../ Steinberg's HALion 3 Debuts
Steinberg announced that version 3, the latest version of its award-winning VST sampler HALion, is now shipping. The price is $399
for the full version and $99 for an upgrade.
The next generation of HALion offers several new features including RAMSave, a new memory-saving technology developed to aid working
with large sample sets. The new user interface has been redesigned to make HALion 3 more flexible and user-friendly. In addition, a
new suite of sound management tools make file handling in HALion even easier. The list of HALion import formats has grown even further
with the release of version 3, which now also includes the Kontakt and Kurzweil formats. Rounding off the new functionality are flexible
new routing features and 27 new effects.
The Future: This much needed update brings HALion up to speed with the latest offerings from its competitors in this space.
The impact of the new RAMSave feature performance wise, and the 27 new effects will determine what kind of influence this update will
have on market share and sales.
../ MusicNow Upheaval
Following the recent acquisition of MusicNow's assets by Circuit City, MusicNow the struggling digital music distributor has gone through
another round of management changes with Scott Kauffman getting tossed from CEO to a ceremonial folding chair in the board room. Chris Gladwin,
MusicNow's chief operating officer and co-founder, is cutting his losses and will be leaving the company to pursue opportunities that actually
Co-founder Gary Cohen will assume the roll of President and oversee the company's rollout of MusicNow, now dubbed Circuit City Direct into
Circuit City stores. Since 1999, MusicNow has been struggling to make an impact in the digital download space and was quickly eclipsed by
iTunes, MusicMatch and others who actually developed an intuitive, easy-to-use service.
The Future: No one will be mourning the loss of MusicNow. This lame service has been on life support for some time. Hopefully the
team at Circuit City will approach the company with perspective and put it on the Atkin's Diet.
../ BMW Teams With Apple's iPod
Apple and BMW have launched a co-branded effort to seamlessly integrate Apple's hot iPod portable music player into BMW's sultry product
line of automobiles. Dubbed the iPod Adapter, the configuration allows a BMW owner to plug their iPod directly into the Beemer's audio system.
Coming on the heels of the J. Lo / Marc Anthony celebrity marriage is this A-List union between two very hot manufacturers. Both BMW and Apple
have been on a tear recently. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, probably dreamed up this marketing coup while driving to Apple's California digs in his
BMW Z8 Roadster and fumbling with either the current super lame iPod FM transmitter and/or a cassette tape adapter to play his newly downloaded
iTunes through the car's stereo system.
The Adapter connects to the car's stereo system via a cable installed in the glove compartment and can be controlled by buttons on the BMW's
steering wheel. The Adapter will sell for $149 and be available in a variety of BMW and Mini Cooper models.
The Future: Jobs, a design and marketing genius, wisely chose BMW to partner with for the initial rollout of the iPod Adapter. Look
for other car manufacturer's to offer the Adapter once Apple's exclusive agreement with BMW expires.
../ Ableton Updates Live To Version 4
Ableton has announced that the new version of their music production software, Live 4, will be shipping worldwide by the end of July.
Coming shortly after the release of their previous version, Ableton is touting this as their most significant update yet. I don't know
if they've been working their engineers 24/7, but by the looks of the new features, they're not exaggerating.
Ableton has stepped up the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) implementation of the program to make it a full on compositional
tool to rival the leading sequencers. Although many audio professionals feel that "MIDI is for suckers," the 20 plus year old technology
is still a vital part of many studios. Ableton has added MIDI tracks, recording, effects and instruments to the program. Software
instruments, VST or Audio Units, are now available in Live's built in browser and including them in a composition is a simple drag and
drop procedure. The drag 'n' drop interface metaphor is also the way to add effects to the MIDI tracks without complicated routing or
delving into waist-deep menus. Specific MIDI effects, such as "Scale," which shoehorns incoming notes into a specified musical scale,
and "Random," a pitch randomizer, are also included.
MIDI "Clips" are created by dragging and dropping Standard MIDI files into Live's browser where they can be viewed, edited and modified
in the "Clip View Note Editor." Wild patterns can also be created in real time by overdubbing additional MIDI files onto Clips as they loop.
Additionally, Live 4 features two new samplers. The first, dubbed "Simpler," allows instant sampling of any source and polyphonic playback.
The second, "Impulse," is version 4's new dedicated percussion sampler with powerful, sculpting and editing tools to make drum loops
really bounce. Furthering Live's reputation as the ultimate loop drum machine, you can now use a MIDI keyboard to trigger Impulse's
individual drum parts. Customized grooves on the fly? Nice!
Version 4 has enhanced the groove aspects of Live by employing a new Swing function. Swing can be utilized on both audio loops and MIDI
sequences to get your tracks chugging.
Live 4 will retail for $499.00 and upgrades from any version will set you back $119. The new version has also been optimized for Apple's
new G5 processors, taking full advantage of the new architecture and dual processing.
The Future: Ableton has really stepped up by creating what looks to be the new high water mark in production/performance music
software. With it's ease of use, flexibility and great sound, Live will now give expensive hard disk recording/sequencers, like Steinberg's
Cubase, a serious run for the computer musician's dollar.
../ Pioneer, Scion and Five Axis Partner to Create DJ Assault Vehicle
With the goal of creating the most unique Scion xB to date, Five Axis Models, a fabrication and custom car company, partnered with
Pioneer and Scion to create a one-of-a-kind, DJ assault vehicle.
"There is nothing quite like it on the street," said Brian Bolain, Scion national sales promotions manager. "This vehicle represents
precisely what the Scion brand is all about...Creativity." The stylish mobile vehicle has already scored two top awards including Mothers
Wax 2004 Tuner Car Award for top manufacturer's display vehicle and International Auto Salon (IAS) Custom Showoff Award from Super Street
"The biggest challenge was creating a vehicle that could solidly perform as a mobile DJ unit yet still remain a very functional car,"
said Troy Sumitomo, president of Five Axis. "We had to find an innovative solution to house all the pieces of DJ equipment as well as
design and package a massive speaker system to effectively pump the sound to its audience." A team of DJ consultants that included Tony
Touch, Mark Farina, Rob Swift, Josh Wink, and DJ Babu of the Beat Junkies provided a wish list of components and specifications for
Five Axis started its 3,000 hour customization journey by altering the vehicle's shape using a Five Axis designed and engineered one-off
wide body kit. Body proportions were dramatically enhanced by increasing the xB's body width by eight inches and extending the distance
below the stock body by three inches. To create an aggressive look, the crew chopped four inches out of the roof lowering the overall
ceiling height. As a result of the modifications, all of the glass had to be re-manufactured with Five Axis glass-forming equipment.
The DJ platform slides out the rear of the car using a linear actuator motor. When the platform is completely deployed, a micro switch
activates the two-tiered rack housing the DJ equipment. Once the rack pivots into position, the top rack slides forward manually into
position. The top rack contains two turntables and the bottom rack contains two Pioneer CDJ-1000 digital turntables and a Pioneer
Five Axis got really trick when it came time to house the mega watt speaker system. Pioneer mid and high range speakers are mounted in
both the rear doors as well as subwoofers inside the rear cabin all facing the rear of the vehicle. The rear doors are also powered by
linear actuators and are choreographed to open with the rear tailgate.
The Future: With the success of Monster Garage and American Chopper, it didn't take long for some fabrication geniuses to create
the ultimate DJ vehicle. Look for a "DJ Option Package" on the new 2006 Scions...we wish!
../ Nice Implants!
The Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain has started a new initiative for VIP's at their upscale club, but to most people, the scheme
is just plain idiotic.
Conrad Chase, the venue's Director of Operations, came up with the idea of implanting tiny computer chips under the skin of their best
guests. The chips, about the size of a grain of rice, are made by VeriChip. Implanting the chip is similar to receiving a shot and takes
only minutes via a special syringe.
The VeriChip is enclosed in glass and Chase claims it doesn't pose a health risk, although some Doctors have reservations. So far, only
about ten "VIP's" have gone through the procedure. When they enter the club, the device is scanned and it connects to a central database
which confirms their identity and how much credit they have at the club. Wait staff can then charge the VIP's house account without the
use of cash or credit cards. The Baja Club is charging 125 Euros for the "privilege."
"Almost everybody now has a piercing, tattoos or silicone. Why not get implanted with the chip and be original?" Chase waxes. Ah, for
one thing, you can actually see a tattoo or piercing, unlike an implant. Unless, of course, he's talking about the scar it leaves when
you realize what an imbecile you are for getting one in the first place.
The Future: Want a high tech identification device? How about a Retina or fingerprint Scanner? Only a complete moron would implant
a microchip in their body to get in a VIP room.
This whole thing reeks as an dim-witted publicity stunt at the expense of the nightclub industry. Not cool.
../ RIAA Quietly Sues 493 More Downloaders
The Recording Industry of America (RIAA) recently filed individual suits against 493 people who illegally downloaded copyrighted music.
As with all the lawsuits filed so far this year, the RIAA is utilizing the "John Doe" litigation process, which is used to sue defendants
whose names are not known. In addition to the "John Doe" lawsuits against 493 illegal file sharers, the RIAA, on behalf of the nation's
leading record companies, brought a lawsuit against 24 named defendants who declined or ignored a RIAA overture to settle the case before
it proceed any further.
Lawsuits were filed in several major federal courts across the country, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa,
Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas.
"Our continuing objective is to send a message of deterrence, protect the rights of property owners, and foster environment where the
legitimate marketplace, both online and at retail, can flourish," said Cary Sherman, President, RIAA.
Sherman also said that the RIAA and its member companies stand eager and willing to settle the lawsuits expeditiously. "We will continue
to go the extra mile and seek to resolve these cases in a fair and reasonable manner. That’s in the best interests of everyone involved."
Following the release of updated data from Pew documenting the overall decline in illicit peer-to-peer usage, a survey by The NPD Group
released last week found that the number of CD buyers using a legal online service to purchase music tripled in the first quarter of 2004,
compared to the same time period in 2003. "Among music buyers who purchased both physical CDs and a song download from a legal service, the
likelihood that they also downloaded a song illegally fell dramatically, from 64 percent last year to 42 percent in 2004," according to
The NPD Group.
The Future: With statistics like the Pew Report continuing to back the RIAA's claims that the lawsuits are stemming illegal
downloading, many opponents, including the Electronic Frontier Association with their "(the) lawsuits only alienate the music industry
from its customers" stance, are losing their footing.
../ Even The French Are Doing It
Local International Federation of the Phongraphic Industry affiliate SNEP stated that it will begin suing French downloaders starting
this summer. A public service ad campaign has been launched nationally to warn French citizens who are illegally downloading music of
the impending legal action.
"Free Music, There's a Price To Pay" is the advertisement's warning slogan. The ads also showcase the penalties that French authorities
will levy on anyone convicted of illegal downloading: three years in the "Sin Bin" and a 300,000 Euro ($363,000 US) fine.
The SNEP felt obligated to take action after witnessing the success of the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) lawsuit
campaign in the United States and after French music shipments slipped 22% in the first quarter of 2004.
However, the SNEP, according to sources, plans to take on Internet Service Providers (ISP's) as well. With new legislation instituting
the European Union's copyright and ecommerce guidelines that grant copyright holders broad new powers about to take effect in France,
the SNEP will rollout lawsuits against ISP's who they feel don't provide adequate filtering technologies to prevent illegal downloading.
In a "Big Brother" twist, the new legislation puts the onus on ISP's to monitor their networks for illegal content being accessed and
The Future: Like a Grand Dame making a calculated late entrance at the biggest Ball of the year, France entered the illegal
download fray in a big way. The real plop twist comes in the form of the requirements in the new copyright and ecommerce legislation
that eradicates personal use rights, civil liberties and freedom of speech in one clean swipe. Who's going to storm the beaches of
Normandy to liberate the cyber French?
../ Futuremusic Announces "The Next Big Thing" DJ Contest
Futuremusic, a multifaceted, electronic music concern, announced "The Next Big Thing" - the largest DJ contest of the year. The winner
of the contest will receive an incredible suite of the latest DJ gear, and open for Super Star DJ John Digweed on his US tour this summer.
"The Next Big Thing" is open to all US based, non-professional, house music DJ's who don't earn the majority of their income from DJing.
"In today's climate, it's very hard for a DJ to get a big break solely from their DJ skills," Futuremusic's Dan Brotman reveals. "We're
giving a DJ the opportunity of a lifetime...to open for a superstar DJ, at a large club, with a proper sound system, in front of an
enthusiastic crowd...what more could an aspiring DJ want?"
Well how about the latest DJ hardware and software to take the winner's skills to the next level? You got it. The winner of "The Next
Big Thing" will receive a prize package that includes a computer audio workstation from Alienware, Native Instruments Komplete2, PCDJ
FX with the DAC-2 controller, 150 digital downloads from Beatport, the Grabber BPM sampler from PVDJ, 100 professionally manufactured
CD's of your mix from The Dubhouse, The Studio Bundle from IK Multimedia (SampleTank, T-Racks, AmpliTube), Technics top of the line DJ
headphones, and much more!
Contestants will need to download the official entry form and rules from Futuremusic.com and submit a 60 minute, house music mix on CD.
The mix has to be achieved on vinyl turntables, digital turntables, such as Pioneer's CDJ-1000's, or a combination of the both. No
software mixes are permitted. The winner will have to demonstrate their DJing to verify their skills prior to opening for Digweed. If
you're not currently on the Futuremusic mailing list, visit Futuremusic.com/djcontest and sign up to receive the latest information on
how you can obtain an official entry form.
../ EMI Posts Loss
EMI, the third largest music company, announced that it lost $128 million dollars this past year, although they gained a slight increase
in market share. The loss is only a third of the money they hemorrhaged last year, but the results reflect gains from dumping their share
of a major retailer.
Restructuring costs, coupled with a loss of 2.9% of their revenue from record sales, also hampered this year's results. EMI Chairman Eric
Nicoli remained positive. "For the first time in several years, there are encouraging signs of market improvement, particularly in the U.S."
The Future: EMI is pinning a its hopes on increasing revenue from legal digital downloads and ringtones. However, this won't be
nearly enough to stem another loss in the current year.
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Copyright © 2004 Futuremusic® All Rights Reserved.
As the name correctly implies, Experiments In Sound, is Futuremusic's latest endeavor for pushing electronic music technology to the very edge of what's possible. Experiments In Sound grew out of Futuremusic's avant-garde events in
New York City that featured DJ's taking mixing and live sound reinforcement to a whole new level with the very latest gear and software. Be the first to hear
about Experiments In Sound by joining Futuremusic Direct.
Part of Experiments In Sound, TestDrive will feature the lab results of our DJ Experiments so that everyone can get in on the action. Take the latest electronic music releases, mix vigorously
with bleeding-edge DJ technology in a large beeker, and then cook the hell out of it! Be the first to hear
about TestDrive by joining Futuremusic Direct.
Futuremusic wants to thank everyone who participated in The Next Big Thing 2004. John Digweed, Beatport, Alienware, M-Audio, Native Instruments, IK Multimedia,
PVDJ, PK Graphics, Ableton, The DubHouse, Propellerheads, Technics, FreeFloat, The Church, PCDJ and every DJ who entered this year's event thank you. From the sheer number of
quality mixes, we can tell you that dance music is thriving in the United States. The amount of outstanding talent and creativity really blew us away, and every DJ who's putting
their heart, mind and soul behind the music is a winner. John Digweed has
made his decision and the winner is...