The Top 3 Greatest Sound Brands on YouTube

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The Top 3 Greatest Sound Brands on YouTube

And Tips to Create Your Own Notable YouTube Video Style

There is one thing that all famous YouTubers have in common whether it be vlogging, tech reviewing, sketch comedy, cooking or just about any other genre or sub genre on YouTube that has found mass audience appeal –  a sound brand. In this entry, let’s take a closer look at the Top 3 YouTubers whose sound branding absolutely is on point.

But first, what is a sound brand? Well take a moment and think of your all time favorite YouTuber and ask yourself “Do they have an intro and outro with a notable music loops or sound effects?” “Do they have background music or regular sound effects that you have come to recognize to be synonymous with the show?” Those are all prime examples of a sound brand. Sounds, effects, and music loops all easily obtained from websites such as AudioMicro.com but utilized and regularly fed back to the audience in a way that the sound or loop itself becomes iconically entwined with the show. The overall ability that even if you just heard the music and sounds commonly used in your favorite YouTube series without seeing any visuals that you would immediately be able to identify the show is evidence of successful sound branding and what helps make the biggest youtube channels.

#3 Casey Neistat – 10 million subscribers

The man who invented the vlog – Casey Neistat. Easily one of the most popular youtubers on the platform these days. He understood early on the importance of creating a prominent sound brand within his vlogs and he quickly incorporated his skateboard grunge esthetic into everything he possibly could; especially so in regards to sound. Each vlog will kick off with his intro and original track followed by a series of background grunge loops and tracks he’s curated and compiled over the years and will use when he needs to subtley convey different emotions he is trying to evoke in sections of his vlog. The background music content he uses has become so popular as his sound brand that you can even search on YouTube playlist mixes of Casey’s Neistat that they too has millions of listens. Without his sound branding Casey Neistat’s vlogs would lack the emotional punch and drive they so inherently carry. Check out some of his vlogs and see how skillfully sound branding can enhance your project.

#2 Game Theory – 11 million subscribers

Video games are always – ALWAYS – all the rage, and YouTube is no exception. Close on the heels of live Twitch streams comes a dedicated bunch of gamers on the YouTube platform with incredibly sizable fan bases. One particular YouTube gamer, Mat Pat at Game Theory, has found a niche of researching a games lore and developing new and sometimes unexpected theories about the games we all hold near and dear. From his branded musical intro followed by him toting off his notable slogan “Hey Guys! Welcome to Game Theory” altogether creates an incredibly recognizable and powerful sound brand. It’s this one-two punch of branding that I find so effective that I’ve even caught myself humming along to the intro and matching Mat’s slogan as a new episode comes on.

#1 Good Mythical Morning – 14 million subscribers

The singing and variety series comedic duo, Rhett and Link, who host Good Mythical Morning have been mainstream YouTubers since the very beginning of the platform. Early on in their career they realized the importance of creating a premium sound brand. Nowadays their primary show is a daily variety comedy series called Good Mythical Morning. Each episode may cover a new subject and content but in each episode their is a clear and recognizable opening and closing bumper along with notable transition sounds and background music. They recently just started their 15th season (Wow!) and following their trend the only thing that changes between seasons is their intro and outro sound branding which I find to be a refreshing way to audibly cue the listeners into feeling the show has a new layer of renewed energy even after so many seasons.

There you have it! You know realize the best YouTubers are in part the ones who know how to create a memorable and lasting sound brands for their fan base. Now you know it’s not just what you show the audience, but it’s also how you sound to the audience that can a leave a lasting impression that goes far beyond after the video is over. If you’re in the market to develop your very own sound brand and don’t quite know where to start may I humbly suggest checking out AudioMicro.com for all your sounds, effects, and music loops needs to get up and running quickly and sounding amazing!

What do you think? Are these the freshest sound brands on Youtube at the moment? Do you know someone with a better sound brand or think we missed one? We’re always down to check out new and amazing talent on YouTube. Let us know in the comments below!

Local TV Commercial Editing Workflow

Premiere Pro CS6

In my day job, I produce TV commercials for local car dealerships in Northwest Illinois and various cities in Indiana. On a monthly basis, I deliver over 40+ spots to cable and network providers which are shot and edited a few weeks prior to the start of the next month. If I have commercials I need to produce for the month of January, I will shoot and edit them in December so that we can have them running at the beginning of the month. Aside from the production schedule of the monthly commercials I produce, I use an editing workflow that allows me to be efficient and maintain a level of speed that can handle unforeseen circumstances. I’m going to detail my editing workflow in Premiere Pro and hopefully provide some tips and insight into delivering multiple commercials to multiple vendors.

Setting up the project & gathering assets

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Before I shoot a month’s worth of commercials, I use a template project that has folders and assets which I know will factor into the edit. I change the scratch disks and project save location so I can keep my original template project intact; or I use PostHaste, depending on the project. From there, I add more folders that I may need for auxiliary assets like third party motion graphics and more. I also make sure that I have logos and monthly artwork from each brand I deal with at my agency. Once I’ve set up my project for the month, I wait until the shoot day before I do anything else.

Storage & Preparing the footage

When I’m shooting commercials for clients, I alternate between the Panasonic AF-100 and Sony PXW-X70. These cameras give me best of two worlds, which are interchangeable lenses and small but powerful broadcast cameras. Both cameras record with the AVCHD codec. The X70 also has its own proprietary codec which is the XAVC codec. When it comes to bringing footage from either of these cameras, I typically transcode the clips into Apple Pro Res or Pro Res HQ. Although Premiere can take most formats natively, with the hardware I have available (and based on past experiences) I choose to play it safe using a codec meant for editing. Before I do that, I always make sure to backup the SD card in two locations in sparse disk bundles using the Create Disk Image app.

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Once I’ve taken care of storage and encoded my footage into Pro Res, I move the footage to my network based RAID and import it into my project file so I can begin building sequences.

Building a selects sequence

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I place all of my footage into a sequence so that I can sort out the best takes, as well determine which clip goes with what dealership. I use timeline markers to group my clips together so that I can use the Markers panel and search for dealerships quickly. Once the selects sequence is built, I proceed to use the pancake timeline technique to build my main commercial sequences.

Structuring main commercial sequences & adjusting for time

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Using the pancake timeline technique, I put my selected sequences on top of my main commercial sequences, and drag clips into their appropriate places according to what is written in the script. From there, I add voice-overs, branding graphic assets, running footage, and more to time out each commercial to 30 seconds. If my footage, voice-overs, or other assets don’t meet that length, then I trim until everything does. Once I have my main commercials assembled and timed out, I add motion graphics and finishing touches like color correction/grading.

Motion graphics & finishing

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For motion graphics, I tend to use After Effects… unless I’m not looking for intricate animations. Lately, I’ve been using it for text animations as well as graphic overlays, especially since the update to Premiere Pro CC 2014.1 introduced the feature of Render & Replace. With that function implemented, I can now use dynamic linked After Effects comps and render/unrender them inside Premiere when I want to. In terms of finishing, I level the audio to broadcast specs and fix color balance and/or apply a simple color treatment, along with a Sharpen filter.

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Once I have motion graphics and finishing locked, I begin exporting my main commercial sequences to Media Encoder to get them to my broadcast vendors.

Exporting from Media Encoder and Delivery

Inside of Media Encoder, I set up my commercial sequences to be exported in a variety of codecs. Most of my broadcast vendors take either H.264 or Pro Res HQ. With Media Encoder, I use presets I created prior to encode one sequence to multiple Quicktime movies.

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Once I have exported my commercials into various Quicktime movies, I run one of them through Sorenson Squeeze to encode to WMV for brand compliance. With my Quicktime movies ready for broadcast delivery and my WMVs ready for brand compliance, I deliver each of them to their appropriate vendors and brands. In regards to compliance, if they approve it, then my broadcast deliver is cleared. If it is disapproved, I fix whatever mistake I have and re-export it for compliance and broadcast until it is correct.

As you can see, it pays to have a workflow that allows me the space to be creative, but at the same time meet pressing deadlines. After each month, I examine what worked best, what can be improved on, and if other tools can be added to allow for both efficiency and higher production value. In 2015, I plan on looking for tools and techniques that will allow me to be even more efficient and creative. Below is one of my finished promos for this month.

Royalty Free Music

5 Tips/Tricks for Premiere Pro CC

Premiere Pro CS6

Over the last few years, Premiere Pro has really stepped up its game as being a dependable NLE for professionals across the world. Its ability to make almost any codec native editable allows it to be more than a viable choice for editors to use. I’ve professionally relied on it to get many projects done over the years, and with each iteration that has been released, Premiere has shown that it can compete with the best of the NLEs. With the release of the Creative Cloud, we have been introduced to features that make the life of an editor much easier. I want to share a few tips/tricks that can help you in using this versatile NLE.

Using Drop Down Menus

The source, program, and title monitor each have a drop down menu above them indicating what item is currently in view. Every time you enter a new item into these monitors, it changes to that item. The cool thing about the source and title monitor is you can load multiple items into them and cycle through each individually by using the drop down menu. For example, if I want to look at multiple video clips and not have to load them into the Source monitor one by one, all you have to do is select a group of clips in the project browser and drag them into the source monitor. By using the drop down menu, you can go through multiple clips one by one. Aside from using the drop down menu in CC, you can map shortcuts to these commands below to cycle through clips using the keyboard. Personally, I’ve found this to be a timesaver for high volume footage edits.

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You can also load multiple titles in the Title Tool and cycle through different titles. You can also edit them one by one without having to double click them individually.

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You can also use the drop down menu for the Program monitor when you have multiple sequences open. I rarely use the drop down menus when cycling between sequences, but it’s always good to know multiple ways to move around your interface.

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Opening Multiple Sequences

Having to double click to open sequences in Premiere can be a pain in the ass, especially if I have to do it to multiple sequences. Luckily, there is a shortcut in Premiere Pro CC that allows you to open multiple sequences at once. If you map a keyboard shortcut for the command Open in Timeline, this will definitely be handy for opening multiple timelines. Select your group of timelines in the Project browser, hit your custom keyboard shortcut for Open in Timeline, and all of your sequences will open at the same time. I discovered this trick while working on commercial spots recently, and it has been a real timesaver. I strongly recommend you try it out yourself.

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Creating Custom Dimensions for Layers

Not too many people know this, but you can actually determine the dimensions of a Color Matte, Black Video, Adjustment Layer, or Transparent Video Layer before you commit to it. When you go to create one of these layers by selecting the create new item button, a dialog box shows up with dimensions of your current sequence. Let’s say, for example, that you wanted a red square and you didn’t want to go to the title tool to create it. If I create a Color Matte with dimensions of 500×500, I will get a red square Color Matte.

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Knowing this tip can reduce the time you may spend creating shapes in the Title Tool, or farming out to Photoshop if you are so inclined.

Change Duration of Multiple Transitions

One of the things I enjoy about the Creative Cloud version of Premiere, is that I can select multiple transitions and change their duration at the same time.

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As cool of a trick as this is, I hope future iterations will have the ability to map a shortcut to change transition duration as opposed to using the mouse all the time.

Importing Favorites Bins/Custom Presets onto other machines

This was a tip I learned recently from the Adobe forums. If you create custom presets and bins for favorites, it is saved in a file known as Effect Presets and Custom Items. This file updates each time you import a preset or custom bin into Premiere Pro. The best things about this file is that you can copy and import it into other systems with Premiere Pro installed. The instructions I’m giving are on a Mac, but you can find instructions for this file on PCs if you search the help pages. First, copy the file from the User>Documents>Adobe>Premiere Pro>version #>profile folder. With the file on a flash drive, open Premiere Pro CC (2013 or 2014 works) and go to the effects browser. Right click on the Effects tab and select import presets. Select the file on the flash drive and you will get the custom presets you created, as well as the favorites bins you created on your other machines.

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This trick is also useful when Premiere is being sluggish and you need to trash preferences. You won’t need to recreate everything all over again. These are just a few tips/tricks that Premiere Pro has to offer. There are many more available when you really get to know the program. In fact, the updates coming for the next release of Premiere Pro CC 2014 look more promising than any release I’ve seen in years. Try these tricks out yourself and discover ways to move faster in Premiere to get your work done.

Sound Effects

Spooky Sounds and Terrifying Tracks for Halloween

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There are lots of reasons why I love October. The air is getting cooler and the colors are changing. Football is in full swing and the World Series is within sight. I can finally start using Rocktober on my social media feeds. I never pass up a chance to get my German on at Oktoberfest while indulging in beer and brats. And, of course… pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING.

But the real reason to celebrate this time of year is the one night when you can dress up in not-safe-for-work attire and no one cares… Halloween! Before you hit up your costume parties as Bret Michaels or Bon Scott (Yep. I’ve done both. Bret Michaels was a bigger hit. Can you believe that?), you probably need to put the finishing touches on that creature feature and slasher flick you’ve been working on. Or maybe you want the perfect background royalty free music track to scare the kiddies as they venture on to your porch while trick-or-treating. Now is the time to take advantage of our top Halloween music and sound effects. We’ve already set aside our favorites here:

Hottest Halloween Music

Hottest Halloween Sound Effects

I love anything involving Zombies, so make sure to download the “Single Zombie Snarl” sound effect. It would go perfect with “Movie Homicide” and would even make George Romero proud.

And what’s scarier than a creepy little kid in a horror flick? That’s right. Nothing. “House of Marionettes” seems sweet and innocent, but there’s definitely something sinister going on. It makes me shudder just thinking about it. Juxtapose that with “BANSHEE, SCREAM” and you’ve got yourself a heart stopper.

We all know that picking the right song or sound effect can make or break a project. The right file could be the difference between making the next “Exorcist II: The Heretic” and “The Exorcist.” Keep the evil spirits at bay and choose wisely… you might just be able to sleep at night.

AudioMicro Certified Hotness – Dubstep Anyone?

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Ever since Skrillex walked away with 3 Grammys in early 2012, the use of Dubstep has fast become a mainstay in media sync music. From Infiniti commercials to The Championships at Wimbledon, it seems every ad agency has jumped on the bandwagon and rightfully so. It is ideal for high energy media with definitive visual hit points. Here’s why…

Dubstep is a very heavy variety of EDM (electronic dance music), crafted through very intense “momentary” arrangements. Screeching high pitch sounds are often followed by gasps of sonic space, only to be refilled with huge bass “wobble” sounds – glitches, white noise, and other EDM production archetypes are used throughout as well. These dramatic sonic changes, coupled with the brief rests and restarts, keep listeners’ heads nodding at a frantic double timed pace. These rests and restarts also make for great hit points when synced to video.

Skrillex pulled in over $15,000,000 last year, with sync fees for his more popular tracks reaching well into the 6 figures range. Lucky for you, AudioMicro has a rapidly growing arsenal of top quality dubstep tracks and producers that you could license for any use imaginable. With prices ranging from a mere $29.95 to $279.95 (check out our License page for more details on the cost breakdown).

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WARNING, Dubstep is not for the sonically faint of heart.

Here are 5 of my favorites we have received thus far – courtesy of DubStepKings, MakeSomeNoise and Artmel.

DubStepKings

Rebels Attack – A nicely arranged, musical dubstep track with a nice verse/chorus/bridge feel. Super glitchy and crazy.

Eroded Sun – an almost classical sounding intro compositionally speaking, evolves into a cool, trippy dubstep jam with a nice bridge and outro section

MakeSomeNoise

UpStep Dubstep – all I have to say is WOW – progressive, musical, intense. This guy is on top of his wobble game for sure.

Dubstep Intro – MakeSomeNoise strilkes again with this 60 second cue. Heavy wobbles are preceded by a cool little intro build to get it started.

Artmel

Dubstep Loop – this is a really cool loopable piece from Artmel based on a very jazzy progression, I really dig it – super unique vibe.

That’s all I’ve got for you this week. Have an awesome weekend everyone.

 

Watch the Throne – Jay Z and Kanye West Album Review

Watch the Throne - Jay Z and Kanye West Album Review

After months of speculation from both fans and fellow musicians, the duet album (“Watch the Throne”) from Jay-Z and Kanye West finally dropped on Monday. The 12-track album (16-track deluxe version) was produced by some top names in hip hop, including the Neptunes, Q-Tip and RZA.

I decided to take a listen and see what the hype was all about.  After my first run-through, my initial reaction was one of slight disappointment. I didn’t really get what I had just listened to.

Both rap legends put together innovative beats from producers like 88 keys and RZA, and combined it with a style and lyricism that would put most recent rap albums to shame.  Maybe that’s just the problem, comparing it to ‘recent’ rap albums.

On the surface, some tracks like “Otis” and “The Joy” are instant attention grabbers, using collaborations to wow the audience.  The tracks rely on an array of vocalists like Beyonce to supply hooks. The first vocal heard on the album is not from one of the two stars, but Frank Ocean, who provides the intro to “No Church in the Wild.”

The album doesn’t reach the potential that I thought it would. As Hua Hsu notes in his excellent Grantland essay about Watch the Throne, the two stars in this album seemingly present themselves as a solution to a history of issues.  It comes off a bit disturbing.  The primary concept of the album seems to be that Jay and Kanye want the world to know how awesome and rich they are.  Jay mentions that he is “planking on a million” and asks, “what’s 50 grand to a motherf***er like me, can you please remind me?” Especially in today’s economic situation, great message fellas.

Production could have been much better. It’s unfortunate because these are some of the best lyrics that Jay Z and Kanye have written in the past years, but did it over some sub-par instrumentation.  Rather, it’s not that the producers aren’t making good music, but the seamless mesh of music with lyrics was not found. At least by me. If the production seems to be more of West’s saying, we can note that the lyrics probably belong to Jay then.

Despite the star-studded cast, the album seems to be lacking something.  Something that Jay and Kanye used to have, a certain awe of the actual music.  We won’t find a special edge on this album ala “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” or see multiple hits such as “The Blueprint 3”, but it does deliver something.  Two symbols of the industry made a quick album, which despite their efforts, winds up being just another trophy on a wall of accomplishments. Big deal? In a way, yes. Kanye and Jay-Z push each other on the album, seem to have lots of fun doing it, all of which results in a high level of hype surrounding the release.  To strive and try to make something historic, that’s worth applauding.

In the end, Watch the Throne is a respectable attempt at unity, but its inconsistency ultimately harms the project, resulting in a certain uneven-ness that stops it from being great.

 

Royalty Free Music with a Bang- Happy July 4th Weekend!

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What’s up media lovers and music fanatics? We hope you are enjoying your summer so far and are looking forward to a fun filled July 4th Weekend. Happy Birthday USA! You know the drill, we are back checking in with the monthly hotness to keep you in the loop on June’s top new uploads and artists in the royalty free music game. Let’s get right into it.

WeAreAA

We recently saw an influx of very true to form Lady Gaga/Katy Perry/Rihanna esque productions, coupled with some fun urban and hip hop tunes, from Los Angeles based WeAreAA. They recently began compiling their cue library and we are excited to be their exclusive online distributor. Check out their rapidly expanding library of modern synth pop, hip hop and urban music here.

LLMillerMedia

We know, we know, we mentioned her last month…But Lori has been on an absolute tear recently as her portfolio has grown by over 200 tracks since our last post…wow. Most tracks feature her fantastic guitar work, be it acoustic noodling or wall of sound metal style shredding, Lori is on it. Take a few minutes to check out all the new goods here.

NatKingKong

Natkingkong is a fantastic composer who recently began uploading several new cuts in experimental, corporate, dramatic and orchestral feels. His portfolio of just over 30 tracks is not about quantity, but quality, and that quality is par excellence. You will find nothing but world-class compositions and mixes in this collection, and they are both refreshing and incredibly useful. Check them out here.

Know any hot artists we need to get on board? Want some different genres of vibes featured next month? Drop a comment in the comments section and let us know your thoughts. Have a great 4th of July.

Are You Ready for an Upgrade?

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According to a recent press release, CSS Music, a Los Angeles-based royalty free music library, has upgraded its entire collection of music tracks for the film, video, television and digital media industry to a superior quality .mp3 320 kbs file format. The 12,000 tracks are now available for digital download in the new upgraded format.

Michael M. Fuller, president and owner, had this to say about the upgrade, “When you’re talking about compressed files in an .mp3 format, the gold standard without a doubt is 320 kbs. While our 160 kbs files were excellent, taking our royalty free music downloads up to .mp3 320 kbs was a necessary move. Today’s clients are looking for ways to stretch their dollars and at the same time they’re looking for quality. They demand quality. Now because of this upgrade, our mp3 files will sound smoother with a more transparent high frequency response.”

Sounds like a pretty good upgrade, doesn’t it? It’s top-quality royalty free music without higher fees. You can download the new tracks either on a single-track basis or through a bulk download package. When you purchase a download bulk package, you can expect to save anywhere from 30 to 90 percent off. That’s more than an upgrade — that’s a bargain. CSS Music offers three independent search systems. Each track in a search result can be reviewed in its entirety in full 44.1khz sound quality. Site users can also use a “Playlist Tool” to create an unlimited number of playlists for different projects, scenes, etc. Playlists can be e-mailed to clients or associates.

CSS Music was founded in 1982 in Los Angeles, CA and is the oldest US based royalty free music library under original management. CSS has more than 300 CD volumes and 12,000 downloadable music tracks in its 17-library package. CSS Music is intended for use in AV/Video, Film, Television, Multimedia and Internet applications. Delivery formats include CD, Custom CD-R, Single Track Download, Downloadable CD, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and Hard Drive. Popular CSS libraries include Super Themes, Target Trax and Repro-file. For more information, visit www.CSSmusic.com.

Have You Ever Wanted Your Own Radio Show?

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If you’re someone who enjoys getting up on your soapbox now and again, then this tidbit of news is just what you’ve been waiting for. Is there a better platform for you to voice your opinions, talk about music and play DJ other than to have your own radio show? Really, who wouldn’t want to have their own radio show? You get to control the music, talk about whatever and whoever you want, and reach millions of listeners.

Music News Industry Network, otherwise known as MI2N.com, is having a promo. The deal is a 30-minute radio show, to be aired twice a day over a period of 30 days for a one-time fee. That’s 30 minutes of uninterrupted, royalty free music featuring none other than: you. Royalty Free Music Radio is played throughout businesses and retail outlets throughout the United Kingdom. Basically, you’ll be getting wide coverage while listeners get to hear some great, royalty free music. The best part, aside from the fact that you’ll be an international sensation, is that you can use that 30 minutes however you like. This is your opportunity to abuse the airwaves for your own pleasure. You can promote your music, your band and your CD, your next show or tour, your website — anything! It’s entirely up to you. That’s 30 minutes, twice a day for 30 days. Talk about free promotion. The possibilities are endless. Did we mention that it’s all about royalty free music?

All you have to do is send in your royalty free music or sound effects, and a script of everything you’ve ever wanted to say on the radio. Then, the radio station will have professional DJs repeat (word for word) everything written on the script. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t. Just visit Royalty Free Music Radio for more details.

Here’s a quick rundown of everything that is included in the promo:

• 30 minutes of a professionally, DJ-produced radio show

• No third party advertisers

• You get to provide the music AND the script

• Promote anything you want — CD, shows, website, etc.

• You get to choose your DJ

• You get a featured spot on Royalty Free Music Radio’s website

• Your show will run for 30 minutes, twice a day, for 30 days

Boogie down on monday nights @ Funkmosphere

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Monday nights have never before been so funky.  If you’re a resident of Los Angeles, then you need to come down and check out Funkmosphere at Carbon in Culver City. Synth-Funk guru Dam Funk takes you back to the 80s, playing retro classics and rarities that are guaranteed to keep you dancing.  Some artists featured in the playlist last night were Morris Day and the Time, Mazarati, Prince, The Gap Band, and tons more. There are usually around 3 guest DJs that come to spin and they have plenty of funky sound effects to keep you moving. French hip-hop artist Onra graced us with his presence last night.

Funkmosphere is every Monday night from 10PM-2AM. 21+ No cover!

Here are what some other blogs have to say about Funkmosphere…

The urge hits like a gnawing pain deep in the gut…

Early ’80s funk and boogie bangers…

Warm spacey vibes harping back to the 80’s but steppin’ into tomorrow…

DJ Anywhere…Literally…With Urban DJ

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Add this to one of those gadgets that only the geekiest of audiophiles would add to their gadget repetoire. The UBDJ Fi-Hi Urban DJ Cassette Tape Cross-Fader seems to be just one of those tchotchkes that you passively pick up, but then it turns out to be way more entertaining than you originally thought. The UBDJ connects to any device with a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, so those carrying around an iPhone, an mp3 player and any other music toys  can essentially crossfade content from both outputs.

The Fi-Hi also includes a headset jack so that all the DJ’s on the go will be able to cross fade their music without missing a beat. That essentially means that if you’re dropping tracks you’ll still be able to avoid the feared “trainwreck” (read: completely mismatching rhythms and beats leaving your audience distraught, peering back at your with a disturbing deer-in-headlights facial expression) While the Urban DJ isn’t exactly a Tonium Pacemaker, but at least it doesn’t claim to be. At around $30, the Fi-Hi is easily just another fun toy to add to gadget collection

New iPhone Sims 3 Game Features Music Customization

At today’s iPhone 3.0 software media event, several announcements were made regarding the latest software upgrade for Apple’s mobile phone. Among copy and paste features, MMS, and other application-based announcements, Electronic Arts was able to show off the latest installment of their highly successful franchise The Sims. Like many other applications soon to be developed for the iPhone 3.0 software, The Sims 3 will be among the most immersive games to allow users to access their music while the game is being played, reports Kotaku.

This announcement comes in tangent with a broader feature that EA announced. Sims 3 will include an in-app store where players can purchase things for their Sim-environment, namely an avenue to play music already available on the users’ iPhone. This will most likely include something like a stereo or jukebox; in any case, instead of playing pre-recorded music provided by the developer, users will be able to customize playlists from their iPhone’s music library, leaving characters in the game dancing to familiar music. Even if players aren’t necessarily in a room with a jukebox, music may be played simply for ambiance. For more news on the iPhone 3.0 media day including new features and applications, click here.

Thanks Gizmodo/Kotaku for the image

“This is an Internet Problem Not a Pirate Bay Problem”

As closing arguments concluded this week in the widely publicized Pirate Bay trial, defendant Fredrik Neij made it clear that he and his team is innocent, claiming that the problem lies not in their technology but on the Internet supervision in general. If convicted, the four-member team of Pirate Bay operations could face up to two years in prison and a damage claim of up to $12.7 million.

vnunet.com is reporting that the defendants noted that “a survey he had undertaken of more than 1,000 torrents showed that 80 per cent were for legitimate downloads,” and that  “the prosecution did not carry out such a survey.” While the prosecution also claimed that the site makes over $1 million in advertising revenue, defendant representative Jonas Nilsson completely rejected the notion, pointing out that the site actually runs at a loss and that all revenue goes towards maintenance.

The crux of the Pirate Bay trial is largely correlated with the user aspect of the website. Fundamentally speaking, users upload their own content to the Pirate Bay servers, basically providing a portal for other users to download. This is basic sharing. So the defense is in fact correct by claiming that this entire trial is indicative of a much bigger problem, namely with the principles of net neutrality and how the web is surveilled. Whatever verdict the jury chooses to deliver in April will be a monumental precedence in the world of digital distribution and the protection of rights and IP.

The Pirate Bay Will Keep Plundering…For Now

Big news out of Sweden today. Popular torrent tracker website PirateBay.org and counsel entered day three of litigation,  where an unprecedented 50% of the charges filed against them were dropped. As Channel Web reports, “The Pirate Bay’s counsel successfully argued that bit torrent files aren’t compelling as evidence to prosecute The Pirate Bay”, noting that the digital files exchanged between users “don’t demonstrate clear illegal activity on Pirate Bay’s part.” An interesting argument to say the least, considering some of the biggest names in the entertainment world are involved in the case, including the big five studios (Fox, Warner Bros., etc.), several music labels, and various other media-related companies.

The decision to drop half the charges allows those involved to focus on what they see as the primary issue, which is the act of making copywritten material available for download. While this argument is largely pursued on the prosecuting end, the line of defense used by most file sharing outlets is the hosting of links to said material versus the actual files themselves. The hosting of files is what ultimately led to Napster’s demise, whereas legal loopholes have allowed torrent channels to operate with only minimal recourse. This trial will undoubtedly set precedence for the future of torrent sites as media companies hurry to pursue those that they feel encroach on the legal boundaries of their content.