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Music News

Rails Rumble is a 48-hour hackathon for folks all over the world using Ruby on Rails and related frameworks to create web applications. 500 teams participate and, over a course of 48 hours, code their way to a web app. There were numerous music entries though none of them made it into the top 10. Most but not all are listed in the Music category. Here are the 12 most focused on music in alphabetical order:

Ambience – “Makes it easy for venues to play background music [and give you a say] – you simply register with a venue name and email, and we take care of the rest.”

Crowdly Sound – “Creating music around the world.”

Encore! – “A personal journal system for live events.”

Garage – “A community for musicians, bands and music lovers to get together and share their love.”

List Me – “Create and share lists of your top five music albums.”

Mind Peace – “This is an effort to allow people to spend few minutes and relax their mind and body by using power of classical music.”

MMGC – “Find movie, game and music covers.”

Musical Battle – “A game where you can create a playlist and challenge your opponents, two playlists will battle for votes in a limited time, the most voted is the winner!”

Songabilly – “Songabilly is our version of…a TV show where people have just a fixed amount of time to listen to a number of tracks and guess as many songs as they can.”

timeTune – “Music timeline. Albums visualization. Search your favourite bands easily.”

Trackcha – “Takes any YouTube or Vimeo video and magically finds out what songs are playing in it. Then it suggests to follow iTunes store to buy them.”

WhereToSing – “A tailored search engine for nearest Karaoke places around you or a cheapest one.”

 

DJ News

In this podcast, Billboard writer Kerri Mason talks about the rise of EDM to prominence over the last few years and how it has changed the musical and business landscape. Mason is recognized as one of the leading experts on the business of EDM — she has written features on major EDM festivals, Baauer and his rise to the top of the Billboard charts, and Robert FX Sillerman’s world domination attempts. They discuss the continued investment in EDM and whether or not there is a bubble. Definitely worth a listen…

 

 

Gear

French synth-makers Arturia have unveiled their latest piece of hardware, the MicroBrute. It’s based on its big brother MiniBute, but scales down some of the features into a smaller package. It is a 100% analogue monophonic synthesizer with a two-octave keyboard that comes with most of the same features as the MiniBrute. Some of its standout features include the Steiner-Parker Multimode Filter (LP, BP, HP), Brute Factor™ delivering saturation and rich harmonics, and a step sequencer.

It will begin shipping in November and comes with a proce tage of $349 USD. Check out their promo video to get a better look.

 

Top Mix

Machinedrum (aka Travis Stewart) has been pumping out forward-thinking bass music for quite some time now. He recently released his latest album Vapor City (on Ninja Tune) and it is arguably his most ambitious project to date. He recently made a podcast/mix for Resident Advisor where he blends all of his influences from footwork to jungle to DnB. I highly suggest you check it out here (you’ll need to login to RA to download the .mp3).

 

 

Top Download

Following in the vain of Rustie and Hudson Mohawk, Ganz (Netherlands) brings his remix of “Shoulda Known” by Louis Futon (Philadelphia). Pitched vocal samples with filtered sparkling chords builds into a feel-good banger that works as both a dancefloor starter as well as a lean-back head bobber.

 

 

 

 

If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin-Academy.

Music News

Far too many years in the making, YouTube will finally be hosting it’s own music awards show.  Airing on November 3, the voting will be fan driven (as would expected from a social platform) and the nominees will be announced on October 17th.  The first annual YouTube awards are presented in partnership with Kia and will be hosted by Jason Schwartzman.  They will be held at Pier 36 in New York, but will be live streaming from various locations around the globe iincluding Seoul, Moscow, London, and a location in Brazil. It will also feature performances by Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, and Eminem, all of which will be live-streamed under the direction of Spike Jonze.

YouTube has become a major player in the music industry over the past few years and has largely take on the role of new talent discovery.  The amount of music being uploaded and viewed on YouTube everyday is staggering, so it is only fitting that they have a fan-drive, large production event to celebrate.

Check out the intro video from Jason Schwartzman…

DJ News

In the wake of several news headlines related to “molly” and EDM partygoers (including the shutdown of the final day of the Electric Zoo festival due to multiple overdose deaths and a Gloucestershire man that died this past Saturday) one UK party spot has implemented a new drug testing system.

The Warehouse Project venue in Manchester will now have government employed scientists on site to test drugs that have been confiscated or willingly handed in by partygoers.  They will test for any harmful additives that might be a danger to the venue’s patrons and then publish warnings through social media.  The test launch of the project is set to happen on Saturday October 12th, with further dates to follow this year.

Gear

Native Instruments has unveiled it’s new flagship production hardware; the Maschine Studio.  The new and improved Maschine features two large HD color displays, a brand new comprehensive edit section, a jogwheel for precision movements, and some other overall improvements in functionality.  Coinciding with the release of the Maschine Studio is the new Maschine 2.0 software.  The new software will have an upgraded audio engine, a mixer window, five new drum-synths, and a “plug-in strip”.  The Maschine Studio will come bundled with the 2.0 software when it’s released in Novemeber (at and expected proce of about $999 USD), and existing Maschine and Maschine Micro users will be able to upgrade to 2.0 for a small fee.  Check out their launch video below…

Free Download

In a fitting tribute to the passing of former Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi, bass wizard Thundercat has released a track entitled “Bowzer’s Theme”.   The track is what you would expect with a name like that; beautifully moody chord progressions on a theme that takes you back to the golden age of video games.  Make no mistake, this is not a dance track, but music like this is in many ways a precursor to modern EDM.  Now let’s hear some remixes!

Best Mix

This week’s best mix comes courtesy of Montreal’s Kaytranada.  This 30 minute mix was down for the 2013 Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival and is packed full of upbeat dance tunes.  It starts off with heavily sidechained atmospheric swells, which morphs into a feel good 80’s disco flavor.  This theme continues, but flows briefly into 90’s RnB territory which slides into some variations on vocal house.  Overall, a feel good short dance mix that makes you want to smile and move your body.

If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin-Academy.

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is a worldwide phenomenon. There are many that have no idea what EDM is or represents, but those that do are saving money and taking pictures and making treks for their next lifelong highlight experience.

Whether you’re a fan of the music or not, there is no questioning the scope and influence that EDM artists command from country to country. Sold out shows. Massive promotional dollars. Elaborate websites filled with merchandising opportunities… there is gold in them decks!

And, soon, more gold there than anywhere else if things continue. Why?

1. Low cost

Paying a band means paying a sum large enough to sustain two, or three, or more members. It also means paying someone to assist with loading in their equipment or schlepping it yourself. It also means feeding them in the green room. Doing a longer soundcheck so you can check all their instruments. And praying that the lead singer isn’t too ‘exhausted’ (read: hungover) from the last gig so that he or she can belt out those favourites.

On the other hand, you could hire a DJ. The DJ would bring in their laptop and a few other boxes they would set up. The sound guy would plug the DJ into the board. Levels check. Done.

Bands have their upsides, of course, and DJs have their entourages. But if you absolutely, positively want to turn a profit on your night, young promoter, get to know some good DJs.

2. No band drama

There are few things cooler than seeing a full band on stage rocking a crowd of people. All the moving parts, background voices, kinetic energy and passion are difficult to match in a DJ’s set.

But those moving parts come with a cost. A four-member band has four infinite possibilities of drama that could befall them. Arguing over groupies. Family members dying. Creative differences. Any of these and millions of other problems could kill a show date. And those possibilities go up exponentially with every individual band member you add.

One DJ. One potential strand of drama. Easy.

3. The Internet

The light shows. The raver chicks. The wet, sticky fans. Social media gold.

With every festival a new rush of pictures flood Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and any other social media outlets from the phones of fans who can’t get them posted fast enough. You can pay to promote your shows on billboards, websites, radio stations and everything else you can think of. But social media word of mouth is worth more than diamonds.

4. Arena shows

It used to be that if you wanted to see the biggest DJs perform for the biggest crowds you had to go overseas. Now, these massively popular DJs are doing arena tours that penetrate into the US. You don’t have to go to Ibiza or the Netherlands to see your favourite DJ turn a mass of fans into a sweaty, shiny undulating mass of revelry. Just take a road trip. And lots of baby wipes and deodorant.

5. Biggest festivals

Not only are DJs doing arena tours, but they’re also headlining some of the biggest festivals in the world. David Guetta, Tiesto, Avicii and many others are playing to hundreds of thousands of fans at shows in Spain, England and a growing number in the United States.

Until recently band festivals used to command the largest and most consistent crowds. But slowly and steadily EDM festivals are becoming more and more highly attended than any other types of music festivals.

6. Mainstream crossover

Some say it was the R&B sampling and crossovers of the 80’s in EDM’s inception. Some say it was the work of Moby and other DJs working with pop and rock singers in the 90’s. The easy choice for the credit is David Guetta and his rhythmic-pop crossover smashes co written with pop and rap stars. But the pop music explosion that EDM has experienced over the last few years has little to do with radio exposure and pop tunes. It’s been the scene itself that has sold it to the mainstream.

Websites like LastNightsParty.com and KirillWasHere.com take sexually charged nightlife photos from shows around the world and make them available for everyone to see…what party they’re missing.

Social media overflows with the colours and flashes of the latest summer festival to blow through the minds and wallets of EDM fans worldwide.

Radio has been credited over and over again with the explosion of various music scenes into the popular music spectrum. From early rock ‘n’ roll to the SugarHill Gang to New Wave to grunge and gangster music radio was the one to bring them to the masses first and most prominently.

But before radio could make Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ (featuring Aloe Blacc) a #1 hit or play anything from the greatest DJs in the world, the scene was already worldwide. Few outside of Compton knew NWA before radio got a hold of ‘em. Even fewer knew of Nirvana and Pearl Jam when they were tearing up Seattle stages. But the DJs currently gobbling up radio spins and chart positions were worldwide superstars long before they first started to hit radio.

The EDM scene, unlike any other scene in music history, has promoted itself using mainly word of mouth and social media, to grow itself into the dominant musical entity that it is today. And it only seems to grow bigger and bigger with more and more festivals cropping up worldwide.

If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin-Academy.

Every good DJ has a lot of fresh music and knows it in detail.  It’s this knowledge that allows them to select the right tracks for the right crowd, venue, and time.  A common problem that a lot of DJs face is not the lack of music to play, but having the difficult task of quickly filtering through all of the good music they have to choose the appropriate track.  Spending some time off stage organizing your music can help you tremendously in this area.  We can do this by using “Smart Playlists”.

Smart playlists are dynamic lists that will automatically update themselves when songs are added to iTunes based on the criteria you have established for them.  All of the metadata fields you see in iTunes (artist, album, genre, etc.) can be used to set the criteria for what makes it into a smart playlist.  If you command-click in the metadata bar in iTunes you will see a list of all of the parameters that you can add into the window.  You can add any relevant data that you want to see (i.e. bit rate) and sort your lists with them.  It might take a bit of time to initially set these up, but once they are established you don’t have to worry about them anymore.

There are several different ways that you can go about organizing your music.  The way that you choose will be completely dependent on how you process and organize your music.  I’m going to show two examples of how this can be done.

1. BPM and Key
My personal preference for organizing music in iTunes is through hard data such as the tempo and key signature.  To do this quickly you can use software such as Mixed in Key, which will analyze all of your songs for these fields and can write the data into the metadata fields of the track.  For example, you can choose to have each song’s tempo written in the BPM field and it’s key signature written at the front of the comments field.  I usually bulk analyze all of my songs before adding them into iTunes so that everything is written properly.

2. Genre and Rating
This method involves a bit more time working with your tracks and works more on ‘feel’ than the hard parameters of the individual songs.  Two of iTunes default metadata fields that you always see are ‘genre’ and ‘rating’.  You can manually add your rating to every song as you listen to it and add or modify the genre field to suit your needs.

To create a smart playlist in iTunes you simply go to ‘File’-> ‘New’-> ‘Smart Playlist’.  You will then see a dialogue box appear where you set the parameters of the playlist.  If you have chosen method 1 to organize your music you will need to set up two different parameters.  Set the first field to “BPM” and the sub-field to “is in the range”.  The range of BPM you set is entirely up to you, but as an example, you could set it to 120 to 135.  In the second field you want to set the key signature parameter, so you want use the field where this information has been written in the metadata (i.e. the “comments”).  If the key is written at the beginning of the comments you would set the it to “comments”, then “begins with” and then manually enter the key signature for that playlist.  Note that programs like Mixed in Key use the “Camelot System” so something in “B Major” might be written as “1B”.  You will also want to make sure that at the very top of the playlist dialogue box you have selected “Match ALL of the following rules” and have “Live Updating” checked at the bottom.  Once you click OK the playlist will be created and you should see all songs that meet the criteria automatically appear.  You can then rename this list accordingly, such as “1B – 120-135 BPM”.

Now all you have to do is repeat this process across all key signatures and all tempo ranges.  As I said, this could take a while if you do it this way because there are 24 possible key signature possibilities for each tempo range.  However, it is definitely worth the effort.  Once you are done you will be able to jump into a mix at any tempo and in any key and know that your tracks will fit well.

If you were to organize your music by genre and rating, you will have to set your smart playlist parameters accordingly.  Since there are many sub-genres you might want to set your genre parameter to “contains” so that you can set wide ranges.  This way, your “house” playlist would also include things labelled “progressive house”, “dutch house”, etc.  The rating system you could set to meet exactly (i.e. the “5 star” category) or as a threshold (such as the “over 3 star” category), to best suit your needs.  Of course, you can use a combination of these two systems or use any other system you see fit, just make sure that you can integrate it with your workflow.

Once you have all of your playlists written you can create playlist folders to keep everything neat and tidy.  To do this simply go to ‘File’-> ‘New’-> ‘Playlist Folder’, and then drag and drop all of the relevant playlists into it.  These playlists should now be visible in the browsers of most DJ software.  This means that even when iTunes isn’t open, you can still utilize the power of smart playlists directly from your DJing software.  If you have organized everything in a coherent fashion, you should be quite pleased with the results when you are on stage performing.

Part #1 – Two Deck Djing fundamentals

Part #2 – DJ Mixing Techniques

Part #3 – Playing for the crowd, how to play an opening set

Part #5 – Playing for the crowd, how to play a middle of the night set

About Spin Academy

Spin Academy is an online DJ and music producing school. At Spin Academy our goal is to give you the necessary skills to unleash your true musical creativity, and carrier potential. We have a huge library of high quality up to date video tutorials featuring some of the most successful DJ’s and music producers in the world.

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