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Major Labels Expand Into the Metaverse

Major labels are rapidly moving into immersive internet applications and claim that this is just the beginning.

One of the biggest names in the metaverse, Roblox, has had a busy few months working with the music industry. The company has entered a strategic partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, a strategic agreement with BMG to “develop new opportunities for BMG artist and songwriter clients”, and secured an eight-figure investment from Warner Music Group.

Roblox’s platform has allowed acts such as Lil Nas X, Zara Larsson, and Twenty One Pilots to leverage the virtual universe as an in-game concert space to reach the platform’s 199 million monthly active users.

Roblox’s self-proclaimed “latest innovation in music in the metaverse” is the platform’s new Listening Parties feature, which will allow artists to premiere new material in specialized formats, creating new opportunities for connection and community with fans.

More good news for Roblox comes from an agreement with The National Music Publishers’ Association settling previous music usage concerns.

The NMPA also just announced an agreement with Amazon-owned Twitch to begin “work[ing] together to build productive partnerships between Twitch and music publishers.”

Twitch’s latest big move has been a partnership with Warner Music Group to launch WMG artist channels, and an official WMG channel to feature professionally produced original programming.

In a recent interview with Goldman Sachs at the investment banking company’s Communacopia event, WMG CEO Stephen Cooper shared that Warner Music Group’s recorded music sector currently has a run-rate of $235 million per year in revenue from platforms such as Tiktok, Peloton, Facebook, and other alternative income sources. 

Cooper also shared his belief that WMG is still “early to this game” in regards to the full potential of these technologies, stating, “we believe that this intersection between gaming, fitness, [and] social/digital, will drive substantial revenues in the future,” but that the utilization practices of these applications are generally still “in their infancy”.

Friday, 8 October 2021
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411 Music Group Talks Building an Inclusive, Independent Music Business

411 Music Group is a creative music house specializing in music solutions for visual media including synchronization licensing, custom music, scoring, publishing, administration and digital distribution for music rights holders.  Founder and CEO Kristen Agee shares her story of building a successful music company from scratch.

How did 411 Music Group first begin?

I started as a composer/producer writing for other music catalogs and artists. I was in bands playing violin and bass, and then shifted gears to sound engineering and writing full-time. At a certain point, I thought, ‘why don’t I aggregate my own music rights and rep different artists and composers?’ Much easier said than done, but that was the basis for starting 411. I started signing one-stop, indie artists with sync in mind, and then expanded into score, sound design, trailer music, and then traditional publishing and custom music. 

When the company was getting started, what parts of the business were more challenging than expected? What parts came very naturally?

Because of my musical background, the creative side came easily. And, actually, meeting people was fairly easy. Getting people to listen and to trust us took time. That part you have to prove. Going into it, I thought we would have a series of wins and then everyone would want to work with us. That bit took way longer than I thought. I think I underestimated how long it takes to start a company from scratch and do everything on your own. We’re unique in many ways because of this - I was a young woman starting a company from zero with no board, no investors and no advisors…I just had to figure it out. It was a lot of trial and error in the beginning. There are always new challenges and hoops to jump through, but we are a trusted catalog with a reputation that speaks for itself, and that took time to build. 

Can you give us an overview of the different departments within 411?

We have a one-stop, production music side with approximately 60,000 tracks. We’ve also built a ‘traditional’ publishing arm that reps bigger Billboard-charted artists like CupcakKe, Qveen Herby, commercial artist catalogs, and covers. And finally, we write award-winning custom songs and score for ads, shows, trailers, films, and games. 

About how many artists and composers are you working with currently? Are you currently looking for new artists?

We work with a few thousand composers and artists. On the custom side, though, I would say we work consistently with about 65 different composers and artists. We’re always looking for more music and more diversity in our catalog. We are choosy about what we bring in, but always happy to listen!

Do you have any advice for an artist or small label trying to break into the sync sphere?

I used to say ‘don’t do it’, but I think that’s a bit of a cop-out. The truth is, it is very hard to ‘make it’ as an indie label, artist, publisher, etc. It takes time and money and requires something extremely unique for you to stand out from the crowd. How can you compete with all of the major artists and labels out there who have the personnel, funding, and creative support to make people pay attention? You have to be relentless and persistent past the point when everyone else stops, but you also have to support yourself through it. You really need to develop thick skin because you will probably hear ‘no’ a lot. Practically speaking, I’d say it’s worth partnering with people to fulfill the vision. You can’t do it all by yourself. You need to have a team to back you up on some level, and accepting that early on will make the process more bearable and potentially allow for a faster growth timeline. Having 25% of something is better than 100% of nothing, so I say partner with people who are better at certain things than you are who you trust. And, as a general note, just be nice to everyone. The time of egos and bullying is over.

Can you share anything currently on 411’s roadmap, whether it be an upcoming creative initiative or business development?

Since COVID, we’ve been setting up a lot of virtual songwriting camps. This year, we put together an LGBTQIA+ writing camp that went really well. We also hosted a BIPOC camp, a Holiday writing camp in May, and we’re sending some of our producers and writers to Czech Republic and Finland later this month/next for sync initiatives in different territories. I’ve always been a believer in mixing different styles and musical cultures to create something new. Now more than ever, there is finally a big push for diversity, and we are there for it! We’re signing and composing more music than ever and are excited about pushing the creative limits forward. 

Does 411 have a company mission that guides your business development or client experience?

We have always been a supporter of minority and underrepresented artists, composers and businesses in the industry. As a female-owned and operated business, we know what it’s like to fight your way to the top (and by top I mean middle, cause let’s be real, it’s not 2050). We are honest, fair, and hustle the s--t out of our catalog. We’re very proudly an indie and stand independently on our own. We have a personalized approach to finding the perfect song, and we create amazing custom songs and score. Our composing and writing teams are seriously the best in the business, and we give good notes 🙂 We are focused on creative and clean licensing, and that’s why our clients keep coming back.  

Any all-time favorite placements?

My personal favorites right now are the viral TikTok branded campaigns we’ve done in the last year. We did one Laura Mercier campaign with TikTok and two Victoria’s Secret Pink campaigns. Each had over 10+ billion (with a b!) views. The last VS campaign we did has over 14 billion views. The scale on TikTok is incredible, and we’re very happy to be a part of the creation of these user-generated videos. I also love the Bad Boys for Life license we did for the film, the sound design we produced for the Game of Thrones season finale trailer, and the Bunga Bunga themes we wrote for the Wondery podcast.

Friday, 1 October 2021
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Here’s How Sleep Soundtracks are Dominating the Streaming Market

Short-form audio recordings designed to lull their listeners into a better night’s sleep are racking up massive numbers across streaming platforms. 

Sleep soundtracks have been a massive success for indie music producers looking to boost their stream counts.

One such example, Strange Fruit Music, originally started as a dance music label but launched Sleep Fruits Music this year and now brings in millions of streams every day from its sleep soundtrack releases. Sleep Fruit Music’s top five most streamed tracks are all recordings of falling rain.

While rain recordings have proven to be an instant classic, the sleep soundtrack market offers a wide range of sounds, catering to every possible preference on the market.

Pink noise, typically known simply as a bassier alternative to white noise, can be effectively achieved using a variety of timbres. Ambient sound baths and natural sounds, like waves breaking or the sound of wind, can carry the same benefits of static pink noise when mixed correctly. Pink noise has been shown in some studies to promote deeper, more restful sleep.

These tracks, which often require minimal effort to produce compared to the average song, pay out the same amount per stream as a regular song would. Then there’s the fact that the sleeping listener typically leaves these tracks on repeat all night until they wake up the next morning. 
Not surprisingly, sleep soundtrack creators cut their tracks to be just long enough to register as a valid stream, but as short as possible otherwise so that the song is replayed as many times as possible in a set time frame.

In combining all these simple factors, it’s plain to see how this sleepy niche has managed to disrupt the streaming landscape overnight.

Friday, 24 September 2021
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Use the SourceAudio API to Manage Tracks and Metadata

SourceAudio’s powerful REST API is designed to streamline SourceAudio’s systems with your own music library infrastructure. The API runs on JSON as its primary data structure to create an API that’s secure, efficient, and easy to use.

*Sufficient programming knowledge is required to use the API.*

A few typical API applications include…

~ Importing tracks to SourceAudio site by sending in an external URL

~ Updating track metadata to sync with an external system

~ Adding album art by sending in a URL (if the image isn’t already in the uploaded tracks’ ID3 embedding)

~ Downloading tracks via a direct call or an authorized download link

~ Removing tracks en masse quickly and easily

~ Seamlessly using any of these tools with a business partner’s SourceAudio library site

...all powered with secure and reliable authentication tokens. Just include your token in your request payload and our system handles the rest.

The SourceAudio API has been engineered for absolute security, and can only be accessed with your API key. If needed, this key can always be quickly and easily reset – the equivalent of changing the locks on your API.

Looking for more information, check out our complete API documentation or

Contact Support

Friday, 17 September 2021
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Audio Production Essentials: A Guide to Re-Amping

Re-amping is a common recording technique that provides audio engineers with the ability to apply amplifier tones in post production. Guitar and bass might be the first kinds of signals that come to mind for applying amp tones, but you can re-amp any signal – vocals, keys, drum loops, even live drums or any other audio signal imaginable. Here’s our guide containing everything you need to know to re-amp like a pro.

The first step to reamping a signal is to capture it directly from the source, directly into your recording interface and into your DAW. If you’re recording guitar, or bass, the tone won’t sound like much at this point. The most important objective at this stage is to get a good performance with plenty of volume while making sure that your signal does not clip at any point.

The recorded audio is now ready to be sent out to the amplifier, but this signal that will be coming out of your interface will not be the same type of signal that came from the original source. It needs to be converted back into an amp-friendly signal so that the amp reacts properly. 

The simplest way to accomplish this is with a re-amp box, which accomplishes the exact opposite of a DI box. While a DI box converts a high-impedance unbalanced signal to a low impedance balanced signal, a re-amp box converts a low-impedance balanced signal to a high-impedance unbalanced signal, the kind that comes out of an electric guitar or bass.

It is possible to accomplish this by running a DI box in reverse, but there is a difference in attenuation. Signals coming out of a re-amp box are about 28bd less than those coming through a reversed DI box. In order to re-amp signals coming through a reverse DI box, you’ll need to turn them down by 28db at the source (in the DAW).

The problem with turning down your signal like this is that you’re using less bits, meaning lower resolution. In addition, whatever noise floor was there in your recording will start creeping up and can create noticeable hissing. For this reason, re-amp boxes are a very popular choice for re-amping. 

If a re-amp box is unavailable, there are other ways to combat attenuation issues, such as using a padded xlr cable, which will knock the signal down about 20db, and allow you to run 20db hotter with a reversed DI.

Once your DAW is hooked up to your signal adapter and then your amp, simply play back your recorded signal, piping it out of a mono output at line level, then into your amp at instrument level. Keep your interface master volume all the way up through the entire process, and record the re-amped signal in real time.

Note, if you’re re-amping multiple tracks, whether it be multiple guitars, or different instruments entirely, it's typically not advised to send more than one track through an amp at a time, which will produce a messy sound. Re-amp one track at a time, unless you’re making a conscious, stylistic choice to re-amp multiple tracks together into one.

And that’s it! Now you can tweak tones in post-production like a pro. Re-amp with your favorite vintage cabs or the newest cab-simulations, all from one stored take.

Saturday, 11 September 2021
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