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.

Tuneruit Tech and Music Mashup – (The Heartbeat Of Music)

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Have you purchased your new iPhone yet?  I, for one, have not purchased it yet although I am overdue for an upgrade.  If you are an iPhone user, you may have heard about Apple’s new Health app.  The application offers the ability for you to monitor your physical activity using the iPhone’s motion sensors.  This definitely comes in handy for the fitness buffs out there.  In particular, the app has a heart rate monitor.  Just check your phone to keep up with your BPMs.

Given that the iPhone and Apple are intrinsically linked to music, I began to think about the relationship between the heartbeat and music.   Have you ever thought about the prevalence of “heartbeats” in music?  There is the signature “thump thump” that appears in dance music.  Or what about that low heartbeat that appears in a scary film designed to evoke suspense and fear?  Why is that sound so powerful?  There have been several studies done on the relationship between heart rate and music.  Manipulating one’s heartbeat is critical when trying to bring out certain emotions in a viewer or listener.  Attaching certain emotions to whatever you are trying to sell is always a sure thing.  Humans seem to have a natural response to a thumping heart.  Science has recently discovered that this phenomenon started while we were in the womb.

As a music producer, I don’t think I have consciously programmed a beat to mimic a heart beat.  I think it may have occurred more naturally if I was trying to create a piece with a certain mood.  Among genres, I particularly notice it in dance and urban music.  The kick drum always plays the role of the trusted heart.  It appears that the heart beat and music will be forever intertwined.   I wonder if this data can be collected and analyzed to make a better song?  I will be on the lookout for the app that does that.

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 Talk: The Roland TR-808 is Back as the TR-8

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The iconic Roland TR-808 drum machine is back!  I do not think it is possible to listen to at least one hip hop, dance or pop track within the last few decades that has not incorporated that undeniable lo-fi boom, known as the  “808 kick”.  Used in a countless number of songs by most of the heavyweight producers over the past 30 years, this drum machine has taken on a life of it’s own.  It’s amazing that an instrument that was actually only available during a 4 year window in the early 80s has had such a huge impact on popular music.

Fast forward to the present day and Roland has now resurrected the drum machine as the  TR-8.  The unit is part of Roland’s new Aira suite of instruments, designed to cater to the electronic musician.  Although all of the sounds from the original TR-808 can be found in most software synths and samplers, Roland seeks to target those musicians who choose to channel their inspiration through traditional analog hardware.  With a clean, sleek new look, I definitely like the redesign.  It’s a fresh take on an iconic instrument while managing to maintain a retro feel.

I do find it peculiar that Roland is only now capitalizing on the popularity and cult-like following of the TR-808.  Sales of a used TR-808  have been selling well over $3000 USD on Ebay  for years.  Latest reports have stated that Roland wanted to time the comeback correctly.  Retailing at $499, it seems like the comeback price is affordable, enabling musicians to get started on those beats ASAP.

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 Start Up Chatter: Troy Carter

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PHOTO CREDIT: DEBRA MORRISON, LICENSED UNDER CREATIVE COMMONS

Everybody loves the comeback story, right?  That is exactly the story that Troy Carter is telling after recently being fired by Lady Gaga as her manager (as told in Fast Company). This goes to show that reinvention is key in this crazy world that we live in.  Life throws us a curveball and the next question is: what now? Often times you can end up in a better place from where you started.  Troy has been no stranger to setbacks.  After spending 8 years managing female rapper Eve in the late 90’s, he was all of a sudden let go.  He put the pieces back together and ended up with Lady Gaga (not a bad rebound) until the most recent turn of events.  Bouncing back once again, he now runs Atomic Factory, a multi-dimensional entertainment and artist management company.  They recently signed singer Sky Ferreira as a client.

Music industry figures (whether it be managers, artists, musicians, etc.) are increasingly demonstrating that they are no longer one-dimensional figures.  Branching out into other businesses like fashion, technology and advertising are becoming the new norm for people in the industry.  Who wants just one source of income?  That’s just boring.  So, let the reinvention begin!

Troy Carter: Full talk from Wired 2012 from Wired.co.uk on Vimeo.

 

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.

You can follow Derrick on twitter here: @kebomusic