Just last month, Apple officially acquired Dr. Dre’s and Jimmy Iovine’s streaming music service Beats Music. The $3 billion deal, first announced in May, was a highly publicized event, mostly due to the music industry power players involved: Apple, the tech giant; Dr. Dre the rapper and headphone company owner; and Iovine, cofounder of Interscope Records. Since the announcement of the deal, the Beats Music app has been downloaded 5 million times and has a quarter of a million paying subscribers. However, this past week, TechCrunch reported that several sources claimed that Apple was about to shut down the streaming music service. These sources pointed out that the Beats Music app didn’t come pre-installed on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and the service has barely been mentioned by Apple at major press events. Thankfully, Apple has stated that these reports are false. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, recently praised the service, pointing out that the “human curation” aspect of Beats Music sets it apart from competitors. While it doesn’t seem that the future of Beats Music is entirely clear, based on this information, it wouldn’t be hard to fathom Apple removing the Beats branding from the service and incorporating the guts of the streaming player into its existing services or an entirely new, Apple-branded service.
Back in 2010, Native Instruments unveiled the Traktor Kontrol S4, a MIDI controller which would go on to become the product of a digital DJing generation. Eventually, of course, the competition caught up and in many ways outdid the S4 with controllers like Serato’s DDJ-SX and Numark’s NV. Now, however, Traktor has officially confirmed the next controller in its Traktor line, the Kontrol S8.
As usual, the video teaser is mysterious and alluring — showing enough of the controller to pique one’s interest without giving too much away. The clip comes packed with some top tier Ibiza-savvy sponsorship from the likes of Luciano, Carl Craig and more.
To those up to speed on the digital DJing world, the announcement is nothing new. Leaked images have been circulating the web for months now, and Native Instruments’ new trailer only confirms the news. For the rest of the world, here’s what you need to know:
Native Instruments has done away with jog wheels, replacing the real estate with built-in displays. These new mini-screens serve as windows for the track and sample decks while the Remix Decks now come equipped with four channels aside, each with their own volume fader. 8 performance pads have been added, and tempo faders have been done away with in favor of a universal BPM knob. The touch strip at the bottom may very well be the replacement for jog wheel manipulation as well as the home to other exciting effects. There will undoubtedly be more features to speak of as more information is revealed, but for now, take a gander at this leaked image which has all but been confirmed by Native Instruments’ new video.
It’s easy to criticize Native Instruments’ latest move — especially one that so conspicuously disregards the turntable world. Yet it’s also clear to see the potential it could have in the hands of the right artist. Richie Hawtin comes to mind. We’ll have to wait until the controller is officially released to determine just how viable and innovative a piece of equipment the Kontrol S8 truly is.
The EDM blogosphere has been obsessed with diplo’s latest “faux pas”, allegedly getting booed at Burning Man. He played “Turn Down For What” (a Billboard #4/#1 Dance Hit) at Robot Heart, a Burning Man camp/soundstage. Pulse Radio & Consequence of Sound were two of the first sites to break the story, which metastasized and quickly became the only thing dance music internet was talkingabout.A bunch of armchair DJs & bloggers gleefully complained about how diplo had no crowd sense and didn’t “get” Burning Man, had no idea what minimal tech house (the scene Robot Heart caters to) was, and on and on. By the time Burning Man attendees woke up in the default world Wednesday morning, the internet had exploded about this to the point that you could be convinced nothing else actually happened at Burning Man except “Turn Down For What.” While editors, bloggers and site admins high-fived each other for getting the scoop, the important people (i.e. the burners who were there, <insert famous person here>) offered commentary on why he did what he did. There’s a whole lot of meta-discussion about how this track selection was a mistake, which I find to be taken at this point, something just assumed. Like, OBVIOUSLY that wasn’t the correct choice. Frankly, the idea that this was a mistake is hilariously incorrect. Anyone making it clearly has no idea just how big Diplo has gotten and how much of a social media master he’s become over the years.
The implication that Diplo, a globally recognized DJ, tastemaker, pop track producer & media personality that has performed in front of tens of thousands of people, year in and year out, would misread an audience and play a track that didn’t fit the “room” by accident is essentially impossible. Diplo has been performing for more than a decade. Whether he’s performing at a Mad Decent Block Party, headlining Ultra Music Festival, performing with Skrillex as Jack U, or rocking out on BBC Radio 1’s Diplo & Friends show, he knows exactly what he’s doing. This is a guy who has been at the forefront of a fusion of global/Miami bass, hip hop, trap, reggae moombahton and dance hall for years. The tracks he selects are the ones you & everyone you know dance to, whether you like it or not. “Forget Turn Down For What,” anyone remember “Pon De Floor?” Oh that’s right, that track from 2009 that you heard it last weekend. Remember the “Harlem Shake,” or as I like to call it “The 2013 Ice Bucket Challenge?” “Harlem Shake” came out on Mad Decent. Oh yea, that and produced Paper Planes by M.I.A., which was so big it single-handedly convinced people to see Pineapple Express (Don’t play).
What no one realizes is that diplo really doesn’t care what the blogs, media or ravers think. He was getting girls to tweet & instagram him twerk pics years before Miley Cyrus became a household name. Trust that he’s been dealing with haters before anyone got concerned about the VMAs. Consider that same artist, known for “twerking” and the like, can drop a compilation called Random White Dude Be Everywhere via his own label with Pitchfork posting about it. Dipo has spent the last several years building Mad Decent into the behemoth that now cannot be ignored and has the social media network to remind you. When you’ve got 1.26mill Twitter followers, 1.27mill Likes on Facebook, 760k Instagram peeps & 4.25 million (that’s not a typo) Soundcloud followers, you can make things happen. I bring up these numbers because I want to illustrate just how effective diplo is at generating buzz and building a fan base. A fan base that will eat up stories like “diplo did something crazy!” a la dropping TDFW at a camp that caters to minimal tech house, i.e. the polar opposite sound.
When someone bothered to ask him, diplo confirmed what I’d thought when I heard about it. It was an inside joke that everyone involved was down with. This is what people who haven’t actually been to Burning Man don’t know. If you make it there, you know about different genres of music, and you’re hardy enough to handle a little jostling on the dance floor. I guarantee you that at some point, someone was all “Yo Diplo, you should play “TDFW at Robot Heart.” And everyone laughed, and Diplo started thinking and scheming, as he does. And then much later, it was dropped, for probably the sole reason that Diplo wanted to see what would happen. It provided enough amusement for the DJ, his crew and the people who were down with randomness that it was worth it. There was also the unforeseen (except probably by Diplo) consequence of the internet exploding in an orgy of misunderstanding and spin. Which results, eventually, after the dumb yelling dies down, Diplo looking cool/connected and most importantly, UNDERGROUND. He was playing at Burning Man, the festival your average EDM listener has only heard of. Just think, your favorite DJ, goes to some crazy mecca of parties and plays a track YOU like, and the people (who are probably older/have more money than you) boo him? Forget them, hooray Diplo! He stays relevant, is on the social media channels the younglings are on AND DOES COOL SHIT! He’s Kanye without the world-ending superiority complex, and we’re all better for it.
This is the genius of Diplo and the Mad Decent alternative to rave culture. He & Skrillex understand that people want to have a good time, not be forced along some genre-based lines that come with their own fashion, intoxicants and aesthetic. Not only is he right, but the smart money knows it. Dude is working with more celebs and pop-stars than you think and the Mad Decent tour cleared 63k tix this season, capping it off with a freaking boat cruise. The non-raver makes a case for his events and doesn’t care if you’re down with kandi, because his crew doesn’t need yours. His party is big enough that you don’t need to like T”urn Down For What.” Really, it’s cool. He’d really like for you to come, cause he thinks you’d have a good time, but if not, that’s fine. He won’t be too hurt. He’ll be busy releasing crazy amounts of stuff and being one of the most important producers in LA. And if you don’t believe me, check Madonna partying with him in the background of this Insta clip coming from Billboard this week. This dude is going places, and Calvin Harris better watch his back, because Diplo is coming up behind him fast.
Wes, I think you don’t need to worry about staring at your dinosaur tattoo, thinking you’ve failed, ever again. The Category 6 Pluricane can’t be stopped.
Earlier this week, Dillon Francis uploaded a video of his and Martin Garrix’s amusing rework of the Flintstone’s theme song. Prior to that, he uploaded a snippet of what he and tropical house artist Kygo have been working on. Most recently, however, Dillon Francis uploaded a 15-second preview of a track featuring some Deadmau5-inspired chords. This mousy preview could not have come at a more opportune time, as the two fellow producers just finished spending some quality time together, taking to Instagram to document their antics. The short clip gives fans a whole lot to be excited for, as the glitchy chords lay the foundation for what should be a melodic bomb. Dillon Francis has always been a quietly eclectic producer, capable of pushing out a vast array of styles and soundscapes. The dive into more progressive-leaning waters only serves to remind us of what these talented “superstar” DJs can really do when they aren’t working under the strict confines of mainstream pressures.
In less than 15 seconds, Dillon Francis has effectively made everyone’s heads bob, mouths water, and feet tap for his upcoming collaboration with Kygo. The preview is short but sweet, giving fans a taste of the funky, tropical-influenced music the two have made together. This Kygo/Francis pairing has come at the perfect time, as both producers have been on a productive roll lately, each infusing electronic music with fresh and exciting sounds. Dillon Francis has been wowing audiences at his packed summer festival sets and his new single ‘I Can’t Take It‘ from his forthcoming album, Money Sucks, Friends Rule, which will be released on October 28th on Columbia Records. Meanwhile, 23-year-old Kygo just signed a record deal with Sony Music and Ultra, promising more new material from the rising tropical house producer. Stay tuned for more Dillon Francis + Kygo.
The Grammy nominated singer/songwriter, Ed Sheeran has posted a photo in the studio with the world’s favorite rising 18 year old Dutch producer, Martin Garrix. It seems like the singer is looking to make his mark in the EDM scene as he also recently announced a collaboration with French artist, David Guetta, and America’s very own, Skrillex.
Ed Sheeran’s caption of the Instagram photo states, “Finished up my very first EDM song with Martin Garrix, brilliant experience, looking forward to you all hearing it.” Garrix plans to release two versions; one more melodic version for the masses and one mainly for his festival sets. The combination of Sheeran’s brilliant vocals and Garrix’s incredible studio talent should be a perfect combination for a massive hit. When you consider how a soulful voice like Sam Smith’s got thrown into the limelight with UK dance act, Disclosure, the possibilities for success for this collab are vast. Garrix explained that, “Ed delivered an amazing vocal and there are plans to work on a lot more tracks as well.” This star duo could help take each other to the next level; anticipation will only build as we wait for the release of this track, along with his other collaborations.