Editorial: Polls in Our Industry Are A Futile Exercise That No Longer Serve An Ethical Purpose

Full disclosure: I wrote this article yesterday, on November 21st 2017, and woke up this morning to the news that Resident Advisor was no longer continuing its Poll

First of all, I have to say that DJ Mag’s poll is only good as scrap paper, or at best as the source of pre-game laughter with your crew. That is if you ever even took a look at a printed version of it. The chart is a joke (artistically), it serves no real purpose (business-speaking),  and is useless (as far as understanding the quality of DJs, its actual intended purpose). It’s talked about for months leading up to and following its results, a peculiar media that does not give a damn about the actual music but is all to do with money and pompousness. Sadly, it’s been like this for years now.

What is new though is the thin wind of dissatisfaction that is now affecting the Resident Advisor. On top of a ranking that has seen Dixon crowned unceremoniously as #1 DJ in the world for 5 years now, in recent years we have also seen the increase of election campaigns by DJs (and their management0 to win votes. What was once an organic poll from real dedicated fans once again lost its intended purpose.  Indeed, the problem was not the ranking itself: it can be challenged. It may not be in agreement with your views as far as placements or exclusions, but that is another story, or controversy for that matter. The problem, we are beginning to understand, is what it takes to end up in that ranking. Artists and their management understand it very well. It is an excuse to raise the stakes, in some cases to double or triple them, and to convince the artists to get involved with the tactics necessary to end up on the poll, and rank higher than years before.

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Editorial: The Anxieties of Being An Electronic Music Event Promoter And How To Face Them

It’s 7:30pm on a Friday night and I am waiting for a man I have never met outside of a venue I have never heard of, nor seen, before.

I have spent the last 7 days driving all over Los Angeles scouting for venues, looking for the right location for what could be the biggest event of my career as an electronic music event promoter. My other business partners have done the same, all to no avail. We located a few gems that will be available for future use, but haven’t quite nailed down the space we so desperately need at this very moment. And the brutal honest truth is that the clock is against us.

“Relax, be patient and you’ll find the right spot!” I’ve been telling myself over and over for the last two weeks, and while I believe it, it’s hard to remain optimistic as the hours and days fade away. Our event is tomorrow night, and with just over 24 hours to go we are running out of options. To top it off, the venue owner I am supposed to meet is 30 minutes late, which is making me and the three other people with me antsy at best.

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Opinion: The Dehumanization of Electronic Music and Why DJs Must Learn to Accept Criticism From Fans

Over the weekend the words posted on social media accounts by Canadian artist Tiga had a lot of people talking.

In a post that appeared on his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Tiga opened up and discussed a subject rarely tackled in the world of electronic music: it’s simply impossible for a DJ to have a perfect set every single time. Peers and music fans alike weighed in, and how could they not after reading such a singular perspective from an artist as recognized as him.

Ultimately, Tiga shined a light on a side of electronic music culture that is sometimes easy to lose track of but that remains essential for the true artistry of the genre we love to flourish and prosper: the human element.

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The Guide To Every Electronic Music Genre Ever

Contrary to some popular perception, electronic music is quite the extensive and diverse genre. It can certainly be a daunting experience when you get curious and begin to dig deeper into the genre, although it also becomes easy to get lost in the myriads of sub-genres and blurred lines that separate them.

But don’t worry, if you would like to learn a bit more or even immerse deeper into the rich genre of electronic music there is a site dedicated to helping you.

The Electronic Music Guide provides a concise documentation on every sub-genre and movement in electronic music that has ever existed. It also offers a lot of audio content providing examples of each sub-genre and movement, enabling visitors to to enjoy a comprehensive electronic music experience.

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The First Electronic Music Awards Are Coming This September

Electronic music has evolved in recent years as a genre. Thanks to this evolution, we now enjoy hearing a wonderful mix of artistry and technology that culminate in the creation of energetic, and unique tracks that people get to party to in clubs and music festivals across the globe. We would not have gotten here without the contributions of artists and producers who helped found this movement and take it to the heights it is enjoying today, some of which were sadly not given due recognition for a while.

After years of waiting, electronic music will finally have an event that will celebrate and recognize the achievements in the genre with the first ever Electronic Music Awards. Set to be held in downtown Los Angeles at custom multi-stage warehouse venue on Sept. 21, the event will be broadcast worldwide via Twitter global live stream, which anyone can access even without a Twitter account.

2017 Electronic Music Awards Teaser from UphoricTV on Vimeo.

The EM Awards will be awarding 11 awards that celebrate every level of producer and performer, from the underground labels to the commercial giants. Many leading advisers and executives within the electronic community participated to vote for the awards. More details are expected to be announced in the following days, especially the nominees, presenters, performers and more.

The event is produced by Paul Oakenfold and the Hunt & Crest entertainment company.  Check the EM Awards online for more details and information on this historic event.

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Are Computers Musical Instruments?

Computers have come a long way in the last three decades, constantly evolving and improving their capabilities to unexpected heights. One of those capabilities is the ability to “play” music. Thanks to computers, nowadays, users can virtually play any instrument or create even the most complex of sounds and harmonies without even physically touching any actual instrument usually used to produce those sounds.

With such capabilities now made available and within reach, there is a growing number of musicians and producers who are taking advantage of the technology. Of course those in the electronic music industry have come to be the most heavy users of computers to create their music, but other artists have also adopted the use of this technology in their music production and live set-ups. Read more

Will Artificial Intelligence Change the Future of Electronic Music Production?

In recent years, there have been some significant developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). While it has not yet reached the levels we sometimes see in science fiction movies, or even saw in movies a decade ago when producers attempted to predict the world of today, it is safe to say at the moment that we are getting close to that reality. Much so that artificial intelligence is being considered as a possible tool that will do work that has never been thought possible before.

One of those types of work that might become AI-driven is music production, particularly in electronic music. And already, it is causing both excitement and concern among music professionals and artists in the industry alike.

What contribution will AI bring to electronic music? Will such contribution be groundbreaking enough to transform the industry? Read more

21 Great Free Sample Packs for the Budget-Conscious Producer

Electronic music producers have long used sampling in the studio, with the practice dating back to some of the early years of house and techno. While there are some contentious issues related to sampling (notably copyright matters) that are still being debated, there has been a growing number of less contentious options made available in recent years that allow for sampling without concern.

Some services such as BeatportJunoIrruptSample Magic and Loopmasters provide licensed samples for a fee. But if you are on a limited budget, don’t worry, there are also many great, royalty-free samples that are available for free, ranging from promotional freebies by online services to homemade files from artists and synth enthusiasts.

Fact Magazine recently compiled 21 noteworthy free sample packs that you can find available on the web. Encompassing a variety of genres from house to hip-hop, we hope these sample packs prove useful in your next studio session:

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Can MDMA Really Cure Tinnitus?

Tinnitus, the condition that is characterized by ringing or uncontrollable noise disturbance in the ears, could possibly be cured with MDMA. The revelation comes from a scientific study being conducted in New Zealand, which has already completed trials showing promise of proving that the common rave/party drug could be used to cure the troubling hearing condition.

As reported by Stuffthe joint study between the University of Auckland and the University of Otago began two years ago as a result of enough reports from those with tinnitus who had taken ecstasy and felt benefits, urging researches to dig into it further.

So far, the last two years of MDMA studies involved a small number of participants in placebo-controlled trials, where they were given a small dose of MDMA or a placebo and monitored over a four-hour time period. It’s important to not that they were not given enough MDMA to feel high”, yet many reported an easing of tinnitus after just three hours. Reportedly, those who experienced the benefits stated that the same effects maintained for a week or even more. The research conducted thus far was divided into two separate trials, where researchers administered doses of 30 mg or 70 mg of MDMA imported under strict controls and dispensed by pharmacists working as part of the research team.

The leading professor behind the research, University of Auckland professor Grant Searchfield, did note that the operation is moving slow due to the high risks associated with MDMA, “Our goal is to try and find a medication for tinnitus. It can have catastrophic effects. Whether MDMA is it or whether it’s a trial for us to identify what is going on in the brain is still an open question.”

In order for the study to continue, as well as to know which exact next steps are needed, Scientists are reviewing all data and brain imaging from the trials thus far conduced, which could take months. Further funding will also need to be raised in order to progress beyond the current stage of the trials.


15 Music Startups to Watch Out For

There has been quite some mixed opinion as to whether 2017 will be a good year for music/tech startups. Some feel this year does not hold much promise with the seeming lack of excitement with what these startups have to offer. There are also those who feel pessimistic as far as their chances for sustainability are concerned, given the current issues facing the music industry in general.

The truth is that these negative sentiments do not reflect the whole picture. For one, there are a number of options already available for startups to secure the needed funding and investments. Also worth noting is the fact that many of these startups have what you could refer to as more “low-key” ambitions, making them more sustainable. While there are some who seek to be the next Spotify, many of them look to leverage existing platforms and build on them to create some innovative services and technologies.

Music Ally has recently come up with a list of the most interesting music startups to watch out for. We will be highlighting 15 of them here as we showcase what each startup has to offer in the music industry.


Launched in November 2015, this Singapore-based startup pitches itself as a “social music maker and recording studio.” Its app offers a 2-track recording capabilities for musicians, a built-in editor, collaboration features, post video clips, and, just recently, mastering features as well.  It has also been aggressive in acquisitions. In the past year, it has acquired rival Composr, US design studio Mono, and even a 49% stake on Rolling Stone Magazine’s publisher Wenner Media. In an interview, BandLab’s CEO Meng Ru Kuok said, “We are focused on the consumer and the supply chain of music, and innovative business models around music that exist today…BandLab’s goal is to be a global music business.”


Disciple Media

Started in the UK by musician Benji Vaughan and music executive Leanne Sharman in June 2016, Discple Media develops the platform for artist apps. It aims to help musicians connect to their audiences via smartphones while allowing audiences to push content back to the musicians as well. In an interview, Sherman explained that the platform helps provide an incremental revenue stream for artists, record companies, publishers, and collecting societies. Despite being a newcomer, it has managed to snag some high profile clients with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Luke Bryan, and KSI using their platform.


Dot Blockchain

Unlike many startups, and especially in the music industry, Dot Blackchain stands out for being a “public benefit corporation”, which means it is not established as a for profit operation. What this startup aims to achieve is to develop a new media format and architecture where artists, songwriters, and their shareholders can “express their rights and wishes” regarding the commercial use of their work. It was launched in August 2016 with the introduction of its file-bundling technology, a registry of ‘minimum viable data’ for works, and plug-ins for users. This project is expected to begin its second and third planned phases later this year. with more input from the music industry. At the same it time, it looks at contributing between 5% and 25% of its revenues towards education and music-focused charities.



Dubset began as “DJ-defined radio service” in 2011 that offered streaming mixes from DJs and used music fingerprinting to identify tracks and pay music rights holders. It has evolved over the years as it introduced new technologies. Notable of these is MixBank, launched in 2016, which identifies music used in remixes and mixes and clear the music’s use through deals with labels and publishers before it is distributed. Through MixBank, it has managed to enter into relationships with high-profile clients such as Apple Music and Spotify. Already, the service has shown signs of promise when it released its first licensed remix in October 2016: DJ Jazzy Jeff’s remix of Anderson Paak’s “Room In Here”.


Gearbox Records

While Gearbox is mainly a UK-based independent label that releases its music on vinyl, it employs a good deal of technology, especially for its music. It owns an analogue vinyl-cutting facility which cuts its records with no digital process being employed to create an authentic vinyl sound. In 2017, the company is going further in its vinyl technology with the introduction of Gearbox Automatic, which is described as an “autostreaming hifi turntable” that not only plays vinyl but also add tracks to streaming playlists. Make no mistake though, it is not ripping vinyl tracks into digital files but rather matches the records with their digital versions on Apple Music or Spotify that people can add in their digital libraries and play them on the move.



Grammofy is one of the few music services that is focused on the classical music genre. Through its app, it offers a subscription service of weekly curated collections of classical music, guiding its users to the different works, musicians, and composers in the genre. In addition, it employs expert curators from BBC Music and Gramophone Magazine and offers both compressed and premium audio quality. Since its launch in Germany and the UK in May 2016, it has expanded to other countries in Europe, as well as in the United States. For now, its app is only available on iOS.




Grooveo is an artist-centric live streaming platform for DJ’s with unique tools to engage audiences and allow for monetization through direct fan donations. The recently-launched Grooveo aims to disrupt this market with a distinctive quality: those using it can get paid during their stream.

Grooveo works the same way most streaming services do, requiring DJs to provide only a soundcard and webcam to use to sync their performance with the app. It works on multiple systems, from vinyl to digital, and even can be used with multiple cameras so viewers can get a full breadth of the “live” experience. Then, during the set, viewers have a chance to tip DJs as their performing using “beatcoins.” Later, they can even be paid for their own royalties.



Instrumental may be just an independent label (albeit partly owned by Warner Music Group), but it has a powerful technology at its employ. This technology is a specially built software that explores YouTube’s API for data on new music content creators and helps identify those who have the fastest growing engagement for the label to sign a record deal with. One example of this strategy is the label’s signing of Johnny Orlando, a 13-year old Canadian with a million fan following on, Instagram, and YouTube. In August 2016, Instrumental added a non-music division called DSCVRY, which identifies emerging social stars and connect them to brands for marketing campaigns.



Jaak is one of the startups exploring blockchain technology and music, in which it breaks down the anatomy of a song: songwriters, producers, artists, publishers and labels.“As its founder Vaughn McKenzie explained the idea behind the technology, “It’s just a way to design things that can work exactly how you want them to…it’s business logic, in an app.” This smart contract connects apps, websites, games and anything else that wants access to a certain song, thus providing a more interactive music experience. It has been working on the technology since 2014 and is due to announce its first product this year. For the meantime, it has been talking with various players in the music industry about what it could do for the industry.



Behind JoinMyPlaylist are two Danish entrepreneurs with experience in the music/tech realm. Leveraging from their experiences, they went on to create an app that encourages users to “experience music live with others” through live playlists that can be shared from jukebox to office radio. Even artists can join in as well by creating their own live playlists that they can share. As the industry is feeling the need to foster more conversations around music on platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify, JoinMyPlaylist strives to show how this can be done.



UK-based startup Jukedeck offers an interesting premise: utilizing AI or, to be specific, neural-network technology to compose music. Since the original prototype was introduced in 2012, its system went through significant improvements and is now being used mainly by video creators. While the technology itself is still in its early stages, its CEO Ed Newton-Rex foresees some potential uses for the technology, including the ability to teach music.




Another British startup in the list, Landmrk is considered to be music’s equivalent to Pokemon Go as far as technology is concerned. It is built on a location-based and augmented reality platform that can be utilized to run campaigns where digital content is dropped in physical locations for users to find, working the same way as Pokemon Go. It has already found success in the campaigns for Alt-J, Keith Richards, and CNCO. Beyond music, it also made its way into the TV industry through the campaign it ran for Showtime’s TV series Homeland.




London’s Mbryonic offers a visual approach in promoting artists and brands. In this case, it’s the use of virtual reality, game graphics, and live visuals that immerses people into the world of the artist. In addition, it has also created another product that transforms old music videos into 360-degree VR presentations that reacts to music and other commands as well. For its founder Tom Szirtes, this technology provides an opportunity for new revenue streams as well. “Why go to the expense of staging a gig…when you could stage an entirely virtual gig,” he pointed out.




Another British startup that is looking to tap into virtual reality for music is MelodyVR. Its focus is providing a total VR experience by providing both the hardware (through its range of headsets to be launched this year) and the content, with a catalogue of live performances shot specially for VR. It is set to be launched this year and has been able to secure partnerships with a number of artists, labels, venues, and festivals. It also recently launched a closed beta for Samsung Gear VR, targeting about 1000 users in Europe and the U.S.


Mind Music Labs


Sweden’s Mind Music Labs is the startup behind what is considered the first real smart guitar in the world, the Sensus Smart Guitar. This guitar is a fully-functioning guitar with a digital audio workstation (DAW) that can modify the guitar’s sounds during looping or mixing. It also can be connected to the internet to play streaming music, which the user can play along. While this can be seen as part of a greater trend towards connectivity in instruments, Mind Music Labs’ Sensus stands out for its emphasis on the physical musical instrument that people can play with.


Source: Music Ally

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