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Mobile Music in the Making 2017 is less than a month away

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I’ve known Matthias Krebs for a couple of years now. He’s been doing some really excellent work in education and research in our world. Now he’s organising this event which I’m really happy to be involved with.

Here are the details of the event, it would be great if you could make it along …

International Symposium “Mobile Music in the Making 2017” #mmm2017

Mobile Music in the Making is the first of what could be a regular annual event for mobile music in art, education, technology, science and social & cultural institutions.
Already the event has had more than 100 registrations and is almost full.

The main idea of the event is to bring people together who are deeply involved in the innovative development of the diverse practices of mobile music making. Eventually it should become a specific meeting point to discus and reflect on projects and work that is ongoing in the field of mobile music.

The goal is to have a place for deep discussions, find new collaborations and to meet new people. The event will be a creative space for enthusiasts, sound artists, music technologists, professional musicians, scientists, educators and developers exploring inspiration and creativity for their work in the field of music and mobile apps.

Details:

The symposium takes place between 10th and 11th March 2017 at the Berlin University of the Arts and is organised by the Research Centre for Mobile Music Making & App Music (RCAM). Since 2014, the RCAM has been developing a training regarding music with apps in the cultural education within the joint project (Touch:Music) with the Federal Academy Wolfenbüttel which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

A 2-day conference on music making with mobile music apps including sessions, talks, discussions and a keynote, a BarCamp, an openLINKjam and a performance.

The #MMM2017 is for those who are seeking an interactive exchange with others with regard to new musical forms, new apps, new hardware technology and innovative, expressive methods of sound making, performance and collaboration, musical and cultural education and many more. Interested parties of all disciplines are encouraged to participate; diverse and varied backgrounds often bring valuable eclectic elements into the collaborative mix.

You can find out more by checking out the MMM2017 web site.

I hope to see you there.

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Make a big difference today, help someone who’s a big part of our community

Many of you will know Doug Woods of thesoundtestroom! Doug is an essential member of the iOS Music community and has given a huge amount of his time and energy to helping others. You’ve probably seen at least one of his, in-depth tutorials.

Sadly Doug’s health isn’t all it could be, and that’s meant that he is struggling. So a bunch of developers have decided to donate profits from one day of sales, today Monday, December 12th.

When you buy any of the apps listed at this page on the Yonac site, the profits the developers receive will be going to Doug. Profits from IAPs will also go to Doug.

Be sure to check the page frequently – they’ll be adding more developers and more apps! If you are a developer and would like to get involved, please contact jessie@yonac.com.

Please do what you can to support Doug.

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Now there’s a real alternative to SoundCloud

Over the last few weeks I’ve talked a lot about the issues I’m having with SoundCloud and I think it’s only fair to say that I’m not the only one too. Add to that the current rumours around a possible purchase by Spotify, which could generate some serious changes, if indeed it does go ahead.

I’ve also posted about a few of the possible alternatives to SoundCloud, but one that I haven’t really talked about in detail is Orfium. I’ve been watching Orfium for a while now. Looking at what they’re doing and where they seem to be going, and I’ve been very hopeful about their direction. So just the other week I decided to get in touch with them and have a serious chat about what they were about and about their proposition for a community like ours in the mobile music world.

I have to start by saying that I was more than pleasantly surprised. In fact I’d go as far as saying I was really impressed with not only what they’re doing, but also with what they’ve got planned too. On top of that, Orfium was actually very easy to talk to (not so with all services in this space), and also very open to ideas.

So now seems like a good time to talk in more detail about what Orfium has to offer for the mobile music community and why I think that it looks like one of the best options for mobile music people to switch to. Let’s start with why Orfium is worth taking a look at in the first instance. The simplest start point here is to check out this comparison:

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Now of course you can argue that Orfium is a lot smaller than SoundCloud is right now and that without a significant user base there isn’t going to be the same level of community and possible interaction. True, I won’t argue with you there, but without people moving over to Orfium, or at the very least giving it a try that’s always going to be the case. Which is why I’ve now set up on Orfium, and as soon as they’ve got their groups functionality I’ll get a group set up for mobile music. Yes, that’s right, they’re implementing groups! One of the most recent issues that we’ve all had with SoundCloud, the removal of groups, is not going to be a problem with Orfium!

Now that’s got to be a good reason to take a look. But there’s more, lots more. Let’s take this one feature at a time and make a detailed comparison.

But before we move on let’s dwell for a moment on that issue of user base. Whilst it’s true that Orfium is just starting out and that we, as a community, should get behind them (in my view). It’s also fair to say that from a monetisation perspective their user base is not an issue. If, for example, you take YouTube monetisation then this is not restricted by Orfium’s size at all. It’s worth remembering that.

Let’s move on and take a look at some of the areas where Orfium really excels:

80% artist pay out
This is about as high as it gets and I don’t think that you can argue with it really, especially when you look at what others have to offer.

Remix monetisation
This is an unusual feature, but quite welcome I think, and one that will make sense and be useful to a lot of readers.

Distribution terms
It’s up to you the artist, you choose, free or priced all within the same platform without having to add links to out where you can buy the track. I like this a lot, and for me personally it works just the way I want.

Rights management
Now this is probably one of the most interesting parts of the platform. Orfium is actually is a digital rights platform built to facilitate a social network for musicians. This makes Orfium a real choice for someone looking not only to get their work heard, but also to get paid for it fairly. That’s a very powerful feature in my book. Add to that non-exclusive publishing, micro-licensing, sync-licensing and creative commons licensing service options. It all adds up to a very powerful service for hosting your music. Add to that the current issues in the world of licensing and it really is a better way forward.

So what else? There’s more …
For now Orfium has no iOS or Android apps. When I say for now I mean for now. Orfium has these in their plan and their working toward getting these out there and into the hands of users.

But it doesn’t stop there at all. There’s plenty more coming too. But that’s for another day, as I can’t tell you everything that Orfium are doing or have planned. But let me sum up by saying that I think that what they’re doing and where they’re going is right for musicians, iOS, mobile or otherwise and I think that it adds up to a real alternative that we should all take a look at and think very seriously about moving to.

To finish off it’s worth mentioning that Orfium offers unlimited free hosting, and they have special accounts for record labels and distributors (add to that they’re working on special accounts for publishers and curators). Orfium only take a percentage of revenue when the music actually generates revenue, meaning there are no upfront costs (as well as no long-term contracts).

In my view Orfium is a real alternative to SoundCloud and they’re moving forward with new features that truly serve the artist community. Go try it and tell me what you think.

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This is just so sad …

It’s taken me a little while to post this up. I’ve been thinking a lot about it though. About what it means for the mobile music / iOS music making community. I can understand the reasons for it. I get it. It’s still a shame that the site is going dark. A real shame.

Of course it isn’t the first time that we’ve lost a big part of the community. It’s happened before when iDesignSound went. That was a shame too. And of course it doesn’t mean that we’ve lost the contributors. Jakob and Doug are continuing as is the rather awesome Pants of Death.

So I say goodbye to the SoundTestRoom site. Thanks for your massive contribution to our world, and I hope (and I’m sure others do to) that one day you’ll be back.

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Alternatives to SoundCloud

So it’s been a while since the news that SoundCloud was in trouble, or, to be more precise, it’s been a while since the latest piece of news. As a result, lots of people have been thinking about what they might have to do in the event that SoundCloud did disappear. So I thought it might worthwhile to give you a list of the alternatives, some of which you’ll know, some you might not.

  1. Bandcamp: This is probably the best alternative of all, but it does lack things like groups and playlists etc, but even so, it’s a good solid alternative. However, not good for DJ’s as it is only for original content.
  2. Mixcrate and Mixcloud: Great for DJ’s for mixes and playlists.
  3. Audioboo: Probably a little off the wall, maybe one you wouldn’t expect, but it’s an interesting one. Possibly more suited to spoken word and podcasts, but that may work for some people.
  4. YouTube: The biggest streaming audio channel in the world, but again, not for everyone.
  5. Yungcloud: One that I’ve only recently become aware of, but seems to be a SoundCloud pretender.
  6. Hearthis.at: The minute you visit this site you’ll be impressed by just how much it looks like SoundCloud! It appears to be in beta now, but looks very useful.
  7. Tumblr: Maybe not quite where you’d think of as a place to put your music, but Tumblr does promote music and listening, so it’s worth a thought.
  8. MySpace: You probably think I’m joking now, but MySpace used to be the place to have your music. Maybe it will be again one day?

If we’re honest, there’s nothing that completely comes close to SoundCloud. The one massive problem that iOS users will have is that so many iOS apps integrate the SoundCloud API, and none of the other services have that kind of integration available as yet. Also, it’ll take time for apps to move over, and if developers do move to a new sharing platform, will it be the same one?

In my view either SoundCloud will find a way to get itself out of its current problems, or it’ll get bought. Getting bought might not be good for anyone, and might actually be worse than it going under completely.

Only time will tell what actually will happen with SoundCloud. Personally I hope that they do stay in business.

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Of comings and goings

Before Christmas a couple of things occurred that made me realise that the mobile music community isn’t just as static as perhaps we thought it was.

First of, Alex, who had run iDesignSound and had decided that enough was enough some time ago. He’s back now with a new site called appsfor.audio. Nice name for a site. It’s good to have him back too.

The other return is from Smite Matter, who has been away for a year now. He’s back. Same site though.

It just goes to show that people just can’t stay away from mobile music. We keep coming back to it. I should know! It’s good to have these guys back, and it’s good to have the community stronger again now. Community is very important, it gives us the possibility to share and learn from each other, so when people return, people who have played an important part, it’s good to recognise and celebrate this.