Jukebox: Offline Dropbox Music Player

Rummaging around on Product Hunt, I stumbled upon Jukebox. It’s an iOS app that enables you to download music saved to Dropbox and listen via a sleekly designed player.


There’s a couple of cool things to note here: first how simple the UI is.

It’s very Spotify-esque in look and feel, which means it is instantly accessible to folks who like streaming.

Secondly this could be a very neat way for music bloggers to stay on top of all the tracks they get sent.

Dropbox and Soundcloud are the de facto choice for receiving tracks to review so any app or tool that can make that interaction simpler is going to be welcomed.

Additionally, James Zhang, one of the folks behind the app said in response to a comment:

…we’re actually working on adding a private sharing feature so that you can share a song with a friend through a text link and they can stream to preview the song or download it straight to their own Jukebox.

This would be a great piece of functionality to incorporate as it will make music-sharing that little bit easier.

I urge you to download it on iOS and see for yourself!

PRS Begins Legal Action Against Soundcloud

The Performing Rights Society today distributed an email announcing legal action against Soundcloud.

I love Soundcloud. I think it provides a great service. It allows musicians to share their music and be part of a community who, spammers aside, listen to and share their tracks.

What it doesn’t do however, is pay musicians for streams of their tracks. Even though the likes of Spotify offer a pittance compared to a full CD or download, they are at least making an effort to remunerate musicians. Soundcloud do not.

I believe in free culture: art, music, literature etc should be free to anyone, anywhere and anytime.

The kicker here is that there is a proportion of musicians who pay for a premium Soundcloud profile – Soundcloud have an income stream. The musicians who Soundcloud make money from are not financially compensated for their work being hosted and played the platform.

The PRS support their members by ensuring that if their music is played, the member is compensated accordingly. It means many retailers pay into a license that then feeds back to the artist, for example.

Soundcloud does not have a PRS license, hence musicians not being paid.

As an independent musician who uses the PRS to ensure that I get some compensation for the many gigs I play for free (£5 per pub gig – or £5 for 30 minutes work), I support their action.

As someone who uses Soundcloud to promote my work, I hope they find an amicable agreement.

The email from the PRS is in full below:

Dear Member,

PRS for Music begins legal action against SoundCloud

After careful consideration, and following five years of unsuccessful negotiations, we now find ourselves in a situation where we have no alternative but to commence legal proceedings against the online music service SoundCloud.

When a writer or publisher becomes a member of the Performing Right Society, they assign certain rights to their works over for us to administer, so it’s our job to ensure we collect and distribute royalties due to them. SoundCloud actively promotes and shares music. Launched in 2008, the service now has more than 175m unique listeners per month. Unfortunately, the organisation continues to deny it needs a PRS for Music licence for its existing service available in the UK and Europe, meaning it is not remunerating our members when their music is streamed by the SoundCloud platform.

Our aim is always to license services when they use our members’ music. It has been a difficult decision to begin legal action against SoundCloud but one we firmly believe is in the best, long-term interests of our membership. This is because it is important we establish the principle that a licence is required when services make available music to users. We have asked SoundCloud numerous times to recognise their responsibilities to take a licence to stop the infringement of our members’ copyrights but so far our requests have not been met. Therefore we now have no choice but to pursue the issue through the courts.

We understand SoundCloud has taken down some of our members’ works from their service. With our letter of claim, we sent SoundCloud a list of 4,500 musical works which are being made available on the service, as a sample of our repertoire being used, so that they understood the scale of our members’ repertoire and its use on the service. We asked them to take a licence to cover the use of all our members’ repertoire or otherwise stop infringing.

SoundCloud decided to respond to our claim by informing us that it had removed 250 posts. Unfortunately, we have no visibility or clarity on SoundCloud’s approach to removing works, so it is not currently clear why these particular posts have been selected by them given the wider issue of infringement that is occurring. Ultimately, it is SoundCloud’s decision as to whether it starts paying for the ongoing use of our members’ music or stops using these works entirely.

If the streaming market is to reach its true potential and offer a fair return for our members, organisations such as SoundCloud must pay for their use of our members’ music. We launched our Streamfair campaign in June to raise awareness of this issue and highlight how music creators need to be properly remunerated from streaming. We believe that all digital services should obtain a licence which grants them permission to use our members’ music and repertoire, in this case the works of songwriters, publishers and composers.

The streaming market cannot fairly develop unless this happens. We have always been pro-licensing and pro-actively work with organisations in order to propose an appropriate licensing solution for the use of our members’ works.

We remain hopeful that this matter can be resolved without the need for extended litigation. Members will appreciate that this is now a legal matter and our ability to communicate around it is therefore limited by the legal process. However, we will try to share information and updates whenever we can.

Please visit our website to read our frequently asked questions.

Yours faithfully,

Karen Buse

Executive Director, Membership and International
PRS for Music

Jamstar Acoustics

Jamstar AcousticsJamstar Acoustics is a new ‘virtual guitar teacher’ available as a web app or via Samsung Apps.

According to the friendly press guys: “Jamstar’s unique technology allows the app to listen to you as you play on your own guitar, giving you real time feedback and correcting you, bringing a whole new approach to learning to play the guitar, making it much easier and way more fun.”

The app itself is clearly laid out and easy to interpret, which is one of the most important facets any tutorial tool can have.

Jamstar Acoustic Lesson

The app is simple to use and looks like it could also be a lot of fun!

It’s great to see the opportunity to learn the guitar being afforded to people who might not be able to afford a one on one weekly tutor.

The democratisation of information facilitated by the Internet means that sharing knowledge and expertise, around any subject, can be done easily and relatively cheaply. If this means you get to learn a new skill, all the better.

If you like the sound of what you’ve heard so far, check out the introductory video below.

Top 10 Music Blogs of 2011

What are the top ten music blogs of 2011, I hear you ask?

Well, I’ve had a think about all of those that I’ve read regularly and listened music from avidly and whittled down to a little list that I hope you find time to investigate further!

Aquarium Drunkard – everything you need to know about music you’ve never heard of. Awesome.
yvynyl – simply, pick the best stuff, share. Great.
Abeano – award winning music blog, it wins awards for a reason…
Pinglewood – primarily video based, highly under rated
Off Modern – great collection of new music, intelligently picked
Gorilla vs. Bear – consistently finds new music, and it looks good too
Bear Eats Beats – into Indie & hip hop? This is the blog for you
Twenty Four Bit – amazing taste in music, a must read
Pigeons And Planes – need an introduction to a bunch of music you’ve never heard of? Pigeons And Planes does that job, spectacularly well.
Robot Pigeon – somehow the RP guys find bizarrely wonderful tracks from the most obscure of places, you’ll never leave

So, tell me, what music blogs have you discovered this year?

Spotify Royalties: Some Real Statistics

Spotify this week has once again been the focus of artists’ ire, as more than 200 labels chose to withdraw music from the service.

A post on Digital Music News revelaed research from NPD Group and NARM that claimed:

“access has been deemed ‘most detrimental’ to monetization across nearly all demographic categories”

What is lacking is a transparency from music streaming services that will allow people to decide fro themselves.

So, in a (small) attempt to make the money you receive for a ‘stream’ of one of your tracks a little less hidden, here’s a very basic breakdown from some first hand experience.

I signed up with Routenote, a digital music distribution service, a couple of years ago. It has been in the last few months that I’ve used Routenote to it’s potential, managing to get some of my old band’s tracks on Spotify (you can listen here if you like!).

*click the image to see a bigger version

In August we had 61 plays and earned $0.35016
In September we had 52 plays and earned $0.30396

So for just over 100 plays, we earned ourselves two-thirds of a dollar.

Now that might not seem like much to you, but that 100 plays as 100 more than we would have had otherwise.

To put it another way, the 100 plays is the equivalent of us selling 20 CDs at £3 each that are then only listened to once, straight from the disc.

That would net us £60 profit (our overheads from making the CD were covered years ago), a lot more than half a dollar.

It would seem to make NO SENSE to an outside figure who is interested only in the money at hand.

Why would you spend months creating something, only for its potential value to be made obsolete by uploading it to the Internet and making it publicly available for free?? ARE YOU NUTS?


The presence on Spotify helps, in my mind, to establish your footprint digitally. If you don’t get on the platform, someone else will, and they make take your potential audience with them.

It makes sharing your music with others easier too. Back in the day, you’d carry 100’s of CDs to gigs, that nobody would buy; now they can listen to you on Spotify and you save your back.

You might end up on a playlist of similar artists, stumbled across randomly by a Spotify user who happened to like your tracks.

Like many elements of our digital lives, there is an element of luck involved, if you are to succeed.

Think of ‘viral’ videos for example. The brands and people involved were lucky that they caught a wave of cultural phenomenon that their content played so well into.

Similarly, that job you got through Twitter? You wouldn’t have it if you’d made a cup of tea and watched the TV instead of checking your stream.

That half dollar may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it is half a dollar that has meant the band’s music has been listened to 100 times more than it would have otherwise been.

It has yet to lead to a sale or download, that much is true. But, if it does, that simple 5 minute process of uploading some tracks will have been made worthwhile.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Review

Noel Gallagher returns with his debut release, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, out on Sour Mash on October 17th.

The Chief has taken two years out since the end of Oasis and has put his time to good use, recording two albums; this, and the to-be-released next year follow up with Amorphous Androgynous.

It is rare that I’ll write a music review on Seldom Seen Kid these days, so please forgive my blatent self indulgence, just this once…

This could be the most important album that Noel has recorded since What’s The Story Morning Glory, not for himself, his past or even his future: it’s important for music to know that Noel Gallagher is still the standard by which all UK rock and roll should be measured.

There have been doubts, prompted by the more recent Oasis output, that Noel is, and was, a one-trick pony.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying birds will put to rest any claims that he had run out of gas.

The album is a 10 track exploration of Noel’s musical landscape.

There are songs, such as Stop The Clocks, which are more than ten years old that he recently admitted in an interview, didn’t fit with the constrains brought about by being in Oasis.

Stop The Clocks has been worth the wait, from the scratchy bootlegs that have lurked on the Internet, to this final full production, we’ve clamoured for it. It does not disappoint.

There are songs that show the mature Noel Gallagher that the media commentators choose to continue to ignore, but there are also instances where his playfulness shines through: this record is what every Noel Gallagher fan hoped it would be, and more.

It shows Noel heading in a less restricted direction, free to wander where he chooses, from the edge of acid house in AKA… What A life, to pomp and circumstance stadium rock on opener Everybody’s On The Run.

In Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks, Noel breaks into full Lennon/McCartney mode with brass and the most wonderfully crafted Beatles-borrowed melody – it’s a track that would sit quite neatly in the middle of Sgt. Pepper.

What’s so encouraging about the record is it’s diversity, each song leaves it’s own unique stamp on the LP and could be a single – there are no tracks that are filler here, each has their part to play.

From the brilliant, and long awaited (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine, to the Force of Nature-esque (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach, each song is indicative of a man who’s been biding his time with a collection of songs that he’s been waiting to share with the world for years.

It’s a record that is full of hope and quietly placed optimism; it’s a fresh and re-invigorated Noel Gallagher that greets us here, a man who’s now on his own and presenting us with access to potential greatness once more.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds may just be the wake up call the British music industry needs: it’s a genuine record that is full of genuine vigour and an authenticity that is missing in rock and roll.

Going solo may not be what Noel Gallagher wanted, but it’s given him an opportunity to stretch his musicality and the result is a truly wonderful album that could, just maybe, take Noel to a level that will re-instate him alongside the likes of Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

Noel, it’s good to have you back.

Track List

Everybody’s On The Run
Dream On
If I Had A Gun…
The Death Of You And Me
(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine
AKA… What A Life!
Soldier Boys And Jesus Freaks
AKA… Broken Arrow
(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach
Stop The Clocks

To get you going, here’s Alone On The Rope, a track that will not be appearing on the record, but is tipped to get a future standalone release: