MIDI Editor v1.3 Update: Transposer & Note Preview

by Nikolozi Meladze

MIDI Editor v1.3 update just appeared in the Apple App Store. Here's what's new:

  • Transposer: transpose entire clip by +/-24 semitones.
  • Transpositions can be applied destructively.
  • Note Preview: Preview a note while it's being edited (can be disabled from the settings menu).
  • Piano Roll keyboard triggers note on/off MIDI messages.
  • Many UI improvements & bug fixes.

MIDI Editor is on sale until Monday. Grab your copy from the App Store.

Happy Easter!

Update: The press release can be found here.

MIDI Editor Update is Coming

by Nikolozi Meladze

This update took me much longer than I expected. Mostly because implementing iCloud is not a straightforward task. My plan was to release the update back in December, but that clearly didn’t work out. Luckily, you won’t need to wait too much longer as the update is waiting to be approved by Apple. Here’s what you can expect from the MIDI Editor v1.2 update:

  • MIDI clips browser
  • iCloud sync for MIDI clips
  • Undo/Redo
  • UI improvements
  • Various bug fixes

The app is still priced at an introductory price of US$4.99. The price will jump up to US$9.99 once it’s released. Grab a copy now if you want to save.

Report: On-demand Music Streaming Service from Apple

by Nikolozi Meladze

Billboard:

Apple has opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about the possibility of launching an on-demand streaming service that would rival Spotify and Beats Music, according to three people familiar with the talks. Apple is also thinking about adding an iTunes App for Android phones, the Google rival that has been growing faster than the iPhone, these sources said. The surprising discussions are part of a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the double-digit decline in U.S. download sales at Apple’s iTunes Music Store, the largest music retailer.

I’d be very happy if Apple actually launches on-demand streaming service. I personally don’t care whether Apple makes iTunes for Android or not. But I think it would make a lot of sense, just as iTunes for Windows makes sense.

We Can Now See the Beginning of Time

by Nikolozi Meladze

Lawrence Krauss writing for New Yorker:

At rare moments in scientific history, a new window on the universe opens up that changes everything. Today was quite possibly such a day. At a press conference on Monday morning at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, a team of scientists operating a sensitive microwave telescope at the South Pole announced the discovery of polarization distortions in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, which is the observable afterglow of the Big Bang. The distortions appear to be due to the presence of gravitational waves, which would date back to almost the beginning of time.

Watch Lawrence Krauss discuss the latest scientific discovery.

I’m a big fan of Lawrence Krauss' lectures and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman TV show. I hope to see an episode dedicated to this, just like they made an episode on Higgs Boson after its existence was confirmed.

Bitwig Studio: ‘Next Generation Music Creation Software’

by Nikolozi Meladze

SOS Magazine caught up with Dominik Wilms at Musikmesse 2014 to talk about Bitwig. It’s a very good interview. Wilms talks about overall vision of the software:

In the past, I was very skeptical whether we were going to eventually see Bitwig Studio released. Especially because the developers were targeting all 3 major platforms at the same time (Windows, Mac and Linux). From what I hear it’s a feature-packed solid 1.0 release. I like Bitwig's approach trying to have more integrated workflow as opposed to having different pieces of software and plug-ins to do different things. According to Wilms, they’ve merged sound design workflow with a production workflow. I’m looking forward to trying out Bitwig Studio.

Arturia KeyLab 88, might be what I've been looking for

by Nikolozi Meladze

I may have found a MIDI keyboard I’ve been looking for. This year’s NAMM and Musikmesse have been full of MIDI keyboard announcements from Alesis, M-Audio, Nektar, Akai and the list goes on. They all look cheap and plastic. I have 2 main requirements for my ideal keyboard:

  • Keys have to be hammer-action and feel nice.
  • The product itself has to have a nice design and feel solid.

Arturia KeyLab 88 may be it. Looking around the internet, I see a lot of people are excited about this particular MIDI keyboard. I’m surprised no other company has tried going after this market. We shall see how this one turns out when it comes out in August. Hopefully, it will be well priced. Arturia hints it will be cheap.

Pono Music: ‘Righteous bits’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Dan Rutter:

Problem one, which is a bit of a biggie, is that 24/192 doesn't actually sound better than CD audio.

High bit rate and sample depth are used in recording studios for the same reason photo editors use 48-bit colour and very high resolution instead of 24-bit colour and image dimensions the same as the final target. The larger format doesn't actually sound or look any better than the final - actually, works in the editing progress generally look and sound a lot worse than the final product, which is kind of the idea. But extra resolution and depth gives a bigger range for processing and correction without running out of resolution and creating odd artifacts.

Once you've finished mixing and retouching, you drop the result to the normal "consumer" format for output. Because you know that even you, the professional photo editor or sound producer, can't actually perceive any benefit from keeping the product in the extra-large editing format.

This sums it up well. If you are going to read one article about Pono Music make it this one.

iTunes Radio is Already a 3rd Most Popular Streaming Services in US

by Nikolozi Meladze

Barely six months after it debuted, Apple's iTunes Radio has already eclipsed Spotify and Google Play All Access (and others) to become the third most popular music streaming service in the US, according to a new report from Statista. While long-time veteran Internet radio station Pandora continues to maintain a clear lead over all rivals, it has taken 14 years for the latter service to reach its current level of 70 million active listeners (as of last April) and it continues to struggle with profits.

This is crazy. In just 6 months.

Source: http://www.electronista.com/articles/14/03...

Pono Music Reaches Kickstarter Goal within a Day

by Nikolozi Meladze

The Pono Music announcement news has been doing rounds on internet today. Checkout Pono Music’s Kickstarter page to get an idea what’s it all about. First of all, looking at the promo video, I just don’t buy the reactions by all the big artists hearing Pono Music for the first time. It’s a placebo effect at best. Second, I just can’t see this taking off for many reasons.

‘The most widely recognized piece of computer-generated music in the world’

by Nikolozi Meladze

John Brownlee:

As it turns out, although the THX Deep Note has been widely parodied for its incredibly loud volume--The Simpsons famously showed it exploding heads and shattering teeth--this effect is actually something of an aural illusion. Academy Award–winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom has explained that the Deep Note "just feels loud" because of the spectrum of frequencies it uses.

Curiously, the THX Deep Note that everyone recognizes today was almost replaced with another sound. Some months after the Deep Note's debut before Return of the Jedi, Lucasfilm lost the original recording of the sound. Asked to re-create the noise, Moorer quickly ran into difficulties. Because a computer program randomly generated the original Deep Note, there was no way to reproduce it exactly. "They kept complaining it didn't sound the same," Moorer said.

Streaming Services

by Nikolozi Meladze

A few things happened past 2 weeks revolving around streaming services.

Spotify acquires The Echo Nest:

Spotify today announced that it will acquire the industry’s leading music intelligence company, The Echo Nest.  The acquisition supports Spotify’s strategy to grow global music consumption and overall revenue back to the music industry by building the best user experience and music discovery engine for millions of global fans.

This deal will allow Spotify to leverage The Echo Nest’s in depth musical understanding and tools for curation to drive music discovery for millions of users around the globe.  The addition of The Echo Nest to Spotify will also strengthen Spotify’s ability to help brands and partners build amazing music experiences for their audiences. 

Spotify’s music discovery engine is quite good, but any improvements are very welcome.

In the meantime, Pandora is not doing too bad:

Pandora also announced that it has crossed the milestone of 250 million registered users in the U.S. Listeners have now created over six billion stations, enabling Pandora to connect emerging artists as well as established acts to an ever-growing fan bans.

Amazon is getting serious about streaming too:

People have been predicting that Amazon would offer a Spotify-like music subscription service, most likely bundled with its Prime delivery option, for some time. But industry sources say Amazon is now engaged in more serious talks with big music labels about making that happen.

While Apple wants more exclusivity:

In the meetings during Grammy Week, Apple’s iTunes contingent, led by Kondrk, even suggested the albums don't even have to be exclusive to iTunes, and that labels could give albums to other stores as well – but not streaming services.

Lastly, check out Kirk McElhearn’s analysis of Zoë Keating’s income as a successful indie artist. She sells her music directly to fans:

It’s clear in Ms. Keating’s case that, with sales generating more than 10 times streaming income, increased streaming – with the resulting drop in sales – paid at such low rates, would lower her overall income. […]

This is yet another example of how difficult it is to make a living as a musician these days. […]

So, go out and buy an album by an indie artist today; don’t let the music die. You could buy one by Zoë Keating, or by plenty of other artists, such as The Durutti Column. […]

Interview with Harold Budd

by Nikolozi Meladze

Tim Jonze, writing for The Guardian:

Such enthusiasm seems at odds with the idea of Budd not being a music fan, but it does make a sort of sense. I suggest that this may be what sets him apart from the average listener: that he feels music more intensely, so can't put himself through such highs and lows each day. "I never really thought about that," he says, chuckling again, as if baffled by the sheer mystery of himself. "But you know, it's a very good point. I think I'm going to take that as gospel."

I rarely read artist interviews, as they all seem kind of similar. This, however, was very interesting. Budd doesn't even have his favourite instrument, piano, at home.

Mixing with iZotope

by Nikolozi Meladze

This should make a good read, whether you use iZotope plug-ins or not. I’ve read both ‘Dithering with Ozone’ and ‘Mastering with Ozone’ guides. They were excellent, with clear explanations and full of useful tips. It’s kind of disappointing that ’Mixing with iZotope” is not available in ePub format, like their other guides that can be downloaded from the Apple’s iBookstore.

(via Logic Pro Expert)

Update: Now availabe from the iBookstore also.