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Zane Lowe is currently Apple Music’s co-head of Artist Relations, and also one of the service’s most prominent radio hosts. So of course Apple would tap him to try and sell the idea of Spatial Audio for the music streaming service.
Technically speaking, Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos support started rolling out for Apple Music subscribers yesterday. However, Apple Music is calling today an official launch date. So, in an effort to get people hyped up, Apple asked Lowe to talk about his experience with Spatial Audio. It’s safe to say that it sounds like Lowe is sold on the soundscape, but also Lowe works for Apple, so take that for what it’s worth.
Lowe starts with the basis, saying that Spatial Audio is about a more immersive experience. Sound will “move around” the listener in different directions, and notes that the experience is similar to watching a movie in a theater. Which makes sense, because that’s how Apple sold Spatial Audio for video content last year.
I’ll get out of the way and let Lowe explain his first foray into Spatial Audio:
Among the first songs I listened to were Lady Gaga’s ‘Rain on Me’ and Kanye West’s ‘Black Skinhead.’ It was hard to put into words because I’ve spent my whole life in a two-channel environment; I was born into stereo. It dawned on me that there are a lot of artists in the past and present who would have loved to be able to lean in with this kind of technology — to make their songs come to life, make them bigger, and just take them to levels no one had even thought of yet. But they only had two stereo channels to play with. Now they can go beyond that. So, to be able to hear parts of these songs coming from behind and around me? I was like, ‘I’m all in. I get it.’ TV got HD — now music gets Spatial.
More than anything, while this is a piece that’s supposed to sell Spatial Audio, Lowe is honest about support. It’s up to the artists creating music to actually offer up support for their tracks with Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos. That’s why it’s not all that surprising that artists like The Weeknd, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and others have songs supporting the new feature. It may take some time before other, not-so-giant, artists support the feature. If at all.
It will come from the artists adopting it. It takes investment from the people who are going to use it and the people who are going to love it. When I started making beats when I was a kid, you had to save up a lot of money to get a sampler. They were not readily available and very few of them existed on the shelf. With Spatial Audio, I can put my AirPods in, press play, and have a Spatial experience; fans and artists have the means to listen to this and make music like this now. That’s when things change, because it can’t help but influence the young person who is sitting there listening going, ‘I want my music to sound that good.’
Here’s a pretty lengthy video with Lowe introducing the new Apple Music feature:
Of course, Lowe also notes that new artists will only know launching their music in Spatial Audio. So it sounds like he believes this will be the new standard moving forward. It will be interesting to see if that’s the case. Unlike other elements, like stereo sound or high definition video for video, Spatial Audio is a very Apple-specific feature. It will take every other company related to music, especially streaming it, to come up with a feature similar to Spatial Audio before it can actually become a new standard.
Are you looking forward to trying out Spatial Audio in Apple Music?
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Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Pandora are all being sued by the estate of Harold Arlen, the composer of Over the Rainbow and many other classic songs.
A 148-page lawsuit accuses the tech companies of being involved in a ‘massive music piracy operation’ …
The Verge reports that the case is based on a claim that the companies are selling pirated versions of both albums and songs written by the composer, and that there does appear to be evidence to support this.
It’s possible to see some of the unauthorized versions cited in the lawsuit in online stores. For example, there are two copies of the album Once Again… by Ethel Ennis available to stream on Apple Music, but the cover of one has been edited to remove the RCA Victor logo.
In another case, we can see a clear price difference between two digital copies of an original cast recording of the musical Jamaica being sold on Amazon. What appears to be an authorized version from the Masterworks Broadway label prices the full album at $9.99 for download, and individual tracks for $1.29, while a seemingly unauthorized copy from Soundtrack Classics lists them for $3.99, and $0.99 respectively. Like the Ethel Ennis album, the RCA Victor logo on the unauthorized cover also appears to have been edited out.
The lawsuit does, however, make a rather less credible: that Apple and the other defendants were not only aware of the piracy, but are motivated to permit it. Per Forbes.
The lawyers for Arlen claim that the online retailers “have had knowledge of their own infringing conduct and that of the many of the pirate label and distributor defendants for several years, and have continued to work with them.” “The more recordings and albums the online defendants make available in their stores and services, the better they are able to attract buyers and subscribers,” they explained.
It’s obvious that none of the companies involved would knowingly allow pirated content in their online stores and streaming services; a claim of wilful infringement simply makes the lawsuit potentially more valuable.
In addition to putting an end to the alleged copyright infringement, the legal representatives of the late songwriter are seeking damages under the federal copyright statute. The total bill for all of the defendants could top $4.5 million.
“Anything less than maximum statutory damage awards would encourage infringement, amount to a slap on the wrist, and reward multibillion and trillion dollar companies that rule the digital music markets for their willful infringement on a grand scale,” the lawyers insisted.
Over the Rainbow is the best-known song referenced, but Arlen composed many others.
While Arlen wrote the music for thirteen shows on the Great White Way, he is perhaps best known for his work in Hollywood. In addition to penning songs for Blues in the Night, Star Spangled Rhythm, and the 1954 remake of A Star is Born, Arlen composed The Wizard of Oz. Its iconic tune “Over the Rainbow” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1939, and was later named the “Song of the Century.”
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If you’re a musician who wants his own songs on Apple Music, you may be wondering how to upload them to the streaming platform.
It’s easier than you might think, but it’s not as simple as uploading MP3s to a digital music store and calling it a day.
Table of ContentsYou Need a Music Distributor
Apple does not deal directly with artists, so there’s no way for you to upload your music to the service on your own. However, if you’re an artist signed by a record label, the label will do all the work for you when dealing with Apple.
If you’re an independent artist not signed to a label, you’ll need a music distributor. Specifically, you’ll have to use one of the music distributors on Apple’s approved partner list. At the time of writing, 28 partners listed on Apple’s site offer music distribution services.
The exact services offered by each provider can differ. For example, some only handle music, and some also handle music videos or live concert performances. In addition, some provide translation services for your metadata (e.g., track names) or let you submit the lyrics for your songs.
Different distributors are suitable for different kinds of artists. They also have specific registration processes, steps to enter information into their database, and uploading the music to Apple Music. This is why we can’t provide step-by-step instructions on how to add files on a distributor’s site and publish them.
They are all different, and all appeal to different types of artists. However, they guide everyone on how to upload a single, album, or video.It Costs Money to Publish
Music distributors don’t provide their services for free. You’ll have to pay a publication fee for your music to add it to the service. These fees are small but help to deter frivolous music submissions. Do cross-shop among the different distribution partners to see who offers the best rate.
You should also consider the distributor’s commission. A lower cut for the distributor might justify a higher upfront fee, especially if your music gets lots of listens!
For example, TuneCore charges a fee for each registration and upload but takes no commission. CD Baby, on the other hand, takes a 9% cut of streaming and download revenues, and 15% of publishing royalties.Your Music Must Meet Minimum Technical Standards
Today, anyone with the right skills can make professional-quality music in their homes. That doesn’t mean you can just upload and have it published.
Music distributors have minimum technical standards aligned with Apple’s requirements. Some distributors may have additional requirements if they publish your music to streaming platforms such as Spotify or YouTube Music. Not every distributor may agree to put lossless versions of your music online.
If your music doesn’t conform to what the distributor requires, you may have to export your songs again from your music production software, or you’ll have to convert your original files. For example, TuneCore has a guide for its clients with the technical specifications for the songs and how to convert music that doesn’t conform using the Music app on Mac or iTunes on Windows systems.You’ll Need Cover Art
The metadata you can include with your music submission is optional. Still, one thing you must produce in addition to the music itself is the cover art. Because you’re publishing digital music for streaming doesn’t mean your “album” doesn’t need a cover.
A fantastic album cover is visually attractive. Before you make yours, check the quality and dimensions of the artwork for the music distributor of your choice.
If you aren’t much of a visual artist and can’t afford to pay someone for album art, you still have several affordable options. For example, you can use a photograph and a tool such as Canva to create an album cover. Even AI image generators, such as MidJourney or DALL-E 2, will draw anything you can imagine for a tiny fee.You Must Have Rights to the Music
You must own the copyright to the music you upload or have it properly licensed from the rights holder. You may have to sign a declaration or provide evidence that you have the rights and permission to upload music to the distributor.
If you’ve made a cover version of an existing song, you’ll need the permission of that song’s rights holder to publish your cover and make money from it. Even if they consent, they are entitled to a percentage of your revenue through royalties. Ensure that before you try to upload your music files to a distributor.
If your music samples another artist’s music, the same rules may apply depending on the specific laws in effect and how you’ve sampled the music. If you’ve used samples from a royalty-free music library, check the terms and conditions since the royalty-free status may come with some strings attached.
While your work is technically copyrighted as soon as it’s recorded, a formal registration with the music rights body makes it easy to prove in any disputes. The rules of composition or writing credit may vary from one country or jurisdiction to the next.Music Must be Correctly Credited and Royalties Distributed
Music rights can be complicated. If you collaborated with someone else (e.g., you’re in a band) or someone contributed to the music composition or lyrics, they are entitled to writing credits. It’s a good idea to register your songs with your local music rights organization, listing everyone entitled to a revenue cut.
If you don’t provide the correct information to the distributor, it can lead to legal issues later with injured parties looking to claim their rightful slice of the revenue.Promoting Your Music
Getting your audio files distributed is half the battle! Once your music is on music streaming services, you still need to convince people it belongs in their iCloud music library. The dream would be to get your songs on a popular Apple Music playlist or even featured on the service’s front page.
Some music distributors offer tools to promote your music. Some of these tools may attract additional fees or a higher cut for the distributor, but the rising tide lifts all boats. Spending money on the right promotion types is never wasted, but you don’t have to invest much money to promote your music. Here are some ideas to get started:
Create YouTube content that links back to your Apple Music page.
Use social media to promote your music or get help from social media management professionals.
Create music videos or capture live performances and use this for promotional material.
It’s a good idea to observe how successful independent artists on Apple Music market themselves. It’s also important not to limit your audience to those with an Apple Music subscription. Many distributors will also publish your music on other streaming music platforms, and getting your music distributed as widely as possible can be a good thing.Claiming Your Artists Page
Once your music is uploaded to Apple Music, the final step is to claim your Apple Music Artists’ Page. You can’t do this until your content is live, but once your content is on the platform, you can use the Apple Music for Artists app to claim your page after providing the artist’s name. Of course, you must have an Apple ID or create one to complete this process.
You’ll have to provide some evidence that you are affiliated with the artist, but once you comply, you should be given access. While you can’t upload music, you can add additional information about your act and other aspects of the artist page.
You can claim your page from the iOS app on iPhone or iPad, or you can do it from any other platform like macOS, Windows, or Android.
CIOs and their managers are simply being inundated.
They’re being inundated with information about what’s happening on their network. They’re being inundated with a flood of vulnerabilities and the patches needed to fix them. They’re inundated with trying to learn a new language — business speak. And with so much work and stress flooding in, it’s easy for an IT manager to get lost in the technical fog of war.
Here, she talks to eSecurityPlanet about the challenges facing IT managers.
One of the biggest problems right now is that there is so much data. How do you collect that data and look at it and make sense of it? There are firewall logs, system logs, IDS logs. There’s so much data that you need good correlation and reporting mechanisms. It’s really, really important for companies to deal with.
They’re just realizing now that they need to do something about it. A couple years ago if you asked executives if they knew what an IDS was, they wouldn’t have known. Now they know it’s intrusion detection. Now we’re at the point where the technology is there. They just have to figure out how to deal with the data.
Another thing is understanding the different threats on the horizon. It’s all about understanding what threats are out there and what you need to protect your company from them… They don’t know what’s coming. It’s a big problem.
I wouldn’t say they get sidetracked. It helps to raise visibility [about security issues] in the company at a high level. It sometimes helps to create awareness.
There’s a problem with the way people present information to the executive management. It’s not really clear. This technical information is not being simplified. From a systems level, it’s very difficult to uplevel that to an executive. You give them complicated information and too much of it. They’re not going to get it. They don’t have time to think about it, so they end up not understanding the threat.
I wouldn’t want to pin it on IT. The information is complicated. Once it’s simplified at a systems level, it’s easier to communicate at a higher level. It’s not really a skill for a lot of people at an IT level, and especially not at a systems administration level. Companies that really know how to communicate security at a business level and can simplify technical information, they’re the ones who get money for their security efforts — and they have better security.
It’s not a simple solution or everybody would have all the patches installed today. The idea of keeping up with all the vulnerabilities relevant to your company and having the staff to install those patches is pretty overwhelming. You need patch management software that works on a large distributed network. Sometimes it’s a catch-22. There may be patch management software but somebody doesn’t have funding for it. Or they think they can have the systems administrators update the patches because that’s their job. It’s not that simple of a problem to solve.
Business doesn’t wait for security. Technology gets deployed because the business needs to run. Usually what happens is that businesses deploy technology before security is strong enough, and a lot of times that forces the solution… Definitely. I worry about it. I got a call today from somebody running a business that has deployed wireless technology and they don’t have a clue about it. They were already broken into and they don’t even know how it happened. If you deploy wireless without thinking about security, there’s a good chance that’s going to be a problem.
Corinne Brinkerhoff says she thinks her new show’s title, American Gothic, is “perfect because the iconic Grant Wood painting is thematically appropriate for our show: at first glance, a benign snapshot of domesticity, upon further inspection…something is awry.” Photo by Noah Webb
Since graduating 12 years ago, Corinne Brinkerhoff has written and produced for several network TV shows, including Boston Legal, The Good Wife, and Jane the Virgin, which won a 2014 Peabody Award. Now the College of Communication alum is heading up her own show as executive producer and creator of the CBS murder mystery American Gothic, which premiered June 22.
BU Today spoke with Brinkerhoff about the show’s development and how it differs from other murder mysteries on TV.BU Today: Where did you get the idea for American Gothic?
Brinkerhoff: The idea came from Full Fathom Five, American Gothic executive producer James Frey’s company. They gave me the title and a paragraph premise, and it piqued my interest. I was less interested in the gruesome details of serial murder and more in the emotional and psychological fallout on the people close to the killer. It developed into a character-driven murder mystery.The previous show you wrote for, Jane the Virgin, is a romantic comedy and a drama. What drew you to a darker series?
I’m always interested in putting complicated characters in difficult situations. And the themes that emerged from this situation were intriguing: the limits of family loyalty, nature vs. nurture, perception vs. reality, the power of denial.How did you come up with the show’s title?
The name came from Full Fathom Five. I felt it was perfect because the iconic Grant Wood painting is thematically appropriate for our show: at first glance, a benign snapshot of domesticity, upon further inspection…something is awry. That off-kilter, unsettling vibe is key to the show.
We decided to run with fine art as a motif. We’ve titled each episode after a famous American painting that thematically fits into that particular chapter of our story, and we also feature a shot within the episode that pays tribute to the famous image. For example, the pilot episode is called “Arrangement in Grey and Black,” which ties in thematically with the moral gray areas and outright darkness on display in the episode. But we also re-create the tableau of the painting (known colloquially as Whistler’s Mother) in the last shot of the episode.
It’s been a fun, creative challenge to identify the right painting and find a way for our story to organically take us to that homage.Why did you set the show in Boston?
The simple answer is because it’s a place I know and love. I could easily add specificity. We talk about Duck Tours, the Frog Pond, the Great Molasses Flood of 1919. The family’s dog is named Pudge after Carlton Fisk.
Beyond that, our family on the show has blue collar roots, but has rocketed into the one percent after securing a lucrative construction contract in the ’90s. Boston felt right for that, with its history of city-wide construction projects like the Big Dig.
You have the Good Will Hunting version of Boston and the blue-blood Kennedy version, and this family has seen a little of each.How does American Gothic differ from other murder mysteries on TV, Bloodline and Blue Bloods, for instance?
There’s a healthy dose of quirky, dark comedy in the show that I think distinguishes it tonally. For example, Justin Chatwin plays a recovering drug addict who draws a syndicated cartoon about a nihilist frog working in a market research firm. The Hawthornes try to appear normal, but their world is full of bizarre people and insane circumstances.The show is a 13-part series—did that appeal to you? Do you think this shorter format versus a more traditional longer run is growing in popularity?
Absolutely. I didn’t want to artificially extend the premise beyond what it was designed to be.
And yes, people seem to like the shorter format, especially in this genre. With a murder mystery, I think audiences want a satisfying and timely payoff to their investment.You have another show in the works, No Tomorrow. Can you give a hint what it’s about and when we should expect to see it?
It’s a drastically different tone, more in the vein of Jane the Virgin. It’s a joyful, buoyant show about a risk-averse young woman who falls in love with a freewheeling man—only to find out he lives his life that way because he believes the apocalypse is imminent. We think of it as a romantic comedy with the ultimate ticking clock. It premieres on October 4 at 9 p.m. on the CW, right after The Flash.
American Gothic airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. through September on CBS.
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Music has been part of Apple’s soul since the launch of the iPod almost 16 years ago. Launched with the slogan ‘a thousand songs in your pocket,’ it’s no exaggeration to say that the device transformed the way we listen to music. It also transformed Apple into a major mobile device manufacturer, and laid the ground work for the iPhone.
Fast-forward to today, and Apple still places a huge emphasis on music. Its largest ever acquisition was the $3B it paid to buy Beats in 2014. The Beats Music service became Apple Music, a streaming service which has grown to 30M paid subscribers.
Apple’s move into exclusive video content also has a strong emphasis on music documentaries.
But there’s still one odd omission from the company’s music offerings …
Sure, you can rip CDs into lossless formats, and that’s the solution most audiophiles adopt when they want to have their music collection available in iTunes, but the last MacBook with an optical drive was the non-Retina MacBook Pro, last updated in 2012. Apple discontinued sales of the 15-inch in 2013, and the 13-inch last year. You can still buy an external drive, but Apple’s view is clearly that this is outdated tech. If we buy music at all – rather than stream it – Apple wants us to download it.
Lossless audio of course involves large file sizes, which was a good reason not to do it back in the early days of iTunes when we were all on slow connections. But that’s not a good argument against it today.
Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) typically gets an album down to around 400MB, and that’s not an unreasonable amount of data to download on the kind of broadband connections many of us have today. Given that we’re not downloading albums every day, I’d say that’s eminently viable.
And I think everyone would benefit from the option: consumers, music labels, musicians and Apple.
Lossless file formats are the only way we can enjoy music at its full quality. Now, you can argue that the AAC 256Kbps format currently used by iTunes is very good, and I’ll agree with you. You can argue that the difference between that and ALAC wouldn’t make much difference when listening to music on the move on a mobile device, and I’ll agree with that too. But play both on a decent hifi system in a quiet room at home, and I don’t think you have to be an audiophile to hear the difference.
But even if you disagree, I think it doesn’t matter. If there’s one lesson we’ve learned from the early days of mp3 music, it’s that technology improves, storage gets cheaper and what sounded acceptable five years or ten years ago sounds horrible today. What I want isn’t something that sounds good today, it’s something that will always sound good.
The only way we can guarantee that is to have a lossless copy in the first place. Maybe we’ll never listen to it in that format, maybe we’ll just output it to AAC 256 and call it good. But in five years’ time, when iPhones have 2TB of storage and we’re using a much better lossy format, we’ll be able to output to that. Lossless is future-proof; whatever today’s flavor of the month might be, isn’t.
Music labels & musicians
Streaming generates tiny amounts of income. Apple Music is more generous than Spotify and YouTube, but it still only pays $0.00735 per stream – and that amount is then split between the label, the musician and the songwriter. Unless you’re a big artist, you’re not going to pay many bills from streaming.
Given the right marketing, and presenting people with a choice between an AAC album at say $11 and an ALAC one at say $20, I could see a profitable minority opting for the premium version – not dissimilar to those who opt for the top storage tier on an iOS device or max out a Mac.
Photos: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg; Squintyt4e; Apple
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