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Entries in iTunes (10)


Rotten Apple

As Apple kicked off it’s June 30th launch of the revamped Apple Music Service (Beats music), there were many kinks and controversies along the way. The controversy was that Apple was not planning to pay artists for the 3-month trial period of the service. Many artists spoke up against not being paid for the use of their streamed songs in the 3-month trial period. Many artists threatened Apple to pull their music from the streaming service all together. Artist and activist Taylor Swift took to Tumblr in a letter stating that she was speaking on the behalf of her fellow musicians who were hesitant to speak out against the tech giant.

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Smashing the Music Industry

Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins frontman, believes that the music business model is outdated and takes advantage of artists. Corgan said, “The music business is mostly run by feckless idiots who do not subscribe to the normal tenets of capitalism which when they do, the business tends to work out well and stars tend to rise to the top, everybody benefits, but it is still a parochial business. It is run by thiefdoms way behind the times technologically.”


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7 Tips to Increase your Exposure and Potential

By now it’s apparent that there is a ton of music out there – over-saturation is a term you may hear often these days. For anyone getting involved with the music industry there is always a need for more exposure and promotion. If an artist or a record label has it, they will sell better, simple as that.

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Lossy audio file formats explained (data compressed formats)

Almost all distributed audio files online use lossy, data compressed file formats. Formats such as MP3 (a shortening of MPEG-2 Layer III), AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), .wma, .m4a files and the slightly lesser known and oddly named Ogg Vorbis. These files use complex algorithms to reduce the file size for faster upload and download times and allow more tracks to be stored on phones and iPods. Streaming services such as Spotify, online radio stations and Soundcloud also use compressed audio streams which reduce the data rate of the music that is heard.

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Goodbye and Farewell Ping, Could You Be Missed?

I am sorry to report that Ping is dead. For the millions out there who used it, it is a tragedy…

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Artist Advice: Get an Extra 5% from iTunes

The majority of artists already have their music on iTunes, thanks to simple services like CD Baby and Tunecore. You get 70% of the money every time someone buys your album. But if you are sending you fans to iTunes, you need to sign up for an iTunes Affiliate Account to earn an extra 5% every time one of your fans buys something after clicking on your link! This article tells you how.

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One Artist’s Saga of Getting Added to Apple Ping

I have been assisting my good friend, legendary blues harmonica and sax player Jimmy Z, with his online presence and marketing for him and his band, ZTribe. Though he has recorded and toured with Rod Stewart, Eurythmics, Tom Petty, Etta James and others, and has worked in nearly 1000 sessions, he still struggles to make a living as an independent musician. So I help him any way I can. Right now, he has a presence on MySpace, Facebook, Reverbnation, Soundcloud and we’re building our Amazon page as well as a page on the

I have worked with Apple and it’s reps over the years and have learned that their only interest is self-interest. So when iTunes Ping was announced last September, I treated it with great suspicion, but also realized that I should get Jimmy on it, because you have to explore every opportunity that seems worthwhile. And having any leverage on iTunes is an opportunity that should not be missed.

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Google Music Currently Shuts Out Independent Artists

Billboard recently posted details about a proposed music service currently being created by Google. The proposal outlines ways to help major label artists with its tentative format, but there is no mention of indie labels or artists.

The proposed plans are to offer a basic digital music retailer concept with a twist. The company is hoping to provide an innovative cloud-based service where consumers can have their music in a “locker” for $25 per year. Music in the “locker” could be downloaded or streamed by an internet connected gadget.

The proposal seems to be an iTunes competitor and not a game-changer like most music fans had hoped.

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Can we set some rules?

I’ve been a spectator of Music Think Tank for a few months now, commenting here and there. I thought I should finally take that last step and try my luck at generating some discussion. Here are my idea of new rules for the emerging industry. Can I get a comment?

Own your music:  We are past the point where you need the backing of a record label to produce a quality recording. You no longer need to forfeit the rights of your music. Hold on to these as it will allow you to maximize the return on your music and give you the creative freedom to establish your own brand.

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The Loudness Race


Every working system must have standards. Standards are tested examples of behavior, measurements or conditions which allow for an expected result. For example in a hospital environment it is a standard recommended by the CDC for patient care staff to wash their hands before and after patient handling. This reduces the spread of infections and other subsequent factors. Also in film, there are a number of standards. Dolby originally proposed a standard loudness measurement of 85dBSPL at 0VU in the 1970s. It was a unit of measure that allowed dialogue, music and special effects to fall in nicely with audio soundstage of the film. This standard has stood the test of time and is still utilized today.

However, this is not the case for popular music in media. There are no loudness standards in the record business. Which makes the result unexpected for the audio listener. This is one of the reasons the iTunes and iPods are equipped with the "Sound Check" feature. In the 1990s music and media production professionals began to notice the average loudness of CDs increasing at a rapid rate. The use of powerful compressors and limiters enabled mixing and mastering engineers to produce music with an average metering level that was the same as the peak level, typically called "brick wall limiting".

Some believe this was the result of digital recording, which has a much larger signal-to-noise ratio than analog tape recordings. I believe it is a combination of many factors but perhaps the most consequential was the abandonment of the VU meter. The VU meter was an averaging meter and allowed a mixing or mastering engineer to view the overall loudness of a recording with some accuracy. In the digital age we have traded in the VU meter for Peak metering.This shows us the highest point which signal can reach before distortion. And keeping music just under 0dBFS and extremely compressed has become the target for many music producers and engineers alike. In the days of the VU meter the peg and LED would alert the anyone watching far before the digital Peak meters read-off.

The Solution to the Loudness Race

bob-katzToday, lack of a metering standard in the record business has allowed the audio soundstage of popular music to become boring and monotonous. And the loudness race has developed into a bonafide problem for music listeners, whether they know it or not. Bob Katz of Digital Domain has proposed an integrated approach to metering, monitoring and leveling practices that makes sense. It is called the K-System.

The K-System was developed with the idea that, "the medium is not the message". Therefore, when monitoringwe are considering the musical content and artist expression of the music to determine its overall loudness and not just insensitively crunching numbers to get the loudest result possible. And like the film industry, the K-System is tied to a calibrated monitor gain where the averaging meter's 0 equals 85 dBSPL. And while the metering system does show a linear-decibel reading, with peak values, it has dual characteristics where the VU level is the dominant part of the display.

More can be learned about this system in Mastering Audio: the art and the science 2nd ed.

Hakim Callier (@hakimcallier) is a music producer and audio engineer in Harlem, NY. He is the eldest son of Rick Callier, music producer and arranger for DeBarge, Fred Hammond & Marvin Sapp. Hakim graduated from the Institute of Audio research and studied Information Systems at New York University. He is currently working on music for media productions and freelance engineering sessions. You may contact him at (646) 377-3926 or