Tunefruit Tech and Music Mashup: Will Tidal Be A Tidal Wave?

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Just what we were all desperately waiting for – a new music streaming service. If you have had enough of the others, there is now one more to try. Tidal is a music subscription service for audio and video files. The focus is apparently on sound quality.  It also promises exclusive songs and videos from artists. Backed by 16 musical artists, including Jay Z, the service launched a few weeks ago to much fanfare.

Initial reception, however, has been somewhat frosty. Most of the criticism revolves around Tidal’s business model. There is no free plan, only two paid tiers – $9.99 and $19.99. This makes it difficult to compete with the other competitors like Spotify who offer free services. Also, the launch was viewed by many as an attempt by artists to grab more money from the consumer.

I wanted to get the opinion of an actual artist and music lover (besides myself) instead of just listening to critics. What do critics know anyway? So, I reached out to Nicolay, from the critically acclaimed group The Foreign Exchange. I asked him what his thoughts were on Tidal. “The large majority of fans of the artists that were on that stage when Tidal launched don’t really care about sound quality”, says Nicolay. “They play music from their phones, iPads, computer speakers, Bluetooth boxes, etc. At the same time, the large majority of music listeners that care about sound quality (aka “audiophiles”) are not a fan of the artists on that stage.” Did he think there was marketplace out there for lossless streaming? “Perhaps, but either way it would be a niche thing the way that Neil Young’s Pono player is a niche thing. At least in the near term.”

It looks like we will have to wait to see how this all actually plays out.  In the meantime, I think I might just continue to stream my free Spotify radio.

cantaloupe 1ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derrick Pryce (known as Cantaloupe at Tunefruit) is a music producer and keyboard player based in Atlanta, GA.  His current release is entitled Kebomusic Presents: The Experience, which is available on iTunes and Amazon. In addition to music, he is very much interested in technology, entrepreneurship and venture capital. He thinks mixing them all up would be fantastic. For more information, check out www.kebomusic.com.

Tunefruit Tech and Music Mashup: Vinyl is Back!

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Snap.  Crackle.  Pop.  No, I am not talking about eating a bowl of Rice Krispies.   That is the familiar, or not so familiar sound (depending on your age) of playing a vinyl record.  To the surprise of many, vinyl is back.  In 2013, there were 6.1 million vinyl records sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That is a 33 percent increase in sales from 2012.  For comparison, in 1993 there were less than 1 million records sold.  The surge is attributed to the fact that some buyers now want a tangible product.  Something that they can touch and feel.  

There is also the sound quality.  Since MP3s are compressed, certain frequencies are left out.  This can leave the listener with a less than ideal listening experience, even if they don’t know it.  I would agree that vinyl has an undeniable warmth to it that has yet to be re-created digitally.  Back in the 90s, producers of R&B Neo-Soul tracks would add a “static” track to their productions, with the crackling, to give it that dusty groove feel.  It gave the song some character.

I also wonder if there is a psychological component to it.  You actually have to sit down and listen to a record, as opposed to being on the train, going for a jog or just plain multitasking.  Perhaps our concentration is more focused in that regard, allowing us to perceive the music as “sounding better”.

With vinyl coming back into the retail space, will we also see this resurgence in other areas?  I wonder if DJs would ever go back to carrying crates of records?  These days, all you need is your MacBook Pro, Serato software and controller, an MP3 playlist and you are on your way to playing your next party.  Trust me, that setup is much easier on the lower back.  This resurgence overall is definitely a surprising development, since we have been told for so long by several entities and authorities on the matter that vinyl was absolutely dead and it would never come back.  Oh, how things change.  

What do you think? Drop a comment in the comment section below.

cantaloupe 1ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derrick Pryce (known as Cantaloupe at Tunefruit) is a music producer and keyboard player based in Atlanta, GA.  His current release is entitled Kebomusic Presents: The Experience, which is available on iTunes and Amazon. In addition to music, he is very much interested in technology, entrepreneurship and venture capital. He thinks mixing them all up would be fantastic. For more information, check out www.kebomusic.com.

Tunefruit Tech and Music Mashup – Entry #7 (Make Music With A Glove)

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Who doesn’t want to make music by just waving their hands?

That process is much quicker and less time consuming than slicing up .wav files in Logic Audio.  Well, that reality is now upon us thanks to music gloves created by British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap.  She has recently embraced this technology by creating musical gloves called Mi.Mu.  Each glove is configured with buttons and sensors that send information back to a computer when your hands are in motion.  This allows the artist to create music more organically by following natural body motions.

The project initially started as a Kickstarter campaign.  A collaboration between MIT’s media lab and Imogen, the entire process took about 5 years to create.  Known for her distinctive fusion of soft acoustic and electronica sounds, Imogen Heap hopes the gloves will also help bring her music to fans in a more tangible way.  Artists such as Ariana Grande have recently taken notice, reportedly scheduled to utilize the gloves on an upcoming tour.

I think this form of wearable tech definitely provides the ability for people who are not musicians to actually create music.  I am even seeing an application for children in schools.  This would provide them a fun, active way to learn about music while exploring their creativity.  This type of technology definitely merges music and movement.  Traditional musicians have always been moving while playing instruments on stage.   However, with the advent of electronic music, movement while creating music may be restrained to a constant head nod.  It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on the music itself.  As wearable technology continues to expand,  I am sure we will see similar innovations like this later on down the line.

What do you think? Drop a comment in the comment section below.

cantaloupe 1ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derrick Pryce (known as Cantaloupe at Tunefruit) is a music producer and keyboard player based in Atlanta, GA.  His current release is entitled Kebomusic Presents: The Experience, which is available on iTunes and Amazon. In addition to music, he is very much interested in technology, entrepreneurship and venture capital. He thinks mixing them all up would be fantastic. For more information, check out www.kebomusic.com.