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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How To Get Feedback On Your Track/Mix


Criticisms or feedback are almost, if not always, taken negatively. We were raised to think that all feedback is negative and that has caused us to think adversely about them. Perhaps this is because of the unhealthy pattern of only giving feedback when we are dissatisfied, but what we fail to see is that feedback and critiques are paramount tools for us to grow both personally and career-wise. When used efficiently these commentaries could give you an edge over other producers and DJs out there.

Here are a few tips you could try on how to get feedback on your track or mix:

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Kraftwerk Gig in Buenos Aires May Be Canceled Due to City’s Ban on Electronic Music

kraftwerk boing

Last year Buenos Aires’ electronic music scene was hit hard following six deaths at Time Warp Argentina.

The city’s Mayor decided to take matters in his own hand by banning all electronic music festivals and shows in the Argentinian capital rather than addressing the issues that were pertinent to the specific tragedy at hand. While this was an unfortunate repercussion at the time, the likes of which we have since seen plague other parts of the world with the highest-profile case involving fabric in London, it appears that the fallout from the incident is far from over.

Buenos Aires’ extant ban on electronic music shows could now cause Kraftwerk’s forthcoming concert in the city to get canceled. Despite the show’s promoters, Move Concerts, arguing that a Kraftwerk performance should be considered to be different than the type of event put on by Time Warp, it appears that they could truly be forced to cancel the gig.

According to local newspaper Clarin, Concerts released a statement saying, “They use synthesizers but the proposal has another format: a concert for all age groups lasting one-hour-and-a-half to two hours; and soft drinks are offered. There will also be no alcoholic drinks served.”

Move Concerts were reportedly given permission to begin selling tickets back in July, and have so far sold roughly 70 percent of allotted spots for the 3D audiovisual show scheduled at Luna Park Stadium on November 23.

Sadly, two weeks ago the Government Control Agency (AGC) informed the promoters that the show would need to be canceled, “After Time Warp, Judge Lisandro Fastman’s court ruling prohibited all electronic music festivals. Because of that, and despite the fact that they presented their paperwork with the required 30 days notice, we cannot authorize the permit.”

Move Concerts have appealed the decision and are currently waiting to hear back.



Live Performances of Rock, Country, Rap and Electronic Music Do Not Count as “Music” or “Culture” According to Cook County


In an official hearing today, a Cook County official reinforced the county’s controversial position on what they consider “music” and “culture” by stating that live performances of rock, country, rap and electronic music do not fall under those two categories.

While the position seems shocking to say the least, it comes as an attempt by Cook County – which containing the City of Chicago is the second-most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County, California – to enforce small venues to pay a 3% amusement tax on all ticket sales and cover charges. While at first the position by officials arguing the case was that small venues featuring DJs and electronic music were not exempt by that tax, Anita Richardson, the hearing officer appointed by the county inferred today that only venues that booked small chamber orchestras, symphony orchestras, or operas should be entitled to the tax break. In her opinion, venues that play other music should have to pay up.

“Rap music, country music, and rock ‘n’ roll” do not fall under the purview of “fine art,” she stated.

The county is going after several of Chicago’s small venues such as EvilOlive and Beauty Bar, who both feature electronic lineups weekly, in an attempt to collect back taxes of up to $200,000 including interests and penalties for the past six years. The specific county code in question states that smaller venues with capacity of 750 or less are not liable to pay the tax as  long as any cover charges or admission fees are for “in person, live theatrical, live musical or other live cultural performances.” The code goes on to describe and define live music and live cultural performances as “any of the disciplines which are commonly regarded as part of the fine arts, such as live theater, music, opera, drama, comedy, ballet, modern or traditional dance, and book or poetry readings.”

Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey says the county’s language “harkens back to the days of the 1950s when rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t considered music.” He adds, “No pun intended, but I think the county is being tone deaf to recognize opera as a form of cultural art but not Skrillex.”

At a hearing scheduled for October 17 the two aforementioned Chicago establishments will present evidence, including live music and testimony from a musicologist, in an effort to budge the hearing officer from her opinion regarding the cultural value of DJ performances. It appears that both venues are simply test cases for the country, a first attempt to see if it can wring any more tax revenue from the city’s live-music industry.

It seems far-fetched that a county that represents the city which gave birth to house music and has had both a street and day named after Frankie Knuckles and his legacy of house is failing to recognize the cultural and artistic value of not only electronic music, but other such diverse genres as rap, rock and country.

H/T: Chicago Reader

Opinion: America, This Weekend Go Out and Dance

crowd-1056764_1920On a week where racial tension, violence and hate divides the United States, music lovers on all four corners of this beautiful country can find solace, refuge and warmth through the musical rendition of their favorite artists.

This has become a weekend where unity matters more than ever. Although we may be afflicted by fear, worry and confusion, there is arguably nothing more unifying, liberating and American than sharing dance floors with people of all walks of life, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or socio-economic background.

Whether you live in a metropolis the size of New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles, a seemingly sleepy pocket of American suburbia or surrounded by the majestic diverse nature that is so unique to this country, I encourage every member of the electronic music community to turn up the volume and unite under a common umbrella of acceptance, love and solidarity. Visit your local club, go to a show, attend a festival or spend the early hours of Sunday morning in a dark warehouse listening to techno. And if none of those are options, invite friends over and throw your own party – be your own DJ.

Sharing music is sharing love. At a point where almost every tweet, Facebook post and meme seems to divide, perhaps the gift of music can help bring people together.

America, this weekend please go out and dance.

Relive The Magic of Electric Island Festival Guam 2016 [Photos]


Guam is truly a paradise island, and its people are as welcoming, fun, energetic and loving as any you can find anywhere on our beautiful world. Less than two weeks ago, the people of Guam took part in the fourth annual installment of Electric Island Festival, a boutique electronic music event that for the first time in its history expanded to two days and took place at the Guam International Raceway.

This year’s EIF continued with its tradition of highlighting top-tier International talent from as far as Europe, mainland United States and nearby Asia, as well as showcasing several of Guam’s own home-bred artists. It did so while underscoring several of dance music’s most popular genres, including EDM, bass, house, techno, deep house and more, as well as welcoming the return of WOMB Tokyo as hosts of a dedicated stage.

EIF Lineup

The people of Guam responded en mass, with thousands attending the two-day celebration and joining the hundreds that traveled from afar to visit the island and attend EIF 2016. The sheer number of off-island visitors once again showcased the island of Guam’s power as a true destination for Music Tourism.

With EIF 2016 now behind, organizers are already looking forward to the 5 Year Anniversary celebration in store for next year! Ensure you follow EIF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on the upcoming 2017 edition.

All photos by Skinny, Gareth Cheung and Andre Gadia.

Nightlife Matters: A Call for Governments To Respect Our Scene As Part Of Local Culture


Electronic music is an indelible part of the world’s nightlife scene. Our music represents the soundtrack and backbone of an industry that is alive in all four corners of the globe, and almost every country in between.

Yet, it is only in a select amount of countries that nightlife is truly respected as part of culture, as an expression of art and freedom. In the Netherlands and Germany, in particular, legislators, politicians and officials recognize nightlife and electronic music as a valuable piece of both the local and national economy. The appreciation for our industry goes a step further in cities like Amsterdam or Berlin, where those participating in nightlife are not only respected but celebrated as part of a movement that promotes tolerance, art and freedom.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in other countries. Australia, and in particular Sydney’s New South Wales state , has been facing uphill battles with local officials who have gone so far as to impose strict lockout laws effectively curbing the existence of nightlife in some of the country’s most populous cities. England is facing similar problems, in no small part due to gentrification and the significant change with which venues, nightclubs and bars interact with local neighborhoods and communities.

In the United Kingdom, the NTIA (Night Time Industries Association) has now launched a #NightlifeMatters campaign to increase awareness on the importance of our scene as part of local art and culture. The aim is to educate and change the viewpoints of the many on the other side of an irrational “us-versus-them” argument which constantly pits nightlife as unethical, quasi-criminal, uncultured and even dangerous.

Naturally, the campaign is backed by a great selection of high-profile artists the likes of Carl Cox, Eats Everything, Jackmaster, and Sasha, as well as venues and promotion companies. The always outspoken and active Seth Troxler has personally weighed in via Clash Music, underscoring just how important this message is for the longevity and prosperity of nightlife as we’ve all come to love it. The movement encourages everyone to sign their petition, and to tweet using the hashtag #nightlifematters to join and support this vital campaign.

“There are always multiple factors to consider when it comes to club closures. It’s hard to keep a business like that going for 10 years, just look at places like Plastic People or Dance Tunnel, even when a club is successful it’s hard work to keep it alive. But who’s responsible for these closures? Is it developers? Local councils? Licensing boards? Has club culture changed fundamentally, are kids today too boring? Or is it the government?


Of course it’s a combination of all those things but there’s one obvious way for us to change it. Vote.

We’re living in a time where the government likes to create media sensations around one topic or another. It’s not about them trying to save lives or change culture, it’s about who can keep themselves in the spotlight for the longest. Decisions are being made by people who are too old or too out of touch with what’s happening in the modern world. And it’s not just in the UK, it’s part of a global problem.

In places like Germany and Holland, local officials accept electronic music and nightlife as culturally valuable. They look at nightlife in the same way they do ballet. It’s not seen as something violent or criminal, it’s celebrated. They recognise that many of the people taking part in night culture are tolerant of different races, different genders and different sexualities. They recognise that nightlife has significant economic benefits, that it has the same capacity as high-art, fiction, food or film to inspire and influence a generation. In the UK and US, by contrast, there’s a total disconnect between night culture and ‘culture proper’. Legislators don’t understand who we are or what our value is, so there’s no desire to protect it.

If we’re to change these attitudes, we can’t just talk about them, we need to have more young people start participating. If we want to change perceptions about club culture we need to act. Part of the reason I launched Acid Future, part of the reason I’ve spent my life playing underground music, is to try and keep the dream alive, to try and fight the fight by educating people about electronic music.

Seth Troxler Music Matters

#NIGHTLIFEMATTERS is addressing the same issues, albeit from a different angle. They’re going direct to policy makers, showing them who we are, showing them that we’re valuable, showing them that we aren’t the stereotype that they think we are or that we might have been in the 90s. Their giving young people a platform to make their voice heard, in just a few clicks on you can email local councillors and MPs to let them know why nightlife is important to you.

It’s a first step but it’s only the beginning. We’re at a point where the old structures of society are losing their grip, there’s a huge opportunity for young people to change both the government and its policies for the better. Take for example this guy Will Thompson, he used to work for our management company, he was incredibly brilliant, very cool. He quit so he could go back to school and start working in politics because he wanted to change the situation he found himself in. He realised that the only way to really change things is to get involved.

The only reason these conservative councillors get in is because the only people who vote in local elections are 65 year old tea ladies, if you had everyone in Shoreditch get involved in the political process you’d be able to protect bars and clubs in the area.

It’s not hard, all we need to do is participate. That’s how we’re going to protect our night life. That’s how we’re going to save club culture.”

Source: Clash Music

Mayor of Buenos Aires Bans Electronic Music Festivals Following Time Warp Fatalities

Time Warp Argentina 2015. Photo by Margarita Fracman

Time Warp Argentina 2015. Photo by Margarita Fracman

On April 15th, reports began to arise that people had died following drug usage at Time Warp in Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to the reports, several other people had been rushed to the hospital as a result of complications caused by both drug overdose and festival conditions that included over-crowding and lack of easy access to water or other means of hydration.

Today the The Guardian reports that Buenos Aires mayor, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, has put a temporary ban on all major electronic music festivals until new city legislature is passed to combat drug usage at these events.


Five people have already been arrested following the events of that fateful weekend, where attendees reported being offered designer drugs including ecstasy pills, doses of LSD, marijuana, poppers and cocaine as well as suffering from lack of ventilation and an oversold festival that meant hour-long lines for water. Due to the incidents on the first day of the festival the second night was promptly canceled.

Time Warp issued the following statement via Facebook on the 21st of April. No further statement has been released since:

“We are dismayed and deeply saddened by the death of five young people at Time Warp Buenos Aires. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the deceased and the five visitors who are still under medical treatment. We pray for their quick recovery.

The German Time Warp companies, “Planwerk Events GmbH & Co KG“ and “cosmopop GmbH“, were not in any way involved in the local organization and planning of the festival. We are listening to your complaints. At the moment we are trying to get a clear picture.

The organizer of the event will refund the money for the second day, corresponding to the value of your ticket. Please email to obtain your refund.

We will keep you updated.”