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rf music releases the Dodge, for Windows

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

rf music has released the Dodge, a VST plug-in for Windows designed for modulating the level (Volume) of the incoming audio signal using an advanced and easy to use line editor and a precise [Read More]

OS X El Capitan Update Breaks Some Music Software

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

You know the drill. There’s a new operating system from Apple. It breaks some music software. If you don’t like things breaking, you should wait a bit. Then once you’ve verified the stuff you need is compatible, go for it — it’s probably better than the last OS once the wrinkles are ironed out.

This post occurs with each new OS, a bit like some sites do Holiday Shopping Guides, or April Fools’ jokes. I could almost turn it into a Mad Libs post. But here are the specifics.

The operating system: OS X 10.11 “El Capitan.”

What breaks: plug-ins, mainly. Some Audio Unit plug-ins don’t pass validation. We’ve heard that from Native Instruments and Arturia already. Arturia says they’ve seen issues with standalone software, too. Either way, we’re talking software qualification. And I suspect we’ll hear from more developers through the day, not just Arturia and NI (feel free to sound off in comments).

Check hardware, too. Here, we only have heard from NI, but it’s a huge issue — kernel panics with the MK1 editions of Traktor Kontrol S4, X1, Traktor Audio 2, and Maschine, plus the Audio 2/4/8 DJ and Guitar Rig 3 Rig Kontrol 3 hardware.

Meanwhile, Elektron say their Overbridge tech isn’t quite working with 10.11 yet, either. (Their hardware is fine, but not with all the integration features.)

The good news here — in NI’s case, at least, there are already beta drivers. I’m all set to use my VST versions of my plug-ins and Maschine in glorious monochromatic orange.

Back in my day, Apple never used to have OS upgrade quality issues. Why have they abandoned pros? Ah, too true. I remember the golden days, back in Yosemite, OS X East Bay, OS X Delayed BART train, 10.6, 10.5, 10.4.8, 10.3, Mac OS X Puma, Mac OS X Llama, Mac OS X Rabid Kitten Beta 3, System 8, System 7.5.3 revision 2, System 7.blergh, System 6, PowerBook 5300 On Fire, Apple III Drop It On A Table Until It Starts Working… no problems whatsoever. Everything “just worked,” back when Steve Jobs was with us and I used my Mac Classic at school which I went to and from uphill in the snow both ways even in September, until the sad day when Gibson bought Studio Vision Pro and killed Christmas forever and the End Times were nigh.

Okay, no, seriously:

Will this get fixed? Yes, and if past OS updates are any indication, reasonably quickly. Just sit tight.

Why Shatner? Kirk in Star Trek V climbs the mountain El Capitan, in Yosemite Park (each a namesake of an OS X update now). Also, spoiler alert: Kirk falls. So before you make “love to the mountain,” be aware of the risks, and make sure Spock catches you. I mean, uh, make sure you have a backup before you upgrade.

Backup first. I’m not preaching abstinence; I’m saying use protection. Make a backup first. That was tasteless, sorry — but I think I’ve written this story ten times in the history of CDM, so you can expect the quality to degrade as I age. 😉

Updated: when you are ready, here’s four hours of Shatner while you wait on your machine to backup and upgrade.

The post OS X El Capitan Update Breaks Some Music Software appeared first on Create Digital Music.


WaveDNA Releases Liquid Music for Live

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

WaveDNA has released Liquid Music for Live, a plug-in for Ableton Live 9 that crafts original song ideas with advanced music tools. Liquid Music is designed to allow users to paint melodies, [Read More]

Starting music is the theme of a Novation product launch next week

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Novation are promising something new on the 1st of October. Let’s just say whatever [redacted] may be, we’ll cover [redacted] when the time is right. But what I find interesting is the way they’re introducing the message. Just as Ableton did with Push, the message is about “starting something” — about getting past that initial creative impulse.

I think we’re seeing a shift in the way we talk about music technology in general. The old way of selling was to make the process as mysterious as possible. Serious professionals would tell you how they had the killer tool that you didn’t — the thing you’d want.

Now, we’re saying the opposite. After years of those experts resisting the democratization of music, the people making the tools are talking openly about demystifying music making.

On one level, it’s risky. After all, if you demystify music making, who’s to say that any music tool is really so important, anyway?

On another, what are we doing if not making tools for people who love music for people who will love them? And then it’s up to us writing about these tools, and eventually you using them, to see if they’re something you care about.

There are a number of videos, but my favorite comes from FOXTROTT, aka singer-producer Marie-Helene L. Delorme of Montreal. It’s hard to even describe her genre, in the right way, but it’s hip-hop-influenced, internationally-flavored and modern Québécois pop. She’s an independent, unsigned, unlabeled artist.

And I totally agree with the cooking metaphor. Producers can easily get stuck in endless in-the-box tweaking; the key to starting off on the right foot is getting those initial ingredients. Oddly, this makes me flash back to a similar speech about ingredients and making a stew by George Tsontakis, a new music composer who’s about as far as you can get from FOXTROTT as you might imagine. But the metaphor is universal.

You can hear more here:

And then next month we’ll talk about what Novation are doing, and then we’ll talk about what music you make with what you’re using, and that’s how this is all meant to work.

The post Starting music is the theme of a Novation product launch next week appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Kajiya Music released “Melomo” – Free voice recorder with metronome for Android

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Kajiya Music has released Melomo, a free voice recorder with a metronome for Android. Main Functions: Recording and playback function of about 1 minute. Metronome function (30~300BPM). Function [Read More]

As PRS battles SoundCloud, what does it mean for your own music?

Friday, September 18th, 2015


PRS for Music, a UK performing rights organization, at the end of last month sued SoundCloud for copyright infringement on behalf of its members.

The action may prove a decisive moment for the Berlin-based streaming service. It represents a collision between SoundCloud’s approach and the organizations involved in administering copyright, and more broadly, between the conventional models for sharing and monetizing music and those evolving on the Internet.

I spoke to representatives from PRS and SoundCloud to try to get greater clarity. Those responses were naturally a bit guarded, as the two are actively engaged in legal action. However, there’s a lot you can read into what they’ve said, and the conflict more generally.

Even if you don’t use SoundCloud, there are some major implications for the way in which music is shared online — let alone if you are specifically licensed by PRS. (And you don’t have to live in the UK to be part of this legal action — more on that in a bit.)

First, let’s deal with the public statements made about the case, and understand what we’re talking about. When copyright laws were written, the Internet didn’t exist. This has produced a somewhat counter-intuitive distinction in the work itself (the composition — the thing you’d traditionally have written on paper), and the recording of the work. Those are licensed separately, and that’s because the legal notion is that the transmission of a recording is both a “performance” of the work itself, and a use of the recording material. That is already somewhat confusing in the United States, and then when you stream on the Internet, you’re subject to separate laws in every single separate provinciality abroad.

When we’re talking about PRS, we’re talking about performing rights. These produce royalties that are administered to members representing songwriters and publishers; if you self-released, you’re effectively both. If you’re a member of ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, GEMA, or one of another organizations, PRS is actually also collecting royalties for your music in the UK.

That means it’s very possible you, the reader, are in principle named in this suit. Here’s where things get a bit weird. Let’s say you’ve got a song you recorded, and you’re an ASCAP member in Texas. And let’s say you — or your label — uploaded that music to SoundCloud, which you very likely have the right to do (it’s your music). Now, technically, your own upload just infringed your own copyright, if PRS claims that it needed a performing royalty. In fact, theoretically, if you uploaded your music to your own site — not SoundCloud’s — you would still be owed a performing license, one paid by yourself through PRS and back to you again. It’s just unlikely that if it were your own site, or your label’s site, anyone would show up trying to enforce the copyright. SoundCloud is different.

By the way, even SoundCloud explains that it is possible to infringe your own copyright. (It’s possible to do this even on your own site — which is why I think not joining a performing rights organization may become a compelling possibility to consider in the digital world, depending on your particular use case). From their copyright case:

Can you answer “no” to all of the following questions?

Were you signed to a record label when you recorded the track?
Do you have a publishing deal?
Are you a member of a performing rights organization or collecting society?
Have you licensed your track to anyone else?
Does the track contain the entirety or any part of someone else’s song(s) Is it based on someone else’s song(s)?

Now, more broadly, SoundCloud also clearly has a lot of music that wasn’t uploaded directly by creators. Apart from the frequent use of DJ mixes, there’s some content that is simply straight out infringing. But to be clear, this lawsuit doesn’t differentiate between those cases: it’s claiming royalties for all three.

PRS sent a letter to its members (now, this wasn’t addressed to the many more overseas artists it represents, but just those who are directly registered with PRS):

Dear Member,

PRS for Music begins legal action against SoundCloud

After careful consideration, and following five years of unsuccessful negotiations, we now find ourselves in a situation where we have no alternative but to commence legal proceedings against the online music service SoundCloud.

When a writer or publisher becomes a member of the Performing Right Society, they assign certain rights to their works over for us to administer, so it’s our job to ensure we collect and distribute royalties due to them. SoundCloud actively promotes and shares music. Launched in 2008, the service now has more than 175m unique listeners per month. Unfortunately, the organisation continues to deny it needs a PRS for Music licence for its existing service available in the UK and Europe, meaning it is not remunerating our members when their music is streamed by the SoundCloud platform.

Our aim is always to license services when they use our members’ music. It has been a difficult decision to begin legal action against SoundCloud but one we firmly believe is in the best, long-term interests of our membership. This is because it is important we establish the principle that a licence is required when services make available music to users. We have asked SoundCloud numerous times to recognise their responsibilities to take a licence to stop the infringement of our members’ copyrights but so far our requests have not been met. Therefore we now have no choice but to pursue the issue through the courts.

We understand SoundCloud has taken down some of our members’ works from their service. With our letter of claim, we sent SoundCloud a list of 4,500 musical works which are being made available on the service, as a sample of our repertoire being used, so that they understood the scale of our members’ repertoire and its use on the service. We asked them to take a licence to cover the use of all our members’ repertoire or otherwise stop infringing.

SoundCloud decided to respond to our claim by informing us that it had removed 250 posts. Unfortunately, we have no visibility or clarity on SoundCloud’s approach to removing works, so it is not currently clear why these particular posts have been selected by them given the wider issue of infringement that is occurring. Ultimately, it is SoundCloud’s decision as to whether it starts paying for the ongoing use of our members’ music or stops using these works entirely.

If the streaming market is to reach its true potential and offer a fair return for our members, organisations such as SoundCloud must pay for their use of our members’ music. We launched our Streamfair campaign in June to raise awareness of this issue and highlight how music creators need to be properly remunerated from streaming. We believe that all digital services should obtain a licence which grants them permission to use our members’ music and repertoire, in this case the works of songwriters, publishers and composers.

The streaming market cannot fairly develop unless this happens. We have always been pro-licensing and pro-actively work with organisations in order to propose an appropriate licensing solution for the use of our members’ works.

We remain hopeful that this matter can be resolved without the need for extended litigation. Members will appreciate that this is now a legal matter and our ability to communicate around it is therefore limited by the legal process. However, we will try to share information and updates whenever we can.

Emphasis mine. There are already several points here to digest:

First, this has been ongoing for five years — a point that’s likely to come up in legal proceedings.

It’s also telling that SoundCloud believes it doesn’t need a license for UK and European streaming. Now, that may sound really strange, but remember that this doesn’t mean the music would be entirely un-licensed or even un-monetized.

And this sheds some light on take-down notices — or, at least, it makes it clear that we’re still in the dark. PRS is expressing the same frustration with SoundCloud that a lot of SoundCloud users have: the service simply isn’t explaining how it decides to take content down. And it seems to be fairly random: the 4500 works listed by PRS here are presumably a small fraction of everything it could have sent, and then SoundCloud removed a small fraction of that (if PRS’ statement is accurate).

But it’s also historical here that PRS continues to rigorously defend the need for licensing. And I wonder, actually, why that isn’t a matter for open debate. The traditional music stakeholders — even the ones that may represent you — continue to argue for licensing as the panacea for streaming. But as I said, the entire licensing model is complex. It’s also weighted heavily toward bigger labels and publishers, because they can sign deals with artists that ensure them a big piece of the pie, and then aggregate a lot of different content so the royalties add up.

That is, there are two points with which you might disagree. If you’re a lawyer, you can argue the details of whether SoundCloud is genuinely liable for this specific license (not to play music for free, but to pay for the PRS license in Europe). And if you’re an artist, entirely independent of that, you might ask whether PRS’ licensing scheme is best suited to making you any money on the Internet. If you believe the answer is no, you shouldn’t join a performing rights organization. Performing rights organizations would like you to believe the answer is yes.

What’s unclear is what PRS is suing for. There’s an implication here that by arguing with SoundCloud’s Safe Harbor status, PRS could sue SoundCloud not just for royalties now, but for all back royalties over the course of half a decade. I think that would almost certainly shutter the entire site overnight, which could have a devastating impact on artists and labels.

I asked PRS explicitly what their goal was, though, and it’s clear that they remain primarily interested in the site operating with a license in place. The thing is, if PRS did shut down SoundCloud, while it would prove a point, it would both anger members who use the service and by definition would eliminate royalties on hundreds of millions of future plays.

For some really good analysis of this statement and that quote in particular, see Music Business World this week

I think the key is, PRS and the labels really need SoundCloud as a big entity for licensing to work at all. See also their deal with Spotify. This sort of homogenization of streaming makes the job of licensing far easier.

SoundCloud wouldn’t comment directly on this case to CDM (PRS did), but instead a spokesperson for the company pointed me to their existing statement:

It is regrettable that PRS appears to be following this course of action in the midst of an active commercial negotiation with SoundCloud. We believe this approach does not serve the best interests of any of the parties involved, in particular the members of the PRS, many of whom are active users of our platform and who rely on it to share their work and communicate with their fanbase.

SoundCloud is a platform by creators, for creators. No one in the world is doing more to enable creators to build and connect with their audience while protecting the rights of creators, including PRS members. We are working hard to create a platform where all creators can be paid for their work, and already have deals in place with thousands of copyright owners, including record labels, publishers and independent artists.

There’s not much here that answers PRS’ claims; we actually know more about SoundCloud’s likely position from the PRS statement than the SoundCloud statement. But note that the deals they have in place don’t mention performing rights organizations — and remember, there are two kinds of licenses we’re describing here.

PRS did clarify their position a bit for CDM. Here’s that exchange:

CDM: Whose works does this suit cover? I know there is a representative list, but is the case built around all PRS-represented music? I assume it includes, for instance, partners like ASCAP (when played in European territories)?

PRS: Our legal action covers all PRS for Music member repertoire.

PRS recently announced a multi-territory deal with Spotify Europe. How are those royalties calculated? This is some sort of fixed statutory rate per play?

PRS: There is no statutory licensing rate in the UK, although the Copyright Tribunal was established to adjudicate licensing disputes in the UK between copyright owners (incl. collecting societies) and businesses using copyright music on the issue of the reasonableness of rates, amongst other things. In relation to Spotify, this is a bespoke negotiated licence and as such the terms are confidential.

Ed.: Okay, here my question shows a bit of ignorance — I’m referring to the kind of statutory licensing set in the United States, where the federal government fixes rates. I’ll be the first to admit that while I’m definitely not an expert on US IP law, I’m even less familiar with the law in the United Kingdom.

But notice — PRS want you to believe that licensing is the way to go. But the deals on which you depend are completely confidential. So you’ve got a choice: SoundCloud not telling you why they’re removing your music, or PRS not telling you how their licensing deals work. Transparency isn’t really coming from any of these players here. And the entire system at this point depends on one-by-one, independent negotiations.

Next, I dealt with the scenario above — creators registering their works who then upload music to a service in a way that infringes not someone else’s copyright, but their own.

For many of our readers — and again, many of them themselves members of PRS (or other performing rights organizations) — the material on SoundCloud is work they’ve uploaded with the intention of sharing. What would you say to those artists when they find that this use on SoundCloud is being targeted by PRS? Isn’t there some conflict of interest when, for instance, SoundCloud asks them to take down music they uploaded themselves, in response to a complaint by a performing rights organization? Or do you believe those artists are not acting in their own self-interest when they upload music in this way?

PRS: When a writer or publisher becomes a member of the Performing Right Society, they assign certain rights to their works over for us to administer. This means we are then able to efficiently and effectively license organisations for their use of our members’ work, then collect and distribute royalties back to the members. Licensing protects the interests of all of our members, very many of whom are having their content used by SoundCloud without their permission, expressed or otherwise. Our members all agree that they should be paid to have their content used by third parties and sometimes the achievement of this goal means having to make difficult decisions for the collective good. We understand that many of our members use and appreciate the service provided by SoundCloud. At PRS for Music we can also see the value that a service like SoundCloud could add to the market if it were operating with proper licensing. But as things stand, our members receive nothing for their content being consumed on SoundCloud.

There are a couple of important points they make in response. One, as I said, if this were just creators uploading their own music, it would be one thing. But as was the case with YouTube, as long as these sites have mixes and so on, it’s another story.

Two, though, note that PRS also recognizes their own members are SoundCloud users. That makes me wonder if they won’t try to use this legal action to find a deal — which is what I ask next.

What’s the end game here? You say you hope not to have extended litigation, but do you believe SoundCloud owes back royalties for the five years during which you’ve been in negotiation?

PRS: The primary aim is to move SoundCloud towards having a fully licensed service that fairly pays our members when their music is used on the service.

That’s important, as this means the goal is a settlement in which SoundCloud keeps operating.

Now, it also made sense to talk to SoundCloud. The only way that company — billion-dollar valuation or no — can work with stakeholders is if it’s actually bringing in money as it’s promised. Eric Wahlforss, who also spoke on a panel I hosted this summer, responded to those issues.

CDM: Am I correct in understanding that monetization — and presumably, revenue that would impact licensing music — is going to be based on some combination of subscription and advertising revenue?

Eric: On SoundCloud enables our Premier Partners to monetise their content through advertising, and to earn a share of the resulting revenue. This will also include a share of revenue from our subscription products once they’re launched.

We’re now over a year into the On SoundCloud program. Are there advertisers onboard that you can talk about? That is, I’ve seen some of the publishers; how is the monetization picture? Earlier this year you mentioned $ 1 million in advertising payments, is there a new number?

Eric: Since the launch of On SoundCloud we’ve paired brands like Jaguar, Sonos, Microsoft, Taco Bell, Asics and Axe with SoundCloud creators like Sizzlebird, ILoveMakonnen, Metro Boomin, Viceroy and Big Data. These partnerships have helped artists shine an additional spotlight on their work, while getting paid in the process.

Our native offering, ‘promoted tracks’ puts branded content at the top of every SoundCloud users stream to drive engagement: plays, likes, reposts, shares. For example, HBO has worked with SoundCloud to launch their shows including ‘Catch the Throne’, which was used to promote this year’s series of Game of Thrones.

We’re yet to release new payment figures but the number is obviously growing month on month.

Ed.: the absence of payment figures here is a bit frustrating, actually — cue Dr. Evil quote about “one millllllion dollars.” Then again, remember YouTube faltering early on in ad revenue. It’s tough. The one ace in SoundCloud’s hole is, at least they have creators willing to pay for subscriptions. That makes them very different from services like Spotify, which are really mostly about consumption.

Is there any updated timeline as far as rolling out On SoundCloud to more users?

Eric: On SoundCloud remains invite only at the moment and we’re still adding new partners as fast as we can. We started with 20 select partners representing 2,000 labels at launch, and have now grown to over 600, representing over 25,000 labels, many of whom are independents. These include Merlin and Warner Music Group, as well as a landmark partnership with the National Music Publishers Association in the US. Our goal remains to provide monetization opportunities for all creators on the platform.

The addition of labels is the important one, even if some big players still aren’t onboard. And that also shows some overlap between the stakes of labels and performing rights organizations.

Is providing paid listener subscriptions still on the table? (Am I correct in understanding that’s an option?)

Eric: We will be launching listener subscriptions in the future. Our subscription philosophy is about delivering subscribers additional functionality, and the free tier will continue to be a core part of our platform for creators and listeners in a way that is complementary to our subscription services.


Let me be perfectly frank: I think as creators, we want this to work out. First, PRS has a point. Without getting into the fine points about which licenses work in which localities internationally, SoundCloud simply has to do a better job licensing the music on its site — like, licensing it at all, in most cases. I think we should have a debate about what sort of copyright framework makes sense, and whether licensing is really a model that works for artists. I know the people who believe that it does work are often very open to talking about that, so this can be a vigorous and valuable debate.

But we can only have that discussion if the basis of copyright law remains enforceable and (while this may seem near-impossible) enforceable internationally. Even those of us who are advocates of open source licensing or Creative Commons licensing depend on copyright law as a foundation. (That’s why you have so many lawyers involved in those issues.)

At the same time, whatever high-minded argument PRS wants to make about licenses, it’s ugly if we imagine a world without SoundCloud. Labels depend on streams as a window to actually selling music direct; artists rely on data from listeners and exposure and the ability to promote events and sell tickets. These activities very often far outweigh royalty checks in terms of actual monetary value. If you break SoundCloud, you may well break a lot of the way music is working for artists right now.

This is one to watch. I think it will remain important to see how the SoundCloud case unfolds, because it has implications far beyond the service. And we should also talk about alternatives to SoundCloud that do have licensing in place, for no other reason that I think no single service can serve everyone. YouTube dwarfs Vimeo, on the video side, but a lot of very specific creative niches find Vimeo invaluable. Yet there isn’t yet a “Vimeo for sound,” even as SoundCloud is clearly “YouTube for sound.”

Hey, that was fun! Let’s go listen to some music.

Native Instruments CEO, SoundCloud CTO talk music’s future direction

The post As PRS battles SoundCloud, what does it mean for your own music? appeared first on Create Digital Music.


iPad Pro, Mobile Music Apps and iOS 9 – Q&A With iOS Developers

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Ok, by now even your grandma should know that Apple announced the iPad Pro a few days ago. But what does this really mean for iOS musicians? What should we expect in terms of music apps?

We asked these questions to some of the most relevant iOS music apps developers (more coming soon in the next round).

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome…
Michael Tyson (Loopy, Audiobus),
Sebastian Dittman (Audiobus, SoundPrism),
Oliver Greschke (Elastic Drums, Wretchup),
Henrik Lenberg (Auxy),
Ben Kamen (Chordion, Ondes, Patterning),
Rolf Wöhrmann (NLog, iSem, Nave).

The iPad Pro boasts a 12,9-inch screen with 2732×2048 resolution (versus the 2048×1536 resolution of the iPad Air 2), for 1.5 pounds (712 g). What will this bigger screen estate mean in terms of music making and performing?

I think it’ll mean we’ll start to see apps with more advanced capabilities. Screen real-estate is always tight on iOS, and that means we developers often need to make hard decisions about what to include and what to leave out. 12.9 inches certainly gives us more to work with. This comes at a great time for my own Loopy Masterpiece Edition project. I have big plans for workspaces in Masterpiece, with a bunch of new controls users can setup alongside the tracks: faders, buttons, switches, which can be hooked up to assorted actions and settings in the app. Ahh, the iPad Pro will work so well with that!

I’m mostly interested in the changes to RAM. If it’s true that the iPad Pro has 4GB of RAM, then that’ll be a significant improvement over older devices.

It will finally have a size made for live shows, where you don’t want to play with fiddly small knobs and faders, I think we will see these big iPads more often in live acts soon.

I think iPad Pro opens up the possibility for building really deep and capable music creation apps designed for touch. With a bigger screen, it’s easier to avoid having modal interactions (i.e. navigating between different views). Making a great touch interface is very different from a classic mouse and keyboard interface though, so simply porting existing apps won’t work.

I think you’ll start to see apps that take advantage of the space to show more information, or to allow different configurations to be shown at once.

Size matters! The increased screen real estate will allow for two hand operations and a whole new category of apps will be possible. Also, the 12.9-inch screen is the same size of a medium sized laptop. Thus, all apps running on these sizes will now be possible on the iPad Pro. We’re quite used to that size, so my guess is that people will love it. On the other hand, increased size means less portability compared to a classic iPad.

Do you think at some point we’ll have music apps specifically developed for the iPad Pro, to make the most of its size?

Hmm, that’s a good question. For me personally, I think it’d be tricky to justify limiting the market demographic to just iPad Pro owners, so I don’t anticipate targeting the device exclusively for any new projects — at least not any time soon. That doesn’t mean that apps can’t take advantage of the facilities available on any particular device though, of course, and the iPad Pro could inspire new products.

I think the market size for this would be relatively small, so iPad Pro-only apps would probably have to be priced higher. I’m currently not sure if there’s a way to even restrict an app to only be offered on iPad Pro.

I don’t think we’ll see apps developed only for the iPad Pro (and no other formats), but specially adapted screen wise for the iPad Pro sure, although this will enhance developing time. But Apple already tried to give dev’s some (new) tools like Autolayout and SizeClasses…

It would certainly be exciting to make apps specifically for the device, but before it makes sense for companies to invest in building apps for iPad Pro, there has to be enough users on the platform ans those users have to be willing to pay for the effort it would take to build great apps for it.

I don’t think we’ll see “iPad Pro Only” apps, but I do think we’ll start to see apps that are optimized for it and have special features or layouts that work only on the Pro.

Yes, I believe that makes great sense. However, it’s not clear if the App Store allows for the required business models. These apps would have much-increased complexity and therefore development efforts. Without upgrade pricing, it would be hard on the long run to justify development costs and maintenance unless you have a service based model or something similar with recurring income for the developers.
Also supporting the Pencil will make apps for the iPad Pro special. I see here potential for music editing apps (wave editors, score writing programs). However, Apple might add the Pencil option also to a future iPad Air hardware update.


Speaking of performing, what’s your opinion on two of the new iPad Pro features — Slide Over (where you can choose a second app to open up as a pinned sidebar on the right) and Split View? Will they be a significant change in the way iOS musician perform?

I have mixed feelings about it. It’s going to introduce an enormous amount of complexity for developers, just supporting the range of window dimensions. Lots of iOS music apps are designed for one particular screen orientation only, for example, and their interfaces would need to be rethought in order to support the new multitasking stuff.
I think it’s great for productivity apps, but right now I’m more interested in the new Audio Unit Extensions functionality for multi-app music workflows. This may be where we’ll see the most innovation, if it’s refined further.

Yes, switching between different apps is very annoying, right? With these new techniques, DAW apps on the iPad finally make sense. You can work on a Plugin Effect or Instrument while the DAW is still visible in the background. Fantastic!

I haven’t really tried the multitasking features so hard to say whether they work well or not. At Auxy, we’re more excited about building a fantastic experience in one app as opposed to trying to patch different apps together.

I’m really excited about the idea that multiple apps can be on the screen at once — I think this suggests a ton of new workflows, where the iPad can become an almost modular type of system to work in.

Split View is the way to go: It allows for simultaneous interaction with both apps. That’s an amazing opportunity for new innovative concepts. Slide Over is nice for editing, but for performing is has the disadvantage that the app that gets slid over is not responsive for touch while this happens. So better go for the real thing: Split View.


Speaking of touch-screen devices, I feel we’re still at a very early stage of their evolution. I was hoping Apple would have added some kind of pressure-sensitivity (a killer feature for musicians, IMHO). I guess we’ll have to wait for the 2nd or 3rd generation. Do you agree with me about the disrupting impact that this could have on music making, and/or what else you’d like Apple to add to this device?

We’re quite disappointed to see the iPad Pro has no 3D touch; that would’ve been huge. It’s going to be great on the iPhone 6s, though, and as you say: hopefully we’ll see it on the iPad Pro in a year or two. It’s certainly going to give developers and musicians a whole new axis of interaction to work with.
We wanted to see a USB-C interface on the new iPad, too, which would have been a really great feature for musicians. Ah well. Next year?

Totally! Surprising and disappointing that Apple did not implement it in the new iPads. Maybe the technique is cost intensive and they want to make some experience with the iPhone first. Anything that improves sensitivity makes the devices more interesting for musicians, for people who want to express, be it in a better piano like expression or some total new interfaces

I’m excited that Apple is able to expand and improve the ways you interact with touch screens and if 3D touch works well it definitely gives us more options for improving the interface.

Yea, I think everyone in the iOS music community is waiting impatiently for 3D touch to come to the iPad. It’s certainly going to make controller apps more fluid and allow more depth in user interfaces in general. One thing I’d really like to see is something like the taptic engine, where you get touch feedback from the screen.

Yes, pressure-sensitivity and haptic feedback (even if it’s just emulated) will be the next level. I’m curious to see what 3D Touch brings to the new iPhones, but clearly 3D Touch isn’t particularly made for music performance but more for user control. My fear is that latency of current pressure-sensitivity isn’t where we need it. But we’ll see which innovations will come up in the near future.

iOS 9 has just been released today. We’ve heard of significant changes regarding audio apps routing/management. What iOS musicians should expect from this release, also in terms of integration with desktop DAWs and plugins?

As I mentioned, Audio Unit Extensions is the new technology to keep an eye on. Apple needs to do a little more work on it before it’s ready, but I think it’s a very interesting direction for app-to-app audio, both from a workflow perspective and for robustness and reliability. Watch this space…

We’re still waiting for Apple’s own system Audio Units on iOS to become compatible with the new Audio Unit Extensions. Until this arrives, many apps will face significant hurdles before their developers can make them compatible. I’m also wondering if users are going to accept (read: pay for) completely new apps that just act as containers for AU Extensions.

It looks like iOS and Apple desktop music are getting closer to each other, which is good. The announcements sounded pretty exciting, like AudioUnits that you can use on iOS AND Desktop. But I have heard that the needed frameworks are not at a final state yet — lots of bugs, that Apple should fix first. So I guess it will take some time before we get some new technologies / apps that make use of these new features.

We believe the next big thing will happen on smaller screens rather than bigger as well. Phones are the primary computer for the next generation of creators. It’s always in your pocket and will be the go-to device when creativity strikes. A lot of people will be making serious music on their iPhones only and our mission at Auxy is to provide fantastic tools for this shift to happen.

As always, it’s going to take awhile for all the new technology to get integrated into most apps and for it to reach mass adoption. But it does seem like we are on the edge of some really exciting times for iOS music!

Feeding audio to the laptop will be much easier. However, I would love to get also MIDI support and two-way audio. Till then we would need to use Bluetooth for MIDI…

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Silk is a giant string instrument that makes Bitcoin into music

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

::vtol:: silk from ::vtol:: on Vimeo.

Welcome to the Internet of Sounds.

The latest from our friend vtol, aka prolific Moscow-based sound artist Dmitry Morozov, is an installation of tall, spindly metal towers strung with wire. Standing at two meters, motorized fingers pull on diagonal strings — five of them, for the dollar, Yuan, Euro, Canadian dollar, and Ruble.

The tune, though, is all about data. As Bitcoin and Litecoin cryptocurrencies fluctuate in value against the more traditional currencies, the imagined monetary values generate new melodies and rhythms. Recalling both the controversial recent silk road and its historical analog, these silk strings form a mythological musical song.


The whole thing operates robotically in real-time, adding complexity, and high-precision motors create fine-tuned sonic details even if the data changes are minute.

Behind the scenes:

– tuning mechanism with 10 stepper motors
– 10 servo motors
– dimarzio guitar rail pickups
– 2 channel sound system
– arduino


– max/msp
– pure data



More: http://vtol.cc/filter/works/silk
Via Matrixsynth

The post Silk is a giant string instrument that makes Bitcoin into music appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Nyrv Systems releases AGENTCM as a free plug-in on Computer Music Magazine 222

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Nyrv Systems in collaboration with Computer Music Magazine has released a free version of their subhost AGENT. This version, titled AGENTCM, can be found on the September issue of Computer Music [Read More]

Adam Monroe Music releases AU Version of Adam Monroe’s Beats Drum Sample Library

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

Adam Monroe Music has released an Audio Unit version of Adam Monroe’s Beats drum sample library for Mac OS X 10.9 or later. The Audio Unit version functions the same as the VST versions, and [Read More]