Saturday, May 25, 2013

Digital Music Industry- The Game Changers

Thank you all so much for taking the time to vote on my poll! I was surprised that quite a few people thought that Spotify has generated the most revenue for the digital music industry over the last 15 years because Spotify has only been around for about 3 years.

Apple's iTunes store has generated the most revenue over the last 15 years. Even though iTunes has only existed since January 2001, The iTunes store typically generates $600 million dollars Annually, a whopping $500,000 a week. So over the last 15 years we can estimate that iTunes has generated close $9 Billion dollars for the digital music industry. Apple Inc. is actually the worlds second-largest information technology company by revenue, second to Samsung.

Let's take a look at the stats of the other digital music providers I included in the poll:

Spotify was developed in 2006 by a team of developers located in Sweeden. Over the last 5 years Spotfiy has really taken off as one of the leading music streaming services. They currently have a whopping 6 million paying subscribers and 24 million total active users. Based on the current subscriber rates Spotify is bringing in somewhere between $360 million and $720 million a year from subscribers alone. The company is making a few hundred million from adds as well so we can estimate that Spotify brings in close to a billion dollars a year in revenue! If we look at the last 15 years iTunes still takes the cake because of their consistency and the fact that they've been around 5+ years longer than Spotify.

Pandora Radio Savage Beast Technologies was the first name of the company until it was renamed in 2005 to Pandora Media. I enjoy the name Savage Beast Technologies but the Greek meaning behind Pandora is also pretty cool. Pandora has actually been losing revenue over the last 5 years. Mainly from paying their artists to much and losing money from stock. The highest recorded revenue in 2012 was $75 million dollars thanks to loyal subscribers and ads. In my opinion Pandora needs to start coming out with fresh ideas and products that will generate them more revenue and popularity or they might become a thing of the past very shortly.

Napster started off as a peer-to-peer file sharing company until they ran into legal difficulties over copyright infringement. It was acquired by Rhapsody in 2011. Napster actually only operated between June 199 and July 2001. At its peak the Napster service had about 80 million registered users which is a lot more than Spotify and Pandora put together.  Metallica was actually the first band to file lawsuit against Napster when they found out their demo song "I Disappear" had been available before it was even released. Napster was not intended to be a revenue generating business, they where focused on making any song or album easily accessible by the average music connoisseur. It's hard to put a finger on how much annual revenue Napster generated when the company was still around.

Overall the biggest Game Changers in the last 15 years has definitely  been Apple's iTunes and Spotify.

Thank you so much for reading! Comment and let me know what you think!

Also please check out:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's Been Over a Year!

Since I've posted anything and I apologize about that! I've had a couple hiccups in my living situation for the last year, but now that everything is settled in, I'm ready to post more useful and entertaining content for all of my subscribers!

As we all know, the digital music industry has grown substantially over the last 15 years and is expected to hit over 50 billion in revenue by 2015. This gives me hope that there is a promising future for any person that wants to jump into the music industry as a career. I'll be creating a review based on the biggest game changers in the music industry over the lats 15 years. 

I'll create a poll to gather your opinions on main topics to hit upon on this review! I look forward to collectivley creating a review with my subscribers! 

I'll leave you today with a new original song I produced from my home studio! I hope you enjoy =)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

IHeart Radio

Hello all,

Well today I have some interesting news for you guys!

Clear Channel Radio, the leading media company in America with a greater reach than any radio or television outlet, announced that the New iHeartRadio, its free, industry-leading digital radio service, will extend its commercial-free programming on its Custom Stations through April 1, 2012.

The New iHeartRadio brings users a best-in-class customizable digital listening experience that combines the best of both worlds to deliver everything listeners want in one free, fully-integrated service: More than 800 of the nation's most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus user-created Custom Stations which provide listeners more songs, better music intelligence, more user control and deeper social media integration.

iHeartRadio is consistently in the top 10 downloads of free music apps for the iPhone and in the top five for Android; and given its 65 million listening hours a month, 44 million downloads of iHeartRadio mobile apps and more than 12 million fans across Clear Channel station and radio personality Facebook pages, Clear Channel continues to be one of the most popular digital music destinations.

"The New iHeartRadio has exceeded our expectations and more importantly, those of our fans -- since it launched in September at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. It offers our listeners everything they want from a digital radio service in one completely integrated, free experience," said Brian Lakamp, President of Clear Channel Digital. "Because Custom Stations are only a feature of the New iHeartRadio, we have the luxury of being able to extend our commercial-free Custom Stations till April 1, 2012."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Another New Production + Beat Making Tips

Greetings! Well I have been working extensively on getting all of my webpages back up and I'm just about finished! My parents are hosting my grandparents 50th anniversary tomorrow so hopefully that will give me an opportunity to show my family some of my newest beats! My cousin will also be helping me through out the evening setting up my own url and customizing my facebook and youtube page! I'm am indeed in-store for an eventful night! I want to thank everyone that has still been consistently checking out my blog and new posts, my fans are the only thing that keep me working as hard as I do! I have been at work producing as much beatz as I can as fast as I can xD This new one is entitled Status Arrogance. When I wrote this song, the main thought that was going through my head was, "Confidence is a key aspect in being successful, so let it explode in everyone's face that doubts you." This production took me two days to completely write, track, and mix. Although I am not completely satisfied with the final result, it still sounds better than most of my older beats. Remember to subscribe to me on youtube, it is greatly appreciated, and feel free to leave a comment about your thoughts on the song! =)

Now on to the beat making tips! I will be providing 5 main tips in making your beats sound more professional and creative!

Beat making, the best loved part of making a music track, well for me anyway. Get the drums wrong and the tracks fails. No one can listen to it, no one can dance to it. So instead of making a "waste-of-time-track", try out these tips to get the most out of your beats:

Beat making tip #1. Always use quality products. Whether you are making top beats or grime riddled tunes, quality sounds will show your intention to your future. Can't be bothered and bedroom musician are what hissing, and clicks within a beat promote. Now most of us are bedroom musicians, but you always should be giving off professionalism. That is the point, you can be a bedroom musician but still produce quality tracks. A poor sample library is the easiest way into any recycle bin. Hardrives are now large enough to have thousands of quality sounds. If you are downloading on dial-up get a download manager to pause downloads if they are too big. Let nothing stop you in pursuit of finding quality sounds. Please Note it is quite hard to make grime tunes without them sounding like a distorted mess, and that is why NIN (Nine Inch Nails) are so good. There is more processing and more quality within those tunes to make them that dirty. As a side note, 8-bit Commodore 64 sounds are cool within the right quality drum sounds, but by themselves they are nostalgic but can not seriously carry a track without help.

Beat making tip #2. Ask any woman how to make their hair feel fatter/ fuller bodied/ better...and they will say...layer. That is exactly the same with any sort of beat or percussion noise. I have a great little note that I give myself when I try to find a great beat...don't look, there is no such thing as finding the perfect beat. I have found that there is always something wrong with anything that I download. I have to alter the sound to make it useful. I have to layer. Sure the sound I downloaded is say a good kick, but it should be fatter. So what do I do? I figure that I need a lower end kick, and apply that, to get a little bit deeper/ fatter I will also incorporate a sub bass sound. It is not uncommon for producers to layer beats up to 5 times with various other percussion loops complimentary to the initial loop. I have to say it is uncommon for producers not to layer.

Beat making tip #3. Taking tip one and tip two into consideration, what else can we do to make a beat feel...fatter, more sub level? EQ? Well yes, and no. There is no amount of EQ to put onto a beat for it to sound deeper. Why? Well EQ will only work on frequencies that are already there. There are many a musician (a large percentage) that will EQ everything. That is not good. You have then got a situation where every sound is fighting for a place in the same mix. So adding EQ to something that has not got the range in the first place will do nothing. So what do you do? Either get rid of the kick that you downloaded and get one with a bit of sub boom in it, or do tip 1 and 2- there is no other way.

Beat making tip #4. The kick is the favourite sample going, and unfortunately it is the most troublesome. This is seen in the Dance and Electronic music scene. BANG BANG BANG, goes the thudding kick and nothing else is recognisable within the beat. So what do we do to avoid over kickness? Make sure that the kick is playing on a separate channel so that it doesn't interrupt anything else, and you don't interrupt anything else when you alter it. Apply some compression to the kick, then adjust the make-up gain so that it starts to settle in and ultimately sound right with your other loops.

Beat making tip #5. To sparkle up your beats why not add some processing power to them? Adding a slight amount of Overdrive can make your flat beat beef up a little bit more. Adding some Reverb can also add some depth, however it can also loose the drums original Oomph, and make the drum sound farther back within the track so be careful when you reverb. Add and remove, add and remove- always keep on checking the beat within the track at many different points to see if it sits well throughout the track. The newly processed beat might sound really funky next to your bassline, however if you have vocals, the bass and beat combo might sound too overpowering. Always check and monitor any processing that you do. Here's a fun video I found while browsing on youtube. I like the way he formats his videos by showing you every aspect of his production

Like always, thank you for reading the blog! Stay tuned for more frequent updates, tips, and new beats! Peace!

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Beat!

Hello everyone! I know it has months since I've posted anything in my blog, but that pattern is going to change here shortly. I am opening my own independent instrumental production company that will be leasing out beats and instrumentals to anyone who needs them!

Without further ado, here is my latest production "Transparent Sins"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Quick EQ Advice

This issue has popped up way too often, EQ techniques.

People are always asking for EQ charts.

For EQ, I don't believe in charts. They don't help. You need to master the sweep technique. Once you have that down, life gets much easier.

1) Don't think of EQing as something you are supposed to do like X. It's not like you are trying to do the Electric Slide on a wedding dance floor where every move is choreographed. (I have to be really crushed for that one! What a stupid dance! I'll do my own dancing thank you very much and it won't involve Nazi-style no-brained marching moves!)

2) Listen to a track. If it sounds good, don't do anything to it.

3) If there is something that sucks about it, identify the problem in your head. Let's say the vocals are kinda boxy sounding. Say to yourself "that boxy stuff sucks".

4) Grab a parametric EQ. Boost by 8-12dB with a kinda sorta narrow Q / bandwidth. Start at 20Hz and increase the frequency until you start to hear that problem get WAY WORSE. Granted, you will be causing other problems by boosting so much that were otherwise fine. Ignore them. That's why #3 is so important. When you make the problem worse, stop increasing the frequency. You've found it.

5) Now, instead of idiotically boosting 12dB, try cutting. Start small (1-2dB) because your ears will be goofed from the sweep. If you want more of the frequency at hand, boost it a few dB. (Definitely do not start with 12db!)

6) Keep mixing

7) If that same problem pops up again in a minute or two, just use more.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Studio Monitor Review

Hello everyone! To become an effective audio engineer, you must be able to listen to your mix through quality sound to be able to master it. Studio monitors are a must in any home studio, and professional studio. Because studio monitors pick up more frequencies of sound then regular speakers, they can make a mix sound 10 times better. Now on to the review.

Today I have chosen three products that I feel are the best bargain for the sound they produce. Enjoy!

1) Behringer B2030A Truth $250-$300

Clearly the speakers are built to a price and are economically constructed from plastic-laminated E1 MDF, though this is actually a good cabinet material because of its density and self-damping properties. You might not get natural cherry-wood veneer, but the overall impression is smart. The long-throw bass/mid-range driver features a polypropylene cone with roll surround mounted in a cast aluminium chassis. The port exits comprise separate slot-shaped moulded inserts set into the baffle on either side of the tweeter.

The active crossover, which is set at 2kHz, utilises fourth-order (24dB/octave) Linkwitz-Riley filters, and the speakers are also designed to be used with or without an optional subwoofer, though they manage a perfectly decent low end without one. Separate high- and low-frequency limiters look after the self-preservation interests of the drivers, and there's an automatic standby mode that puts the amplifiers into sleep mode if the speakers aren't used for more than five minutes. They wake up almost instantly on receipt of an audio signal.

In my own studio, with all the EQ switches set flat, my first impression was that the monitors sounded slightly brash, with less depth of bass than I expected. This situation improved noticeably when I dropped the tweeter level by 2dB, so it is important to adjust the EQ settings to match your room and monitor positions. Once optimised, the speakers delivered a very decent level of performance given their budget price, though their shortcomings were still evident when they were tested alongside my Mackie HR824s. I found that the subjective depth of bass was less than I expected based on the technical spec, while the tweeter sounded slightly 'forward', but they still delivered a fairly good overall balance and proved capable of discriminating between good mixes and not-so-good mixes.

If you are on a very tight budget, then the B2030As offer very good value and they can be made to perform perfectly adequately in smaller rooms, provided that you take due care with their placement and experiment with the EQ switch settings. I think the designers have used their available manufacturing budget extremely well in producing a useful and good-looking monitor at such a low UK price point, though there's no denying that spending more money will buy you better performance and greater accuracy. With monitors you generally get what you pay for, but in this case it's probably fair to say that you get slightly more than you pay for! Although clearly aimed at the budget-limited home-recording enthusiast, the B2030As could also serve a valuable part in the more professional studio by acting as a secondary monitor for checking how mixes might translate to a domestic playback system.

2) Mackie MR5 $135-$200

As with the MR8s, the two-way, active MR5s have a built-in tweeter waveguide to control dispersion, as well as the usual array of acoustic controls on the rear panel — so you can tailor the response to suit your room and the location of the speakers within it. High-frequency adjustment of +/-2dB is available by means of a slide switch, and the low end can be set to flat, +2dB or +4dB. All the baffle elements surrounding the drivers are smooth, in order to minimise diffraction, and the drivers themselves are powered by Class-A/B MOSFET amplifiers (rather than the more efficient but arguably less smooth-sounding Class-D circuits that are starting to become popular). These amplifiers include active protection circuits and deliver 55W into the woofer and 30W into the tweeter, with more than 50 percent extra power in hand for short peaks. A 24dB-per-octave crossover operates at 4kHz, and an overall frequency response of 60Hz to 20kHz (+/-3dB) is quoted. There's also more than enough level (113dB peak per pair at one metre) for sensible listening in a nearfield environment.

The MR speakers certainly look the part but at around half the price of the Mackie monitors we've come to know and love, surely there are some compromises? Actually, there aren't too many. The sound of the little MR5 is punchy, with decent separation between instruments, a smooth mid-range and a non-fatiguing top. However, in my studio (11 x 16 feet), with the speakers a couple of feet from the end wall, the low end seemed just a bit hyped on the flat setting. Moving the tweeter up to its +2dB setting helps redress the balance but my impression is that the low end has been tuned to flatter drums (kicks and toms sound really punchy) and the result is that the balance between bass notes isn't quite as even as it could be. I can't imagine ever wanting to use the +2dB bass setting, let alone the +4dB setting, so having 2dB of switchable bass cut or boost would have been a better option, in my book. Nevertheless, for such a compact and affordable model, I was extremely impressed with the overall sound. These speakers managed to put across the detail in a mix without getting noticeably harsh or gritty at the top end. The stereo imaging is pretty decent (as you'd expect from a physically small speaker), and the phantom central image is reasonably solid too. I tried stuffing a pair of socks into each bass port and actually got what I felt was a much tighter and better controlled low end — although I'd have to experiment a little more to be sure exactly what type of sock is most effective!

You might expect that swapping to the larger MR8s — with their greater bass extension — would be overkill, but that actually turned out not to be the case. They reproduce the deepest notes with no sense of effort, but there's definitely less of a sense of hyping up the 80-90Hz region than with the MR5s. In fact, all sounded well balanced with everything set flat. The overall sense of clarity was improved, with less lower-mid ambiguity, and although half the price of a pair of HR824s, they weren't that far off in terms of performance. The old 824 Mk1s have a bit more air around the top end, a touch more overall clarity and perhaps slightly better stereo imaging, but the overall character is not dissimilar.
Taking into account both price and performance, I can really recommend these speakers for home studio use, though if you find the MR5s a bit too bass heavy, as I did, you may have to visit your sock drawer or make up a couple of foam bungs to tame them. The MR8 is a much more serious prospect if your budget and room size can stand it.

3) KRK RP6 G2 $175-$200

Overall, the RP6's cabinets measure 321 x 225 x 266mm and weigh 11kg each. The cabinet design appears to be a fairly conventional front-ported MDF box, with the sculpted baffle fixed to the front, and recessed into this is a further baffle plate that holds the two drivers. Being active, the drivers are electronically crossed over and bi-amped, with an overall amplifier power of 68W (50W woofer and 18W tweeter) and a fourth-order crossover operating at 2.6kHz. This arrangement yields an overall frequency response of 49Hz to 20kHz ±1.5dB, with a maximum SPL per pair of 107dB at one metre.
A one-inch Neodymium soft-dome tweeter with ferrofluid cooling handles the high frequencies, and this is recessed into a shallow waveguide moulded into the baffle. Both drivers are magnetically shielded, so these speakers can safely be used close to CRT monitor screens.

These RP G2-series monitors turn in a very decent performance and — just as importantly — don't display any obvious vices that attract your attention. Although you'll never get floor-pumping bass out of a six-inch monitor, the Rokit 6 G2 produces a very credible bass sound at normal listening levels, coupled with a detailed mid-range and smooth highs. The sense of fine detail isn't as enhanced as with KRK's more sophisticated (and correspondingly more expensive) monitors, but it certainly isn't anything to be ashamed of — especially when you look around and see how much you can pick up a pair of these monitors for 'on the street'. The stereo imaging is similarly more than adequate, and the phantom centre image is stable. The Rokit Powered 6 G2s produce a tighter bass end when they are set up on a solid mounting surface, so for the test session I placed them on my Radial Primacoustic damping platforms: these benefit any small shelf-mounted monitors, helping to eliminate the stability of the shelf from the variables involved in a subjective speaker test. 

Perhaps the best accolade I can give these monitors is that, after working with them for a few minutes, I just forgot about them and got on with my studio session — which is a very good sign. Monitors with problems, or those that are designed with excessive coloration, usually keep attracting your attention, making you wonder if what you're hearing is really the way your mix sounds, but there were certainly no such distractions here.

Obviously, the KRK RP6 G2s have been built to a price, and you'd be able to purchase more accurate monitors if you spent enough money. But if you're looking to invest in a pair of tonally well-balanced speakers that will get the job done for around the $150  'on the street', there are very few models I'd actively recommend — and the RP6 G2 would certainly be one.

I hope I have provided my readers with some useful information! Thanks for reading, comments always welcome!