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Upcoming Online Music Industry Events and Resources – Winter 2021/2022

Check out our handpicked list of the best online resources for composers and music businesses this winter!

IMSTA FESTA - December 12, 2021

IMSTA FESTA is a celebration of music technology that brings manufacturers face to face with their product users. These consumer shows have something for all musicians, songwriters, producers, audio engineers, music students and educators in the industry. From industry panels and master classes to software exhibits and song reviews, IMSTA FESTA is a free online event for everyone involved in making music.

Learn more and register here: https://www.imsta.org/2021_germany.php

NY:LON Connect 2022 - January 18-21, 2022

NY:LON Connect gathers top decision makers from the international music industry to discuss and debate key industry issues and set the agenda for the coming year. This marquee global music business summit features a high-level program that explores the future of music, with keynotes and presentations from industry power players focused on driving positive change in the business. In addition, the event offers focused networking opportunities which will build relationships that will impact the international ecosystem for years to come.

Register here: https://nylonconnect.com/

NAMM Believe in Music – January 20-21, 2022

The North American Music Merchant Show’s Believe in Music event offers informational resources for music professionals. Previous years itineraries have included guides for music educators, production tips for pivoting to an online product, audio engineering seminars, and celebrations of culture. View this year's schedule at a glance at the link below which includes on-demand content, global livestreams, and more educational material.

Opt in to be notified when registration opens: https://attend.believeinmusic.tv/

Jason Blume Songwriting Workshop, presented by BMI – February 15, 2022

This February, Jason Blume will provide a constructive critique of one song from each workshop participant and will share a melody or lyric technique. Selected songs will be forwarded to up to 10 publishers (depending on genre). During the more than 25 years that Jason has been teaching this workshop, attendees have had #1 singles, signed staff-writing deals, and placed songs with artists, publishers, and in TV and films.

Learn more and register here: https://www.bmi.com/events/entry/585498

Friday, 3 December 2021
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Customize Metadata Embedded in Track Downloads with Metadata Embedding Profiles

All your essential information, embedded into every track download. SourceAudio Metadata Embedding Profiles allow site administrators to tailor their metadata embedding specifications for each of their users. 

Maintain Thorough Metadata for Embedding With Powerful Editing Tools

Embedding complete metadata starts with keeping your site’s tracks thoroughly tagged.

The metadata embedded in downloaded tracks is pulled from your site in real-time at the time of download, so embedded data is always up to date with all your latest changes.

Alternatively, you can always opt to ignore all on-site metadata so that your tracks are downloaded with the exact metadata they were uploaded with. Just head to Admin Panel → Manage Metadata → Downloading → Metadata Injection. Catalogs checked off in this section will be downloaded with up-to-date metadata from your site. Catalogs unchecked will be downloaded with the exact embedded metadata they had when uploaded. Click to save at the bottom of the section after making any changes.

Read our article on metadata essentials for a complete guide to the fundamentals of your tracks’  metadata.

Metadata Embedding Profiles

For any catalog that has Metadata Injection enabled, you can set exactly how metadata is embedded using Metadata Embedding Profiles and Music Access Filters.

To adjust these settings, head to your Admin Panel → Manage Metadata → Downloading → Metadata Embedding Profiles. Here you’ll find the SourceAudio Standard embedding, active by default on all tracks and users when Metadata Injection is engaged, as well as the tools to create custom Metadata Embedding Profiles.

To customize embedding settings, click to create a new embedding profile, click the double paper icon to make a copy of any currently existing profile, or click the pen/paper icon to edit any existing custom profile. Once you’re editing a profile, use the dropdowns to select which SourceAudio metadata fields will embed into each ID3 standard embedding field and save in the bottom right. These ID3 tag standards ensure that your embedded data is readable by all ID3 tag compliant software such as iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player, Soundminer, and more. 

Finally, link your Metadata Embedding Profiles to your Music Access Filters to activate them. Head to your Admin Panel → Manage Users → Music Access Filters, then edit your Music Access Filters by clicking the pen & paper icon, then adjust the Metadata Profile drop-down, and save.

The metadata that embeds on the tracks a user downloads will conform to the settings of the Music Access Filter they’re using and the corresponding Metadata Embedding Profile assigned.

Site administrators also have the option to download samples of any embedding profile or non-embedded files by going to any track detail page  → Edit Track Metadata → Edit (on the Download Now section), and choosing a download option.

Friday, 26 November 2021
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Music Production Essentials: Compression Controls

Compression can work wonders to boost the energy of an audio track, but if you’re new to using the effect it can be difficult to hear and to understand exactly what’s going on. Here’s a comprehensive explanation of the controls on a standard compressor used to shape the effect and generate the sound you’re looking for.

Threshold and Ratio

The threshold and ratio values of your compressor work together to determine the level of the effect – whether your signal will be very compressed, or barely compressed at all.

First, a threshold is set to indicate a volume level so that anything louder than that level will trigger the compression effect, reducing the signal’s volume.

This massively important control will determine how much of your track will have compression applied. Often the threshold is set so that only the peaks are compressed, whereas a very low threshold could compress the whole track, and a threshold that’s too high won’t compress anything at all.

The compressor ratio sets how much the signal is reduced when it goes above the threshold. For instance, suppose at a certain point a track is 12 DB louder than the set threshold. If the compression ratio is 2:1, the compressor would reduce the signal by 6 and allow 6dB of signal above the threshold. For every two DB above the threshold, one DB of that signal is allowed to sound. If the compression ratio is 3:1, the compressor would reduce the signal by 8dB and allow 4dB of signal above the threshold – for every three DB above the threshold, one DB of that signal is allowed to sound.

Anything over a 50:1 ratio is no longer considered a compressor, but instead, a limiter. As the first number increases, this is considered a higher compression ratio, and an infinite compression ratio would not allow any sound above the threshold whatsoever, creating a “brick wall limiter”.

Essentially, the lower the ratio, the more dynamics are allowed to sound.

Attack and Release

The attack parameter on a compressor determines how quickly the gain reduction is applied to signal above the threshold, and the release parameter determines how quickly the gain reduction is backed off.

With a long attack, The compressor will be slower to apply to gain reduction to the signal, and allow the initial hit, or transient, to cut through. With a zero attack value, the compression will be applied immediately.

With a long release, the gain reduction will be applied for a longer period of time. With a short release value, the gain reduction effect will go away more quickly, allowing the audio level to rise back up if the release is short enough relative to the transient signal.

Not sure where to put compression in your signal path? Check out our guide to optimizing effects order!

Friday, 19 November 2021
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SYNCK MUSIC Talks High-Volume, High-Quality Music Production

SYNCK MUSIC is the new rebranding of DOCUscores, REALITYscores, and TRAILERscores, bringing these three collections together under one company. Composers and co-CEOs Ram Khatabakhsh and Dirk Ehlert share their story of creating a boutique production music catalog with a unique vision for exceptional quality and a furious pace of releasing music for documentaries, film, and television.

How did the original DOCUscores label first begin?

​I [Ram] met Dirk in April 2018 after he arrived in Los Angeles from Germany. Upon meeting Dirk for coffee, we had a fantastic working synergy and had many great conversations about the film and TV industry. Over the next few months, Dirk visited my studio as we worked on several projects, and we got to know each other better. Dirk convinced me to switch to Cubase as my main DAW after having used Logic for 17 years, we always laugh about this.

I had a private label that I was running on the side and Dirk mentioned planning a new catalogue that’s mostly aimed at documentaries and filmmakers. We realised early on that it made a lot of sense for us to partner together, with us both having an extensive knowledge of production music and being film and TV composers. We started working on 11 albums in late April 2019 and by the 1st of September 2019, we launched DOCUscores. This was extremely tough but with the help of our team, we managed to achieve this.

How big is the team? How many composers do you work with?

​We recently welcomed 25 new composers as we needed to fill in more briefs. DOCUscores and REALITYscores have a total of 45 composers and we’re always on the lookout for talented composers and instrumentalists.

What kinds of releases have you been working on recently?

​I​​t’s overwhelming thinking about the number of releases we have worked on in the last two years. Managing both DOCUscores and REALITYscores and considering the client needs we have done well over 80 albums combined. Most of our volume is on REALITYscores as we have a deal with BBC Studios, so on REALITYscores we produce about 4 to 6 albums a month. 

As DOCUscores celebrates its 2nd birthday, have the past two years mostly gone according to plan, or are there many aspects of the business where you’ve gone a different direction from what you had initially planned?

​We launched DOCUscores in September 2019 and a few months after that Covid happened, so it’s been challenging as we were planning to record more live albums with orchestras and musicians, but we did not slow down because of Covid, in fact, we worked very hard to keep the team motivated and our team was able to produce more than we anticipated.

It seems that you guys are always on the move. Where do you spend most of your time, aside from your LA headquarters?

​I’m based out of Burbank, CA and a Dirk was in Newport Beach until he moved back to Europe in November 2020 and is currently located in Spain. We also have studios in London and Austin which we work out of based on our schedule.  

What’s your advice for a company that’s trying to get started building a global network?

​At SYNCK MUSIC we primarily focus on two main aspects: 1: Building a strong relationship with clients/potential buyers. 2: Producing high-quality music at a consistent rate. We also have a great working relationship with our sub-publishers in different territories. We found that these two main principles have helped us to grow the company further, but as always there are no strict rules. The music and film industry is always evolving, so it’s important to stay updated and adapt accordingly.

Does SYNCK MUSIC have a company mission that guides your business development or client experience?

​Our company mission is simple and straightforward, and that is to create the best-sounding production music. As a small publisher, our budget and resources are limited, but we do work aggressively to maintain this principle. We also have plans to work with experienced music supervisors and hiring additional sales team. 

Any all-time favorite placements?

We had a fantastic brief from DJI for their Ronin series launch. We worked closely with the producers and director from the early stage of production all the way to post and were able to provide them with the music for the Ronin series. 

Friday, 12 November 2021
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Major DSP Songwriter Payment Proposals to Begin in 2023 are Now Public

The once private proposals from the major streaming companies for their future songwriter royalty payments are now public.

With the 2017 royalty statutes expiring in 2022, the streaming payouts for 2023-2027 are now the subject of heated legal debate between the US Copyright Royalty Board, digital service providers such as Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Pandora, and Google, and musician advocacy groups such as the NMPA.

One of the most impactful numbers in the royalty payout calculation for DSPs is known as the headline rate, which refers to the portion of a DSP’s annual revenues paid to songwriters.

The rate has previously been set by the US Copyright Royalty Board at 15.1%, and the NMPA is now requesting that the headline rate be increased to 20%. Spotify, Amazon and Google all appealed this raise.

Spotify, Apple, Pandora, and Google, have all countered the raise, proposing a return to a previous headline rate of 10.5%, except for Amazon Music which proposed 10.54%. 

Musician advocacy groups are further concerned with transparency surrounding the revenue figure used to calculate the headline payment. NMPA CEO David Israelite and Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International Bart Herbison are addressing the issue by advocating for additional revenue streams to be built into the deal.

One of these payment plans would be a Total Cost of Content (TCC) percentage which would require DSPs to pay publishers at least a set percentage of what they pay to the labels. The rates for TCC have been the subject of much debate, as the US Copyright Royalty Board ruled to increase TCC percentage by ~1% each year from 22% in 2018 through 2022 until it hit 26.2%.

Amazon’s proposals get even more complex, forgoing TCC for “an all-in floor of 80 cents per subscriber per month for the standalone portable tier, and 40 cents per subscriber for the less-expensive non-portable tier”, among other revenue streams.

The Music Modernisation Act, which was signed into law on October 11, 2018 through the US House and Senate with unanimous support, obligates the US Copyright Royalty Board’s 2023-2027 royalty rates mandates to use the “willing buyer, willing seller” standard to ensure a fair arrangement.

Currently, there’s still work to be done before the two parties are able to reach a willing consensus.

Friday, 5 November 2021
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