General

Interview with Matt Thurtell from n-Track

General

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing one of the key players from n-Track, Matt Thurtell. n-Track is a Digital Audio Workstation built to provide users studio quality recording, editing and mixing capabilities on Windows and Mac as well as on mobile – iOS and Android. It has millions of downloads and continues to grow in popularity, especially in the mobile market. So, let’s dive in with the questions….

1) Matt, please tell me about yourself 

After graduating from the Film Scoring Masters course at the Royal College of Music, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with music recorded at Abbey Road Studio One, screened at BAFTA & Cannes Film Festival, for the BBC, Sky, Audi R8, Island Records & Beverley Knight. In 2019 I moved from London to Rome.  

2) You work for n-Track, who are they and what do you do there?

We’re a DAW company based out of Rome that makes software to inspire people to create music and collaborate. n-Track has been around & evolving since 1996. My role is Head of Marketing & Sound – which means building attention for the brand, and working on sound selection & creation to build the most inspiring product for users to create music. 

3) What do you think sets n-Track apart from its competitors?

Two things: First, our emphasis is as a mobile-first music maker, geared towards creating the most frictionless experience for users to create and share their music. We’re also cross-platform, meaning you can start & record an idea from just about anywhere and then move that project onto the desktop version of n-Track to mix and refine in the studio. Recently I was talking with a NYC-based rapper, T.O.N.E-z, that used this approach, recording the idea for his vocals for theme song to the Emmy-award winning Justified on n-Track Studio for iOS on a plane, and finalising in n-Track Studio for Desktop back in his studio. I use this capability a lot – turning an idea, which could arrive at any time, into the final product, is an important part of the process in getting your sound & music out into the world!

4) There’s a fast growing market for DAWs on mobile:

– What do you see happening in this space and over what timeframe?

I’d love to see an integration with voice-led technology and DAWs over the next 3-5 years. Music is sound and emotion – using voice technology to create and refine music, like ‘Capture this melody’, then singing a line, ‘audition drum loops at 120bpm over this guitar line’, I think would create a different sensory experience in music creation. 

– How are n-Track positioned to compete in this growing market?

We’re lucky to have an outrageously talented team that love technology and develop quick. Above everything we’re looking to provide users with the most efficient way to create and share music so I’m looking forward to seeing where that takes us. 

5) Are there any exciting developments at n-Track that you’d like to share?

We’re releasing a powerful loop browser, for all versions of n-Track, packed with sounds to inspire instant music creation. As part of the release we’re introducing a new mobile-subscription called Suite Edition, which gives rappers, artists and producers access to royalty-free beats, loops & one-shots, hand-selected from around the globe. We’re going to supply the individual parts to the beats and even allow users to edit the n-Track Studio session used to create the beats, the idea being that if you’re a first time vocalist, or an experienced producer you can remix, amend and play with the tracks according to your skill level, always knowing that the raw material is already release-level.

6) I know you were a Logic user but you’ve switched to n-Track full time now, how has that been?

I’ve actually just released an album written using n-Track and the engine just gives the music a certain ‘sound’. I used Logic for 8 years, through my time at the Royal College and working on ads – I found it to be a steep learning curve. I think that after having years of experience with one DAW, the basics of another can be grasped almost instantly, but I love to work with audio and n-Track, with the integration of the loop browser, allows you to chop, pitch and tempo shift audio directly on the arrange window, without using third party programs. It removes an extra step that gets in the way of creation and I feel that the layout allows me to record and finish music quicker. 

7) If you could have any feature on a DAW, what would that be?

Inspiration. Every DAW should be striving to inspire music creation. One of the reasons I use a DAW is to use the technology to create a better version of the idea I have in my head! Also knowing that the DAW is regularly being updated to stay relevant and provide the most frictionless experience to create and release tracks. 

8) Where do you see music going to in the future, especially in this era of subscription based streaming?

Quantity. Tech is facilitating opportunities like end-to-end music creation tools, in which music can be created, marketed, distributed through a platform. And, of course, there are companies using AI to create an almost unimaginable amount of music.Ironically, through the quantity of releases, I feel that music quality will be as important as ever and I’d also add how important I think branding will continue to be… Creating attention in a crowded (but incredibly inspiring) marketplace to get your new hot track heard, streamed, placed on games, film, and TV, or played live.  

9) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A more evolved version of myself. Excited, still building, finding ways to give users the most frictionless & inspiring ways to create within the music space – likely integrating voice and AI as the technology becomes more accessible. Tech and culture will continue to evolve & for sure I’ll be creating content for whatever platforms are around in a decade. And.. still putting out music releases too, of course!

10) Tell me absolutely anything you want to say, climate change to the universe to frogs, whatever…

Check out n-Track Studio for mobile & let me know what you think on [email protected]. Thanks for your time, PaL…arrivederci, e grazie!

Where to send music demos

General, Music Business

So you’re there, that magical moment, you’ve finished a track and it actually feels like it’s finished, (well if you’re like me a track never feels finished). Anyways I digress, what I’ve found out the hard way is that making music and finishing tracks is actually the easy part. The harder part for many musicians and producers is getting their music out into the world through the correct channels, where it gets the exposure it deserves.

Unsurprisingly it’s quite confusing what you should be doing with so many blogs, labels and streaming platforms out there now. It’s so easy to waste hours on futile efforts that don’t really lead anywhere. So the purpose of this weeks blog post is to hopefully point you towards some channels that can get your tracks the exposure they deserve. Before I dive in I would suggest one bit of admin that will save you a headache down the line. Set up a spreadsheet, at a minimum have a column with the track name, another column with the person / channel / blog that you’ve sent your track too and another column with any response or action they’ve taken. It’s very easy to lose track of what you’ve sent out and to whom. Finally remember to keep any communication with any entity you reach out to well written (no mistakes) and to the point (no waffle).

  • Blogs

Blogs are a brilliant place for discovering new artists. Getting your tracks onto a decent  blog can get you significant traction. Listed below are a few good ones to ignite your search:

Soundplate

YourEDM

Dancing Astronaut

Ear Milk 

So how do you get onto these blogs? Most have some kind of demo upload method where you can post a streaming link to your track, your artist details etc. However from personal experience I wouldn’t solely rely on this method. Here’s where some ingenuity on your part comes in, actually dig into the blog and articles / posts thoroughly. Usually there is an author associated with the content. Find their social media pages, contact them, build rapport and try to get them into your music too. Don’t be pushy, instead seek feedback, use your imagination and build a connection, remember neediness is never attractive! 

  • Spotify Playlists

The biggest playlists on Spotify all have demo submission forms through which to submit your music. However don’t get greedy here with the allure of success ad and trying in vain to get your music onto the biggest Spotify playlist possible. There’s many great smaller Spotify playlists out there that are easier to get your music onto. It’s extremely difficult to get your music onto a big Spotify Playlist as an unknown producer, singer or songwriter. I’d suggest trying to get onto a smaller playlist first and working your way up the Spotify playlist ladder hierarchy. If your track is good enough and people are listening to it in decent numbers there is no reason why your track won’t get onto bigger playlists. Some Spotify playlists for your consideration are:

Indiemono

Soundplate

Daily Playlists

Artist Intelligence Agency

  • Labels

There are a ton of amazing labels out there. Like playlists the bigger ones are very hard to get onto, i’m talking about labels like Spinnin, Defected, Monstercat etc. These big labels operate very professionally as business enterprises. As such, not only do you have to have amazing music, but they are usually also looking for a big fan base – it helps them sell more records / get more streams and generate more hype with less effort. 

So it’s better to initially think about getting your music onto smaller independent labels. You’ve got a much better chance of getting your track signed, you’ll hopefully get exposure by a hungry team and you will also learn the ins and outs of signing a record.

There’s a few ways to contact these labels, some are:

Find their general submission email

A submission form on their website

Contact an A + R at the label (do some digging around their site, find names etc. and reach out as necessary!)

Don’t worry if you don’t get a response, these labels get hundreds of tracks sent to them everyday. There’s a million and one reasons why you didn’t get a response, even though your head might well be telling you that the music you make and submitted is crap. Don’t listen to your head in such a scenario and keep sending your music out there. 

  • YouTube channels

YouTube channels have the same power and reach as Spotify playlists in our current era, as such they are really important when it comes to reaching (potentially) millions of fans. 

Just check out the numbers on these famous YouTube channels:

    • NCS (13M subscribers)

If you go to the ‘About’ page you can normally find details of the channel and contact details. Otherwise work back and try to find an associated website or social media account linked and dig to get a contact. There is an excellent Google Chrome extension called Hunter that lets you find email addresses associated with a web page. Check it out below and happy hunting with that one! 

Hunter

Finally

All of these things come down to how hard you hustle. Obviously you need good music first and foremost. There are some who get lucky, those anomalies that get discovered as barely pubescent teens uploading their first track randomly onto Soundcloud and it getting discovered and going viral. I have to point out this is kind of like winning the lottery, most artists who ‘make’ it have to have a strategy to get their music into the hands of the right people and have had to push and take knock backs multiple times. You really need to develop a thick skin in this industry and take rejection as just a part of the process and nothing personal. In the end I hope you get the success you seek, keep on pushing and go get what you deserve!

Send Music to Spotify Playlists

General, Music Business

In today’s world Spotify playlists have a huge influence on monthly song listens. They are especially important for smaller artists who might not yet have large followings. Getting onto one of the top playlists out there, like “Today’s top hits”, “Rap Caviar”, “United Kingdom Top 50” etc. enables an artist to reach huge audiences and hit massive streaming figures. Take KREAM as an example, they have only 4000 followers on Spotify, yet they are reaching almost 5 million monthly listeners thanks to 3 million of their listeners coming from 5 key playlists that they appear on. The term used to describe this phenomenon is ‘playlist leverage’. In KREAM’s case they are getting over 800 times more monthly listeners than they have followers. 

It’s no surprise then that the push by record labels, music promotion companies etc. is to get songs into curated playlists hosted by streaming services such as Spotify and Apple. According to the EU’s Joint Research Centre, getting a placement on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist can generate $117,000 (£90,500) in revenue. Getting added to Today’s Top Hits, a playlist with over 23 million followers raises streams by 20 million and is worth between $116,000 and $163,000. These playlists have become the tools used by labels and managers to measure success. A playlist now can break an artist, the playlist really is now king!

So we then come to THE question, “how can I get my music onto a top playlist”? Below is some useful knowledge if you are trying to get your music onto Spotify playlists.

Not all Playlists are created equal

The in demand playlists are extremely competitive and difficult to get a placement on. They are usually owned and curated by either Spotify or a major label. Companies or indie labels own some playlists and individuals like you and me own the rest. Generally speaking one has to work their way up the ladder, from the bottom of the playlist pyramid to the top.

Spotify Playlists

Spotify curated playlists are top of the pyramid and can have well over a million followers. Songs that get onto these have usually been road tested on the smaller Playlists. Spotify look at data such as plays, skips and finishes to decide how well a song is performing. If your song performs well it has a better chance of getting onto a Spotify Playlist.

It should be noted that some Spotify Playlists are curated, while others use an algorithm to choose songs in line with a listener’s tastes.

Major Label Curated Playlists

Major Label owned playlists get decent numbers of listens. They’re often used to plug label artists to get plays and hopefully land a spot on a Spotify Playlist.

Individual Curated Playlists

These are curated by people like me and you, indie labels, radio stations, music bloggers etc. If you’re an artist breaking out, it’s a good idea to start hustling your music by landing it on one of these smaller playlists. There’s more chance of landing your music on one of these playlists and getting it out there to actual listeners.

How to get your music on Spotify Playlists

  1. Sign up for Spotify for Artists

Creating a Spotify for Artists account gets you verified and makes you credible. You also get access to features such as analytics and notifications when your music is added to playlists.

  1. If you already have fans direct them to Spotify 

Get some activity going. Get your friends, grandmother, uncle and any other fans (if you have them) to start listening to your song on Spotify. Share links to your Spotify page on your social media channels, include a link in your email signature, use any means necessary to promote your music! Spotify playlists look at data like plays, finishes, skips and listen duration. Curators are looking for those tracks that are getting love already. It’s a numbers game. 

Releasing new music with a regular cadence is another good strategy, it gets fans excited about following you, so keep creating and releasing.

  1. Promote your own music by creating your own Spotify Playlist 

Start creating your own playlists to promote your music. Include tracks you love from artists you love. Perhaps try to collaborate with other upcoming artists on your own playlist, have fun with it, be creative in curating the tracks you add. You can again share this Spotify playlist link out into the world.

  1. Start pitching your songs to Independent Spotify Playlist Owners

First find playlists that represent the genre of music you make and make a list of them. Then do some digging to find contacts at these playlists. They often have a Social Media channel linked to them such as Facebook, Youtube or Instagram with contact details on these. Otherwise there are Music Industry Directories, essentially Spotify or Apple playlist directories with contacts to reach out to. These cost to access but are worth it if you are serious about pushing your music. An excellent one is The Music Industry Connection – https://www.themicco.com/

  1. Pitch your music to blogs

Lots of bloggers have their own Spotify playlists and are always on the lookout for the next big track so consider this as a potential channel to hit up also.

  1. Submit directly to Spotify Playlists

If you have a Spotify for Artists account you can submit directly to Spotify for consideration in playlists. The track needs to be unsigned and submitted at least 7 days prior to the scheduled release date. You can only submit one track at a time, you can submit a new one after your first track is officially released. When submitting you need to include metadata such as genre, mood, instrumentation etc. Spotify use this information along with the existing information that they have on you to find potential playlist placements.

Summary

It takes hard work and dedication to get onto the bigger Spotify playlists. Aim low initially, learn how the system works and get your music placed on a smaller playlist that matches the genre and mood of the music that you are making. Playlists are definitely the power channel when it comes to getting your music hype and plays in today’s world. Ultimately people are always looking for new music that’s good so get yours out there and hopefully watch it spread virally. It might even get on a few of the cool playlists I’ve listed below. My fingers are crossed for you.

♫ Today’s Top Hits ♫

♫ Your Favorite CoffeeHouse ♫

♫ Teen Party ♫

♫ Relax & Unwind ♫

♫ Acoustic Love ♫

 

Episode 3 – Practice makes perfect

General

We have all sorts of users using our product – from DJ’s to mastering engineers to my dad – well truth be told he’s only seen it and likes the moving bubbles. One of our largest groups of users are music producers, I myself fit into this cohort.

Starting out as a producer is tough, some get lucky and get a hit straight away. Others toil away unable ever to finish a track, instead creating loops and thinking they are amazing. One of the best things you can do as a producer is to get into a finishing habit and actually just start to finish the tracks you make – as quickly as you can. Then analyse them, listen back to them, take stock and improve. This part is really easy and can be done anywhere, on the train to work or on the bus, anywhere really. It is really important to take stock of what you have created and measure how it actually weighs up against other tracks out there. Is the mix sounding good, does the arrangement work etc. Over time and with regular practice you will no doubt start creating some good music. I can’t reiterate it enough though, you must finish whole tracks and get accustomed to the process of doing so. Personally it took me a long time to get to the point of doing this but now I’ve gotten faster and actually finish music, a lot of it. This year I had over 40 tracks published for synchronisation to radio and television work, so if someone like me can do it so can you!

I believe that when making art, in this case music, it’s a vibe thing. You want to get your ideas out as quickly as you can when you’ve caught inspiration. To get quicker one of the best skills you can have is to know your Digital Audio Workstation inside out. It is essentially the canvas and paints that you work with to create. Back in the day this was a laborious task, who wants to read a long manual or .PDF, I sure didn’t and I don’t think many others did either, we just botched along picking up the odd tip or trick here or there. Luckily things have changed with the advent of the internet, there are tons of great training websites and videos out there now, some free and some paid. I’ve listed my favourite such resources below:

  • Youtube
  • Groove 3
  • PureMix.net
  • Lynda training

These are just a few but even using just YouTube properly (i.e not watching Conor Mcgregor knockouts when you’re supposed to be studying), you can find loads of great production tutorials that will help you with all aspects of your music production. Again here is where you might want to take stock and inventory of where you need to improve – is it arrangement, is it mixing, is it mastering, is it basic music theory? Essentially what actions and things to study are going to get you closer to making that next global smash?

Ultimately I do believe if you have even just a bit of talent it boils down to your TRUE desire. Do you want this and will you put it ahead of other distractions that provide short term payoffs (Netflix springs to mind for me)? I hope you make the right choice and are comfortable with your decision! Happy creating and if you want to send tracks, stems or whatever to whoever, remember to sign up for an account with use at SendMusic and improve your workflow and make more songs!

Episode 2 – Changing Rituals

General

 

Changing rituals

Let’s jump back to 1994, yes that’s a long time ago and look, I still feel young ok! Every week I would listen to pirate radio religiously, to the freshest Jungle and Drum & Bass, the sound of London at the time. Weekends would roll around and my friends and I would travel to Section 5, a record shop on the Kings Road in London that sold the freshest cuts of vinyl. Steve (the owner) got to know us and after a while he started reaching under the counter to give us special test presses and white label records – unreleased tracks yet to come out to the public. We felt special, I felt special, it was my feel good ritual, getting the hottest music, before almost anybody else had their hands on it.

At the time I flippantly thought vinyl would stay around forever and my ritual would go on, never changing. How wrong I was! Vinyl gave way to CD’s, and these then gave way to mp3’s and now we’re in the era of the Spotify playlist. The rituals to find new music and get your hands on music before others has changed, yet good music remains good music and around the world teenagers still continue to do some quite stupid things. Through this digitally disruptive period we’ve also seen record company and artist profits fall. For a certain age group getting new music is linked to piracy. Napster, the first widely used P2P service started the trend and even though it got shut down the cat was definitely out of the bag.

But things are changing – for the first time since Napster the record industry posted an increase in revenue for three consecutive years. People seemed to have warmed up to the idea of signing up for a streaming service such as Spotify or Apple Music. Even better news for artists and producers is the Music Modernization Act that’s been signed into law in the US. This new law alters the way artists and producers are paid by streaming services in favour of the artists. Musicians who recorded songs before 1972 are ensured royalty payments through streaming services as part of the new act. Music creators are finally starting to get compensated fairly when their music is used by digital and satellite music services. Great news we say!

We at SendMusic also aim to help music industry professionals from all walks of music come together. Whether your an artist, a producer, an A&R, a label owner… Well anyone to be honest – if you want to share, collaborate, update and send music more simply and faster than any other site give SendMusic a try! We also give you amazing tools, to do things like let you set your music links to only stream or download, the icing on the cake is we let you create a special short-link (send.mu/) under which you collate all your social and merch links. You can then paste this link anywhere, i.e. your Instagram bio and people are taken to a landing page that contains all the links you’ve added. Take a look at mine to see what I mean:

www.send.mu/PaL

So the rituals to get your hands on music have in fact changed and we’re helping that change happen, come and join us and create your own rituals too!

Pal

Welcome to the SendMusic Blog! … Episode 1 – “The Lowdown”

General

A warm welcome to you from us here at SendMusic. We’ll introduce ourselves properly over the course of these next few blog posts but first, let’s get down to business!  We’re really excited to be launching SendMusic as we think it’ll greatly enhance your workflow and productivity. SendMusic makes working with the music files you send and receive simpler, faster and more effortless – regardless of the platform you use, regardless if it’s mobile or desktop. There’s more, SendMusic is also a tool for organising ALL your social links in one place…  Don’t have time for a website? Can’t be bothered setting up a landing page? We’ve got you covered!

“So how does it work” we hear you ask? SendMusic has two main ingredients that make up our very unique hot sauce:

1 – You can send music files and any other file types, (including very large files up to 3GB on our free account), using SendMusic REALLY easily – it’s literally drag and drop onto the homepage.

When you upload a file you can set it to either Stream only or Download. The site generates a link to all of the music file or files you have uploaded and emails this to your recipient.  Full previews are available for all uploaded files. This makes SendMusic really useful for listening to the music you receive on the go, without having to download it first to your hard drive.

You also have an option to set how long you want the generated link to expire in, which can be 1 day or 1 week (or 1 month if you sign-up for a free SendMusic account). If you do sign-up you also get access to an inbox which contains all the files you have both sent and received. If multiple files are sent and you have set the “Allow” option to Download, the user can download all the files they receive really quickly as a .zip as well as going through them individually. When the receiver listens to the file you’ve sent you also get an email telling you the file has been listened to – pretty cool right!

To sum up you can:

  • Drag & Drop files onto SendMusic
  • Add the email address of who you’d like to receive your music
  • Set the files to Stream only or Download
  • Decide how long until the file expires – 1 day or 1 week (or 1 month with a free account)  
  • Press Send and we’ll send an email to your recipient letting them know they’ve got music!
  • Send more than one file and it turns up as a playlist
  • Send more than one file to download and you can easily download everything as a zip file

That’s the music part covered… but there’s more:

2 – SendMusic is also built to promote you and your music by organising all your social links in one location and making your online presence more uniform and centralised. Just generate your own ‘send.mu/YOUR NAME’ short-link within the platform and add any sites or pages you want associated with you or your brand here.  Latest releases, videos, playlists, merch store, live dates, radio shows – plus all your social links if you want them… anything you want to share with the world or promote, just add a link to it!

You can then place this short-link anywhere you like and when people click on it they will be directed to all of the sites and pages associated with you or your brand, all in one central location. It’s so much simpler and coherent than having numerous sites and pages littered around the web!

As an example I’ve generated my own shortlink – ‘send.mu/PaL’ and added it to my Instagram bio and Twitter bio. Someone could then click on my short-link and either send me music or check out my Instagram, Soundcloud or Twitter page. How great is that for an artist, producer, musician or record label who might want people to send them demos or also check out their playlist on Spotify? Or maybe you want to buy tickets to their gig or see what merch they’ve got available? Now you can do all of this – all from one place! We haven’t thought about all the people who could utilise this function fully or all the uses as they are innumerable… but we’re eager to find out 🙂

So, why don’t you give it a try yourself? Try sending some music to your friends here – https://send.mu

You can also check out my short-link here: send.mu/PaL and send me some music or comment on my awful Instagram photos! You can generate your own short-link also!

Ultimately this is a product for people in or around music, made by people in the music industry. We’d love for you to give SendMusic a try. If you have any feedback, positive or negative please do drop me a line at [email protected] and we’ll take it on board. We have lots of great new features coming and some awesome people and artists already using the site. Please subscribe to our newsletter if you haven’t already done so and once again, thanks for joining us on the start of this journey! We’re really grateful you joined us…

Warm regards,

PaL

[email protected]

https://send.mu