Posts tagged with "music"

Logic Pro X: Greg Kurstin with Adele

Fascinating look behind the scenes of Adele's 25 album, featuring producer Greg Kurstin, published on Apple's Logic Pro X mini-site. (via MacRumors)

From the backstory of Hello:

The chords were promising, and Kurstin and Adele were able to write most of the song that day. But they couldn’t finish it. “We tried different choruses, but we didn’t quite nail it,” he says. “And I didn’t know if we ever would. I thought maybe this one was going to end up on the shelf.”

But Kurstin was called back six months later to finish the song. He used Logic Pro X instruments and plug-ins to enhance the bass line and drums. More radically, he lowered the entire song a half step at Adele’s request. “We tried really hard with a bunch of different ideas,” he says. “And we finally got it right.”

Don't miss the photos and details on Kurstin's Logic Pro X workflow at the bottom.


The Verge Tests GarageBand 2.1 with T-Pain

Fun – and informative – look at GarageBand by The Verge, featuring T-Pain. I know what you're thinking – T-Pain makes those horrible auto-tuned songs that somehow kids like. Music tastes aside, the guy knows what he's talking about: he's been making music on GarageBand for years, and he makes solid points about integrating the app with third-party tools and using it on the go.

T-Pain laughs off the criticism when I ask him about it. "That’s weird," he says. "It’s totally legitimate." GarageBand has become a lot more capable over time, he says, offering more granular control over sounds, the ability to manage more tracks, and — a new feature in this release — the use of third-party apps, like iMaschine, as additional instruments. It has nowhere near the power of Logic, but T-Pain says he sees Apple bringing more of Logic's features down to GarageBand, rather than stripping things out of GarageBand for further ease of use. That makes Garageband a useful tool for putting together ideas when he’s outside the studio. "Usually when I open up GarageBand, I'm not in a place where I can start belting out lyrics and recording," he says, mentioning that he often uses the app while traveling. "I'm trying to get a solid production piece out of it. And that usually happens."

Also of note: T-Pain's home studio and diamond-encrusted Apple Watch.


Jim Dalrymple on Music Memos

If there's one person I hoped would be able to try the new Music Memos app in advance, that would be Jim Dalrymple. He likes it:

Like many musicians, Voice Memos has become a quick and easy way for me to record my music ideas. Sometimes I just hum the idea, but most of the time I’ll be playing my guitar and just reach over and tap record. If I don’t record the idea then and there, it’s gone forever.

I have hundreds of these little snippets on my iPhone. Sometimes I work them into full songs, sometimes I combine different ideas to make a song and sometimes they just sit there because I have no idea what they are.

Apple took the idea of Voice Memos and expanded it for musicians with a new iOS app called Music Memos.

In his overview, Jim mentions other features – such as tagging and organization of files – which will come in handy for musicians recording their ideas on iOS.


Apple Releases New Music Memos App, Updates GarageBand with Live Loops, Drummer, iPad Pro Support, and More

Apple's new Music Memos app.

Apple's new Music Memos app.

For a long time, musicians and songwriters have been using Apple's Voice Memos and Notes apps to capture their moments of inspiration and save song ideas using audio clips and text annotations directly on the iPhone and iPad. The company took notice of the trend – exemplified in this interview with Taylor Swift and Ryan Adams last year – and released Music Memos, a brand new (and free) app aimed at enabling everyone to record their musical ideas, organize them, and develop them with intuitive tools directly on iOS devices.

Read more

Re/code: Beatles Coming to Apple Music, Other Streaming Services This Week

I don't usually link to rumors, but Peter Kafka's report on the Beatles coming to Apple Music and other streaming services on Christmas Eve sounds like pretty much a done deal:

You can spend Christmas streaming the Beatles.

The world’s most famous band will finally be available on streaming music services, starting this Thursday, Christmas Eve. And they’ll be available very, very widely: Industry sources say that the Fab Four’s music will be on all of the obvious music services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Tidal, as well as some you might not expect, including Amazon’s Prime Music.

Also relevant: Kafka says that you can now stream a big selection of Beatles songs on YouTube, "legally, for free".

Seems like Thursday is going to be a day we'll never forget.


Shooting and Directing Live Music Exclusively with iOS

Fascinating work by Brian King, who shot, directed, and live streamed a Jukebox the Ghost show using iOS devices:

Leading up to the show, I made a lot of disclaimers to the band and their label. This was my first time really using Switcher Studio Pro, and the odds of everything falling apart seemed high. To my surprise, all of the iPads, phones, battery and wifi connection managed to get through the whole night without melting, crashing, or otherwise falling apart. The only adjustment I had to make during the set was re-seating the Olloclip on Jesse’s drum-cam. At the end of the night, getting access to full quality video recordings from each of the stage-cameras was no problem. Overall, the stability of the software and iOS was better than I could have expected.

And his takeaway:

As a professional in broadcasting, this development really excites me. Big gigs are not going to throw away Steadicams & Zoom lenses for iOS devices and iPhone broadcasts are not going to cannibalize the market for large-scale professional shows. Instead, smaller live acts broadcasting more shows with Switcher Studio is going to create a demand for more live content, foster more widespread exposure to the acts and build audiences that see the value in seeing high quality live streams more often. Just look at what happened to prerecorded video shooting and editing in the past decade—accessible software and hardware is a huge deal.

As a live music fan and iOS user, what Brian has accomplished with iPhones and iPads seems amazing. Make sure to check out his post for photos and details on the setup.


Spotify Adds Concert Recommendations

Earlier this week, Spotify announced a feature I've long argued would make sense in Apple Music: concert recommendations powered by Songkick.

From the Songkick blog:

As of today, you can now view a personalised list of recommended shows from right inside your Spotify app on iPhone and Android, and in just a few taps purchase tickets seamlessly through Songkick.

Based on the artists you’ve been listening to, the Concerts feature will surface upcoming Songkick events for your favorite bands, as well as undiscovered acts that you’re destined to fall in love with.

Songkick is an excellent service I've been using for years to stay on top of concert announcements by my favorite artists. The service works by scanning your music library and external accounts to look for music you listen to. It makes perfect sense to combine this with a streaming service on a smartphone. I still believe concert recommendations would make for a solid addition to Apple Music's Connect in the future.


Quartz Analyzes a Month of Beats 1 Tracks

Fascinating findings by Quartz after collecting a month worth of songs played on Beats 1:

To get a sense of the station’s tastes and habits, we analyzed data on more than 12,000 songs played on Beats 1 from early July to early August. The song data was collected by Callum Jones, a programmer at Nitrous, who has open-sourced his tool over on GitHub. Jones also has a Twitter bot that automatically tweets whatever song is playing.


Beats 1 has something that is rare in the world of digital music: scarcity. Listeners can’t choose a song and play it over and over. (They can do that elsewhere on Apple Music.) But curation doesn’t mean songs aren’t repeated. We counted 12,445 tracks but only 3,371 unique songs, meaning each track was played an average of 3.7 times. Eighteen of the 20 songs in the table above were played over 50 times.

“Edgy enough” seems like a fitting description. I'm an avid listener of recent releases, but I discovered a lot of new stuff with Beats 1 so far.


Streaming Music and Offline Modes

Writing for Wired, David Pierce argues that most music streaming services aren't optimized for offline listening:

Streaming music has an offline problem. As they’ve fallen all over themselves reminding us how wonderful it is to have 30 million songs only a few taps away, all for the low, low price of $10 a month, these companies have forgotten that the key to a great music experience is pressing play and hearing music. That shouldn’t be as hard as they’re making it.

Sure, offline listening is an option in Rdio, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music, but it always feels like it's hidden just enough to make you forget it exists.

As I noted last week on Connected, I don't usually need to keep music saved offline because I'm either on WiFi or I have plenty of 4G data on my plan for streaming not to be an issue. But I occasionally prefer to save some music offline because of poor cellular coverage (such as at the beach where I go every summer), and browsing offline content feels like a bet against the streaming service.

Even in Apple Music – the successor to the iPod and Music app – browsing offline content in Airplane Mode mostly breaks everything else (static, last-seen previews aren't cached in the For You and New tabs), and playlists saved for offline listening are still displayed alongside those that are not (even after toggling the offline switch).