Ben Prada – Istanbul

Ben Prada and his brand new track release called “Istanbul”.

Ben Prada wanted to recreate the sounds of Istanbul to one of the biggest genres right now that is EDM.

The amazing electro synth together with a deep bassline, creating a completely new sound, made the simple drums sounding very different, giving them that groovy vibe.

Ben managed to actually recreate the sounds of Istanbul to this breath taking EDM that will bring many old memories back.

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Electronic Music Industry Now Worth Close to $7 Billion Amid Slowing Growth

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If you have bought a festival ticket, paid for a drink at a club, or even coughed up $1.29 for a track download, you can take some credit for elevating the estimated value of the global electronic music industry to a whopping $6.9 billion in 2014. The figure comes courtesy of the annual IMS Business Report which tallies data and figures from a myriad of findings about dance music and its many scions, delivered late last week at the International Music Summit in Ibiza, May 20-23. The majority of that nearly $7 billion estimate comes from live music, including festivals and clubs and $2 billion coming from North America.

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While $6.9 billion is a significant wad of cash, it’s only 12% higher than the 2013 estimate of $6.2 billion, indicating that expansion might be slowing across the industry. By comparison, the 2012 value was around $4.5 billion and grew 35% the following year. Unsurprisingly, one area in which that growth has stagnated is record sales. While 2013 saw major album releases like Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Disclosure’s Settle, and Avicii’s True, 2014 didn’t have any equivalent breakouts, prompting a decline in electronic music album sales for both the US and UK. Single track sales have also flatlined, year over year.

Two of 2014 biggest hits in electronic music, Clean Bandit’s Grammy-winning “Rather Be” and Robin Schulz’s Grammy-nominated “Waves” remix, were relatively humble in terms of sales compared to 2013 crossover monsters like “Get Lucky,” “Latch,” and “Wake Me Up.” The uptick in streaming of electronic music is a small bright spot on the landscape, though the paltry fee artists collect on streaming leaves little to celebrate there. While vinyl sales have been strong for the music industry overall, there is no mention of it in the IMS report, perhaps because after Random Access Memories was the top-selling vinyl album of 2013, vinyl sales in 2014 were dominated by rock acts like Jack White and Arctic Monkeys.

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US festival attendance remained flat at 1.4 million in 2014, despite the addition of TomorrowWorld, Mysteryland, and a slew of smaller boutique events to the calendar. IMS cites the reason as the return to one weekend for Ultra Miami after a one-off two-weekend year in 2013, and predicts growth in 2015 with new events like AEG/Goldenvoice’s CRSSD and SFX/ID&T’s One Tribe, both in California.

Not that anyone is shedding a tear here, but as the IMS report shows in a summary of a Forbes report from last year, DJ salaries have also started to level off, with incomes in the top bracket growing a mere 12% from 2013, compared with 37% the year before. Thanks to an array of brand partnerships in addition to heavy global radio play, near-full entitlement on songwriting and production credit for his releases, and a million dollar an hour asking price, Calvin Harris has more than double the salary of the No. 2 DJ, with $66 million compared to David Guetta’s $30.

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Special attention is paid in this year’s report to emerging markets like India, East Asia, and South Africa, with each territory benefiting from investments by Europeans and North Americans as well as local events like India’s Sunburn. Staggeringly, IMS provides no information on Latin America, despite the expansion of established festival brands like ID&T’s Mysteryland and Insomniac’s EDC to LatAm markets and the demonstrable fervor of fanbases there.

Even alongside the formidable calculations of IMS resident wonk Kevin Watson, it’s hard to take seriously parts of a report that credits Nervo with the success of women DJs in Thailand and Singapore (page 12) or offers Simon Cowell’s “Ultimate DJ” show and a museum in Frankfurt as the same level of evidence that “electronic music has begun to truly penetrate mainstream culture” (page 23). Still, as a compilation of existing data from sources both credible (Nielsen, Forbes) and whack (topdeejays.com, DJ Mag), the IMS Business Report is a fine resource for statistical information about the business of electronic music.

What 2015’s numbers tell us has yet to be determined, but after several years of explosive expansion (barring any dramatic shifts in practices by the industry’s biggest players) we might be in for another 12 months of statistical inertia.

5 Mistakes Every Beginner Producer Makes (And How To Avoid Them)

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In many ways, the trajectory for a DJ is simple: master technical fundamentals, get great at selecting music, and try and develop a unique style that’s all your own. While the trajectory for production is in some ways very similar, modern DAWs provide such a myriad of options that make it easy to fall into one of many pitfalls, especially when just starting out! Today we’re looking at 5 of the most common mistakes almost every beginner producer makes, and how to avoid them.

1. LESS IS ALWAYS MORE 

When starting out, the impulse of the vast majority of producers is to grab at every extra plug-in and piece of tech they can get their hands on, and why not? Each product invariably markets itself as the be-all, end-all product that will immediately inject your tracks with fresh energy and life.

While it’s true that there are a lot of pieces of gear and plugins out there that (when used properly) are godsends, grabbing a handful of them and throwing them into your newest track won’t do anything but throw in a bunch of processing that’s too complex for you to handle.

It might be difficult, but instead of trying to use a million different tools to achieve the same effect, try becoming an expert in using a few: mastering one synth and one compressor will do far more for your workflow than half-understanding the functions of ten synths and twenty compressors, a mantra that’s been repeated by the likes of Skrillex, who made his entire Scary Monsters album with only Ableton’s onboard processors.

2. LOUDER DOESN’T MAKE IT BETTER

There’s perhaps nothing more infuriating in the world of production than lovingly mixing down a track, spending hours tweaking every knob, every parameter, automating down to the second, and then referencing it to a professional club track and watching your smile sink slowly as your track is absolutely pummeled by the thump of its professional counterpart. For a lot of producers, this is a massive source of frustration, and rightfully so, as it can feel like there’s absolutely nothing one can do to compete on the level of these thumping mixes.

The solution that a lot of beginning producers jump to is the notorious “brickwall” limiter, which is basically akin to using a butcher knife where you should use a scalpel. The reasoning often cited for this practice is usually something along the lines of  “Mastering techs use limiters, and they make loud tracks, so I should too.” Unfortunately this results in all kinds of negative and unanticipated effects, like pumping sounds, dynamics loss, and distortion. Ultimately, it’s better to take some time to learn a bit about the mastering process, or to save up to pay a mastering engineer, than to take the easy route and absolutely squash your tracks.

3. DON’T FEAR THE PRESETS

It seems increasingly that the production world is divided into those who view presets as the ultimate cheat, and those who view them as the only way to produce. While their ultimate purpose likely lies somewhere between those two opinions, it’s incredibly important to have a reasonable approach to presets (and by extension, samples and sample packs).

Many producers might cringe at the sound of a Nexus piano preset, it’s important to remember that the end goal of a producer should be satisfaction artistically with themselves and with the audience, which may or may not be comprised of people who can recognize presets. This isn’t necessarily license to go and write something like “KNAS,” but you should always keep an open mind to both samples and presets, if only as tools to compliment your sound and radically increase your efficiency.

An easy way to use presets and samples without losing the integrity of a track is to mix genres that traditionally aren’t related: for example, try using hip-hop synth samples in a techno track; you’ll find that the jarring presence of a sound from an entirely different sonic universe can produce some exciting and novel results.

4.  I SOUND LIKE [FAVORITE PRODUCER], AM I FAMOUS YET?

Far too many producers confuse learning the ins and outs of a system with learning how to make a specific product. When starting out, the drive is somewhat clearly to make a track reminiscent of the track that got you into production in the first place, or at very least, the track you love at the moment. In a recent interview with DJTT, Lucky Date recommended emulating the sounds of a favorite artist as a great starting place for new producers.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with having a fondness for a sound or style, but producing with a constant eye towards making one type of sound will stunt one’s growth as a producer and as a musician. Tutorial-hunting and remake attempts will only teach you the sound that is the end result of a process invisible to everyone but the original producer.

Instead, spend time reading and learning about general techniques of compression, EQing, and sound design; the end result will be a much richer production experience and a wealth of knowledge that’s applicable to a wide variety of production styles and changing tastes.

5.  OBSESS OVER THE ART, NOT THE CRAFT

This is a simple thing to remember, but it’s lost on tons of producers starting out: there will be a point at which you are fairly comfortable with your production skills. Whenever that point may be, it’s crucial to remember that a production skillset isn’t the end goal, writing music is!

It’s fantastic to have a well-mixed track with plenty of perfectly synthesized sounds, but if it’s a boring track, no amount of clean mixdown will ever make it interesting. Think of the core principles of sound design as guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Once you’re relatively comfortable with understanding each of the features of your chosen DAW, try doing something unconventional or even technically “dumb,” like using a limiter on a single track, or heavy reverb on a bassline, or using a really wide imager on a synth line. These adjustments might not make your track better technically, but this sort of experimentation is almost always guaranteed to make your track more interesting.

Have you ever been trapped in one of these producer pitfalls – or know of any examples of producers who might be stuck in one of them right now? Chat with us in the comment section below. 

Here’s What 10 Old (School) DJs Think About “EDM”

Quick, what are the three dirtiest words in electronic music? “Pre-mixed set”? Nah. “Pregnant female DJ”? Try again. The correct answer is: “E.D.M.” These days, it seems like every other interview with an esteemed DJ comes with a hearty serving of hang-wringing over the sorry state of commercial dance music in America. Who can blame them? EDM has come to be associated formulaic music, crass (and mass) culture, and mainstream appeal—everything that electronic music culture purported to be against. Even EDM DJs don’t want to be EDM DJs anymore. With that in mind, here’s a collection of the most delicious EDM shit-talking we could find by old-school DJs willing to speak their mind.

  1. Carl Cox

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“I don’t think it’s ‘underground vs overground,’ I just think it’s pop culture versus people who actually love the music. Some of these people have no clue why they are standing in front of these DJs in the first place. I can’t be part of that system.”

2. DJ Koze

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“In America this kind of computerized rock music that they love is totally uninteresting to me. It has no magic and is made for people that are not into this kind of music.”

3. Aphex Twin

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“It doesn’t feel related to anything I’m doing. This guy Skrillex, I’ve only heard about his tracks, because my kids played them. It sounds like he has a good grasp of technology. I think it’s pretty poppy, isn’t it? It’s too poppy for me.”

4. Bassnectar

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“When it comes to most of the EDM DJs out there I don’t have any respect or interest in what they’re doing. They look like phonies to me. It’s been hard to watch something so special to me be diluted and heisted and turned into this kind of shameless, cheap, fake carnival. To that degree I hate EDM. I worry it’s depleting the authenticity of DJ culture… but you can’t really hate on 30,000 people having the time of their lives.”

5. Ricardo Villalobos

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“I can’t condemn EDM or cheesy pop music if the people democratically decided that’s what they want. It belongs to them. People who have the same interests do not go to war and kill each other. It’s hard to kill someone when you share similar values.”

6. John Digweed

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“If I ended up on the main stage, people are going to want something more familiar and I can’t deliver that. I’d rather be where the crowd wants to hear what I want to play. It just wouldn’t work for me to follow an EDM DJ, I don’t have that energy in my music even if i’m playing my fastest, most energetic track.”

7. Annie Mac

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“It’s quite formulaic; people know that if they hit that formula, then they’ll get on the radio or the gig. Whereas in the UK, it’s a lot easier to be a little more original if you want to be. I’m not saying that EDM is awful, but if you want to be a bit more far-fetched in terms of your creative endeavors, you can do that and be celebrated on a mainstream platform.”

8. Fatboy Slim

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“It’s fine as entry level stuff, but make no mistake: EDM will crash and burn. It’s based on a pyramid scheme of making money and as soon it stops making money the whole house of cards will fall down. We want there to be something left when this bubble bursts.”

9. Reid Speed

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“Dance music as an underground culture used to be a safe haven for those who didn’t fit into the mainstream to have a refuge for our weirdness. Now, most of it is populated by the kids we once sought to escape from.”

10. DJ Harvey

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“You get the so-called ‘erectile deficiency music scene’—people arriving in spaceships or with fireworks to try and enhance the visual aspect of the whole thing. I can’t understand how you can play a record and backflip into the crowd.”