Soundation Station https://soundation.com/station Music producers start here Wed, 24 Nov 2021 10:36:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.10 https://soundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/cropped-symbol_black_2-32x32.png Soundation Station https://soundation.com/station 32 32 10 Questions With GlitchXCity https://soundation.com/station/2021/11/24/10-questions-with-glitchxcity/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 10:25:40 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=7014 Catch up with GlitchXCity in our quick Q&A!

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Finding your niche in music production can be tricky, but sometimes it’s right in front of your eyes.

For GlitchXCity it was a natural process. Her well-crafted VGM covers and original tracks with chiptune elements came from the urge of sharing her love for Pokémon and gained her a large following on YouTube and Twitch.

Read our quick Q&A with GlitchXCity below and check out her stuff on YouTube, Twitch, and SoundCloud.

If you have to describe your music in 3 words, what would you say?

GlitchXCity: “Fun, nostalgic, melodic.”

GlitchXCity’s productions do indeed steam of nostalgia. This Synthwave track is just a sample of one of her many free-spirited facets. Find her making anything from Ambient to Electro House, Orchestral, or Lofi Hip-Hop.

What got you into producing music on YouTube and Twitch?

GlitchXCity: “Honestly I wanted to find an outlet to share my love for my favorite game which is Pokémon.”

One of her countless Pokémon remixes, find more on her YouTube channel!

What’s your process for collaborating with other producers?

GlitchXCity: “Usually we trade stems back and forth via Discord.”

Prepare to melt from relaxation.

How’s your experience with Soundation?

GlitchXCity: “It was a nice easy barrier of entry and welcoming to new producers. I like how the sounds are already mixed and mastered and it’s fun to chop up certain sounds to get a whole new sound.”

Watch her make some sweet music using Soundation.

What other DAW and gear are you using?

GlitchXCity: “I’m currently using FL Studio 20!”

Just sayin’.

How do you see Soundation fit into your future collaboration or engagement with your audience?

GlitchXCity: “I like exporting my projects made in Soundation and putting them in my other DAW to mix and match to see what I end up with!”

Collaborate together in real-time in our Studio.

What’s your dream collab?

GlitchXCity: “Honestly, my dream collab would be with either Hyper Potions or Pegboard Nerds.”

We have to agree they would make a great fit.

Anything you can divulge about your upcoming releases? What are you working on right now?

GlitchXCity: “I’m currently working on some original tracks for the upcoming 2022 year, some collabs with a few of my friends, and some cover songs to celebrate the upcoming Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Remakes!”

We look forward to hearing more of GlitchXCity’s original tunes!

What trends in music production are you most excited about?

GlitchXCity: “Hmm, just excited to see what other new elements will be introduced to music in general, the possibilities are endless!”

Who knows what the future holds? 😉

How do you see music production evolving in the next 5 years?

GlitchXCity: “Probably a lot more music production being done on mobile. Mobile gaming is already here, mobile production is soon to follow!”

Keep up with GlitchXCity and her music on YouTube, Twitch and SoundCloud.

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How to make your mix super wide https://soundation.com/station/2021/10/14/how-to-make-your-mix-super-wide/ Thu, 14 Oct 2021 14:34:26 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=6973 Use these techniques to create maximum width in your mixes without sacrificing stability or clarity.

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Before we get into how to make your mix wide, let’s start with a lesson in sonics: 

We have two ears for a reason, to hear the direction of sound. Width is what we hear when there is sound coming from all directions. In music production, a sound can either be mono or stereo. A mono sound only has one channel and will sound like it’s coming from the middle, if it’s panned to the center. A stereo sound, on the other hand, has two channels, one for each ear. To get a wide mix, you need to make sure there are differences between the left and the right sides. Common beginner mistakes are to either overlook or overindulge in widening. 

But, with a good balance, a wide mix can be both stable and immersive. Here are some useful tips on how to work with width and how to make your mix super wide.

Mono Magic

Making everything wide can be tempting, but you shouldn’t discredit the magic of mono. 

Centered mono sounds will be clearer and more solid, and they also make the wide stuff sound even wider in comparison. They will also be played back flawlessly on mono speakers, while stereo and panned sounds often get phase issues or dips in volume. You might think that it doesn’t matter, but mono speakers are actually very common in devices like phones and Bluetooth speakers.

A rule of thumb is to leave the kick, snare, bass, and leads narrow in the middle, while instruments like piano, pads and guitars can be wider. That said, there are plenty of successful examples that break this rule, so as always, feel free to experiment! 

Contrasting Sides

The easiest way to make your mix wider is to pan the different instruments left and right. Knowing that the difference between the left and right channels is what makes something sound wide, we can maximize the width. 

If you take parts that have different rhythms, harmony, and character and pan them to opposite sides, it will create the largest effect. If you pan them 100% to the left and right, you will get the most width possible. However, the further you pan, the quieter it will be when played in mono. 

Doubling 

A common recording technique for guitars and background vocals is called double-tracking. This is when you record the exact same part twice and pan them left and right. This works because humans can’t play or sing something exactly the same way twice. There will always be subtle differences in timing, pitch and character that separate the left and right sides.

If you’re working with virtual instruments, you can simply duplicate the channel and switch out the sound for something similar, but different. You could also record the MIDI twice to get digital double-tracking. 

Some synths also have unison and spread functions. This is when you double up the synth voices however many times you want and detune them slightly from each other. These voices can then be spread out or panned for width. 

The Haas Effect

If you want to widen something that’s in mono and you have nothing to double it with, a solution is to use the Haas Effect. This is when you delay the signal of the left or right channel slightly, by 40 milliseconds or less. 

This creates enough of a difference between the left and right channels to make it sound wide. It will still sound like one audio source, because the delay isn’t long enough for the brain to distinguish it as a delay.

You can get this effect by adding a delay and setting it to free. Then, set either the left or right time to 1 millisecond (the shortest possible) and the other side to somewhere between 5 and 40 milliseconds. Adjust the time to where it sounds best. For short and snappy sounds, a shorter delay usually sounds better, while a longer delay suits long and sustained sounds. Also make sure there is no filtering or feedback, and that the wet is all the way up and the dry all the way down, so you only hear the clean delayed signals.

Reverb and Delay

To keep the stability of a mono signal, but surround it with some stereo goodness, you can add reverb and delay. Obviously, this will not only add width, but also atmosphere and a sense of space. If that’s what you want, you can kill two birds with one stone – just make sure the width is turned up on the reverb and that the left and the right time of the delay have different values, to get a stereo spread on the echoes.

Tremolo

With the tremolo effect, you can get automatic panning across the stereo field. The result is that it sounds like it’s spinning around your head. This is something you should use sparingly to add a little more interest and liveliness to the stereo image. Do it too much and it will just be distracting and chaotic. 


And that’s how you get a wide mix via a wide variety of techniques. Now start using them in Soundation! For more mixing tips check out this post.

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Songwriting: Past the Finish Line https://soundation.com/station/2021/10/07/songwriting-past-the-finish-line/ Thu, 07 Oct 2021 14:29:31 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=6775 Check out a travellers’ guide to producing on the road.

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Your song is nearly done. How do you take it past the finish line?

You’re 90% done with your next potential smash hit. If Simon Cowell was still a judge on X Factor and you showed up unannounced to the auditions – stonefaced, in complete silence, armed with nothing but a boombox – and hit play, his jaw would drop to the floor so hard you would feel the ground shake.

But it just needs that last piece of “something”.

How do you finish your track and make your future hit single cassette ready?

Remove The Junk

Remove the junk in your songs

The expression “less is more” is true in some cases.

Overproducing tracks is a classic music production rookie mistake. We succumb to the temptation of adding more fills, chord layers, and cool special FX than necessary.

When you have the finish line in sight, take a few extra listening rounds and mute tracks to see whether they actually make the song better or just waste sonic space. In the latter case, you can rinse the litter and let the beauty shine through.

Check Thematic Consistency

Make sure your song has thematic consistency

Now is a good time to review what we discussed in our first blog article – coming up with a theme and sticking with it.

Ask yourself if your theme and main elements are clear and make sure you didn’t lose that theme along the way. Maybe there’s more junk to remove or more magic to sprinkle on to finish your track.

Use Reference Tracks

“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

If there’s a song you love that’s similar to what you’re working on, you can use it as a reference track to help guide your decisions. Stretch it out to fit the tempo of your track in your DAW, line it up, mute it and toggle that solo button.

You can go for broader strokes like borrowing arrangement patterns (covered in our previous article in this series) or listen for details such as changes in the mix that make the song stand out. The latter makes more sense when you want to finish your track.

Ask For Feedback

Ask for feedback for your music

We all have blind spots in our perception, especially after the tunnel vision-inducing task of working on the same song for hours on end.

When you feel your song is close to the finish line, but find it difficult to put a finger on what could be improved, don’t hesitate to reach out to a buddy for a second and third opinion.

Join our Discord server to get feedback on your music.

Collaborate

Multiplayer DAW

We always return to collaboration, and for good reason. With the accessibility offered by modern music production tools, it’s common to be a jack of all trades. This is true to the extent that we sometimes forget to contribute to and make use of the talent in our community.

Realistically, you can’t be specialized in everything, and at this final stage, there are probably three main areas that need finalizing: sound design, mix and master.

Invite a trusted friend to your project, preferably someone who’s passionate about the sound engineering side of things, and let them grab the faders. Don’t be afraid to be generous with creative freedom – their changes could make all the difference and you can always save a backup first 😉

Decide when Enough is Enough

Sometimes you have to decide when your song is ready

Your song will never be perfect. Know when it’s good enough and let it leave your warm embrace with fond memories.

Now go kill it at that audition.

If you enjoyed this article, read our previous posts:

Kickstart Your Tracks: Beat The Beat Block

Song Arrangement Hacks

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Song Arrangement Hacks https://soundation.com/station/2021/09/23/song-arrangement-hacks/ Thu, 23 Sep 2021 15:15:19 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=6778 Five song arrangement tips to hack your music production workflow

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Stuck with a loop? Here are five song arrangement hacks to help take your song past the finish line. And a video for the top three!

Following your intuition and letting the song take you where it wants may be ideal, but the ability to do so takes a musical vocabulary that comes with experience. Some days it just doesn’t flow naturally. We’ve made a few frameworks of song arrangement hacks for you to help move along your process.

A good rule to make sure you don’t get stuck with a repetitive loop is to strike while the creative iron is hot. The first three methods are all based on that. Let’s dive in head first!

Skeletal Sweep

The Skeletal Sweep method is all about putting the structure of the composition at the center of attention and making a rough horizontal outline of the song before anything else, while inspiration is still fresh. Sound choice, sound design, mixing, or anything remotely detail-oriented should be avoided entirely during this stage.

Pick a generic but stimulating sound of choice such as a piano and pour all of your energy into building the chord progression throughout the entire song before looking up. At the very most, lay a drum beat down first (if the song is rhythm-centric), but don’t start adding too many other sounds until the core skeleton is there.

Voilà! The song is nearly finished, and you didn’t even notice it happening.

Stack ‘n’ Spread

Stack n Spread - The most common arrangement method of loop based music production

While the Skeletal Sweep method progresses horizontally, the Stack n Spread method is its vertical opposite. It’s slightly riskier because of its loop-oriented nature and you may find yourself unable to break out into other sections of the structure if you hang around in one area for too long. Consider it the master level of song arrangement hacks.

Stack

Start with a 2-8 bar chord progression, loop it and keep stacking new sounds until there’s way too much going on at once. At that point, you can mute some of the tracks, take a short break and come back with fresh ears to pile on some more. Don’t hold back from choosing sounds that are complementary in timbre and character, but remember not to linger.

Spread

Now you have a complete set of shiny puzzle pieces longing to be assembled into a coherent and meaningful picture. Make copies of the entire stack, and subtract sounds to make different sections then fit them together in a way that flows well. Top it off by creating transitions and bridging chords where needed.

Start to Finish

The Start to Finish method is essentially a combination of the Skeletal Sweep and Stack n Spread. Its order of construction is zig-zag or sawtooth-shaped, in other words, you work in blocks of song sections from start to finish. Recycle what you can as you progress to each new section and remember to be bold when it comes to removing sounds that don’t add anything vital to the song.

This is the most challenging method because it takes a patient and focused mind that is resilient to distractions. But, if you’re determined to make it all the way through in one session, the chance of the song ending up in the hard drive cemetery is greatly reduced.

Use a Different Song’s Arrangement as a Template

From now on, make it a mission to listen more actively to the arrangements of songs you like. When possible, take notes on how the song develops over time.

Stealing is the best form of flattery so don’t be afraid to rip a well-written song’s arrangement off entirely. Nobody will notice, and honestly, in this day and age, you’ll need to work pretty hard to come up with a completely unique one.

Collab on the Arrangement

Bringing a trusted friend in for a second opinion is generally a good idea. Invite them to your project to give you some feedback and poke around (after doing a backup, of course).

Maybe this is even the right time to let your baby bird leave the nest and let your partner in crime take care of the whole duty. You must be open to being “wrong,” because another person will most likely have a vision different from yours – and that’s a great thing.

Hopefully, these tools have provided you with a mental framework that with a couple of deep breaths will help you wrap it up the next time you’re ready to smash your laptop to pieces. 

Be sure to read our previous blog post here and stay tuned for the next one to be mentally geared up as a creative warrior. And don’t forget to try out our awesome web-based DAW Soundation for instant music creation in your browser.

You are on a good path to mastering your own mind and making great music!

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Kickstart Your Tracks: Beat the Beat Block https://soundation.com/station/2021/09/09/kickstart-your-tracks-beat-the-beat-block/ Thu, 09 Sep 2021 14:22:04 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=6761 7 ways to avoid beat block - Kickstart your tracks and beat the beat block!

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We put together a set of tools for you to help defeat your arch-nemesis. Learn how to kickstart your tracks and beat the beat block!

Writer’s block, beat block, never-finished-a-single-song-at-all block – we’ve all been there.

The crippling frustration of starting up an empty project in your DAW, only to find yourself staring aimlessly at the screen can be tremendously discouraging.

But when you find yourself in that moment of despair, you can take the opportunity to actively work on bettering your chances for future success.

Here’s some key advice for you to break out of that mental prison, get past those frustrating moments, and, most importantly, have more fun making music.

Determine Your Goal

Finding purpose in your creative journey

Determining your goal and getting to the root of why you’re doing what you love in the first place provides a sense of purpose that will guide you when you’re in doubt.

Examples of goals:

  • Learning new techniques
  • Developing your skills
  • Bonding with other artists
  • Self-expression 
  • Entertainment 
  • Contribution 
  • Practicing social skills
  • Making money 
  • Impressing somebody

All of these intentions are perfectly valid, but it’s a good idea to take it a step deeper and get to the core of why it’s important to you. Be brutally honest with yourself and get as close to the truth as possible.

The importance of intrinsic value

Chances are that if you make music because of an intrinsic value (like “because it makes me feel good”) you will last longer, experience fewer writer’s blocks, and generally lead a more fulfilling life.

Spend some time thinking about it and then write it down:

I make music to ________________, because ___________________.

Tip: Use a separate piece paper; don’t draw on your computer screen.

Get Inspiration From Elsewhere

Finding inspiration when you're out of creative juice

Just staring harder at the screen is proven not to work. If you don’t have any motivation, or actively wait around for inspiration to strike, you will go nowhere.

We need inspiration. Inspiration motivates us, and motivation leads to action.

So sometimes, it’s much more worth it to take some time off, switch up the environment and give space for the inspo-genie to strike.

Discover new music, do something you love, learn something new, or why not try everything at the same time.

We can’t be certain when the genie will visit, but when it does, be sure to have a notepad and a way to record your voice on hand so you can capture the ideas that genie gently whispers in your ear.

If your laptop is close by, and Soundation is there ready to make these ideas real.

Come Up With a Theme

The wonderful world of imagination curing beat block

Coming up with a theme will help you paint a mental image of the end result and give you a sense of direction. Everything you do should serve this theme.

For example, let’s say we’re making a cowboy-themed song. What are the first three things you think of?

I hear the main elements clearly: banjo, harmonica, and a steady, fast-paced rhythm. By referring back to the bigger picture, any other sounds or details should come to you quite naturally.

Make It a Challenge

Make a challenge for yourself to improve your creative discipline

Psychologically related to the last point, making a challenge for yourself provides you with an expectation to live up to. Even if you don’t have a winner’s mentality, most people seem to thrive under a healthy dose of pressure.

Here are some examples of challenges you can make for yourself:

  • Spend 30 minutes a day making music
  • Make a full song in a day
  • Make one loop a day for 30 days straight
  • Damn it, even opening your music tool every day is a valid challenge

Remember that the challenge should serve as a motivator and not a measure of your self-worth. Don’t beat yourself up or stress out if you miss a day or two. Depending on how much time you can spare, starting small via baby steps may be a better idea until you develop the routine, resilience, and discipline to make one or several songs a day.

Routine practice is no different from physical exercise, your brain gets stronger with time.

Make it a Collaboration

Collaboration makes beat block avoidable

You found a writing partner, and you’re both inspired. That’s a great first step. Sometimes it just clicks, and you’re able to sufficiently vibe off of each other.

But for an ultra-smooth workflow, it’s a good idea to determine your roles beforehand. For that, you need to know what motivates the other person, because we’re all different.

So have a conversation with your collab partner where you ask each other questions like:

  • What part do you enjoy most about making music?
  • What do you consider yourself best at?
  • How much time should we spend on this session?

Depending on how many people are involved, your roles will look different. For example, Jamie might make drum patterns, while Sophie lays down keys and bass, while you focus on arrangement and transitions.

Set a Deadline

Setting a deadline for yourself is important to avoid writers block

Without external expectations, take the chance to create some internal expectations. You can fabricate a motivational drive for yourself until you have the flow going all on its own.

Deadlines in a hobby environment are highly underrated. Once you have a clear goal with a specific project, set one. That’s the way to kickstart tracks and beat the beat block!

Even if you don’t always meet your deadlines, it’s better to aim high and land in the middle. You will thank yourself later.

Make a Checklist

Making checklists will help you thrive and keep the beat block far away

When you’re far enough along in your process, good old-fashioned checklists are a great way to declutter your mind.

Write down everything that needs to be done, and check them off one by one.

You are on a good path to mastering your own mind and making great music! That’s how you kickstart your tracks and beat the beat block.

Here’s another great article with a scientific twist written by Ricard Magnusson.

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10 Questions With Spell https://soundation.com/station/2021/08/13/10-questions-with-spell/ Fri, 13 Aug 2021 14:53:01 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=6674 We caught up with the Australia-based producer for a rapid-fire Q&A.

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We caught up with the Australia-based music producer for a rapid-fire Q&A, from his first time collaborating with a community on Twitch to his pandemic-fuelled subscriber growth.

When yet another Kenny Beats winner gave Soundation a try, we just need to reach out. This time it’s Spell — a DJ-turn-producer whose infectious beats and anything-goes livestreaming style have earned him 1.6 million of views in one year alone.

Read on to learn more about Spell and don’t forget to check out his work on YouTube, Twitch and SoundCloud.

If you have to describe your music in 3 words, what would you say?

Spell: “Traditional, hip hop, spell”

Indeed it was his smooth hip-hop beats with easy jazz elements that set him apart from other producers.

What got you into producing music on YouTube and Twitch?

Spell: “One word. Covid.”

Just as producers the world over have turned to livestreaming over the last year, Spell started posting videos on his channel in August last year after a hiatus. From beat challenges to tutorials, it looks like he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

What’s your process for collaborating with other producers?

Spell: “It’s usually is just a back and forth thing until we have something done.”

His funky remix of “Weekend” by a New Zealand-based band is an example of a collab done right.

How’s your experience with Soundation?

Spell: “It’s easy to set up, which is important, because things need to move fast when on stream.”

Check out his first time collaborating with his community using Soundation.

What other DAW and gear are you using alongside Soundation?

Spell: “Ableton and a bunch of synths.”

Looks like we’re not the only one who’s curious.

What’s your dream collab?

Spell: “I wanna collab with Beyoncé.”

I mean, who doesn’t?

What trends in music production are you most excited about?

Spell: “I don’t really keep up with what’s going on trend wise. I kinda just stay in my own lil world.”

Most of Spell’s livestreams are just him in his own little world thumping away at his synth in a dimly lit studio. There’s something oddly relaxing about it and judging from the number of his subscribers, we’re not alone.

How do you see music production evolving in the next 5 years?

Spell: “Skill level is gonna get higher and the age level is gonna get younger.”

Wise words coming from a winner of Kenny Beats.

Proudest moment on Twitch?

Spell: “This.”

Nuff said.

Anything you can divulge about your upcoming releases? What are you working on right now?

Spell: “I got an album coming out. I don’t know when, but it’s done.”

Could this be a teaser to his new album?

Keep up with Spell’s latest projects on YouTube, Twitch and SoundCloud.

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Announcing New Pricing Plans https://soundation.com/station/2021/08/11/announcing-new-pricing-plans/ Wed, 11 Aug 2021 08:54:48 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=6669 Important information about our new pricing plans: Starter, Creator, Pro

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On September 1, 2021, Soundation will be replacing current subscription plans with Starter, Creator and Pro to best accommodate the evolving needs of our users.

Since we launched Soundation 12 years ago, we’ve evolved from a modest online sequencer into a comprehensive music collaboration platform. When we came to a crossroads in 2019 and adjusted our price plans, the support you showed us was overwhelming. Regardless of how long you’ve been a part of the Soundation family, we truly appreciate each and every one of you.

With daily responses to feature requests and monthly product updates, the value of our studio has been greatly enhanced during the past two years. We’ve grown together with an increasingly large and diverse community — from first-timers, to seasoned veterans, to professionals. Many of you have reached out and you made it clear that our current feature-based pricing can feel like a barrier to your growth as a music creator.

To best accommodate these changing needs and get Soundation to sustainability, we’ll be replacing our current pricing with a storage-based model on September 1, 2021. Here’s how the new pricing model looks like:

What’s Changing?

We agree that a full-featured studio would help make the core Soundation experience more accessible for everyone. So thanks to your feedback, these previously paid features are now available as free standard features for all users.

  • Audio import
  • Audio recording
  • Automation
  • Parametric EQ
  • External MIDI controller support

For years, Soundation has served as a launchpad for the next generation of music producers, and we want our free plan to reflect that. Being able to import samples, record vocals, add automation and use a MIDI controller would provide the tools necessary for new users to realize their creative potential and grow.

What’s New?

In our new storage-based pricing structure, pricing is based on the number of projects and the storage size that these projects require. It’s designed to grow alongside your music career.

We will now offer three paid plans: Starter, Creator, Pro

The higher the pricing level, the more projects, the more storage and the larger sound library you get.

Starter

Our Starter plan offers 10 GB storage space and lets you export your tracks in high-quality audio files. This plan is a great launchpad for beginners just getting started with music production.

It’s priced at $9.99 per month, or $4.99 per month with an annual billing option (you save 50%!).

Creator

With a Creator plan, you can unlock unlimited projects and export project files. It offers 100 GB storage space. This plan is perfect for aspiring hobbyists looking to master their craft, share your work and collaborate with fellow creators.

It’s priced at $14.99 per month, or $9.99 per month with an annual billing option. That’s 30% discount.

Pro

A Pro plan opens access to the full suite of features available through other pricing plans, on top of 1TB storage. This plan is for professional producers and career musicians who regularly produce with other artists and hold remote sessions.

It’s priced at $49.99 per month, or $29.99 per month with an annual billing option. That’s 40% discount.

What’s Gone?

We’ll be discontinuing the current Intro, Power and Premium plans.

If you’re currently a subscriber to any of these plans, you’ll remain on the same plan and can continue to use the features of your current plan until your next billing date. Then, on your next renewal, you’ll be automatically moved to the equivalent plan – at a discounted price. 

Intro users will be transferred to the Starter plan, while Power and Premium users will be transferred to the Creator plan. 


Please see our FAQ for more information on how these changes will affect available features for current subscribers on each plan.

What’s Changing?

We’re excited to announce two new features that our users have continually requested that will become a reality on the same day the new pricing goes into effect.

No More Solo

You might notice that in the new price plans, we no longer differentiate between solo and collaborative projects. That’s because all new projects you create will be collaborative projects by default. Of course, they are private and won’t be shared with anyone unless you invite people to the projects.

You’ll also have an option to convert solo projects to collab projects – even when those solo projects were created before Collab Live was launched.

Auto-Save Is Here

There will be no need to manually save a project. All of your progress will be auto-saved.

Please see our FAQ for more information on how these changes will affect solo projects for current subscribers on each plan.

What About a Referral Program?

In addition to simplifying features for the new pricing structures, we’ll also simplify our referral program. Starting from the day the new prices take effect, the referral program will be replaced by a “Give $10, Get $10” reward program.

When a friend signs up for Soundation using your personal link, they’ll get $10 of credits to use on their first purchase. For every friend you invite to Soundation who subscribes and starts paying, we’ll give you $10 credits.

Please see our FAQ for more information on how these changes will affect your current referral benefits.

When Will This Take Effect?

The new prices will take effect on September 1, 2021.

The Next Chapter

No decision to change pricing is ever made lightly. That’s particularly true in our case. 

These changes will help cover the infrastructure and development costs of maintaining our current users — the majority of which are on the free plan. They’ll help us continue making Soundation the best it can be while running our platform at scale for a growing user base and continuing to add features so you can get more out of the studio.

We want to thank you, our community of music producers, for being on this journey with us. As always, we welcome your feedback, questions and ideas. Feel free to reach out at support@soundation.com with any questions.

Looking forward to the next chapter, 

Team Soundation

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Watch the Latest Streams from the Creator Community https://soundation.com/station/2021/08/05/watch-the-latest-streams-from-the-creator-community/ Thu, 05 Aug 2021 13:33:33 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=6618 Check out a highlight of streams made by creators on Soundation.

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The buzz around the music-making community on Twitch is growing louder and louder by the day. 

With an endless stream of career-changing beat challenges, live sample flips and feedback sessions, there’s been no shortage of livestreams to indulge in some backseat producing. However, with the rise of an online collaborative studio that lets streamers make music with fans in real-time, we’re moving into an exciting new phase.

For this round of community wrap-up, we’re sharing two recent livestreams that celebrate the creative power of collab sessions — and the wonderfully chaotic energy that comes with a remote co-op experience on Soundation.

Bishu throws a collabfest with fans 

Monstercat mainstay Bishu opens up a stage for his fans to go head to head in a 5-person collab challenge. Each team does their best to make a track within 45 minutes while Bishu does his best to help out in real-time (and try not to laugh). Armed with Ableton and Splice, he managed to collaborate with 15 producers within just 3 hours, churning out something between poppy future house and groovy dubstep. 

Spell316 tries out a new way to collab

10 Subscribers from around the world joined forces with Spell316 as they cooked up some lofi hip hop grooves. Using Ableton and Behringer Poly D alongside Soundation, Spell316 builds a solid arrangement as his collaborators drop their verses. The beats are as chill as the collab session. No wonder his fans have been asking him to make a collabfest a weekly event on his channel.

Keep on making great content and don’t forget to tag us. Your videos might get featured here!

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On the Road: Tips for Making Music on the Go https://soundation.com/station/2021/07/23/on-the-road-tips-for-making-music-on-the-go/ Fri, 23 Jul 2021 13:46:13 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=6578 Check out a travellers’ guide to producing on the road.

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We put together a list of travel essentials to help you take your work outdoors.

Summer anthems hit differently this year.

With the world reopening, songs about open-air parties and carefree beach days just take on a whole new meaning. If the sound of thumping bass soaring through the air used to bring to mind images of dance-fuelled debauchery, now it’s a reminder that freedom is heading our way.

Summer anthems feel, in a way, more cathartic than ever before. They speak to our collective desire to go somewhere, anywhere and do something, anything outdoors. Music production is no exception.

After a year of lockdowns, more and more musicians have hit the road and produced from their makeshift studio. With the growing roster of products designed specifically for audio nomads, there’s no better time to gear up and get outside. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite tools from software to hardware that can help you get your work done while soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors.

For the Escapist: MIDI Controller

For solo travellers looking for alone time with your music, it’s time to upgrade from the piano roll on your laptop’s keyboard. With a MIDI controller, you can just zone out and let your fingers do the work.

Any small keyboard that has keys, pads, and knobs will do. For the most compact, go for Akai’s MPK mini mk3 or MPK25 for those looking for more buttons.

However, if you can do without the pads, we recommend Komplete Kontrol M32 from Native Instruments. Its playability and control functionality makes it a standout. Not only are there more keys, but the touch strip mod and pitch wheel are also super handy. Plus, its integration with instruments and softwares is also sharper than any other keyboards we’ve tried.

For the Social Butterfly: Online Collaborative Studio

For busy, in-demand musicians who prefer to team up with other artists while on vacation rather than switching off, a cloud-based collaborative studio is a perfect solution.

Soundation lets your team mates drop stems into a shared project online – which you can access from a browser and add your parts from wherever you are without having to even log into your mailbox. No more dealing with work emails while you’re digging for the right emails from your team mates. It’s just you and your music.

For the Planner: Portable Hard Drive 

External hard drives are great for bringing sample libraries with you on a trip, making backups of projects in case your laptop falls into the water and taking with you files from sessions when you visit studios. 

One of the most robust and durable options out there is a LaCie Rugged portable hard drive. Thanks to its sturdy rubber sleeve and internal bumper, their Rugged line is known for being very resistant to water and dust, making it a producers’ favorite. For those who like to plan things in advance and go on a trip with a checklist of tracks to finish, a 1TB one is enough to get you through the trip.

For the Adventurer: Mic and Audio Interface

Whether the ambient sounds of the freezing Arctic or the bustling urban metropolis is your thing, a handheld recorder is a travel essential if you want to dabble into field recordings.

Zoom has recorders at various price points and specs for the curious hunter of sounds out there. But if we have to pick, we recommend the Zoom H5. It’s a great easy-to-carry audio recorder that also doubles as an audio interface if you connect it to your computer. It has a built-in microphone, but also mic and line inputs if you want to record an electric guitar or synth.

For those who already have a mic but are looking for a cheap and compact audio interface that’s ideal for low latency recordings, we say go for Komplete Audio 2 by Native Instruments. It has all the bells and whistles you need, including 2 XLR/Tele inputs, phantom power, direct monitoring and VU-meters recording at 192kHz in 24 bit.

For the Camper: Portable Speakers

Definitely something to impress your camping neighbors. If there’s space in your bag and you want to go the extra yard, that is.

The iLoud Micro Monitors from IK Multimedia are without doubt the best portable speakers for music production in the market right now. It’s easy to set up and offers a decently accurate listening experience. You can aux it straight to your computer or audio interface or opt for the bluetooth option.

For the Thrill Seeker: Backpack

For trekkers or those who like to go to the edge of the world for the perfect outdoor studio setup, a backpack from Analog Cases will be your new best friend.

They have a wide range of bags and backpacks customized for specific pieces of gear. Our favorite model is the Sustain Mobile Producer one. What makes it better than a regular backpack is that the interior is lined with a dense foam padding and the exterior has plastic panels what will keep your gear safe from the bumps and bruises of traveling.

Plus, it’s spacious and everything we mentioned above will fit into this bag quite comfortably.

For the Festival Hopper: Ear Plugs

Killnoise ear plugs are not the typical foam ear plugs you can get for $1 at a concert. Designed especially for DJs and rock stars, they promise to reduce the noise but still enable hearing.

Hearing loss is far more common than you might think. So, protect your ears and wear ear plugs in noisy environments – don’t be stupid.

No matter where you end up this summer, happy traveling!

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How to sample legally https://soundation.com/station/2021/06/22/how-to-sample-legally/ Tue, 22 Jun 2021 15:12:38 +0000 https://soundation.com/station/?p=6257 Learn about the history and legalities around sampling.

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Sampling has been a hot topic in the music world for decades. To be clear, sampling means to take an audio snippet, usually from an already existing song, and make it into something new. The legality of using other people’s work can be complicated and legally messy, but in spite of that, it has remained a prevalent art form. 

Luckily, nowadays a service like Tracklib can simplify the effort.

Some condemn sampling as lazy stealing, while others praise the collage-like creativity and homage. Regardless of how you feel, the fact remains that sampling introduces old and often forgotten songs to new audiences that would otherwise never hear them. And if the original creators give their consent and get compensated, there’s no harm in it. 

But how do you go about sampling legally?

Sampling History

Sampling was popularized by the underground hip-hop community in the 1980s. At first, they would find short drum breaks on vinyl records and loop them on turntables so MCs could rap over them. Two of the most popular drum breaks are “Funky Drummer” by James Brown (drummer: Clyde Stubblefield) and the Amen Break from the song “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons (drummer: Gregory C. Coleman) which have been used in countless songs. 

As time progressed, digital samplers like the Akai MPC and the E-mu SP-1200 were introduced. This made sampling easier, more affordable, and opened up new creative possibilities. 

When hip-hop proved itself to be not just a cultural phenomenon but a major moneymaker, the original artists, composers, labels, and publishers all wanted a piece of the pie. This resulted in momentous lawsuits in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Notably, The Turtles sued De La Soul and Gilbert O’Sullivan sued Biz Markie for uncleared samples. These lawsuits made artists and labels more careful about sample usage and ensuring samples had been cleared. In 1993, Biz Markie released an album called All Samples Cleared! as a reference to the previous lawsuit.

Today, you don’t need turntables or hardware samplers. You can do the same and maybe even more with a DAW (like Soundation) and an audio file. Even though the music business cracked down on illegal sampling, sampling didn’t become any less common. On the contrary, it has become one of the most popular production techniques and is heard in more songs than most people probably realize — and not only in hip-hop but in pretty much every genre.

Copyright

There are two types of copyrights in music — the recording and the composition. The labels and artists usually own the recordings, while the compositions are usually owned by the songwriters and publishers. These rights could belong to one and the same person who has written, recorded and released a song all by themself. It could also be a tangled mess of multiple songwriters, producers, labels, and publishers who all hold a piece of the rights.

Clearance 

To release music that contains samples, you need permission from all the rights holders. This is called clearing the sample. Tracking down all the rights holders can sometimes be tricky, depending on the situation. IFPI can help you find the labels, and you can use performance rights organizations like BMI and ASCAP to look up who owns the rights to compositions. If the rights holders agree to your request, they will probably want an up-front payment as well as a cut of the royalties (the money you generate with the song). An option to make sampling easier and more affordable is by remaking the part of the song you want to use. This would be called an interpolation and means you don’t have to license the original recording. However, you still have to get the rights to the composition. 

Sampling Myths 

“It’s just a few seconds”

It doesn’t matter how short the sample is, you still have to clear it. Even if it’s a fraction of a second, it might make it harder to detect, but doesn’t make it any more legal. 

“I changed it”

Pitching, stretching, distorting and generally messing up the sample is fun and creative, but it doesn’t exempt you from having to clear the sample. No matter how different it sounds from the original, clearance is necessary. You might think that no one will recognize the sample but beware, as automatic music detection technology is getting better and better. 

“It’s fair use”

Though fair use can be argued in some instances as a legal defense against copyright infringement claims (for limited use in transformative commentary and parody), it does not apply in most cases. If you don’t want to ask for permission and claim fair use instead, make sure that it indeed is fair use. 

“I’m not making any money off of it”

Just because you’re not selling the music, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to clear the sample. It’s still copyright infringement. Platforms like Soundcloud, YouTube, and Soundation can remove the content and may even ban you for uploading music with uncleared samples. Although there probably won’t be repercussions beyond that, it’s not worth the risk. 

“It’s an obscure song”

The popularity of the original song doesn’t change the fact that you need permission to use it. If your track gets big, odds are it will be figured out at some point.

Tracklib

One service that makes all of the work and sampling legalities easier for you is Tracklib, a library of real songs that you can dig through and get creative with. If you decide to release a song that uses a sample, you can clear it directly through them. This makes legal sampling accessible, and affordable, for the first time. 

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