The haze has finally settled after Glastonbury, and I’ve been able to collate the last two week’s MusicDevNews into the latest issue. Speaking of Glastonbury, a quick rant: If you’re going to create an official app for a festival that you actually want people to use, you might want to make sure that it doesn’t drain the battery like a mobile-network branded vampire. Looking at you, EE…
In the last issue, we reported that indie music service Earbits closed due to a lack of funding. Well, it looks like a mysterious benefactor has come along and saved them from the deadpool and they’re back online. It’d be interesting to know who invested in them, what they got out of it and whether this means that the service will change in anyway. Hypebot are speculating over whether it’s Google, but I can’t really see the advantage for them. Either way, it’s good to see another music startup back in the game.
Soundcloud are having a bad time in the past two weeks, and with good reason (see next story). However, the integration that Mixvibes Cross DJ is genuinely rather exciting. I’d love to see streaming enter into DJing, as it allows for a more on-the-fly set, being able to respond to the crowd as you play, but the current implementations are quite hacky and not quite there yet (Although Reactify’s hack at MIDEM earlier in the year is massively promising). If anyone has had a play with Mixvibes’s Soundcloud integration, let me know how you get on with it!
Soundcloud allows Universal to easily flag and remove content, announces data mining and screws over artists with their new app
Soundcloud aren’t having a good week… First, the news came out that they’ve produced an app for Universal that allows the record giant to easily flag and remove bootlegs, edits and remixes of their licensed content, which is a bit funky. They also updated their T&Cs to say that they’re now collecting user data if you login from third parties, and to opt out you need to send a letter to Germany. Finally, they released their new streamlined app, which completely removes a lot of features (like notifications), which a lot of artists are very unhappy about. I’ve had my own troubles with them this week and cancelled my pro account (apparently a PRS licence isn’t a valid copyright licence in their eyes), and it looks like there’s quite a few others who are following suit. It’s sad to see a company go down like this.
If anybody didn’t know about, Rushmore.fm was a startup from Fictive Kin (the folks behind Brooklyn Beta and Teux Deux) that was massively promising, providing a way to connect artists and fans. Well, they got funded and then sold to a Spanish company and have now completely pivoted away from their original intentions, frustrating and alienating all of their users in the process. It’s sad to see a startup that seemed to have the perfect combination of a great team, great idea and a nice set of passionate users screw it all up so royally…
Rdio seems to have done a rather nice acquihire by acquiring TastemakerX, the music recommendation service. This comes after they ended their relationship with EchoNest, once they were acquired by Spotify. It makes sense to buy a team who have decent music dev chops, and it’ll be interesting to see where Rdio go with it. Launching their own version of Apps? Bolstering their API and doing something cool with it? It’ll be good to see what happens.
Apple have started removing apps that allow you to download music from the App Store. I’m sure it contravenes App Store policy to allow music downloads, but it still feels like a dickish move. Even more so when you do a search for ‘Music Downloads’ and it pops up what is ostensibly an ad for iTunes Radio. Very unsurprising though, especially with the Beats acquisition and rumours around Apple making more of a serious play into the music streaming space. Will Spotify/Rdio be next, or is this just Apple ‘cleaning up’ the App Store ahead of iOS 8?
Spotify launches a new web API and iOS SDK Beta 3
Spotify have added a whole bunch of stuff to both their iOS SDK and Web API, as well as tidying up the Web API (and deprecating the Metadata API). I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet, but I’m most excited about the prospect of Spotify opening more and more of their data via the Web API, which will hopefully result in some interesting new hacks off the back of it.
The Latest Awesome
Speaking of Awesome, Glastonbury had some lovely music/tech elements to it this year, which you’d come to expect from the festival giant. The boys from WMAS had their Awesome Wall running throughout the festival at the Silver Hayes area, The Glade had some awesome LED cubes that acted as visualisations and of course, the giant spider in Arcadia is one of the greatest spectacles in music today.
This is a seriously fun little DAW to play around with, that’s entirely based in the browser. At the moment, they have a bunch of demos that you can edit and record from, but sadly you can’t save off your code to play again (unless you just copy and paste, I suppose). They’re crowdfunding the development of it, with more features being added as the money comes in, which is pretty cool, but I warn you: if you open this site there’s a chance you’re going to lose the next 4 hours of your life. Thansk to Lewis Flude for flagging
A nice little hack that uses Spotify, EchoNest and Setlist.fm. You input an artist and it’ll show you their latest setlists from recent shows, allowing you to then create a Spotify playlist from the setlist with a click of a button. It’s rather neat, and while setlist.fm’s isn’t the greatest database of setlists, it’s still pretty comprehensive.
Amazing home made Ableton controller from Zurich artist Ander, which a ridiculous number of knobs and led driven buttons, allowing him to get out from behind the laptop and control his sets entirely through one controller. It’s a pretty impressive controller, and with hardware hacking becoming easier and easier, I think this is going to be the way controllers are going in the future, ie. more DIY and modular components. At the moment, most controllers are made by the same old companies, based on tired designs and ridiculously overpriced. Bring on the DIY controller revolution!