‘I don’t work for free’

by Nikolozi Meladze


When Showtime invited Dan Cassaro to join a design "contest" he felt amounted to milking professionals for free work, he let the network—and the world—know how he felt about it. The offer, made to a number of designers, involved promoting the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana boxing match on Sept. 13. Those who submitted designs for Showtime's use "could be eligible for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and have your artwork displayed in the MGM Grand during fight week!," the network told Cassaro in an email. After sending an email response slathered in sarcasm ("I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are extremely low-budget affairs"), Cassaro then posted the exchange to Twitter.

This is so great. It reminds me of remix competitions run by electronic dance music labels, which became very popular a few years ago. They promised winners a release on the label and a few pieces of cheap studio gear. I have yet to hear of an artist who became big after participating in such competition. These little contests are ultimately designed to promote the original artist, no one cares about the remixers.

Shazam for Mac is Cool and Creepy at the Same Time

by Nikolozi Meladze

A few days ago, I saw in my newsfeed that Shazam released an app for Mac. The app is designed to run in the background, monitoring all sounds via the Mac’s built-in microphone. Once it detects a track you are playing it pops up a notification showing the track title and the artist name.

Out of curiosity I installed Shazam on my MacBook Pro just to see what it does exactly, while thinking that I’d remove it within a day or two. But now, I’m considering keeping it running in the background.

It’s amazing how well this works. All tracks that I played from Spotify were detected correctly. After I played Asphalt 8 on my iPad, I checked Shazam log, all background tracks of the game were listed there. Later on, when I was watching A Long Way Down, again it detected all the tracks played in the movie.

All this is cool, but it’s creepy at the same time. Shazam is monitoring all the conversations in the room where your mac is. And all the recorded audio is sent back to their servers. So, it comes down to whether you trust Shazam that they won’t breach your privacy.

One last thought, all Macs have a green LED indicator letting the user know when the built-in camera active. It would be cool to have a similar LED that could act as a reminder that an app running on your mac is using the built-in mic. It doesn’t even have to be a separate indicator. The same camera LED can simply turn blue indicating that the microphone is active (though, this could be confusing for some users thinking that their camera is active).

Fortune Interview with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

by Nikolozi Meladze

It is no secret that I love Spotify. I don’t think any other music streaming service comes close to the great user experience it offers. So I found this interview with Daniel Ek interesting. The CEO of Evernote, Phil Libin said, “The easiest way to get 1 million people paying is to get 1 billion people using.” From that point of view, Spotify is doing wildly well. Out of 40 million users 25% of them are paid subscribers.

PreSonus AudioBox iSeries Audio Interfaces: iOne and iTwo

by Nikolozi Meladze

Excellent choices for mobile musicians, sound designers, and podcasters, the USB 2.0 bus-powered AudioBox iOne and iTwo provide high-quality audio I/O for Mac®, PC, and Apple iPad®. These compact, ruggedly built interfaces offer high-performance Class A mic preamplifiers, record 24-bit audio at up to 96 kHz, and include powerful, easy-to-use Studio One® Artist DAW for Mac and Windows and Capture™ Duo recording software for iPad.

These interfaces look great. I’ve been holding out for iConnectAudio4+. It has all the features I want in an audio interface. It can digitally stream MIDI and audio between an iOS device and a Mac using the audio passThru technology. This means I can easily integrate iPad music apps into my production. But, I’m not sure how much longer we’ll have to wait before it’s finally released. So, I might have to grab iTwo (I’m not a big fan of the name by the way) instead. It looks great, has a big volume knob, supports iPad and will be shipping soon.

‘Apple is Still Going Pro, from Hardware to Pro App Updates’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Another great post by Peter Kirn, but what got my attention was the following paragraph:

I think it’s time to spend this energy elsewhere. The computer as we know it is for the most part better than ever. If anything, we need to stop worrying about backwards motion and start thinking forward. Desktop creative software is still stuck in 90s-era metaphors. Most of it doesn’t deal with touch input or gestures – even trackpad gestures in many cases. It doesn’t deal with Internet connectivity in any meaningful way. It doesn’t scale properly to higher-resolution displays. It doesn’t deal with the widespread use of mobile devices in most cases – most desktop software lacks dedicated mobile control or round-trip mobile workflow options.

We are indeed stuck in 90s-era metaphors.

MIDI Editor for iOS v1.4 Update: Multiple Note Editing & Copy/Paste

by Nikolozi Meladze

New version of MIDI Editor has been submitted to the App Store. Here’s what’s new:

  • Added 3 modes: pencil, edit and velocity.
  • It’s now possible to select and edit multiple notes at the same time.
  • Added Cut, Copy, Paste, Select All and Delete support.
  • Playhead can now be dragged to a precise location on the timeline. This is especially useful for pasting notes at precise timestamps.
  • Bug fix where after zooming out some notes didn't snap to grid when moved.
  • Exported MIDI files now have correct time signatures.
  • ‘Clear All Notes’ removed from the actions menu, as it is no longer required. Use ‘Select All’ and ‘Delete’ menu items instead.
  • Notes no longer clip each other. This is especially useful when creating new notes or editing multiple notes at the same time.
  • Other minor bug fixes and UI improvements.

If you have any feedback or issues drop me a line.

Update: The update has been approved. Grab your copy from the App Store. The press release can be found here.

Thank you all for your feedback. Keep them coming. I’m working hard to get the most requested features implemented as fast as I can. If you find the app useful please leave a review, it helps a lot.

Apple and Beats Audio

by Nikolozi Meladze

There's been a lot of noise this week regarding rumoured Apple’s acquisition of Beats Audio. I’m not sure what this means exactly, but everyone has their take on it. I just know one thing, I’ve completely stopped using iTunes for music listening. I didn’t even renew my subscription for iTunes Match this year. Spotify has everything I need. Apple should start supporting music streaming soon (iTunes Radio is not enough). They were pioneers in digital music distribution. It’s a shame that they are taking so long to evolve their music services to properly compete with Spotify.

Spotify Removes Vulfpeck's Silent Album, The Band Still Earned Decent Amount

by Nikolozi Meladze

The Verge:

Upon its release last month, the band asked fans to stream Sleepify continuously at night as they slept, hoping the coordinated effort could morph Spotify's less-than-a-cent royalty rate into something lucrative. And it actually worked: according to Vice, Vulfpeck earned around $20,000 in royalties from the album. Those profits will be used to fund the band's next tour, which will be free to attend and mapped around areas that streamed Sleepify the most. But now the clever stunt has been cut short.

New Single: Nikolozi - ‘Higher’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Here's my latest work. Consisting of 2 contrasting tracks. The artwork showcases my latest logo for a Nikolozi brand. It’s created from 2 pure sine tones 90º out of phase.

The release will be available from Beatport on 19 May 2014 and from iTunes/Spotify on 2 June 2014.

Also, I now manage my Spotify artist profile. If you are curious as to what I listen to these days you can follow me by clicking here.

Nick Thayer's Sales Breakdown for Like Boom EP

by Nikolozi Meladze

Nick Thayer:

I wanted to take a second to break some numbers down for you. I’m doing this to be transparent. To let you know what the life of a producer/DJ looks like from the financial end. People often think there’s a huge amount of money in this scene. There is, but it is very concentrated and in the hands of very, VERY few people. The vast majority are on similar numbers to me, running on fumes most of the time to make this thing work. We do it because we LOVE THE ABSOLUTE SHIT out of writing music, playing music and sharing music.

Interesting read.

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.