed to make up for a deepening decline in the compact disc market, according to John Kennedy, chief executive of the industry’s main international trade group. The IHT reports.

Revenue from music sold over the Internet, via mobile phones and in other digital forms, rose by 25 percent last year, to $3.7 billion, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said in a report set for publication Friday. Digital sales accounted for 20 percent of the industry’s revenue, up from 15 percent a year earlier.

Meanwhile, growth in downloads from online music stores like Apple’s iTunes has slowed. … That is hastening the music industry’s push to develop new business models for digital music.

Major record labels have joined with Nokia, the maker of cellphones, to provide free, unlimited music downloads in Britain. …

“The industry has shifted to Plan B,” said Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Forrester Research. “The record companies have realized that the only way they can fight free is with free itself.”

“Mobile Music Sales Will Reach $3.2 Billion by 2012 But Analysts Say ‘Tracks Must Be Free’, The music industry has got to be prepared to give music away for free”according to analysts Screen Digest.

But full-track downloads will only make up half of that, with the rest still coming from things like ringtones. The report warns “paying for music is progressively becoming a niche activity as the value of recorded music is already in steep, possibly terminal, decline”.

In 2000, U.S. consumers bought 785.1 million albums; last year, they bought 588.2 million (a figure that includes both CDs and downloaded albums), according to Nielsen SoundScan. In 2000, the ten top-selling albums in the U.S. sold a combined 60 million copies; in 2006, the top ten sold just 25 million. Digital sales are growing — fans bought 582 million digital singles last year, up sixty-five percent from 2005, and purchased $600 million worth of ringtones — but the new revenue sources aren’t making up for the shortfall.

Hense Crazy Frogs mere existence

crazy-frog

Source:

http://ezinearticles.com

http://www.ringernews.com

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