Posts tagged ‘music’

Machine makes ‘analog’ techno music with vinyl records

November 30, 2015 1:52 am


I thouught this was an interesting article because of some analog meets digital projects I’ve had going on in my own life. Take a look at me playing...

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Why music fans need net neutrality

January 5, 2015 7:53 am

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Bands like Fugazi once warned of the influence of an industry principally controlled by “Five Corporations,” of a dystopian mass society where fewer and fewer voices speak to an ever larger and more passive audience. Now we’re down to just three major labels, and despite payola laws, those three companies keep a firm grip on what gets played on commercial radio.

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Watch OK Go’s new music video with robots, drones, japanese schoolgirls

November 6, 2014 6:56 am


  Say what you will about OK Go’s music, but the band has a knack for attention-getting uses of technology in its videos — and its latest project...

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HTC’s Zoe app arrives for Android, heads to iOS later this year

October 8, 2014 1:45 pm


HTC revealed its plan to turn Sense feature Zoe into a full-on social network a couple months back. Today, the company announced that the photo and video-sharing app is exiting its open beta, and is available for compatible Android devices (4.3 and above). If you’re in need of a refresher, Zoe lets you turn snapshots and video clips into highlight reels (Zoes) with music included. It also allows your pals to “remix” photos and videos with yours for collaborative efforts that can now be 7, 15 or 30 seconds in length. And as you might expect, Zoe works with footage from the company’s newfangled RE action cam to produce the final product, should the need arise. So what about the iOS app? While the Android faithful can nab the software today, HTC says that the version for Apple’s gadgets will arrive “later this year.” For now, the curious can take a closer look at the iOS app in the gallery down below. %Gallery-slideshow231391%

Filed under: Software, Mobile, HTC


Music Videos Get Age Rating

October 1, 2014 3:49 am


A pilot scheme to introduce age ratings to online music videos is to begin on Friday as part of moves to bring the industry into line with film and television. Sony, Universal and Warner Bros have all
signed up to the initiative with YouTube and Vevo also getting on board, although the scheme will only affect artists signed to UK labels for now. The new system is being overseen by the British Board
of Film Classification, which will dole out the PG, 12, 12A, 15 and 18 certificates familiar to movie buffs.

Pinball Obsession

September 18, 2014 11:38 am


This post is part of our Non Sequitur Fridays series, which will feature a different Wistia team member’s take on a non-Wistia-related topic each week. It’s like our “employee of the month” but less “of the month”-y. Ben Ruedlinger is VP of operations at Wistia. His last Non Sequitur was about rainbow loom. For further Wistian pinball reading, read Dan’s post on pinball and why everyone needs a hobby.

My family got our first pinball machine when I was about 3 years old. It was an old electro-mechanical machine called *Wizard!* from 1975. From the moment it entered our house, I was absolutely hooked. I was so little at the time that I had to stand on a chair to be able to reach the flippers. It was from those hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of playing that machine as a kid that my love of pinball developed.

I grew up in the heyday of pinball. Going to arcades from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s, I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten to play many of the best machines ever made. I feel just as fortunate to have played many of the machines from that era that are not as remembered but were also extremely entertaining.

Based on this thirty-plus-year history playing pinball, here are my three favorite machines of all time.

### High Speed (1986)

*High Speed* represented a turning point for pinball machines. Up until *High Speed*, pinball machines always had a theme associated with them, but not much more. *High Speed* took this a step further by having a story associated with the gameplay, engaging the player even more.

The story of *High Speed* is that you are driving a sports car. There are traffic lights around the playfield. The first major goal is to light all of the traffic lights in order (green, yellow, red). Then, you “run the red light” by shooting the ball up the ramp. At this point, the police are in pursuit, and you must get away. Once you “get away,” multi-ball play begins and you really rack up the points.

Here is a video showing someone just as they are running the red light:

I remember being obsessed with this game because it was so incredibly immersive. Playing it at the age of 10 at our local bowling alley, outrunning the cops (even if it was only in a pinball machine) had a forbidden feeling to it. Even as adult, I feel a little bit of adrenaline each time I play this game and run the red light.

### Medieval Madness (1997)

Widely regarded as the best pinball machine ever made, this machine really lives up to the hype. I was lucky enough to have this machine in the arcade at the MIT student center during my time there in the early 2000s.

The gameplay on *Medieval Madness* is top notch. There are many fun features, such as the catapult and the trolls that pop up in the middle of the playfield. The centerpiece of this machine is an animatronic castle that you must break into and then destroy. Upon completing the task, the castle “explodes”:


Fortunately for pinball enthusiasts, a company in Chicago is remaking this machine. To be released at the end of 2014, it’s supposed to be almost identical to the original *Medieval Madness* machines, which are some of the most sought after pinball machines around (and command some of the highest prices).


### Metallica (2013)

Full disclosure: we have a Metallica machine in the Wistia office. As a result, I (we) may be a little bit biased.

*Metallica* is one of the latest releases from the top pinball manufacturer, Stern. Even though this machine was recently designed and built, one of the things that impressed me the most is that it has the same feel to it as the machines from the ’80s and ’90s.

The artwork and voiceovers on this machine are more than irreverent. You can choose from classic Metallica songs for your background music while being constantly insulted by James Hetfield and the gang. The themes of this machine are as dark as Metallica’s music (think graveyards, coffins, serpents, and electric chairs). If you’re easily offended, this is probably not the machine for you.

The thing I like most about this machine is that gameplay is really hard. Not just, “oh darn, better luck next time,” but rage-quit inducing hard. Many of the shots are seemingly designed to tempt you into risky behavior that will cause you to lose the ball.

All that said, the gameplay is fantastic. They have layered games within games that allow you to strategize your gameplay less like a simple game of pinball and more like a game of chess. There are four separate multi-ball games each with a different flavor and a “Crank it up!” mode where you can score tens of millions of points. This is a machine that never gets boring and begs to be played every day.

### Post Script

If you don’t have the opportunity to play these games in the flesh, Pinball Arcade is definitely worth checking out. It’s a pinball simulator available for Mac, Windows, or iOS, and many of the classic machines (including *Medieval Madness* and *High Speed*) are available to play. While definitely not as good as standing at a pinball cabinet and feeling the response of the machine as you play it, Pinball Arcade is still great fun.

MediaTek’s new chips save your precious time and money with built-in compression

September 17, 2014 6:38 am


While Opera Max is slowly making official launches around the world, this cloud-based data-compression service has just nabbed another partner — and it’s a pretty big one, too. Today, the Norwegian company announced that MediaTek will be embedding its app in two of its LTE-enabled 64-bit chipsets: the octa-core MT6752 and the quad-core MT6732. What this means is that should manufacturers want to integrate Opera Max into their MediaTek-powered devices (our understanding is that this feature is optional), they wouldn’t have to spend time on testing the app, ergo shorter time to market. And of course, the end user gets to load pages, music and video clips faster anywhere on the device (unlike how the Opera browser only compresses data that are loaded within it), while also saving “up to 50 percent” of bandwidth, courtesy of Opera’s cloud servers. That said, the service doesn’t process encrypted links, for obvious reasons. For those who aren’t familiar with Opera Max, feel free to check out the new video after the break.

Filed under: Software, Mobile


Source: Opera

Staff Favorites August 2014: featuring “F L O A T I N G” by Greg Jardin

September 3, 2014 11:32 am


As you may have heard, this summer was the worst Hollywood’s seen in over a decade. Fortunately, Vimeo was spared from such watching woes — our Staff Picks churned out online blockbusters all summer long.

The arrival of August was accompanied by an epic time lapse from the hermit kingdom, a single-take projection mapping masterpiece and ‘F L O A T I N G’ a delicate love story that rose above the rest. We caught up with Greg Jardin, the director of “F L O A T I N G,” to chat about love, loneliness, and, of course, balloons.

[vimeo 103146755 w=600 h=337]

You’ve directed some awesome music videos in the past, but this is the first narrative piece we’ve seen of yours. Was this your first narrative short?

It’s my first narrative short since graduating from film school. I had directed a handful of short films while there and the final one was sort of what got me signed as a director for music videos and commercials. It’s called, “The Problem With Fiber Optics,” and you can check it out here.

The idea of a romance between two “balloon people” is a pretty novel concept. What was the original inspiration for the film?

I was having brunch with a friend and batting around ideas for a music video I was writing a treatment for. Somehow, I had an idea revolving around the visual of a bunch of balloons in the sky, which segued into the visual image of a person made out of balloons, which I really liked. The image always seemed lonely to me, and in trying to develop a story, it seemed like the character’s fragility would have to play a large part.

So, at that point, I’d thought the story would be about a lonely balloon person living in a busy city trying to establish some sort of connection with the people around it – by helping a woman who’d dropped her purse, by helping an older man cross the street, etc. – but in doing so, would get its balloons popped, one by one, until only the head is left, which floats away.

I really liked the idea of crafting an emotional narrative around something that you would normally not have any real emotional connection to, in this case, balloons. When I started discussing the idea with my friend Matthew Beans, who ended up co-writing it with me, we started discussing the notion that giving the balloon person a kindred spirit and separating the two could give it more of an emotional impact that a balloon person alone for the duration of the film.

We couldn’t help thinking of the classic short ‘The Red Balloon’ when watching ‘F L O A T I N G’. Do you see ‘F L O A T I N G’ as an homage to Albert Lamorisse’s film?

It wasn’t necessarily meant to be a homage. That said, I’d seen “The Red Balloon” years ago and from the get-go, I did picture the balloon character as being fully comprised of red balloons, which I’m sure was a decision subconsciously informed by “The Red Balloon” itself.

Music plays a pretty essential role in the film. Can you speak to the process that went into crafting the score?

I directed a music video for The Joy Formidable a little while back, and I love their music because, while it can be really heavy and powerful, all of their stuff has a strong emotional undercurrent to it — something you just feel naturally when you listen to it. A few months after we’d finished the video, Ritzy (the lead singer) was telling me that her and Rhydian (the bassist) were dabbling in scoring and musical compositions that weren’t necessarily related to the band. It was an exciting idea for me to have them score the film, both because of their innate emotional songwriting, and the fact that they hadn’t fully scored a film yet.

We had discussed the idea of the music essentially echoing the emotion of the main character – initially expressing the loneliness with a piano and not much else, creating a theme, but keeping it fairly subdued. Then, once the other character is introduced, the music becomes warmer and the orchestration is more complex. It was important to make sure the music was never too grandiose, but ultimately, all of the credit for the melodies and nuances and emotions has to go to the band.

What was the biggest challenge in making this film?

Figuring out the VFX workflow — more specifically, how to create and animate a photorealistic character out of balloons. I’ve been building my knowledge of After Effects and slowly incorporating it into my projects as I’ve gone along, but for this one I had to beef up on Cinema 4D and motion tracking (Syntheyes). The impetus for actually making the film was when I saw a Greyscale Gorilla tutorial online on how to create a balloon using C4D. From there, I got a lot of help and advice from my friend George Loucas (not to be confused with George Lucas), who owns a great VFX company called Baked FX.

What’s next from Greg Jardin?

Trying to find someone to finance another short, trying to get a feature made, trying to figure out how to better accessorize my Vespa, and trying to wean myself off of coffee.

Best TV shows online: Top 7 Online Shows

September 1, 2014 9:18 am


Streaming video has quickly become a natural setting for scripted drama and comedy. With Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more, you can watch at …

#videowkd: The Weekend Video Project

August 28, 2014 7:01 am


I don’t have a great memory. That’s really where this all started.

It’s not *terrible*, but I have a tendency to blink and realize it’s already the next season, without appreciating distinct moments in those months that have blurred together.

Chris Lavigne’s Non Sequitur blog post on vacation video, particularly his footage of a dreamy Italian adventure, gave me that inspirational itch. I want to be an old lady someday, watching my youthful adventures with a hefty pour of Pinot grigio and a time-worn perspective. Heck, I want to do that *tonight* for good times I had a few weeks ago!

Me, pretending to know what I’m doing with my first DSLR in Newburyport, MA.

As Chris described, I vowed to “supplement my brain’s powers with moving pictures,” and started a casual challenge called #videowkd. Here’s the gist:

### What is #videowkd?

A non sequitur video challenge for all!

### What’s the purpose of #videowkd?

Beyond the memory-capturing inspiration above, #videowkd has a practical purpose: **get better at making videos.** If you’re new to video, it can be pretty intimidating to make an important video for your business. Making a personal video of your weekend is a *super* low-risk way to get comfortable with the process.

On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned videographer, chances are you have loads of clips hanging around that you haven’t had a reason to edit together. This is a great opportunity to stretch your creative muscles, make short stories, or try something wild and new.

A recent example of one of my #videowkd efforts, shot in the Adirondacks.

### How do I jump in?

Make a short video of your weekend and share it on social media with the hashtag #videowkd. Not sure where to start? Just keep your phone or camera handy, shoot a few clips over the weekend, then throw ’em together into a quick story! You’ll get better at finding the story with each weekend you shoot. While we love seeing your business videos, this challenge is for non-work-related adventures. Take a load off!

I love this example from Jeremy Hurlburt in Buffalo, NY.

It has been pretty thrilling to see so many people getting involved with #videowkd, and it has also just made for an amazing opportunity to get to know people better. Folks on the Wistia team as well as members of our community have shared glimpses of their real lives and creative spirit. As someone who loves bringing people together, I can’t think of anything more awesome than that.

So I challenge you (*yes, YOU!*) to make a video of your weekend. And the next. And many more to come! Don’t worry about having a plan. Just do it. Practice editing it together, telling the story of your time off, and sharing it with everyone. Learn by doing, and collect a library of memories to share with friends and family while you’re at it. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

### Resources I’ve found useful along the way:

Meryl’s favorite shot sequences
Danielle’s iMovie tips
Free licensed music for video (not the best tunes, but free and legal)

What Happens When IoT And WebRTC Meet?

August 25, 2014 9:51 am


“When IoT meets WebRTC, they could become a dynamic duo.” When Ahmad Moradi, Chairman and CEO of NetStairs, said the above line on one of his LinkedIn posts, it was music to my ears. At Influxis, we’ve been doing various … Continued

JW Player Customers Go Live with Chromecast

August 21, 2014 6:52 am


As the new kid (CTO that is) on the block, I’m excited to share that a number of our customers including Baeblemusic, SnagFilms, and RiffTrax have gone live using JW Player’s Chromecast integration for their video player deployments, enabling users to interact with their content on the big screen. Our customers have enabled streaming of free movies, TV shows, music videos, artist interviews, movie trailers, video game highlights, video gameplay, and paid original video content for their users via this integration.

These rollouts rapidly follow the launch of Chromecast support in July, which enables users to cast video onto a Chromecast connected TV and then use their computer as a remote control. JW Player is the only standalone web video player on the market offering Chromecast streaming that is fully integrated with standards-based VAST video advertising, as well as the ability to customize the look and feel of the branded video player in the primary screen. Keep reading to see more of our amazing Chromecast customer integrations!


SnagFilms, a premier, ad-supported, social video-viewing platform, is now giving users the ability to cast free streaming movies and TV shows with JW Player, including documentaries, independent films, drama, action, cult classics, kids programming, original content, and more. Sample castable movie titles include “Brooklyn Rules” starring Alec Baldwin and and Freddie Prinze Jr., “Motherhood” with Uma Thurman, and “Inseparable” starring Kevin Spacey; a sample castable TV show for kids is “Popular Mechanics for Kids – Submarine”. Users can select resolutions up to 1080p for a high quality widescreen TV experience.


2-rifftrax is a site featuring funny commentaries by the former cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000. RiffTrax users can now cast short programming previews and purchase full length feature films and TV shows featuring their iconic commentaries, to the big screen using JW Player’s Chromecast integration. RiffTrax is known for their hilarious voiceovers of well known movies such as Godzilla, The Matrix, and others. A sample castable classic TV show is a RiffTrax for the Batman episode “Batman – Robin’s Ruse”. If you like the free preview you can buy and cast the full version.

Baeble Music

Baeblemusic, a leading music video destination, is using JW Player’s Google Chromecast integration to enable its users to cast high quality music videos and exclusive musician interviews from artists such as Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, OK GO, and many others. The company has taken advantage of the platform’s customization capabilities; videos are accompanied by pre-roll and post-roll VAST compliant video advertising and the Baeble logo, extending monetization across multiple platforms and enhancing brand image. A sample castable music video is the great tune “Lover of the Light” by Mumford and Sons.


4-movietele, is an Italian web site reviewing movies, TV shows, and more entertainment content which includes movie trailers in selected reviews. The site is enabled so its users can cast these video trailers to the big screen for published movie reviews and box office wrap-ups. An example of this is a top box office roundup article featuring a castable movie trailer for the intriguing action movie “Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles”.


Gamersyde is a web site focused on video gaming, showing highlights of video games, user uploaded game videos, and gaming news. The site provides video game previews and user gaming videos both with pre-roll VAST video ads. A sample castable video game highlight is Metro: Redux and a sample castable user gameplay video is Batman Arkham Origins.

JW Player with Chromecast integration enables content publishers to deliver to a wider audience across new devices, reach more engaged visitors, and increase revenue for their sites. The rapid adoption of support for casting videos to TV shown by Baeblemusic, SnagFilms, RiffTrax, Movietele, Gamersyde, and other customers shows the value video content consumers place on the big screen viewing experience. With Chromecast integration, JW Player is helping clients deliver this powerful value to their end users.

We are thrilled to see this first set of diverse publisher sites rolling out with our Chromecast integration to achieve multi-screen playback with monetization support and look forward to seeing what’s next with more publishers and new applications. To learn how to cast videos to your TV using Chromecast, read this note from Google. If you don’t have JW Player with Chromecast yet, you can contact us here to get started!

The post JW Player Customers Go Live with Chromecast appeared first on JW Player.

How the Mexican Cooking Network Built an Online Shopping Experience With Video

August 12, 2014 2:08 pm


In November 2013, Marcelino Raygoza combined his passions for traditional Mexican cooking and e-commerce and launched the Mexican Cooking Network. On the website, viewers can watch recipe videos and purchase the products that are featured. Marc’s dynamic platform serves up supplementary text and links alongside the videos as they play.

The Mexican Cooking Network website is a shining example of thinking beyond the player. While we may have different overall goals for our web content, we should all be thinking about optimizing the relationship between our pages and our videos. We were also really interested to hear about Marc’s DIY production process, and how quickly he learned to make his own videos.

### Making Purchases Frame by Frame

As a software developer with extensive experience in e-commerce, Marc is always trying to find new, engaging ways to sell products online. “It’s important to make the customer experience fun and entertaining,” he explains.

While watching a cooking video, have you ever wondered where you can purchase the ingredients or cookware being used? On the Mexican Cooking Network website, purchase links and descriptions for these items appear in a panel beside the player in real time.

“From a consumer’s point of view, the overall experience is both entertaining and educational. From an advertising point of view, the technology platform is interesting as it keeps the customer engaged without leaving the website to learn more about the products used in the videos,” Marc says.

### Creating a Video Experience

Marc’s platform isn’t just about selling products. It also enables him to present relevant information in a seamless, timely fashion. He explains, “This model is a really cool way to promote products and provide additional information without saturating the video with too much text.” Once integrated, the pieces of the page are more effective both individually and collectively.

The truth is, you don’t have to build a special platform to facilitate a healthy relationship between your web page and your videos. Before you begin shooting or scripting a video, ask yourself: where will it live? How will the video enhance the experience on your page? How will the page content supplement the content in your video? How will that page relate with the other pages on your site, and your overall marketing strategy?

A video isn’t an isolated asset, and your page and your video will both benefit from thinking ahead!

### Marc’s DIY Living Room Studio

While Marc may be well-versed in engineering and e-commerce, the videos on the Mexican Cooking Network represent his first attempts at video production. After buying the domain name, he picked up a camera from Costco, created a makeshift studio in his living room, set up some lights based on a few Wistia Learning Center videos, and jumped right in! Take a look at his current setup:

Already, Marc has made great use of still shots, varied camera angles, overlaid text, and fun aprons, which all contribute to the playful appeal of his videos.

“We have a very sophisticated production process,” Marc jokes. “For this video, my 9-year-old daughter followed a traditional Mexican popsicle recipe that we constantly use, and I recorded and edited the video.”

“The lighting, the music, I go by my gut feeling, what I think looks good,” Marc says. Before he pushes his videos live, he gathers feedback from friends and adjusts them accordingly. “I’m not set on any one way, and I’m always willing to try new things,” he explains. “Because my background is in e-commerce, I learn something new during every shoot. This past weekend, I learned where the manual focus is. On the lens!”

Marc’s current video toolkit includes:

– Camera: Canon 70D DSLR
– Software: Sony Vegas Movie Studio
– Lighting: “You may find this hard to believe, but I use almost all the equipment mentioned in your Down & Dirty Lighting Kit video.”

### Tracking Down Royalty-Free Tunes

As part of his production process, Marc seeks out royalty-free tracks from independent artists on YouTube and SoundCloud, using search terms like “Mexican hip hop instrumental” and “banda rap instrumental.”

“I contact the artists to let them know that I will be using their music,” he explains. “The artists are very supportive and excited about their songs being used in ways they didn’t anticipate. It’s been a really neat way to promote independent musicians.”

Marc’s video about horchata features music by Alexander Manzano:

### Ask the Developer

We were curious about the development of Marc’s interactive shopping technology, so we asked him how he built it.

“The shopping cart integration took a week or so to build using the Wistia Player API,” he notes. “The original shopping cart was built based on the PopcornJS video API, but I migrated to Wistia to take advantage of the viewer metrics.”

Marc is in the early stages of licensing his integrated platform to other online sellers and filing a provisional patent for the technology. “Our business plan is evolving more toward a global e-commerce model that uses local suppliers to fulfill orders,” he explains.

### To Tortillas and Beyond

Marc is excited to produce many more cooking videos, and he hopes to visit restaurant kitchens to document chefs at work in the future. He notes, “Today, people expect information much more quickly than ever before. We are going to create a ‘next generation’ cookbook, using video recipes.”

I, for one, am inspired by Marc’s focus on integration and interactivity. I’m excited to see what Wistia and other video advocates can learn about how our pages and videos can work together and how we can grow our video production skills over time. Let’s face it, written content and video go together like avocado and lime; they’re fine individually, but delicious when combined.

How do you plan ahead for where your videos will end up? Can you think of any other websites that integrate video and text in interesting ways?

All these guacamole photos? We took them after we tried out Marc’s guacamole recipe for ourselves. Trust us, it was as tasty as it looks.

Five Questions: Ben Glover

August 11, 2014 12:01 pm


On his upcoming album, Atlantic, singer/songwriter Ben Glover reaches across continents and decades to bring together the two musical and geographical worlds that he calls home — Ireland and Tennessee. Having immersed himself in the historic and artistic cultures of both lands, Glover tells wonderfully thoughtful, intentional tales of his search for and planting of roots.

Ahead of Atlantic‘s release, Glover put together a special NoiseTrade sampler, Precedent & Prophecy, which culls tracks from several previous sets along with a couple of cuts from Atlantic. As a whole, it captures the essence of Glover’s evolving artistry and offers a glimpse of what’s yet to come.

NoiseTrade: When you were getting started, you would play American folk tunes in pubs back home in Ireland, then play Irish folk tunes in pubs in Boston. How did you find your balance when you had feet in two different worlds?

Ben Glover: My objective was the same in both countries — sing great songs — and, in doing so, try and make a connection with the audience. I never felt off balance when my musical objective was consistent regardless of continent. Whether I was belting out rowdy Irish folk songs in the bars of Boston or doing some Woody Guthrie in the pubs of Belfast, my intention was to perform songs that had something to say and that would stir up an audience. Conceptually, there really isn’t much difference between American folk/blues tunes and Irish folk tunes — the songs from both traditions are filled with great stories, colorful language, and tales of both the joys and struggles of the people who wrote and sang them. I was drawn to both Irish folk and American folk/blues traditions right from the time when music began to mean something to me. So the music was really the thing that kept me balanced. It’s easy to find balance when you feel deeply connected to and love the thing you are doing even if one foot is either side of an ocean.

You went back to County Donegal to make Atlantic. How would this record be different if you’d made it in Nashville?

County Donegal is one of the most rural and isolated parts of Ireland. The house we made the record in is at the foot of a mountain and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean — the album cover image is what we looked out on every day while making the record. That rugged, raw environment and spirit of rural Donegal had a massive influence on how this record sounds; its presence was huge on this album. That physical dislocation from anything to do with the music industry was a perfect environment in which to make this record. That’s not meant to be disrespectful to the industry, but it was extremely liberating and inspiring to make a record in a place that was worlds away from the marketplace, away from the distractions that Nashville or any city has.

It meant, too, that everyone who played on the recording was transported out of their comfort zones into an entirely different context. It brought something new and different out of us all. We felt that we were creating our own little universe during the recording process and, literally, we did as we transformed the house into a makeshift studio for 10 days. We created a recording space that will never exist again and, in doing so, created a sound for this album that we can’t replicate again. For those reasons, we could not and would not have been able to have made this record in Nashville. It definitely would not have had the rawness, intimacy, or personality that it has if we recorded it in a more controlled studio environment. In many ways, the record sounds like how Donegal feels to me, and that was one of the things that I wanted to capture.

You’ve made pilgrimages to sites related to some of your musical heroes — Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, et al. How does that affect you as both a person and an artist?

To experience the very places that are marked by my musical heroes is something that is very important to me. It’s about deepening the connection with their legacy, but, more importantly, it lets me get closer to the source of the fire that their music lit in me creatively. For me, such places are shrines of sorts and there is definitely a spiritual element, too. Those artists have had great significance in my life and music and so journeying to sites that are connected with them always awakens and stirs up something inside me. To sit at Hank’s grave, to spend the day at Cash’s childhood home in Arkansas, or to go in search of Robert Johnson’s grave in the Delta excites and invigorates me in the same pure way that their music did when I first heard it. These trips fire up my creativity and imagination. Music is a sacred thing, and I need to go to sites that have sacred symbolism for me; it’s the duty of any good pilgrim! In some respects, too, it de-romanticizes my heroes in a good way — by visiting their graves, it’s a reminder that these mighty, near mythical figures were indeed mortal after all and just on the same journey as the rest of us.

When you are writing a song with another person, how do you dig into deeply personal things about yourself and hash that out in an honest way? It must take an incredible amount of trust… or whiskey.

Atlantic is the most personal album I’ve made and that was because I wrote it with trusted friends who were willing to dig as deep as possible to find these songs with me. There’s no point in going halfway to the truth. It only matters if you go all the way there and we were all committed to mining as deep as possible to get there, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable the writing process was. I wrote these songs with Mary Gauthier, Gretchen Peters, Neilson Hubbard, and Rod Picott; they are all amazing writers who bring a huge amount of integrity and courage to the writing process. They are also some of my closest friends, so it was easy to get deeply personal and dismantle any pretense. It also comes down to what you and your co-writer are writing the song for — if it’s for the charts and for commercial sales, then honesty doesn’t necessarily have to drive the process; but if you’re writing because you want to express your truth, then digging deep in an honest way is the only way to go. As for the whiskey, there was definitely some Bushmills involved in the recording, but not in the writing. We couldn’t possibly make a record in Donegal and not have a few sips…

Are you a fan of Southern gothic literature or did you just soak up — and conjure up — all the imagery and culture through your travels?

It’s a bit of both. Since moving to Nashville, I wanted to immerse myself in as much of the southern culture as possible, so my senses have been wide open and soaking it all up ever since I made my first visit to the South seven years ago. However, I had been reading William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy, and many other gothic greats long before I set foot on southern soil. This mean’t my imagination was traveling through those hot, dusty, dark backroads of the South prior to me physically being there.

Setting the Score with Source

August 8, 2014 10:45 am


A character flies down the street in a brand new hot rod. He makes a turn at breakneck speed, burning some rubber. All the while, we hear rock music turned up to eleven as he careens down the road.

But when he parks the car, that loud music is now much softer, and sounds like it’s coming out of the car radio! How did this happen? What’s the difference?

When music appears in a film, it falls into one of two categories: source and score.

If the music is coming from headphones, a radio, a speaker, even a human being’s mouth, it’s source music. The characters can hear it, the audience can hear it, and its origination point is clear – it’s coming from somewhere within the world of the film. Think of a character singing “Happy Birthday” or a couple dancing to music at a party.

If the music is not coming from an identifiable source, it’s score. The characters can’t turn it on, nor turn it off, and they certainly can’t hear it. The music is there to heighten the scene, highlight the story, or even help to connect a montage together.

“A Hard Day’s Night” begins with the Beatles comically avoiding screaming crowds of fans as they make their way to the train station. It’s all set to the title song, but it’s being used as score.

How do we know? The Beatles are running around without their instruments, and Paul isn’t even with them! He’s busy hiding behind a newspaper.

The music isn’t coming from anywhere on screen. It’s only there to entertain us, highlight the craziness, and introduce us to the film.

Not too much later, on the train, the Fab Four take a much-needed break from their capers and settle in for a card game. It isn’t too long before instruments appear out of nowhere, and we get the second song of the film, “I Should Have Known Better.”

This time, we see the Beatles perform, and the music is clearly coming from their instruments and their voices. Here, the music is source. As further proof, there is a small audience of girls listening to them. Since other people within the film can hear them, the music is source.

However, what makes “A Hard Day’s Night” so brilliant is that it blurs the lines between source and score. Are the Beatles really playing that song on the train right now? Those instruments did, after all, appear out of nowhere. Yes, we can see John Lennon singing, but the scene feels more like a music video than a character breaking into song and dance.

In fact, it was this film that pioneered so many of the music video techniques that we’ve become used to. Imagine that – the Beatles innovating things that were ahead of their time. Who knew?

Check out the film and decide for yourself what is source and what is score. No matter what you decide, the timeless tunes of the Beatles continue to inspire and entertain us all.

Visit the Hulu Summer Film School page to view A Hard Day’s Night and learn more about Soundtrack, Score, and Sound Design.

How Spotify is working on deep learning to improve playlists

August 5, 2014 8:16 pm


A Spotify intern and Ph.D. student published a blog post laying out his work to improve Spotify’s recommendation algorithms using deep learning to analyze the acoustic properties of songs. He hopes his models can help listeners discover new and relatively unheard music.

How Spotify is working on deep learning to improve playlists originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2014.


The Range Performs “Jamie” and “Metal Swing” at Pitchfork Music Festival

August 5, 2014 3:44 pm

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Photo by Ebru Yildiz

The Range was one of the many artists at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, which took place at Union Park in Chicago July 18-20. Below, watch video of him performing “Jamie” and “Metal Swing”, from his latest album Nonfiction.Read our Rising feature on the Range, and check out photos from the fest here. Watch more videos from Pitchfork Music Festival 2014 here.



“Metal Swing”:


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August 5, 2014 2:43 pm


If you’ve heard of FKA Twigs by now, it’s likely thanks to music sites like Pitchfork, which have been featuring the singer’s warped, R&B-infused tracks as she’s quickly gone from self-releasing her first EP to planning one of the more exciting LPs of 2014. She’s now a week away from releasing her first album, the descriptively titled LP1, and it’s just become available to stream on iTunes. LP1 is a must listen, filled with carefully moody tracks that make as impressive a use of empty space as they do of noise. And if you haven’t seen it, there’s an incredible music video to back up one of the best of them. Put on some good headphones and get listening.


XL Announce Pay Close Attention Compilation, Share Unreleased Vampire Weekend Documentary on Contra

August 5, 2014 2:00 pm


On August 25, XL Recordings will celebrate 25 years with a new compilation called Pay Close Attention, which compiles important music from the label’s illustrious discography. Radiohead, M.I.A., the White Stripes, Vampire Weekend, the Prodigy, the xx, Adele, Tyler the Creator, Jai Paul, Gil Scott-Heron, Basement Jaxx, the Horrors, Devendra Banhart, Basement Jaxx, and many more appear on the record.

The Pay Close Attention website is also chronicling the history of the label, with detailed timelines about all of XL’s releases. It will also be collecting new and unseen interviews and performances by artists who appear on the compilation. Below, watch a 15-minute documentary in which Vampire Weekend discuss the making of their 2010 album Contra. Update: Also below, watch previously unreleased footage of Odd Future’s first European tour, via Pigeons and Planes.

The compilation will be available as a quadruple-LP box set, which comes packaged with a DVD and poster, as well as a 2xCD set, and as a download.

Here’s what label head Richard Russell said of Pay Close Attention:

XL Recordings is a collaborative endeavour, and many people have contributed to its evolution. In the song ‘Out Of Space’, Liam Howlett of The Prodigy provided a blueprint when he sampled Kool Keith of Ultramagnetic MC’s rapping these words: “Pay Close Attention”. And whilst XL has never had any outside ownership, Gil Scott-Heron advised me not to even consider XL an “independent”, because everything is connected.

Part 1 of this compilation are the roots of XL; underground music, made for DJs. These roots are still growing. Part 2 features some of the singular talents who have taken the label further than we ever envisioned. There is no unifying genre; hopefully the thread of originality is evident though.

The rave music XL first became known for was known as “hardcore”; that spirit continues.

To show our appreciation for your support, thank you DJs.

And thank you also to the retailers, writers, and, of course, ravers.

Vampire Weekend:


Tyler, the Creator:


Pay Close Attention disc one:

01 SL2: DJs Take Control
02 The Prodigy: Out Of Space
03 Awesome 3: Don’t Go (Kicks Like A Mule Mix)
04 Liquid: Sweet Harmony
05 Jonny L: Piper
06 Roy Davis Jr. ft. Peven Everett: Gabriel (Live Garage Version)
07 Dem 2: Destiny
08 Nu-Birth: Anytime
09 Basement Jaxx: Jump N’Shout
10 Dizzee Rascal: I Luv U
11 Wiley: Igloo
12 Various Production: Hater
13 Giggs: Talkin The Hardest
14 SBTRKT: Wildfire [ft. Little Dragon]
15 Jamie xx: All Under One Roof Raving

Pay Close Attention disc two:

01 The Prodigy: Firestarter
02 Peaches: Fuck The Pain Away
03 The White Stripes: Seven Nation Army
04 Devendra Banhart: I Feel Just Like A Child
05 Ratatat: Seventeen Years
06 M.I.A.: Paper Planes
07 Thom Yorke: The Eraser
08 Gil Scott-Heron: New York Is Killing Me
09 Radiohead: Weird Fishes / Arpeggi
10 Tyler, The Creator: Yonkers
11 The Horrors: Sea Within A Sea
12 Jai Paul: BTSTU (demo)
13 Bobby Womack: Please Forgive My Heart
14 The xx: Angels
15 Sampha: Too Much
16 Vampire Weekend: Step
17 King Krule: Easy Easy
18 Adele: Rolling In The Deep

Bonus DVD included in box set:

Prodigy – Firestarter (Director Walter Stern)
Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At (Director Traktor)
The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl (Director Michel Gondry)
Dizzee Rascal – Fix Up, Look Sharp (Director Ruben Fleischer)
M.I.A – BirdFlu (Director M.I.A)
Vampire Weekend – A-Punk (Director Hammer and Tongs)
Radiohead – Lotus Flower (Director Garth Jennings)
Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here (Director Jane Pollard)
Tyler, The Creator – Yonkers (Director Tyler, The Creator)
ADELE – Someone Like You (Live From The Brits 2011)

Danny Brown Gets Interviewed By High School Students at Pitchfork Music Festival

August 4, 2014 6:10 pm


Photo by Jessica Lehrman

826 is a national nonprofit organization co-founded by author Dave Eggers that promotes reading and writing skills in students aged 6-to-18. At this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, 826CHI sent a handful of students to interview Danny Brown before his performance. They’ve now published the entirety of the interview. Brown, to his credit, kept things family friendly.

On which rapper, living or dead, he would collaborate with:

I guess I would pick a dead one since that would be cooler. Mac Dre from Oakland, I like him a lot.

On what advice he would give his 18-year old self:

Don’t listen to nobody but yourself because that’s who ends up being up right at the end of the day. Everyone could tell me what I couldn’t do but no one could told me what I could do except myself. So once I started believing in myself that’s when stuff started happening, so I would just tell myself don’t listen to nobody man, just listen to yourself.

On how much of his music is autobiographical:

I’d say 75%. Sometimes I exaggerate stuff for entertainment purposes because I like to make people laugh, but for the most part 75%.

Read the full thing here.

Read “Top Underdog”, our feature from last year on Brown.

Watch Brown on an episode of’s “Over/Under”:


Music discovery startup has been acquired by Rhapsody

August 4, 2014 5:47 pm


Rhapsody has acquired music discovery startup, and the team is joining Rhapsody’s team to work on its subscription product.

Music discovery startup has been acquired by Rhapsody originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2014.


Watch Arcade Fire cover the ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ theme

August 4, 2014 3:50 pm


A lot of music has been made since “Axel F” — the relentlessly cool electronic jam from Beverly Hills Cop — was first played, and yet very little of that music has reached the level of total sweetness that it manages to hit in just seconds. But finally, there’s something better than just playing Harold Faltermeyer’s classic track on repeat again: you can now listen to a cover of “Axel F” from Arcade Fire. The band played part of the track in LA over the weekend, switching from “Axel F” into their own song “Normal Person.” The intro to “Welcome to the Jungle” also makes its way in there at the end of the video.


Speedy Ortiz Perform “Tiger Tank”, “Oxygal”, and “Everything’s Bigger” at Pitchfork Music Festival

August 4, 2014 1:39 pm


Photo by Tom Spray

Speedy Ortiz were one of the many artists at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, which took place at Union Park in Chicago July 18-20. Below, watch video of them performing “Tiger Tank” from Major Arcana and “Oxygal” and “Everything’s Bigger” from the Real Hair EP. Check out photos from the fest here. Watch more videos from Pitchfork Music Festival 2014 here.

“Tiger Tank”:




“Everything’s Bigger”:


NoiseTrade Is Hiring: Head of Product / Lead Designer

August 4, 2014 10:17 am


Head of Product / Lead Designer

Job Location: Nashville, TN / Long distance work possible for the right candidate.
Reporting to: President
Travel: If long distance, travel to Nashville 4-5 times per year.


About NoiseTrade
NoiseTrade is a music marketing, distribution, and tribe-building company, founded in 2008. In February of 2014, the company expanded its already robust platform to feature and serve authors and publishers with the launch of NoiseTrade Books. NoiseTrade and its platforms allow fans and readers to download free music and ebooks directly from content creators in exchange for an email address and postal code. With over 20,000 artists and authors giving away content on the site and 400,000 albums downloaded a month, NoiseTrade has a large and loyal audience of 1.3 million and growing.

Position Expectation
Candidates for the Head of Product role should have strong experience designing and managing complex UX projects and overseeing revenue-driving initiatives. The Head of Product will report directly to the President of NoiseTrade and will work daily alongside our Lead Developer and others on the development team to continue innovatively build the NoiseTrade platform.


What You’ll Do

  • Work with the executive team to develop an innovative product vision across desktop, tablet and mobile platforms.
  • Design the interface of the NoiseTrade platform from concept to wireframe to finished Photoshop file to pass on to front-end development. (Strong front-end experience a bonus qualification.)
  • Work alongside our development team to execute the product vision.
  • Oversee mobile strategy and lead product development of mobile apps and mobile-optimized experiences.
  • Assist in developing analytics to systematically measure performance of all aspects of the web experience and conversion funnel.
  • Collaborate with all other departments to ensure open communication about future product plans.


Who You Are

  • A talented and intuitive interface designer. High competency in Adobe Photoshop a must.
  • An effective manager with the desire to cultivate leadership
  • Committed to recruiting the best possible product, development and design team as NoiseTrade grows
  • Empathetic to the needs of customers (artists, authors, publishers, record labels, music fans, readers)
  • Obsessed with beautiful design experiences



  • 7+ years experience in ecommerce, mobile, and product design and management
  • Strong understanding of web technologies, programming languages and webpage design
  • Proven ability to develop and implement a successful social, platform, and ecommerce strategy, preferably in media (music, books, film, or other creative sectors).
  • Able to translate analytical data into strategic recommendations
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Confident presentation skills.
  • Great interpersonal skills
  • An avid music fan with a strong understanding of the current landscape of streaming and digital download music platforms.
  • Ideally an avid fan of digital publishing with a strong understanding of the ebook marketplace.
  • Intensely curious. Entrepreneurial. Hard-working. Self-starter.


How to Apply
Submit cover letter, portfolio and resume to


Streaming on Yahoo makes best of music industry struggles, boosts revenue

August 2, 2014 3:56 am


The deal opens up a new revenue stream for Live Nation, which reported … And for Yahoo, premium video ad prices could be a cure for its plunging …

Pitchfork’s Show No Mercy and Blackened Music Launch Tinnitus Series With Ben Frost Show

August 1, 2014 4:00 pm


Pitchfork’s Show No Mercy has teamed up Blackened Music to present a new music series called Tinnitus. Tinnitus will focus on composers of extreme sound.

The first installment takes place October 18 with a performance by Ben Frost at The Wick in Brooklyn. Support acts are to be announced.

Tickets are $15 in advance, available here. (They will be $20 at the door.) Doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 9. This is a 21+ event.

The Australian-born, Iceland-based composer Frost released his great album A U R O R A earlier this year. Read our “Guest List” interview with him here.

Fusion to provide streaming-video coverage of Lollapalooza

August 1, 2014 3:56 pm

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In this Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009 file photo, Lou Reed performs at the Lollapalooza music festival, in Chicago. The rocker’s life was decidedly …

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Fusion To Provide Streaming-Video Coverage of Lollapalooza

August 1, 2014 2:03 pm


Fusion, the network aimed at younger generations, said it would live-stream the Lollapalooza music festival that kicks off this afternoon, and carry it …

HP’s new smartwatch actually looks good

August 1, 2014 12:23 pm


Fashion designer Michael Bastian is partnering with HP and retailer Gilt to sell a smartwatch this fall. Described by Gilt as a “Michael Bastian smartwatch engineered by Hewlett-Packard,” the timepiece couples a circular face with a fairly aggressive sporty design. Although its shape bears a small resemblance to the Moto 360 smartwatch, its 44mm face is far more inline with traditional watches than Motorola’s. It’ll launch with a selection of straps in brown leather, black rubber, and green nylon. The watch will be compatible with both Android and iOS, and will be able to receive notifications for things like emails, texts, and sports updates. It’ll also offer music controls and display weather forecasts. Given how basic its function set…


Mazda Brings Zoom To ‘Fashion Rocks’

August 1, 2014 12:01 pm


Can Mazda’s Miata Zoom Zoom in Moschino? Sure, the little roadster has been fashionable for a quarter of a century. And the brand has aligned with music acts for as long.

YouTube comes to Now TV’s 10 smart TV box

August 1, 2014 9:33 am


Now YouTube has been added to the mix, you can stream music playlists, video walkthroughs, reviews of new sports cars on your TV. You can also …