While this isn’t particularly UK-centric news, it will definitely affect a lot of services that we know and love. It looks like the Justice Department is looking at the music royalties rules, which currently means that services like Pandora are paying 49% of their revenue to licensing costs. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this as a precedent for other countries, as the current rules we have around royalties aren’t suited to the modern world of music. I definitely don’t have the answers as to what should happen, but I’d like to see some smart folks try and fix it.
Landr was getting a lot of attention last week, and quite rightly if it does what it says on the tin. The new startup is a drag and drop online mastering tool. Apparently, all you need to do is drag your master file and it will spit out a mastered version with A/B comparisons if you’re using the free version, or full controls over intensity if you subscribe. I’ve signed up, but don’t have anything to upload and get a good enough idea of how good it is, but I’m looking forward to seeing how well it works. If anyone has had a play, then let me know how good it is!
I made the comment last week that there was nothing of note for music dev in the WWDC keynote, and while I was correct it turns out there were a few new features buried in the spec that are of interest. First, Yosemite and iOS8 brings support for MIDI over Bluetooth LE, which is quite awesome and apparently has “really low latency”. They’re even working with standards bodies on making this a standard for other devices/OSs, which is very un-Apple, but definitely to be applauded. The other feature is better inter-app audio switching capabilities, which was introduced in iOS7, but they’re opening it up to developers with iOS8. It basically means that it’s going to be easier to use iOS devices as legitimate live devices across multiple apps.
Nothing major to announce here except that Midem is moving from it’s usual Winter slot to June next year. While this is going to make the entire thing a huge summer party, it’s also going to make accommodation ridiculously expensive. I’ll still be heading out there for my first Midem though…
MusicRadar did a really interesting article last week about the machines we use to make music and perform. As it stands, most of us use PCs and Macs, which while great, aren’t bespoke machines for music. The Microsoft guys showcased a prototype from Numark and Akai that ran Windows Embedded, which is probably more known for running things like kiosks, vending machines and any other touch/computer-based consumer devices. It’s an interesting idea that we might start seeing some more focussed devices for musicians that mean we can do away with cumbersome machines, but I’m not sure it’s realistic.
Apparently Google are looking to buy the music curation service Songza. It’s an interesting acquisition, and smells a little bit like a panic purchase after the Beats/Apple deal. With talent like Songza, Google could get into the curation game that makes Beats attractive, especially with Spotify upping their curation game as well.
The Latest Awesome
Speaking of curation services, a couple of designers/developers from oop North have launched desert.fm, which looks to bring curated lists of desert island discs from interesting developers and designers across the globe. It’s a really neat little idea, and I’d love to see it expanded into an actual podcast to rival the original within our little community.