Apple Gives a Preview of Revamped Music App

The first iOS 8.4 beta was just released by Apple, which includes the company’s revamped version of its Music application. The Apple Developer Center website is where the developers will be able to find the seed. The new software that’s present in iOS 8.4 beta includes the Music app, but the streaming service component will be announced by the firm in June at WWDC. Some of the features of the new app are highlighted below:

All New Design

Apple has given the music app a very beautiful new design, which makes it easier and more fun for people to explore their music collection. You can add your own image and a unique description for personalizing your playlists. You have the option of adding stunning pictures of your favorite artists and musicians in the Artists View. The album list displays all the albums and you can choose whichever album you like. The music you love and enjoy is only a tap away.

Recently Added 

Playlists and albums that you have added recently will be visible at the top of the library, which makes it effortless for people to find something they want to play. You only have to tap on play on the specific music and get it going.

Streamlined iTunes Radio 

It has become easier than ever for people to discover music with the iTunes Radio. The Recently Played category will show you your favorite stations and you can return to them easily. The Featured Stations section has a selection of hand-curated stations or you can also begin a new station from your favorite song or artist.

New MiniPlayer

You will be able to see what’s playing with the new MiniPlayer and you can easily control playback while you are going through your music collection. You just have to tap on the MiniPlayer for opening the Now Playing option.

Improved Now Playing 

A stunning new design has been given to Now Playing, which showcases the album picture and artwork exactly the way it should be. Furthermore, you can use AirPlay for beginning the streaming process wirelessly without even leaving Now Playing.

Up Next 

Finding out the songs that you want to play next has become quite simple now because you just have to go to the Up Next icon, which can be found in the Now Playing section. You can even add, reorder and skip songs if you want.

Global Search 

There is a magnifying glass in the music app, which allows you to search from anywhere. You will have no problem in finding the perfect song as the search results will be organized conveniently. An iTunes Radio station can be started directly from Search.

A new split-screen interface has also been added in the iPad version of the Music app and as far as the iPhone is concerned, the landscape interface has been removed altogether. Nonetheless, the icon for the app remains unchanged despite the numerous changes that the company has made with the introduction of the iOS 8.4 beta. 

Music Downloading from YouTube Made Easier

YouTube is one of the biggest platforms for listening music. If a song exists, you can find it there. However, don’t you wish you could just download songs from YouTube so you could listen to them whenever you want?

Luckily for you, is here to fulfill your wish. This is an amazing music downloader that enables you to download any song from YouTube on your PC. The software is very easy to use once you have downloaded it onto your computer. It can function without problems in Windows 7, 8, Vista and XP and the installation process is very straightforward.

It takes only a single click of your mouse to get you going. The best part is that there is no restriction on the number of songs you wish to download. You can download hundreds and thousands of songs as per your preference. In addition, you are allowed to download several songs at the same time so it is not a very time consuming process. Even when multiple files are being downloaded, works super-fast so you don’t have to wait long to listen to your favorite songs.

Furthermore, your downloading options aren't just limited to songs; you can download your favorite comedians, live concerts and performances and even commercials if it strikes your fancy. The software lets you convert the videos to M4A. FLAC, Mp3 and WMA. The music downloads are in the highest possible quality and the files are automatically saved with the same name as the video so your player will know the song you are playing.

Judith Hill opts for a Different Path in Music

Judith Hill, apparently knows the internet and how to navigate it, unlike Prince. The latter may not know anything about Spotify, the hugely popular streaming service, but Hill definitely knows a thing or two about as she used the website for launching her new album last month, which was produced by Prince and called ‘Back in Time’. Last weekend, Hill spoke about Live Nation before a dress rehearsal late at night at Paisley Park in Chanhassen. She said that it was an unconventional and exciting way of introducing new music to the people and it also has a complete database of e-mails.

She is absolutely right, apparently. While concerts have been promoted for Prince and numerous other stars by Live Nation, it has never been linked with music downloads. However, last month, for two complete days, offered Hill’s album for free download after making an e-mail pitch to its subscribers. Speaking with pride, Hill said that the first day brought 50,000 and the total number was around 150,000. She said that this was quite impressive as the files were quite large and it would be the number 1 album if it was the service called SoundScan, which tracks the sales of the music industry.

Of course you cannot exactly call Judith Hill a newcomer. She co-starred in ‘This is it’, the posthumous Michael Jackson tour-rehearsal movie in 2009, also appeared in ’20 Feet from Stardom’ in 2013, the documentary about backup vocalists that won an Oscar and was also a finalist in NBC’s The Voice in 2013. The 31-year old is one of the few singers who has had the honor of working with both Prince and Jackson and she took a long pause when she was asked to contrast. Finally, she said that Michael was quite different as he lived in his own world, had loads of dancers and kept the ideas flowing.

On the other hand, Prince works organically so there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles where he is involved. While Hill said that she did most of the songwriting for Back in Time, Prince played a key role in the arrangements of the album. The tunes range from belted blues and big ballads to social commentary regarding police-related killings and horn-flavored funk. Several instruments on the album were played by Prince and the project also includes performances from others in Prince’s circle such as the NPG horns and his drummers, John Blackwell and Kirk Johnson.

Since Live Nation made the announcement of Hill’s album, she has been sued by a New York producer Jolene Cherry as she had worked with them. Hill didn’t provide any information about the case. In 2013, she had signed a deal with Sony, but no album had been released. She doesn’t know the release date of Back in Time nor about the label that will be responsible. Not only will she open shows for Prince, but Hill will also play the club dates along with her band. 

Apple’s Beat Music Comes up with a New Strategy

Florence and the Machine and a dozen other music artists have been given exclusive deals by Apple Inc. for promoting a revamped version of Beats Music and persuading the music fans to ante up for getting the same thing that they are accustomed to getting without paying a dime. The British group, which is scheduled to release an album in June, is in talks with the iPhone maker about giving the company limited streaming rights to a song. Apart from that, others such as Taylor Swift have also been approached by Apple for partnerships, according to people with knowledge about the matter.

The idea behind these deals is that music lovers who are loathe to pay subscriptions to services will be convinced by the stars themselves. A similar tactic has been implemented by another streaming service called Tidal, which is owned by Jay Z and about 16 other stars in the music industry as they are attempting to steal the march from platforms such as YouTube and Spotify that allow people to listen glatis, as long as they are willing to deal with some ads. The offering from Apple Inc., who is the pioneer behind iTunes, the largest seller of music in the world, is just the most-watch subscription effort made by the firm.

According to some industry experts, it will be an interesting entry as the American giant will come into the industry armed with a complete ecosystem of devices with a rabid and loyal fan base. This means that a lot of the infrastructure that others need already exists for Apple. As per the reports, Beats Music will be retooled and then re-launched soon, probably with a new name. Individuals will be able to take advantage of a $9.99 month subscription whereas $14.99 will be needed for subscribing to a family plan.

Tidal, which is charging $9.99 for the standard package and $19.99 for the high-fidelity package is hyping exclusive tracks from two of its owners, Rihanna and Beyonce. Some experts are of the opinion any subscription-needing streaming service would have to offer something really unique to people to make it worthwhile and Apple could actually have that with the Beats name. The smartphone giant bought the headphone maker and streaming service in May, 2014 for $3 billion. Beats Electronics is the largest acquisition made by Apple. Co-founders Dr Dre., the producer and rapper, and the former chairman of the record label Interscope Geffen A&M, Jimmy Iovine joined Apple for working with it on the iTunes music platform.

No comments were made by labels representing Swift and Florence and the Machine and neither were Apple’s spokespeople forthcoming. Other platforms are interested in knowing how much Apple will leverage iTunes and the iTunes Radio. The giants that will be toppled if Apple does succeed will include names like Spotify, the streaming service with about 60 million users, and Google’s YouTube, which has been the top online spot for music and introduced Music Key, an ad-free service for its customers. 

Scott Weiland’s Guitarist Dead

Guitarist for the Wildabouts and Scott Weiland, Jeremy Brown died at the age of 34 on Monday because of undisclosed causes. His death occurred only a day before Blaster, the debut album of the group was slated for release. The news was revealed to fans by Weiland via Facebook who wrote that the band had become anxious when the guitarist didn’t show up on Monday for rehearsals just before their album release. For seven years, he had worked with the Stone Temple Pilots.

Weiland stated that he had been worried when Jeremy didn’t show up, but had been shocked to the core when his family called to inform them about his untimely death. He said that it was a terrible loss because Jeremy was a true genius and also one of his dearest and closest friends. Weiland and Brown first worked together in 2008 when the singer had recorded ‘Happy’, his first solo album in Galoshes. Along Danny Thompson, the Wildabouts drummer and Tommy Black, the bassist, Brown had gone with Weiland on the road for the Purple to the Core tour of the singer, where he performed Purple and Core of the Stone Temple Pilots live.

Weiland had been truly inspired by the chemistry of the group and had begun recording Blaster with his backing band. Weiland said that the sound had felt infectious and original and incited the same feelings he had experienced in his first couple of records. He asserted that Blaster had the band sound and a lot of the riffs had been brought on by Brown. After Weiland learned about Brown’s death, he canceled the release of the band’s album at the Los Angeles’ School Night on Monday.

In his post, Weiland said that the social network wasn’t enough to convey the hole Brown’s death would leave and he was sorry for the talent that had ended too early. 

Photo Shoots, Shoot Outs, And a Tick

Recently Kurt and I had a photo shoot since we were running out of images to get us through the Year of the Groove. It's always kind of funny to me when, from the outside looking in, my life might seem a little extra glamorous for a day. I always feel like I need to make clear to people that it is only a mirage. And it's not even that people around me think my life is glamorous, because all they need to do is come to my house and see that my recycling is piling up, I only fold my laundry once a season, and nothing more than 12" back in my fridge is probably safe for human consumption. But online, it's so easy to filter what gets posted, and only allow the majority of acquaintances to get a glimpse of the highlights. [Don't we all do this? This is why we should never compare ourselves to others.]

Read Full post here.

Avril Lavigne Was Missing Because Of The Lyme Disease

Avril Lavigne had gone MIA (missing in action) for quite a few months now. Her fans were worried about her disappearance and now she is finally out of her hibernation and in front of the world. What she told was quite painful for her fans. She had been missing from action because she had Lyme disease. She was not well and with her health condition she couldn’t have performed for her fans. She could not work on any projects during this period of missing and now she is disclosing her feelings about how she felt during these 6 months.

Close to the end of the last year she went missing because her doctors had found out that she had Lyme disease. This is a disease spread by ticks and you would never know about the bite of the tick because in most people no rashes are formed and no itching occurs after the bite. However, the signs start to emerge slowly and this one little bite from a little bug could make you stay on bed for months. Joint pains and tiredness are some of the main symptoms of the condition. Symptoms of the disease might also include severe headaches.

Avril is only 30 years of age so she could fight the disease but still it was severe enough to keep her on bed for 6 months. Avril explains in her own words that she felt as if someone had pulled her life out of her. She could not move from her bed. She said she could not even take baths for weeks because she was too weak to get off the bed. She even said that her condition was so bad that she didn’t even feel like talking. There was her husband and her mom to take care of her during this ordeal.

Avril says that she is quite better now. She almost fit by 80% so now she can get back to her work. She also mentioned that she was only in contact with one of her fans during this time and kept her condition secret from rest of the fans. However, news about her health spread all around on social media but she did not mind that. In fact, she said she felt happy when her fans shared their pictures and videos with her to show her how much they love her. Since 2013 there has been a pause on her albums.

There is a song coming from her for Special Olympics though. Avril has mentioned that she felt a change in how she thinks after all that happened to her. She has been working since she was only 17 without stopping. She said that 6 months of time away from work has given her enough time to think about importance of other things in her life. She said she has always been working and had never found this much time away from her work. However, she says now she has known other things in her life such as true happiness and family.

Avril, who looks full of life whenever you look at her, has mentioned that her condition has made her change a lot in her diet. She is not focusing on eating sugar free and gluten free stuff. She is picking up mostly the all-organic stuff in her food. She even said that now she is taking time off her schedule every day to do some yoga and walking. She is also meditating. She said she will also talk about her disease with others because many of her doctors could not diagnose it for several months but she wants to keep her fans informed beforehand.

Music Stars Team up for Launching Streaming Service

Acquired by music mogul and rapper Jay-Z, the high-definition music streaming service called Tidal is gearing up for its official re-launching after change of ownership. The service will make its re-launch later today by, according to reports, making a move for snagging the new releases of the some of the most notable and biggest musicians at the moment including Madonna, Kayne West and Daft Punk, before the releases will become available at competitors like Beats and Spotify. Invites have been sent out by the company for a press conference that will be held today in which an announcement will be made by Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter.

The rapper will express their commitment to taking the music industry in a new direction from the both the business and creative point of view. While not many details have been released officially, the unofficial mill has reported that the event will be used by the company for confirming the first major and big-name artists that will be using the Tidal platform exclusively for streaming music. The question is what those artists will be doing on the service? Clearly, this deal is not just a regular streaming one. It was reported by some close sources that the plan of attack of Tidal included signing first-window deals with the artists.

These deals would mean that the streaming service would be able to get the first releases of songs from major artists before any major digital streaming service could. This exclusive deal will be followed for only a short period as these tracks will eventually be available on Deezer, Spotify and other services. This is highly similar to the way services like Netflix only get movies after they have been shown in cinemas and been released on DVD and consequently Vessel is attempting to break this cycle.

Those who keep track of music news or follow musicians on social media networks will not be very surprised to learn about the list of stars joining Tidal as it includes several big-name musicians like Beyonce, Kanye West, Calvin Harris, Arcade Fire and Madonna. They are using the hashtag #tidalforall on Instagram and Twitter and have even changed their profile to a turquoise blue color for sending the message of their support to the service. Last week, even Taylor Swift’s catalog was added to Tidal, even though there was no sign of the 1989 album. While this deal isn’t exclusive, but has laid down groundwork for the country singer’s music to come to the platform first.

Why are artists willingly joining Tidal? Some part of it has to do with Jay-Z. A long list of musicians work with his Roc Nation agency for providing management, publishing, label and other services and Tidal has become just another step for the agency to become a one-stop shop for music distribution. Apart from that, the streaming service is also offering some attractive terms as opposed to others including payouts double of what rivals are paying. This could be the cherry that Tidal needs as artists are complaining that they don’t get enough returns because of digital music. 

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris Hold Hands

The country singer may just have found someone to fill that blank space. Taylor Swift was spotted holding hands with DJ Calvin Harris when the two were leaving a concert at the Troubadour on Thursday in West Hollywood. The pair had gone out to attend a concert by Haim, who is a part of the 25-year-old singer’s fabulous circle of talented pals.

The first rumors about the country singer dating the 31-year-old Harris first appeared on Thursday when the couple was spotted showing PDA at the Nashville concert of Kenny Chesney where a surprise onstage appearance had been made by the ‘Shake it Off’ singer.

However, Swift was alone when she attended the iHeartRadio Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles even though Harris also won the award for the best dance song of the year, for his song ‘Summer’. In the meanwhile, several awards were scooped up by Swift, which include the Artist of the Year.

Both singers are familiar with dating people in the public eye. Taylor has had some high-profile romances with the likes of John Mayer, Jake Gyllenhaal and Harry Styles. Harris, on the other hand has dated one of Swift’s friend, Ellie Goulding, as well as British artist Rita Ora. 

Headline Tour Announced by James Bay

James Bay, the rising star, has decided to celebrate the release of his number 1 debut album that’s titled ‘Chaos and the Calm’ by making the announcement for the tour of the album in September/October 2015.

James already has a tour scheduled this autumn in April 2015, which is sold out and involves him performing in about 12 cities. This also includes a show he will do at the iconic Bixton Academy of London. Bay is a really good guitar player, a modern and singular talent and a song-writer as well as a singer. He has spent the last 2 years on tour and has connected with audiences all over the world through his mesmerizing live shows.

The 24-year-old has tours sold out in Europe, US, Australia and the UK and the British musician is on his way to becoming a worldwide sensation. Chaos and the Calm, which was released last week has won plaudits for its infectious melodies, confessional lyrics and catchy songs. The narrative of the album sheds light on self-discovery, escapism and the emotional adjustments needed for keeping up with the singer’s fast changing circumstances in the last few years.

The musical spectrum of the singer comprises of rousing choruses with raging guitar and acoustic balladry that tingles your spine. 

Some Insight On Klezmer Music

Derived from the Yiddish language, originally the word Klezmer meant ‘musician’. Inspired from the Yiddish art and traditions, Klezmer has come to characterize the style of secular music that’s played at joyful occasions such as weddings by the Jews in Eastern Europe who are called Ashkenazi.

The purpose of Klezmer music is to replicate the voice of humans, which includes the sound of laughing, crying and wailing. This imitation is usually done with the violin. Most of the time, a Klezmer band usually comprises of a drum, cello or bass, fiddle and clarinet. Some secondary instruments are also used, which include accordion and hammered dulcimers. Even though this particular music draws on the ancient traditions of the Jews, Klezmer music has also incorporated different sounds of music from international and European traditions.

This includes early jazz, French Café music, European folk music such as Russian music and Roma (gypsy) music. In various areas of Central and Eastern Europe, there was a different development of Klezmer music, which has led to the availability of some really exciting subgenres.

According to Israel Zohar, the beauty of this type of music is that it is primarily made for dancing. Set dances are the common dances that are intended to go along with Klezmer music, which are similar to contra or Anglo square dances. There are also numerous traditional polkas and waltzes associated with Klezmer music and some polkas and tangoes were picked by several musicians in later years that have remained an important part of the repertoire.

The tradition of Klezmer music was nearly decimated by the Holocaust just like various other aspects of the European Jewish culture. Because Klezmer is an aural tradition like most folk musics, the music died with the death of the old musicians. However, there were a few sparse survivors who aided in revitalizing the music and tireless efforts have been made by musicologists for recording their repertoires. 

Zayn Malik Leaves One Direction

Mourn all you One Direction fans as Zayn Malik has decided to quit. Last week, the 22-year-old star returned home to the UK in the midst of the band’s On the Road Again Tour after photos of him holding hands with a female in Thailand in the beginning of the month. The photos also showed him with his arms around a girl, despite the fact that he was engaged to Perrie Edwards, the Little Mix singer. He signed off due to stress and the public upheaval that followed and had flown back home for recuperating.

However, the band, which also consists of Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne have officially confirmed that Zayn has decided to quit and go his own way. Zayn uploaded a heart-felt post on Facebook in which he explained his decision. He wrote that the five years he had spent with the band had been the best ones, but he thought that this was the right time to leave. He apologized for letting down his fans, but said that he had to do what was right for him. He added that his bandmates would remain his best friends for life. He was leaving because he wants to live like a normal 22-year-old and out of the spotlight.

One Direction had formed in 2010 on The X Factor UK after the five had auditioned as solo artists. The band will continue without Zayn as they wrap up their tour and will record their fifth album that’s due for release later this year. Zayn’s pal had some kind words for their mate too. They said they were sad that he was leaving, but fully supported his decision. The four piece also said that they would always be friends with Zayn and were looking forward to recording their new album and seeing their fans on the next world tour.

The extent of their sadness could be judged from the fact that Harry Styles broke down in tears on the stage in Jakarta, Thailand where they were performing, a few hours after the news went public. Simon Cowell, who had signed the band to his label Syco after their performance on The X Factor, also spoke out. He appreciated Zayn for the contribution he had made to the band and expressed his pride in the handsome star. He said that he was really sorry that Zayn had to go, but it was understandable as he had always been the introspective and shy one of the lot.

He assured all One Direction fans that the band would continue and the remaining four members were hugely excited about the future of the band. Zayn’s sister also spoke out on Instagram on behalf of her brother at the end of last week. She stated that he was still ‘human’ and he had been very upset and hurt at the way people had reacted to the photographs and accused him of being unfaithful to his fiancée Perrie Edwards. The band, for now, fill continue their tour without Zayn. 

New Song Revealed by Ringo Starr

All set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ringo Starr’s new song has been premiered by Billboard from Postcards From Paradise, which is his 18th solo album, due to release on March 31st. Starr told Billboards that this album is part of his being as it is a reflection of what he does i.e. making the best possible records.

He added that the music was homemade as it begins with a little synthesizer part or drum. He also stated that the music starts with him, along with Bruce Sugar, his engineer who also has some really good ideas. Then, he asserted that he takes those songs and asks his friends for help.

On the 2003 song that was titled Memphis in Your Mind, Ringo had paid tribute to Sun Records and Memphis and he said that this latest track reminded him about the sound of that city. Starr said that he had called Glen Ballard for making a record and had given him a choice between two basic tracks that he had cut with his engineer. He said that this one had been chosen by Glen and had been turned into ‘Confirmation’. Memphis had been the original name of this track because it gave the feel of Memphis, but it had now been renamed as Confirmation. 

Beats and Apple Creating a Music Streaming Service for Rivaling Spotify

Apple Inc. is making perhaps the most prominent and biggest change to its music strategy in years and moving ahead sweeping renovation of its digital music service, which would enable the firm to compete directly with streaming services such as Spotify. Almost a year after the iPhone maker had purchased the maker of a streaming music service and hip headphones Beats for $3 billion, the company is now working alongside Beats executives and engineers for introducing its own subscription streaming service. It is also in the plans of the firm to introduce an enhanced iTunes Radio, which would be tailored to the preferences of listeners in the regional market.

According to people with knowledge of the company’s plans, if the American technology giant is successful in its venture, it would mean that splashy new albums will first become available on iTunes rather than elsewhere. It is to be noted that Beats is vital in the overhaul of Apple’s digital music as a musician has been made a point man by the firm for reshaping the music app of the iPhone in order to include the streaming music service rather than an engineer. According to two employees of Apple working on the project, the chief creative officer of Beats and the front-man of the Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor has been given the responsibility of redesigning the music app.

However, the most telling part of Apple’s role is the lack of one important feature; a lower subscription than competing services. Several music executives of the Cupertino, California company said that Apple had recently tried, but failed to convince record labels to reduce their licensing costs. This would have enabled Apple to sell subscription to its customers for a price as low as $8 a month, a reduced one as compared to the $10 that’s charged by rival services such as Rdio, Spotify and Rhapsody.

Even though $2 isn’t really a huge reduction, the failure of the iPhone maker to secure it shows the change in its relationship with the music industry. Once, the company had enjoyed enormous negotiating power because it had been a dominant force in digital music and had pioneered it a decade ago through music downloads. Now, the company has to encounter a number of competitors and has found itself in a position where it needs to modernize its offerings in order to stay in line with the streaming revolution.

Thus, the firm’s leverage has weakened in the industry and the labels are extremely pleased with it. According to analysts, Apple had to struggle for lowering the price of its subscription service because it came too late to the streaming game. The company is used to being the leader rather than the follower and this is one of the few times that it had to play catch-up, which means it’s without a position of strength. Nonetheless, the shift is quite important because more and more users have now moved onto the concept of streaming rather than going for music downloads. 

One Direction’s Zayn Malik Leaves Tour

Zayn Malik has abandoned his One Direction Tour. Currently, the band is performing all over the globe on their fourth tour called On the Road Again, but the British star has decided to leave without completing it. Zayn, who is engaged to Perrie Edwards, has been signed off from the tour citing stress and anxiety. This is primarily due to the furor caused when the singer was photographed with another girl in Phuket, Thailand. One picture showed him holding a blonde’s hand whereas he had arms around her stomach in another.

The 22-year-old spoke out against the ongoing speculation about his relationship with the Little Mix pop-star by declaring his love for his fiancée to his 14.1 million Twitter followers. He declared his love for Perrie and said that his actions were only being questioned by jealous individuals. One Direction is one of the biggest music acts of the world and they will continue to play shows from the Philippines and South Africa, through the United States and Europe, while Zayn returns home to Britain. A spokesman of the band said that he was going home to recuperate while the band would continue with their performances.

Zayn’s fellow bandmates didn't make any comments about the events on social media, but they wish their mate well, as per the spokesperson. During a recent concert held in Hong Kong, which was sold-out, Zayn’s lack of engagement and difficulty in smiling were noted. Apart from that, he and Louis Tomlinson, his bandmate, were asked by the Philippine government to pay a bond of $5000 as a guarantee that they wouldn’t use drugs while they conduct a concert in the country. A local anti-drug group had cited an old video of the two singers smoking marijuana before they left Peru.

While there was no proof available against this allegation, the band had apologized for the controversy caused by the video. According to reports, the 22-year-old singer also pulled out of a Coca Cola commercial to be filmed in Hong Kong so he could return to the UK for spending time with his family and relieving stress. 

J Lo Thinks Rihanna is Sweet

Jennifer Lopez has just revealed that she is a big fan of Rihanna. After working together when they voiced characters for the movie Home, the 27-yeard old Rihanna and the 45-year old J Lo became fast friends. Rihanna expressed her interest in recording a song with the Jenny from the Block star. In reply, Jennifer Lopez also shared her views on collaboration.

J Lo said that she was a huge fan of Rihanna because she was a girl’s girl, which made them very much alike. She added that Rihanna’s edginess added to her appeal and she had made a great effort in the movie. She was asked if she would be interested in working musically with Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez was all for it.

Rihanna wasn’t the only singer that Jennifer praised; she also shared her admiration for 22-year-old Demi Lovato. She said that Demi was amazing and they had hit it off when they met. J Lo said that Demi was really smart and soulful and she liked spending time with her.

The Story Behind It's You I Love

This month's release was one of our "in case of emergency, break glass" releases for the Year of the Groove.  We had planned to put out a song I wrote called "Human" this month, but after talking about the promotional angles, we decided to wait on that one until we could properly line things up and not rush. So, we pulled out this track that was never officially released, polished up the mix, mastered it, and sent it through the pipeline.  It would have been released eventually on an EP I've got planned in my head, but I'm excited it's out there now because I actually really love this track and I'm glad to be able to talk about how it came about.

The Situation

Quite often, Kurt and I get emails with pitch opportunities for film and TV licensing. This is one of the few remaining revenue streams for songwriters and producers anymore, since there is hardly any income to be made from selling music directly to the public now that no one buys CDs or purchases downloads like they used to. And we all know streaming barely pays anything. So there are thousands of songwriter/producer types like us who receive these emails and they often have some type of request which tells what style of music they are looking for and what they want the lyrics to be about. They often have 1 to 3 songs they reference to give examples of what they like. And pretty much always they need it in the next day or so.  Sometimes by the end of that same day.  Oh, and there's never any money up front, so you're basically doing this for free and sometimes [like in this case] we spend money out of pocket to pay the talent.

Those who are driven enough to "go for it" then might set their life aside for the next 24 to 48 hours and CRANK IT OUT.  I mean… the whole premise is "if you have anything that fits this description send it in" as though people have something just laying around, but who are we kidding?  What are the odds you're just going to happen to have a song in the exact style with the exact lyrical topic they want?

"It's You I Love" was the product of one of these "go for it" moments.  Now… they don't all turn out great.  Some of them turn out to be hunormous turds.  But sometimes, we end up with something much different than anything we'd do when left to our own devices, and we have a new song that expands our envelope.  We consider this song to fall into that latter category.

I can't even remember what the exact product was for this pitch opportunity, but it was some type of liquor ad.  I DO remember that the two musical references they gave seemed to have zero overlap and I was perplexed as to how to make sense of the two reference songs in terms of finding common elements to work into our song. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes the reference track has spaghetti western guitar, brass stabs, a slow swaggering groove, and lush strings with a lyric about longing to be with someone, and so then we incorporate all of those things into our track at the same tempo as the reference and hope that the client might hear it and feel like they have that other track, the one they can't afford.  I mean, our song is completely original and unique, but if we give them the same type of "ear candy" and emotional tone they're looking for, they'd be more likely to use it and we'd be more likely to pay off the rest of our grad school loans.  [Yes… STILL working off the student loans… #pukinginmymouth]  But in this case, one of the songs had kind of a creepy sound with a low droning male vocal and the other reference was "Something Stupid" by Frank Sinatra.  I believe their point was that they wanted the music to have a clear disparity from the visual, so they had those two different examples of music that didn't fit with their video of people out on the town enjoying this brand of liquor.

What to do??  We ended up musically going with the low droning male vocal, and my songwriting takeaway was "creepy love song".  Now this particular opportunity came when I had to teach at Belmont University that day and would be busy until the afternoon.  Kurt ended up working on the track for it while I was on campus, and by the time I picked up our son from his tutorial and came home around 3:30, he had an mp3 of the track to send me so I could write a lyric and melody over it.
The Creative Process

In my years of being creative, I've figured out that often the creative process happens in three stages.  First you ponder until you have a solid concept, then you flow out a first draft, then you edit.  If you get ahead in steps, it doesn't go well.  If you try to flow without a concept, it doesn't end up being as good, and if you try to edit before you flow out your first draft, it's like driving with your foot on the gas and break at the same time.  Flow is from your instincts, edit is from your craft. Flow comes from the soul, edit comes from the brain. You need to give the soul time to empty some ideas out before you start interfering.   So… fortunately I had a good solid concept before I even sat down to write: the guy singing is a phantom in love with a woman that he can never be with because… well for obvious reasons.  Unfulfilled longing with a paranormal twist. Also... I really wanted to use the phrase "ghost with the most".

The Lyric

When I go back in my documents, this is the earliest draft of my lyric that I have:

I’m a soul set afloat
in the atmosphere
I’m the ghost with the most
never to be feared
Oh the taste of my kiss
is ethereal bliss
it’s your drug
your drug

So I watch when you walk
as I drift above
Got a crowd in the cloud
but it’s you I love
As you pass through my haze
paranormal blaze
I’m your sun
your sun

Oh it’s you I love
Oh it’s you I love

One thing I encourage my students to do, which I obviously did here, is when you're flowing out your first draft, you don't over think it and try not to get too hung up on any one particular phrase, you just write down what comes to you and move on to the next phrase, knowing that much of it might end up just being "place holder lyrics" which will later be edited.  [What does "crowd in the cloud" even mean??] This is especially important when you're writing under a time constraint and need to have 'something' down.  Because when you've got to have a song finished, bad lyrics are better than no lyrics, amma right?  [Incidentally, this process became much easier for me after several years of doing improv comedy shows where I had to learn to make up a song on the spot in front of an audience… it really wired my brain to not over think it and just go with my first idea.]  I probably came up with this in about a half hour, at which point I sang it for Kurt.  He liked the direction I was going and so I started editing my lyric. Now, if I had sat down without the concept of this being from a phantom, my flow would have turned out like total crap most likely.  You've GOT to have a concept to start with.  Sometimes the concept is just a non-lyrical melodic idea, sometimes it's just a song title.  But that's still something.

I didn't have much time to fine tune the lyric because we were going to record the vocal the next morning. That's actually longer, though, than I've had on some other occasions.  Sometimes I've gotten the track at 3:30 and the singer is coming at 7 because we've got to cut the vocal, get it mixed, and have it turned in by the next morning. [That's how it was with Freak the Beat.] So… to have the whole evening for editing is nice, but then again, I'm still a mom so I've got to make dinner and do the whole bed time thing…

Here is how I edited that lyric.

I’m a soul set afloat
in the atmosphere
I’m the ghost with the most
never to be feared
Oh the taste of my kiss
is ethereal bliss
on your tongue
your tongue

So I watch when you walk
as I drift above
There’s a hole in my soul
‘cause it’s you I love
As you pass through my haze
paranormal blaze
You’re the sun
my sun

Oh it’s you I love
Oh it’s you I love

Something I deliberately did was use words that were strong in imagery and flavor.  Some $5 phrases and words like atmosphere and ethereal bliss and paranormal blaze make this lyric more distinctive.  But the one word I purposely used just for the slightly jarring effect was "tongue."  I had a lot of different options like "in your mind" or "on your lips" but they didn't have the same impact as "on your tongue".  The word tongue would be harder to ignore and evoke a greater emotional response from the listener. [ I still think it's gross. ]

I'm happy with this lyric.  I like that it's not boring or cliché. [Incidentally, I wrote this before Moves Like Jagger came out with "take me by the tongue and I'll show you"]

The Vocal

It's not unusual in situations like this for Kurt and me to be talking at 11PM about who we could call to sing for us the next morning.  I'll be looking for samples of someone's singing on soundcloud or youtube to show Kurt, or we'll talk about people we've used in the past and decide if they can do what we need. Then we try to get in touch, hoping they're still up, to see if they're available.  It just so happened in this case that Kurt had a writing appointment scheduled with Nathan Barlowe, who he had done some gigs with in the past.  Nathan has a voice that was perfect for this, so when he showed up to write with Kurt the next day, we informed him that he was going to sing instead, and seeing as we didn't give him much choice, he graciously obliged and got behind the mic.  I told him to imagine this is some pervy dude with beer on his breath whispering lecherous thoughts into the ear of some innocent young woman.  I wanted it to sound like he was right up close.  So we put the mic at a very hot input level so that he didn't have to sing out too much.  He did the high octave first and then the low octave, and I remember thinking it was both sexy and gross at the same time.  Perfect.  [Incidentally Nathan is a member of the industrial rock band Five Knives, and he's kind of a rock star, so you should check them out.]

What Happened Next

So, we finished up the vocal session, got the song mixed and turned in, and as happens so often, we never really heard anything back and after a while assumed we didn't get the placement and went on with life.  But we both felt like this track "had something".  It's not bland, it's not middle of the road.  It's got a distinct character, and so we wanted to do something with it on our own.  But then I realized, since I had sung the high vocal over his chorus, it would make more sense for there to be a verse from the female.  In our short time constraints, we had repeated the second half of the first verse again where the second verse would go, which for a pitch opportunity isn't terrible, but if we were to release it, it needed to be more properly formed.

This was a slight conundrum because I hadn't really thought much beyond the phantom point of view and when I thought about writing a second verse, it took me a moment to finally land on the [now looking back quite obvious] conclusion that the second verse needed to be from the human counterpart.  But then I had to figure out what she might have to say.  Did she even know he was there?  Did she find him offensive?  Or does she sense his presence and does she like it?  I decided to go with that last option and wrote out this first draft of a second verse…

I am flesh
but I cannot speak
How I ache for the spell
of your phantom heat
I’m a slave to the rush
of your phantom touch
I become

Now, clearly this was my "don't over think it just flow out your ideas" draft because I'd never end up settling for using the word phantom twice like that.  But, that was my place holder until I could come up with something better.  After hammering it out a bit, this was my final draft of the verse 2 lyric…

I am flesh
but I’m incomplete
Every breath, every step
oh, it’s you I seek
I’m a slave to the rush
of your whisper touch
I become

What Hadn't I Planned On 

So now that I had a second verse lyric I was happy with, it occurred to me that the key of this song was going to land me at the absolute ROCK BOTTOM of my vocal range. It's actually a half step lower than the lowest note I can sing, so when it came time for me to record my vocal I had to do what some people refer to as a vocal "fry" to get out those low notes. And then we stacked it and I sang it up the octave.  The other problem was that although my vocal added a great element as the high eerie female top end during the chorus, my vocal on the verse wasn't neeeeearly as cool or vibey or badass as Nathan's vocal.  Not even CLOSE.  I'm a little wood sprite and he's a rock star.  So… we had to put major distortion on my vocal and do all that we could so that it wouldn't be a complete let down when that part happened.  In all honestly, Ellen the vocalist is rarely good enough to make Ellen the producer happy, and this was one of those times when I felt my vocal limitations. But I am what I am, and I'll be the best me I can be. [For the record, I'm quite happy with my vocal on Glitter & Bliss.]

Music Theory Talk

OK, if you're not a music person and don't care about theory, feel free to skip this section.  But I want to point out that this track is harmonically darker because it contains the flat 2 scale degree in several places, which means that it's sometimes in Phrygian mode.  For those who don't know what that is, it's basically a minor scale with a flat 2 scale degree, or it's what you'd get if you play from E up to E on all the white keys of a piano, with E being the tonic, or 1, of the key.  Now the flat 2 doesn't happen each and every time, but it does happen in the low bass synth part in the track and in the vocal melody on the verse.  The word "tongue" the second time it's sung is on the flat 2.   Then when it gets to the "oooh" of the chorus, we go to the natural 2.  So the verse is Phrygian and the chorus is Aeolian or natural minor in the vocal melody.  I give Kurt all the credit for this fantastic choice as it completely influenced the tone of my melody and lyric.

In Summary

Overall, I actually love this track.  I love how it's different from our other tracks, and it was a fun lyric to write for me.  I love Nathan's sexy gross vocal, and I am honored to have my modest voice next to his in this duet. [The dude's been co-writing with Steven Tyler lately, just check his instagram account. I'm telling you, he's a rock star.]  I have no idea where this song will end up, it may be a complete flop or a break out money maker.  Regardless, I'm happy with myself as a songwriter on this one, and I'm please with what we produced in the face of the creative challenge we were given.


Pick Your Favorite Musical Equipment With Coupons On American Musical Supply

Music runs in people’s blood. People all over the world regardless of their location and beliefs like to hear music. Then there are those who go a step further and learn to play an instrument. It’s unlucky that cheap stuff is hard to come by these days and musical instruments are no exception. Many people aren't able to play their favorite musical instruments or pick up a good quality instrument because of the price barriers. With discount coupons and special promotions these instruments can be purchased at affordable prices but where to find these discounts coupons and special promotions?

Good thing that we have online websites available that have some really amazing discount coupons available for people to buy things at affordable and discounted prices. American Musical Supply is one of the most popular destinations for anyone looking to buy a musical instrument. Great quality musical instruments, affordable prices, variety of items and impressive customer service is what makes American Musical Supply a favorite of millions of people when it comes to buying musical instruments. Now, if you need a musical instrument the best route for you to take is to get coupons for american musical supply here first and then buy your instrument from American Musical Supply.

There are several online websites on which you will get discount coupons for American Musical Supply. From acoustic guitars to all DJ components, you get it all on American Musical Supply. The best thing is that these discount coupons are available for almost any instrument or musical component that you might be looking for. The discount coupons are also available for special days and occasions. What’s most impressive about these discount coupons is that you can get up to a huge 81% discount on select items using these coupons.

The discount coupons for American Musical Supply’s outlet zone are extremely popular. This is the zone where you get some really unique items. In addition to that, you can get up to 10% discount on any order. Better yet, there is free shipping available on anything you buy off the website that is $30 or more. DJs would be greatly thankful to these coupons because they can get up to 14% discount on their controllers. Using these coupons is extremely easy. A small coupon code needs to be provided when you have nearly reached the end of your order placement process and you are able to get the discount.

Kelly Clarkson Doesn’t Display Award Wins

The 32-year-old singer doesn't want to look ‘cheesy’ so she keeps her awards hidden in a secret part of her home. Many gongs have been given to Kelly Clarkson over the years, which include multiple AMAs and Billboards and also three Grammys. The singer doesn't want to come off as self-obsessed even though she is definitely proud of her achievements. Therefore, she has chosen to store her accolades somewhere they aren't easily visible to her friends.

The singer said that she had kept them on the fourth floor, the equivalent of an attic. She said that she didn't want people to think of her as super-cheesy, but she knows they are there so she can be proud of what she has done. Not only has she been awarded in her own right, she has also written songs for other artists as well. Her song, Tell me a Lie was recorded by One Direction, even though initially she hadn't been sure to about it. Because she hadn’t heard of the boy band before, she checked them 'out on YouTube first to ensure they ‘didn’t suck’.

Her career is in her stellar period right now and even on the home front, things are definitely looking up for Kelly Clarkson. Last June, a daughter River, was born to her and her husband Brandon Blackstock, who also has two children of his own. Kelly’s life has been enriched since she became a mother and has brought some changes as well. The most important one is that she doesn't get drunk anymore. 

Gallagher Brothers’ Feud Over

Brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher, former Oasis front men, have finally ended their long standing and renowned conflict. In 2009, Liam quit the group just as they were about to go on stage. In the past few years, the brothers have had some really memorable and public arguments and it didn't seem as if they would reconcile. However, recent events dictate that the siblings may have finally put their differences aside once and for all.

On Saturday, Liam tweeted a picture of himself holding an Access All Areas pass for a gig of his brother’s band, the High Flying Birds, in Milan. Apart from that, he also posted an encouraging and motivational tweet for his brother before his show at Manchester’s Arena. The outspoken Mancunian brothers have warred with each other over the years and have exchanged numerous insults. Last year, things seemed to have reached a head as Noel called Liam crazy in an interview.

Liam wasn' the one to stay quiet and the 42-year-old said that when they were together in Oasis, he hated working along his brother. However, in January of this year, there were rumors of reconciliations as they were spotted in Ireland at a family wedding. The rumors also said that the Gallaghers were even planning on opening a bar together. 

Marcus Mumford has no Shortage of Ideas

According to Marcus Mumford, there was no shortage of content for them that could be included in the upcoming album of his band. Mumford and Sons was founded by the 28-year-old singer in 2007, but in 2013, the group went on hiatus. Three months later, it reunited for working on their third album titled Wilder Mind, which has a release date of May.

A new single called Believe was released by the group yesterday, which includes Ted Dwane, Winston Marshall and Ben Lovett, along with Marcus Mumford. The song was aimed to give their fans a hint about their latest electric vibe. The new lyrics of the band have formed a mixture of their renowned folk sound with something more touching, making them more heartfelt. Marcus provided an explanation about this.

He was asked if certain members of the band had had a painful time in recording the forthcoming tracks. In reply, Marcus said that the songs were about the year-long experience of four individuals so they had plenty of stuff and content they could incorporate into songs. He said that some great lyrics had been written.

In his opinion, the competition is not between the writers; it is between songs. If the lyrics are good, the song will be in, regardless of who wrote it. He asserted that singing lyrics written by someone else could also prove to be a relishing, enjoyable and exciting experience that he wasn’t likely to forget. Doing so gave the band members the opportunity to empathize with each other, drawing them close so they didn't have to ask the meaning of certain lines.

During the break taken by the group, they picked up electrics and left behind their acoustic instruments. Instead of feeling like a departure, the change felt completely natural and right to the band members. 

The Notionaries Are Going To Make You Feel Empowered With Their Music

Internet has become that platform where anyone with any amount of talent can come and try his/her luck. People become viral from their first videos whereas some stay unnoticed even after years of struggle. However, if you are doing something unique and attention grabbing, and you have reached the right people, your efforts will never go to waste. The Notionaries, an alternative rock band from Midwest, is auspiciously covering the very first stages of its musical career. The band has released only 2 songs yet but you can already feel their style, passion and love for music in those tracks.

The Notionaries is a new band but you won’t ever be able to guess that from their tracks. There are 4 members in the band so you can call it a complete band. The four members are named Logan Rine, Nick Patrick, Lamar Fite and Andrew Hise. Lamar is the sound, i.e. the vocals, of the band. All the great and intricate work on the lead guitars is handled by Logan. Andrew Hise shows his great experience and sense of music at the percussion and Andrew Hise is the bass player of the band. The kind of music they like to produce surprisingly blends perfectly.

All these great musicians are from the Midwest, and while the band has just been formed, the band members have been acquainted with each other somehow. Lamar and Andrew have played together for a long time and Nick and Logan too knew each other before forming the band. Two of their tracks are already available for people to listen on SoundCloud. They can be followed on their social networking accounts as well. They keep their fan page quite updated on Facebook so you can always keep in touch with them there.

The music they do is alternative rock, as mentioned above, but they have a very “the Notionaries” style to their music. The vocals are amazingly soothing and Lamar is definitely a melodious guy. Andrew Hise also has a very unique sense on the percussions. You don’t hear him playing the conventional beats on regular drums instead he likes to experiment a lot and you can already hear that from their recently famous song excited eyes. Their other track bandit starts off with bass, soft percussions and purposefully written lyrics from Lamar sung with heart and tranquility you rarely hear these days.

Logan must be admired separately from the rest of the band due to his very unique work on lead guitar. He’s the one who fills every song with that 80s feeling that you get from the most songs of the era. Together they produce music that’s definitely worth a try for anyone who appreciates good music. It’s hard to count them among the new artists of our time mainly for the reason that their lyrics are very empowering, high-spirited and meaningful. Their music is not “feel good” music. It’s rather “make you feel good” music. Try them right now on SoundCloud or on their official website. 

Friday to be Global Release Day for Music Industry

Beginning this summer, Friday will become the new Tuesday for the music industry when it begins to put out new releases on the paydays of most music buyers. Based in Britain, The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) plays the role of United Nations in the music industry and announced that this new plan would become effective from this summer. It is the hope of the organization that the whole industry would benefit from this move because it would reduce piracy as the albums come out internationally before the United States.

In this way, artists would be free to focus on their social-media promotion campaigns and would re-ignite the anticipation, occasion and excitement concerning the release of music. The IFPI has been working on this decision since last summer and finally made it after consulting with labels, artists, unions and retailers. Consumer research was also cited by the organization, which should that Friday and Saturday were the days when consumers were most excited in purchasing music. The initiative has been supported by the Music Business Association, which is the organization representing US music retailers as well as numerous international music stores such as Rdio and Spotify.

Frances Moore, the CEO of the IFPI, said in a statement that music fans today live in the digital world so they don’t give any though to international borders when it comes to music. The fans are looking for music that’s on the internet and not worried about when it would be available in their country. With same-day global release, people will no longer be frustrated at not being able to access music when it is available in other countries. Cary Sherman, the CEO and chairman of RIAA said that geographical boundaries are often pointless in the case of digital marketing strategies. As fans expect instant access to music, this move is definitely going to please them.

However, not everyone is pleased with this shift. Head of independent Beggars Group, which is based in Britain, Martin Mills said that he didn’t think the move was wise as all independent labels would be affected through it. He said that it was astounding to learn that major labels aren’t actually paying any heed to what their fans are saying. He asserted that the consultation was fake and this was always going to happen. He believes that the market leader want to create a market in which mainstream is dominating whereas the niche is marginalized, even if its tomorrow’s mainstream. He was of the opinion that this move would allow a few to dominate and the left would be left hanging dry.  

Streaming Music Companies Battle for International Listeners

Rdio, Deezer and Spotify are just some of the music streaming services that are trying to gouge out each other’s eyes in order to reach as many American customers as possible. These services have also expanded their battlegrounds all over the world. The problem is that they cannot just simply go to Germany or Argentina and open an office. In order to be successful, a streaming service needs to work with publishers, labels and other local rights holders. They also have to form agreements with cell phone and internet providers. Streaming services that wish to win international wars have to have some presence in the countries mentioned below:


It has a population of 1.2 billion due to which it is regarded as a huge prize by Western streaming services such as Rdio, which has recently launched in January. It didn’t just apply the standard format to its service there; instead, it bought a local service called Dhingana so it could also offer Bollywood songs and other regional hitmakers. Spotify’s vice president for content and distribution, Sachin Doshi said that it wasn’t that easy to establish in India because the Bollywood content is extremely diverse.


There are 100 million music fans in Brazil and streaming services are competing to get to them. The major advantage is held by Google Play as local smartphones run on the Android OS. However, others like Deezer and Spotify have also fared well because they have curated the local pages to suit the diverse musical taste of the population.


This country has been far ahead of others in the online music sector as its home to the renegade Pirate Bay and Spotify. 80% of local music consumption is done via streaming and the country has a very large base of smartphone users.


Most Western Services cannot be used in China such as the iTunes. But, Microsoft and Nokia do have an online-radio service there and China’s streaming services are also quite dominant.


CDs are a top favorite of music fans in Japan and the shiny plastic disc is responsible for contributing 85% of the music sales in the country. This means that streaming services like Rdio and Spotify have found it difficult to break into it. They are looking for ways to enter the market and gain traction, but haven’t found a way as yet.


Competition in Russia over music streaming customers is similar to the US as Deezer and Spotify are battling for local players that have lots of users. Another problem for streaming services is that Russian fans have an obsession with piracy so it is tough to break.


As opposed to Japan, CDs never became popular in Colombia because they were too expensive. Therefore, Deezer and similar services have been able to make way as statistics reveal that 85% people in Latin American use such services for satisfying their musical curiosity.

Along with Germany and Mexico, these countries can give streaming services the edge they need in international markets.