Approximately 73,985,000 Records Pressed Worldwide in 2014 So How Can 9.2 Million Sold Be Correct? (Updated 5/4/15)

 

After speaking to some industry insiders, as well as reading some comments here, it’s clear that these numbers are probably somewhat inflated. As a reader pointed out, these numbers probably include pressed, but not distributed defective records caught before they could be slipped into jackets and shipped. Also, given the number of multi-LP box sets reissued last year, when a pressing plant says it pressed “X” number of records, that includes things like Optimal’s pressing of The Beatles Mono Box Set, for instance, and double 45rpm reissues so, clearly the 73 million figure overstates the case. Nonetheless, even if you halve the number, more than 35 million records pressed is an impressive number! Another insider says Nielsen/Soundscan’s number is for America only. Still, I think it’s safe to say they are underreporting actual totals—ed.The graphic above is incorrect but based upon projections for 2014. Nielsen/Soundscan reported recently that 9.2 million vinyl records were sold in 2014—a whopping 54% increase over 2013.

How can that number be close to correct when my research says that in 2014 approximately 73,985,000 (yes SEVENTY THREE MILLION NINE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE THOUSAND) records were pressed?

How did I arrive at my numbers? For most of the world’s largest pressing plants I got confidential numbers directly from the pressing plants.

Three pressing plants alone pressed in 2014 approximately THIRTY FIVE MILLION RECORDS. And that doesn’t include United Record Pressing, Nashville, which refuses to respond to emails. While some companies responded that they’d rather not reveal numbers, United doesn’t respond at all.

Why? Because they are babies who can’t take criticism when they press bad records, and ignore the positive press given on this site when they press good ones. I added 9,360,000 records pressed by United based upon a 2014 Billboard story stating that URP presses 30,000-40,000 records a day, six days a week. I multiplied by 30K not 40K.

Some of the numbers I was given mix 7″ singles with LPs so based upon the mix of presses that I was able to research, I adjusted the numbers downward. Where I was able to only get approximate numbers (based upon an industry spread sheet that I was able to obtain that consistently underreported numbers where I was able to get actual numbers), I purposely decreased the numbers, preferring to understate rather than overstate the totals.

As I reported recently, Stoughton Press shipped Jack White’s Third Man Records 170,000 Lazaretto jackets, yet Soundscan/Nielsen insists only approximately 86,000 copies were sold in 2014. Does that mean Jack White is a “jacket hoarder”? I doubt it. Nor does the huge disparity in pressed and sold records mean that labels are “vinyl hoarders”.

Quite the opposite in fact! Labels aim to keep inventory low so order only what they think they can sell in a reasonable period of time. We know that every record pressed isn’t immediately or even within a year sold at retail.

Nonetheless, the gigantic disparity between the approximately 73,000,000 records pressed and the 9.2 million reported to have been sold by Nielsen/Soundscan needs to be examined, especially when three pressing plants alone claim to have pressed more records in 2014 than Nielsen/Soundscan reported were sold in 2014.

Even if you slice off a percentage for 7″ singles, the disparity is huge between pressed and reported sales. And one can argue 7″ singles should be counted because they are vinyl and played on turntables and in some ways the singles resurgence is even more unlikely than the album resurgence. After all, iTunes is made for convenience and singles purchases and 7″ singles are a genuine pain in the butt to play.

So even cutting the total in half means that approximately 37,000,000 records were pressed or more than four times the number S/N reported were sold last year.

Interestingly, the predicted totals this year from some of the pressing plants who supplied totals for 2013 were well in excess of those numbers and guess what? The numbers predicted for 2015 by the larger plants are greater yet!

By Michael Fremer • Posted: Apr 30, 2015

6 Things Brides Really Look For In A Wedding DJ

Wedding DJ

What does it take to get bookings as a wedding DJ? What is it that brides (who we all know call the shots at weddings!) are really looking for when considering someone to book? How can you make sure you do the best job, and so impress brides-to-be who happen to be in attendance, who’ll then remember you when it’s their turn to get married? Here are the qualities you should work on as a DJ that’ll help you get the bookings…

The six qualities…

1. Wedding gig experience

Wedding gig experience

Experience is a top priority, with most opting for someone who has extensive experience within the wedding industry. A wedding is unlike any other party, and the DJ plays an important role in setting the tone for the evening. If you’re a DJ without much wedding experience, start building your portfolio as soon as possible – even if it means making slightly less money in the interim. The wider your portfolio, the more likely you’ll be able to secure the next wedding gig you pitch your services for.

2. Preparedness

Organised

Brides look for an organized DJ with solid planning skills who come prepared. How will you get ready for their party? Do you have any music-related questionnaires for them to fill in? What do you need to know about the venue and equipment set-up in case the bride and groom ask? The more information you can provide them when you first meet to discuss their big event, the more likely it is that they’ll pick you.

3. A positive personality

Friendly personality

At any wedding, the DJ will spend lots of time interacting with the crowd, taking requests, and entertaining guests – and that means everyone from children to the elderly. Your personality is important to the bride, and she’ll be looking for someone friendly, fun, and confident behind the decks to ensure her guests get the most from the evening’s entertainment. You’ll also want to look your best, so come in attire appropriate for the evening and always have a smile on your face. No frowning the entire night!

4. A truly diverse music collection

Diverse collection

The bride and groom are likely to have different musical preferences, as would their guests. It’s extremely important for the DJ to have a diverse music collection spanning decades as well as genres. The bride and groom will also have specific songs they’d like to be played in addition to their first dance, and it’s your job to find out what these are before the day itself so you can prepare.

6. Listening skills

Bridal DJ

Above all else, a bride needs a DJ that will listen to them. Couples tend to have a very firm idea about what they’d like their big day (and night) to be like, and they need to work with people who will listen and understand their vision to help them create the wedding they really want.

Finally…

These wedding DJ qualities are just the tip of the iceberg because every potential wedding gig will always be unique, but they’re a great place to start if you want to build your reputation as a professional. If you’re serious about doing it, you might also consider the Digital DJ Tips Complete 21st Wedding DJ guide, that has helped hundreds of wedding DJs get started.

In short though, just remember you’re providing an entertainment service, and the bride and groom are your bosses for the evening, so learn how to truly listen to what they need of you, and then over-deliver and exceed their expectations.

• This is a guest post by Barney from Party Events Unlimited, a DJ and wedding entertainment service based in London, UK that has provided DJ services across Europe.

April 28, 2015 by 9 Comments

5 Ways To Get A Great Electric Guitar Sound On A Limited Budget

There’s is nothing better than recording a top guitarist using great gear, but some of us need to add some electric guitar to tracks now and again. We don’t have the money or can’t justify spending a fortune on a top guitar and amp, but is it possible to get a great guitar sound on a budget?

Here are our top 5 tricks that should help you get a great guitar sound on a limited budget;

Use An Amp

Try and record using a guitar amp whenever possible. Even if you have to borrow or hire a guitar amp, there’s nothing like the real thing. Amp sims have come a long way, but the combination of a real amp, the mic and the room will still give you a sense of space and dynamics that can’t be beaten.

Work The Mic

Try a number of different microphones. If you have little budget then you can’t beat the Shure SM57, then try moving it around in front of the amp until you get the sound you want. If you have the chance to try a few mics then set them up in front of the amp and then have someone move them around whilst you check the sound – if you have no control room then use a pair of headphones for this task. You will be amazed how different a guitar can sound as you move the mic around in front of the cab.

Keep Your Options Open

Track a mic’d version and a DI version at the same time, this gives you a lot of options in the mix. If nothing else adding an effect or another plug-in and mixing them together can give some great results. This is often done when tracking bass guitar but less so when tracking electric guitar.

Plug in To A Plug-in

There are some great amp sims out there in plug-in form. Sansamp ships with Pro Tools but  is often overlooked. There’s also a lot of FREE guitar amp plug-ins like Amplitube, Eleven Free and others. Do some searching and you’ll some cool free stuff for both Mac and PC. As a last resort download a demo copy for a session and use it – it’s not illegal, just smart if you only need it for a day!

Track More Than One Guitar

Whilst I’m not a fan of tracks with hundreds of guitar parts there is something to be said for playing several different parts, it’s partly down to the genre of music you are recording. If you only have one guitar part recorded then a nice trick is to make a copy of the guitar track and then slip it slightly on the time-line, then add a different sound to it using an amp sim. Finally pan them left and right. You’ll be amazed at how big one guitar can sound using this effect.

These are just 5 tricks for those just starting out or on a budget.

How about your tricks, we know some of the community have some real gems, please leave them in the comments section.

Here are a few more tips to get a better sound.

Double track with a capo
Double track the same inversion but with guitar in different tuning.
Double track with a different guitar.
Double track with a different player ( differences are good!)
Double track just the bottom string (or strings depending on the chords) gives you a more positive sound
A good pop punk sound is gtr 1 @ 8 o’clock, double track gtr (different guitar capo’d or different tuned) right @ 4 o’clock, single bass string centre
Split between 2 amps with one 57 on each and a stereo xy for the room
Speakers need to be driven but not so loud that the room is adding too much to the mic
Don’t ignore using practise amps, they can sound huge with the right treatment
learn the part and record at half speed ( be careful of the top end)
Double with an acoustic for that Keef sound
Commit fx to record as often as possible except reverb which if you have it as vital to your sound then you should record to extra tracks
Use only really good quality guitar leads. If it costs less than a tenner you need to really check your thinking
Stand up while playing. Makes a huge difference to the attitude
Even if you are recording in the control room wear headphones. This will enable the engineer not to have the monitors too loud and make accurate judgements about your sound
Mic the guitar even if its electric . (plectrum on strings can sound great mixed back)
USE A TUNER…..Preferably the same one as the other guitarist and the bass player.
New strings are great but for the night before.
Use loop record

I’m sure there are tons more of these type of tips

10 Ways To Make Money With Your Music That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

10waystomakemoney

1) Crowdfunding

Kickstarter has lead the way with nearly $120 million going to successful music projects. IndieGoGo is a close second and, unlike Kickstarter, allows creators to keep the money even if a project is unsuccessful (if the creator chose “flexible funding”). The most successful music crowd funding project is of course Amanda Palmer’s project which raised $1.2 million for her album. But there have been over 18,000 successful Kickstarter music projects (mostly funding albums) ranging from $1,000 to $1.2 million. Crowdfunding has been a great way for indie artists to bankroll their albums and tours without a label or investor.

And the newest of the crowdfunding bunch is Patreon. I call it Crowdfunding 2.0. Creators on Patreon ask their fans for continued financial support (patronage). Most patrons pledge $1-5 per piece of content released (music video, song, blog post, podcast, whatever) But some have pledged upwards of $1,000 PER PIECE OF CONTENT, because they can afford it and they really love the artist. Patreon launched in 2013 and is now paying out over $1 million per month to creators. This model embraces the new philosophy of asking your fans for support, not forcing them to buy. Because album sales are in a free fall, this is the next best solution for independent musicians with a highly engaged audience.

2) PledgeMusic

Some people lump PledgeMusic in with Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. I don’t. PledgeMusic is different. It has changed the way the modern album campaign works. The pre-order on PledgeMusic is much more than just an advanced purchase of the album. Running a PledgeMusic campaign invites the fans into the entire album making process from start to finish. Some bands literally live stream from the studio to their backers. Many large bands who don’t need the money still run PledgeMusic campaigns (without the crowdfunding element) because it increases fan engagement and opening week sales. Artists like 311, Ben Folds Five, Imogen Heap, Howie Day, Korn (with the backwards R) and Lucinda Williams have all run campaigns. Many actually charted on Billboard in the opening week (all pre-order PledgeMusic sales are reported to Soundscan for chart placement).

3) Self Managed Digital Download Stores

BandCamp has been the most successful artist-managed music store (no labels allowed) and currently pays out over $3 million a month to independent artists. Their “name your price” model has personally allowed one of my fans to pay me $200 for my new album and another fan paid $20 for a single. BandCamp is moving to a Patreon-esque subscription service in 2015. CD Baby, Loudr and Tuneport also offer self-managed download stores that have become increasingly popular amongst the indie music community.

4) BandPage Experiences

BandPage started as a Facebook app to allow bands to post music to their Pages. It has evolved into a musician-fan experience haven. Artists offer “experiences” like meet and greets, soundcheck access, pre-show ping pong challenges, pre-show guitar lessons, green room hangs and anything else you can think of. These experiences have brought in additional income for bands on tour above the standard ticket/merch income.

5) YouTube Ad Revenue and Sponsorships

Companies like Audiam, INDMusic, Fullscreen, Maker Studios, ONErpm, AdRev, Believe and Rumblefish collect YouTube ad revenue for artists and labels. Multi Channel Networks like Fullscreen and Maker also act as agents for their creators and negotiate high paying sponsorships for their videos and YouTube channels.

6) Online concerts

StageIt and Concert Window are leading the way in the online concert world. Most shows are “pay what you want” and encourage tipping. I’ve played a few StageIt shows and have averaged about $5 a head for a “pay what you want” concert (from tipping and tickets). Not bad for playing songs from my living room.

7) Gig Masters

This is like an online event planning company. I’ve never tried it out, but I have a few friends who get booked for weddings and corporate parties all the time through the site. Customers leave reviews of the artists and the artists’ ranking rises the more positive reviews they receive. Gig Masters costs $200-400 for the annual membership, but one booking will typically pay for that.

8) SoundBetter & AirGigs

Mixing and mastering engineers, producers, instrumentalists, singers, and full demo production studios get hired through these sites by artists for their recordings. Live in a remote village in Tanzania and want your epic 127 track production mixed by a Grammy winning mixing engineer? Done! Well, if you can pay their rate of course. This has been a great way for freelance artists with home studios to get extra work – especially if they aren’t plugged into an active music town.

SoundBetter just implemented a search by location feature so if you want to find recording studios or live sound engineers in your town, you can find them here as well.

9) YouTube tips

This is a new feature just rolled out this year by YouTube (to compete with Patreon). It’s not available to all YouTube users yet (you have to apply), but it’s a great way for fans to pay artists directly through YouTube – without having to leave the site.

10) Licensing Companies

Traditionally, licensing departments were a division within publishing companies. But with more and more demand for independent music on TV shows, commercials, movies and trailers, licensing companies have been popping up every day to connect indie artists with music supervisors. Some of the biggest have been doing it for 5-10 years now and have built up pretty solid relationships. Music supervisors love discovering new music to place in their projects, however, with so much music out there they typically only accept music from sources they trust: labels, publishers, artists who they have build relationships with, and now licensing companies. In addition to these more traditional licensing companies that pitch music directly to music supervisors with big budgets, many companies like, Triple Scoop Music, The Music Bed and Audiosocket, clear music with the artists in advance and put the songs up on their site for a set fee to be used, non-exclusively, by photographers and indie film makers. Passive income baby!

+How To Get Songs Placed On TV and In Movies

For all the doom and gloom discussions within the music industry right now, hopefully these 10 avenues shed some light onto how you can diversify your income stream and make a solid living as a musician.

Photo is by Earl McGehee from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License

Article by

Ari Herstand
 
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take.

 

Beer And ‘Exposure’ Now Legal Tender For Bands And Musicians

A recent change in the law will allow musicians to exchange free beer, buffet food and ‘exposure’ for petrol, rent and guitar strings. Under the new legislation, it will be possible to pay for studio time or even a mortgage, by mentioning the ‘really big gig’ you performed at last week for no money, especially if there were celebs at it.

musicians exposure

A bass player from Manchester said:

“This is really good news for bands and musicians. I’m looking forward to buying a new bass with the sausage rolls and four pints of Strongbow I was promised for doing a wedding last week. At last, the government are doing something to support working musicians,”

Under the old law, it was impossible to pay for any kind of goods or service with the bullshit idea that you are ‘getting your name out there’ by entertaining a bored crowd that have never heard of you, trying their hardest to get legless and cop off with each other at a badly organised event. But this new legislation paves the way for people that don’t want to pay for bands to hire bands, and for musicians to pay their mortgages with plastic glasses of warm ale and vague promises of future paid work.

“I was offered an unpaid spot at a posh wedding, on the promise that there were influential people among the guests that might help my career. I’m looking forward to name-dropping some B-list celebs and people off the telly at my building society, and getting a third off my mortgage this month,”

Said a professional flute player from Southampton.

“I’ve been a professional musician for fifteen years, and I normally feel like telling people to fuck off when they ask me to do stuff like that. But now I can finally afford to live on the total twaddle of some tight fisted bugger that wants me to do them a favour and doesn’t want to pay me,”

Photo from Wikipedia

April 30, 2015 by

Not sure if this is true, or Just in the USA, but you gotta love the premise !

Admin, Larger Than Life Entertainment

Pleasure Chemistry: How Our Brains Process Music

 

iStock_000000814934Small

Why does music bring us pleasure? Well, the simple answer is that it changes our brain chemistry… literally. Music triggers the parts of our brain associated with reward, motivation, and emotion, which causes the feelings of pleasure that we get when we put our headphones on.

So even though we can’t necessarily pinpoint exactly what it is about music that excites us, we know it happens. We are lucky enough to have the opportunities to see our favorite groups and listen to them at home, at work, or on-the-go. For the longest time, music has been an important part of everyday life, and defines decades and generations.

And yet, all along, our brains are behind it all.

Robert J. Zatorre, Professor of Neuroscience at McGill University, and Valorie N. Salimpoor, a Postdoctoral Neuroscientist at Rotman Research Institute, have been researching the relationship between our brains and music. If you’ve ever felt a rush hearing the climax of a song or the sudden shift in cadence in another, you aren’t alone. The neurotransmitter dopamine is released, which usually occurs in response to positive stimuli like food or sex. According to neuroscientists, however, dopamine is released right before that favorite part too. In a study of brain function and music, scientists found that the more neural activity and dopamine released, the more money the listener was willing to spend to purchase said music.

But the relationship between our brains and music doesn’t stop there. The auditory cortex actually allows us to recall music and experience it again, even if it’s not playing. For musicians, the auditory cortex just might be the most important part. The ability to create music and re-arrange music in our heads starts there as well. We can even pick out wrong notes and incorrect changes in sound.

All of this brain function leads to music being an important part of our lives. Whether you’re listening to your favorite record at home or watching a live show, music undoubtedly changes the way we feel. So next time you hear a song and feel a sudden pulse, remember that your brain is feeling it too.

And it will make you want to listen more.

by Drew Evans  Source: NY Times 

 

100+ Awesome Free Online Resources For Music Producers

100+ Awesome Free Resources for Music Producers!

Over the years, I’ve bookmarked hundreds of free online resources which can be incredibly useful if you’re away from your main music workstation. Things like online BPM counters, tuners, virtual instruments and web based music sequencers can be life savers when you’re making music or recording audio outside of your studio.

All of these free goodies are compiled here, in a huge list which is meant to be updated and improved with your help. I’ve also added some of my favorite tutorials, music theory guides and various other tools which can be helpful for music producers and artists. Feel free to submit your own favorite freebies in the comments section below!

If you prefer making music with free software which you can install on your computer, take a look at our huge lists of freeware VST/AU plugins and free VST host applications. We also cover free samples and loops in our daily updated news section. Enjoy!

Music Tools

Online Instruments

Free web based musical instruments.

Patatap | A free jamming and beat making tool.

Theremin | A free touch friendly synthesizer which works great as a dub siren.

WAVE-PD1 | Another touch friendly virtual instrument.

Tibersynth | Make totally weird noises and swooshes with your mouse.

Websynths | Powerful VA synthesizer with a built-in preset manager.

WebModular | Play a modular synthesizer in your web browser.

TrueGrid | A complex modular synthesizer with patch saving and audio export.

Tanguy | Virtual analogue synthesizer capable of processing external audio.

Patchwork | An awesome experimental modular synthesizer. Build your synth from scratch.

Acid Machine Beta | A pair of TB-303 bass modules and one TR-909 drum machine.

AngryOctopus | A collection of web-based virtual instruments (requires Java).

PatternSketch | Cool grid based sequencer with several kits and export functionality.

Tonematrix | A simple tone matrix from the makers of Audiotool.

Otomata | Another matrix sequencer for jamming and inspiration.

PulseBoy | Free Game Boy style tracker.

Seaquence | A totally weird generative music sequencer.

SiON FM Synthesizer WF-1 | Neat FM synthesizer with a mouse controlled filter.

WebSID | Browser based Commodore 64 style synthesizer.

MiniGoog | A Minimoog Google Doodle in celebration of Robert Moog’s 78th birthday.

Sample-stitch | Re-create iconic hip hop tunes with your computer keyboard.

Musical Keyboard | A really simple online piano keyboard.

Click here for our huge directory of freeware VST/AU plugins.

 

Online Drum Machines

WebAudio Drum Machine | Online drum sequencer with several kits and effects.

HTML5 Drum Machine | Create classic drum machine loops and export the results to WAV.

FL 909 | Free Roland TR-909 emulation.

808 | A simple Roland TR-808 kit for online jamming.

Sequence | Free drum pattern generator with over 100 free drum samples.

Monkey Machine | A simple free drum machine from the creator of MauSynth.

Qwerty Beats | Online drum machine with a freaky mouse controlled synth.

JS-909 | Web based drum machine (requires QuickTime).

Drum Kit | You, your computer keyboard and 26 weird samples.

Sound Generators

Bfxr | Creates 8-bit sound effects which you can download in WAV format.

Text to Speech | Convert any text to speech and download the result as an MP3 file.

Online Tone Generator | A handy test tone generator.

Sweep Sine Tone | Sweep tone generator for testing your monitors and room acoustics.

Noisli | A wonderful background noise generator to help you relax and focus.

Defonic | Another free noise generator to help you relax.

Online DAWs

Audiotool | A modular online music studio with a set of virtual synthesizers and effects.

AudioSauna | Free online workstation for making music on the go.

Soundation Studio | Online sequencer with audio and MIDI processing.

TwistedWave Online | A free online audio editor for editing mono audio files.

Free DAWs

Studio One Free | Free edition of Studio One, no VST support.

Podium Free | VST plugin support, limited to a single CPU core.

>> Click here for our round-up of freeware VST host applications.

>> Click here for our in-depth list of downloadable free audio editing software.

Online Collaboration

Splice | Online platform for music creation and sharing.

Indaba Music | Free online music collaboration platform.

Ohm Studio | The first free online collaboration platform for musicians.

Blend | Collaborate online and create remixes (powered by Dropbox).

Kompoz | Collaborate with musicians from around the world.

Livegit | A free online collaborative DAW.

JAM with Chrome | Jam with your friends in Google Chrome.

Plink | A fun way to pass time and make music with total strangers. 🙂

Ear Training

EQ Your Ears | Identify specific frequencies with this online tool.

EQ Match | Simple graphic EQ trainer.

Note Ear Training | Identify notes by ear.

Pitchimprover | Absolute pitch training.

The Music Intervals Tutor | Recognize music intervals by ear.

EarTeach | Various ear training utilities.

Blind Listening Tests | Various tools to test your ears.

Other Tools

Interactive circle of fifths!

Autochord | Chord progression generator based on key and playing style.

Interactive Circle of Fifths | An easy to use online circle of fifths.

Interactive Frequency Chart | Interactive frequency chart with an ear sensitivity graph.

Metronome Online | Free online metronome and tone generator.

Tap for BPM | A free tap tempo tool to calculate BPM.

Music Calculator | Convert BPM values, calculate transpose ratios, etc.

Tunerr | Free tuner tool which uses the microphone input on your computer.

Online Guitar Tuner | A simple online guitar tuner from Fender.

Pedalboard.js | Process the line-in of your sound card with four guitar FX pedals.

Guitar Tab Creator | An online guitar tab making tool.

Noteflight | A powerful music notation platform which runs in the browser.

Blank Sheet Music | Create and print blank sheet music for free.

Free Sounds

Free Samples

99Sounds | Free sound design label offering free sound effects and instrument samples.

Freesound Project | Download thousands of royalty free sounds.

Loopmasters | Offering a royalty free pack with 500 MB worth of sounds to subscribers.

Prime Loops | Get 500 MB worth of free audio loops and samples on their freebies page.

A Sound Effect | Over 2 GB of free sound effects and field recordings in a single download.

NHF Sample Pack 002 | Over 3 GB of royalty free sounds crafted by Neurohop Forum members.

Converse Sample Library | A huge collection of stems and one shot samples, completely royalty-free.

Goldbaby | Legendary collection of free drum machine samples.

AfroDJMac | Over 100 free instrument racks for Ableton Live.

Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra | Free orchestral sample library.

NASA Audio Collection | Tons of sounds from NASA space missions. Also available on SoundCloud.

Acoustic Drum Samples | Our huge archive of free acoustic drum sample packs.

Free Patches

Rekkerd | A huge archive of free patches for virtual instruments.

KVR Audio | Database of patches and sound banks submitted by KVR Audio members.

AudioBombs | A fresh archive of free synth patches and sound banks.

BigTick Zen | Manage and launch all your synth patches from a single plugin.

>> Click here for our list of freeware virtual synthesizers in VSTi plugin format.

Tutorials

Music Production

Introduction To Music Production | Free music production course by Berklee College of Music.

How To Make Electronic Music | An epic intro to electronic music production.

EQ Masterclass | In-depth series of EQ tutorial videos by ADSR.

Thinking inside the Box | Great beginner’s guide to EQ.

Compression 101 | Great beginner’s guide to compression.

Compress to impress | Compression tutorial for the electronic musician.

Kim Lajoie Blog Dump | PDF archive of Kim Lajoie’s music production tips.

3 Mixing Secrets From The Legendary Andy Wallace | A reminder to keep it simple.

Synthesis

How to Make a Noise | A legendary free eBook guide to synthesizer programming.

Synthesis Fundamentals | Free tutorials for absolute beginners by the Bob Moog Foundation.

Synth Student | Beginner’s guide to subtractive synthesis.

Synthesis types | Understand different types of sound synthesis.

How To Bass | A series of tutorials for creating heavy bass sounds (by SeamlessR).

Syntorial | Software for learning synthesis. First 22 lessons are free.

Music Theory

Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People | A lighthearted intro to music theory.

Ravenspiral Guide to Music Theory | One of the finest free music theory books (here’s the PDF).

Music Theory: The TL;DR Version | Music theory guide for EDM producers with short attention spans.

Music Theory for Songwriters | A comprehensive guide to music theory for songwriters.

Open Yale Courses | A useful collection of free music video courses by Yale University.

10 Chord Progression Tips | Interesting chord progression tips from a jazz musician.

Music Theory Cheat Sheet | A handy TXT file cheat sheet for music theory.

More Goodies

Making Music | Free chapters from Ableton’s epic book for musicians and music producers.

A Club Track’s Frequency Map | A cool print friendly frequency chart by FutureMusic.

EQ tips Cheat Sheet | EQ cheat sheet available for download in PDF format.

RealTraps | A guide to testing room acoustics with free software.

D/A and A/D Digital Show and Tell | Explains various digital audio myths.

Artist Toolbox

Streaming Platforms

SoundCloud | The most popular online platform for uploading and sharing your music.

Bandcamp | Build your artist profile and share your music with your fans.

sfx.io | The Imgur of audio, a quick way to upload and share your music.

Online Marketplaces

AudioJungle | The largest online marketplace to sell your music.

iStock | Sell royalty free stock music and recordings.

Pond5 | Another online marketplace for selling royalty free music.

Synthmob | A marketplace for synth presets, audio loops and samples.

Sampleism | Sell your samples and other sound design work.

Backup & Productivity

Wavestack | Backup your recording sessions and share them with collaborators.

Dropbox | A great free solution for backing up your files online.

Hive | Upload and share your music and other materials.

Evernote | Take notes of all your projects and ideas in one place.

Trello | A great tool for managing your projects and collaborations.

Google Keep | Use this online note saving tool to keep track of your ideas and tasks.

Toggl | Time tracking utility to help you stay focused and measure your productivity.

Pocket | Easily save online resources (such as this article) for offline reading.

Graphic Tools

Artwork Creator | Create your album artwork for free.

CD Cover | Make a simple CD cover with your printer and a bit of paper.

Hipster Logo Generator | A free logo generator. Also works for simple album art and covers.

Squarespace Logo | Another simple logo generator.

Facebook Cover Collection Freebie | Nice looking PSD templates for Facebook cover images.

Pixlr | Great free online image editor similar to Photoshop.

Canva | Incredibly cool free graphics editor to make covers and promo images.

Video Tools

Sonic Candle | Completely free tool to generate an HD music video with a spectrum display.

Audio Visualizer Creator 2.0v | Free music visualizer generator (requires Adobe After Effects).

Blender | Free alternative for After Effects. Loads of tutorials available on YouTube.

Website Tools

WordPress.com | A powerful free blogging and blog hosting platform.

Strikingly | Build a beautiful looking free portfolio or artist website in minutes.

FourFour | Free website platform made specifically for musicians.

Flavors.me | Make a free artist website with links to your social media profiles.

MailChimp | Build a free mailing list for up to 2000 subscribers.

SharedCount | Monitor the social media stats of your releases or artist profiles.

 

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Read more: 100+ Awesome Free Online Resources For Music Producers

10 Reasons Why Playing Guitar Is Good For Your Mind & Body

playinggtrHave you ever wondered why guitarists seem so laid back and loose on stage? Some shredders even appear to be immortal, like the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards. Maybe they just have access to really good doctors, but here’s another potential explanation: The axe might be as powerful as anything inside the medicine cabinet. Strapping on a Fender could boost your brainpower, sex life, six-pack, and more:

1. Feel Serious Pleasure
Simply plugging in your guitar, playing it, and listening to the music you’re creating can make you feel good—orgasmically so. According to a neuroscientific study from McGill University, hearing music triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, the same chemical that’s released during sex.

2. Wave Away Stress
Whether it’s your boss or bills that give you anguish, grabbing your guitar can help zap stress. A dual study from the Mind-Body Wellness Center and Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems found that stress can be reduced on a genomic level by playing an instrument. Rocking out actually reverses your body’s response system to pressure.

3. Send Pain Packing
Forget popping pills: If you live with chronic pain, reach for a pick. According to a study from the University of Utah’s Pain Research Center, listening to music—and in this case, your own sweet licks—can take your mind off, and thereby reduce, pain.

4. Sharpen Your Mind

Did Einstein secretly shred? A new Scottish study says if you play the guitar—or any musical instrument, for that matter—you’re more likely to have sharper brain function, which can help guard against mental decline in the future. Open a songbook and study up.
5. Toughen Your Ticker
Rockers have killer chops—and cardiovascular systems: Researchers from the Netherlands found that patients who practiced music for more than 100 minutes a day showed a significant drop in blood pressure and a lower heart rate than those who didn’t. Three of the test subjects? Guitarists.

6. Seduce Total Strangers
Can’t wail yet? Don’t worry. Just carrying a guitar case can seriously boost the odds of women wanting you—even if they’re total strangers, finds recent research in Psychology of Music. How come? Studies show women associate musical ability with intelligence, commitment, hard work, and physical prowess—and ladies associate all those qualities with your ability to earn money, the researchers say.

7. Woo More Women
More proof you don’t need actual skills to score chicks: Israeli researchers recently sent friendship requests from a good-looking guy to 100 attractive, single women. In half the requests, the guy was holding a guitar. In the other half, he wasn’t. Only 5 of 50 women accepted a friendship request from the guitar-less guy, while the man with the axe scored 14 attractive new “friends,” according to the study. The reason: Musical ability is linked to manliness.

8. Strike It Rich
You might not make it in the music biz, but your guitar could still help you earn the big bucks: Researchers from Michigan State University found that musicians who picked up an instrument at an early age and continued nurturing their craft throughout adulthood had a better chance of launching successful invention—logging patents, building businesses, and publishing pieces.

9. Build More Brainpower

Stuck at work without your six-string? You’re still giving your brain a workout: According to a Cambridge University study, musicians continue being creative even when they’re not playing their instruments. Researchers found that performers visualize music in terms of its shape, and then process that as a form of practice. Most don’t see it as such, but it’s a highly creative way of learning.

10. Record Yourself, Reward Yourself

Oftentimes, guitarists will record their sessions or demo songs; that way, they can go back and practice them. But bring your recordings to the gym and you might see a physical benefit: Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences found that music doesn’t just make for solid background noise while working out—it actually made exercising less exhausting for study participants.
Original story by Will Levith at menshealth.com  

 

Why do older guitars sound better?

Shayne Jacopian for redOrbit.com

Whether or not you’re a guitarist, you’ve probably at least once found yourself wondering why a musician who’s freakin’ loaded would play a beat-up old guitar that’s falling apart when they could easily afford 100 new ones.

We’re looking at you, Willie Nelson.

Aside from aesthetics (some people think beat-up stuff looks cool) and familiarity—every guitar is different, and players grow attached to them almost like family members—there’s another reason: instruments sound better as the wood they’re made from ages.

Well, technically, just “different”, but just about any guitarist you ask will say it’s “better”.

What happens when wood ages?

According to luthier (instrument builder) Alan Carruth, wood consists mainly of cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose, and all wood gradually loses hemicellulose—a soluble polysaccharide—to evaporation over a long period of time.

As this happens, the wood loses some weight, but remains just as stiff, allowing it to continue to support the weight of strings. With less mass to have to vibrate, the guitar’s woods vibrate more freely, making the instrument louder and allowing previously dampened frequencies to resonate.

The crystallization of sap inside the wood over time also contributes to the wood’s stiffness.

Likewise, lignin degrades as spruce (the wood most commonly used for a guitar’s top) is exposed to sunlight. Most notably, this results in a usually white wood taking on a yellow or orange hue that tends to be considered more aesthetically pleasing. Of course, degradation of lignin means a change in the wood’s physical structure as well, meaning that it contributes to the sonic side effects of aging.

Can this be done artificially?

While guitar manufacturers have long been selling guitars with aging toners to make their instruments look like they’ve seen more years than they really have, these only affect a guitar’s aesthetics. More recently, however, manufacturers have begun to treat woods with a process called torrefaction.

Wood destined to be used in guitar building is usually kiln-dried to a moisture level of about 6-10%. Usually, that is all that’s done, but torrefied wood is subsequently “cooked” at even higher temperatures in an oxygen-controlled environment until the wood’s moisture level reaches zero percent. Then, it’s removed from the kiln and brought back up to 3-6% humidity.

All of this makes for a lighter, stiffer, more resonant piece of lumber, with a bit of a darkened, amber hue—the rapid heating of the wood and evaporation of moisture causes the sap to crystalize and hemicellulose to degrade more quickly.

Whether accomplished artificially or naturally, the aging of wood affects the sound of an instrument, and most musicians hear it as a good effect.

Just don’t expect this guitar to improve with age.

Credit: Thinkstock

14 Things DJing Changes About You Forever

Being a DJ is awesome, but boy can it change you! You suddenly find yourself behaving in certain ways, almost involuntarily, and doing things that many “normal” people think are crazy. I’m not talking about going deaf, developing a drug habit and hanging out with people half your age (these are all things you can definitely control, if you want/need to), but more about the subtle behavioral changes that kind of sneak up on you, until they’re totally ingrained in who you are! Like…

14

 

  1. You can never go to a nightclub and have fun – Oh, no. Even if you can get over the secret jealousy of wanting to be DJing, you’re hyper-critical of everything, from the DJs to the sound system to the way the door is being run… the lot. The more you DJ out, the more this one creeps up on you, until going out simply becomes research/checking out the competition. You, in short, become a not very fun person to go out with
  2. You spot instantly when a CD loops in a bar, café etc… You feel you are generally the only person who notices background music anyway, and so naturally, you’re the only one who gets upset when you hear a CD play on loop. It’s especially annoying in nice restaurants, where you can’t help yourself thinking: “Why did they pay so much attention to everything apart from the music?” Saying this out loud, though, usually gets you a kick under the table from your other half for being so miserable
  3. You can spot instantly when a speaker is distorting, even at 50 yards! – Picture this: You’re on a lovely beach with friends or partner, sun shining, cold drink, and in the distance, a little beach shack plays top 40 radio… through a distorted old speaker. Can you relax? No chance. That little plastic speaker becomes the bane of your life until you are finally out of earshot. Even the crap they’re playing becomes secondary to the quality!
  4. You can no longer count past four – Crazy but true, you find yourself counting any rhythm anywhere or just an imaginary rhythm in your head, and naturally, you go “one, two, three, four” round and round. (At least you’re not a microphone roadie with a rock band, they get stuck at “one-two! one – TWO!”)
  5. You can’t hear a song that you know played in full, without hearing “your” transitions – “Why isn’t song X coming in?” you think, until you remember that this isn’t actually your mix but just one of “your” songs being played somewhere else. Related: Not liking the speed a song is being played at, because you play it at a different speed…
  6. You hear mistakes when everyone else thinks the DJ is awesome – Smart DJs learn not to point out train wrecks and other DJing errors to their friends, who – we learn – are not afflicted like us and generally happy to dance through even appalling errors. Related: Spotting mixes that aren’t in key
  7. You get annoyed when TV commercials brutally edit songs – …and what really annoys you is that they are not respecting the underlying song structure (see point 4 – see, you can’t help it! You’re subconsciously counting those beats and bars in fours…)
  8. When someone asks you “what’s your favorite music?” you reply “for what purpose?” – Being unable to separate what you like from what you think any given dance floor might like is bad, but it’s hard to stop this developing from the necessary skill of simply separating the two things in your head
  9. Instantly spotting when your windscreen wipers, indicator lights or even a loud clock are in time with the music you’re playing – This one really does feel close to madness sometimes (for me anyway), spotting a beat match between car hardware and car stereoRelated: Beat matching your strides to the songs on your headphones when our running
  10. You can’t help yourself frantically trying to remember snippets of song lyrics in order to Google them later – …normally when Shazam fails to recognize a new song you know you’ve got to have…
  11. You are utterly unable to keep yourself away from DJ booths – Mainly this is to see the equipment the DJ is using, hopefully it isn’t to make requests, although I am personally fond of just shaking the DJ’s hand on the way out if I’ve enjoyed his or her music… after all, we all know how much that means, don’t we?
  12. Having the sudden urge to go and adjust the sound when another DJ is playing – Right, I’ve actually done this (in fact, it was the pitch). Some dude was playing 80s mega-mixes at +8 and he slipped off to the toilet, so I marched up and set it all to the right speed… only to slink away like a coward when I saw him returning! True story 🙂
  13. You turn anything with a volume fader into DJ equipment – …and so get irrationally annoyed at any kind of audio gear that has electronic up/down volume controls instead of a knob you can use to cut the music in and out quickly with!
  14. You are the only person who spots the odd song from the 90s at a “so-called” 80s night – I mean, we can all hopefully understand why no normal, sane person would care about this… but it’s wrong, isn’t it?

Finally…

Seriously, I do hope you can still go out and have fun at least sometimes, and that you can see how us DJs maybe can be just a little annoying to everyone else, at least every now and then! I wanted to end with a true story from our friends over at Tuff Covers. One of that gang went to a pre-natal appointment and when the nurse scanned their tiny unborn baby, and its little heartbeat echoed through the examination room… I quote: “I knew the BPM of the baby’s heartbeat before the machine even worked it out”!

There really is no hope for some people… 🙂