Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Bonus Round: Advanced Web Audio

May 23, 2011

Hopefully this semester has provided a good foundation for understanding the technicalities of music on the web. For those wanting to LEVEL UP, I’ve included some bonus round easter eggs below… an exploration of the more advanced options available for audio on the web.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that browsers will increasingly be using HTML 5 from here on, and with this will come easier embedding possibilities and via a more developer friendly Javascript API – increasingly innovative experiences with sound online. Here’s your old friend w3schools on the topic of HTML 5, and here’s a recently celebrated example of pushing it’s capacity: (and do read the section about the technology enabling it).

As part of gathering relevant web audio bookmarks for the course (which I’ve been storing here: ), I wrote to a few musician and audio production friends, and Dan MacKinlay provided the unexpectedly detailed reply below, which I’ve added a few links to for clarity. Well worth a read for those interested in the more technical capabilities online for audio.

Add generous Dan on soundcloud!

Web audio? You mean a bald, beginnerish summary? How practical do you need it to be? For basic encoding stuff there’s the good old William Haun PowerPoinT. For the specialist, there is user interface design using javascript audio events. Quite aside from the Heath Robinson contraption flavour of such Flash solutions (and HTML5 audio is of course itself fragile and limited), the main problem with these things is that sonifying your average website is a joke.

So I divine that perhaps you are looking for something a little more cutting edge? Good old chrism’s attempt to port puredata to the web – aka WebPd. Or the older Lily project to turn firefox into a generative media plaything…?

Or my own modest bookmarks:

For the extra fun, I reckon we should plumb nearly-web audio. I hereby be possibly off topic.

Did you know the RJDJ app supports network connections?I think my next RjDJ app will be based around that idea. Or processing.js – did you know that it does some amazing audio stuff? (esp. in firefox)  (David Humprey, linked there, is optimistic about audio web stuff)

sc140 is another near-web contender.

Or, let us suck up the zeitgeist and think of augmented reality sound design. Isn’t AR last season’s hottest flavour? (Cringing at memory of punters pronouncing it Arrr, and me not being sure if it was talk-like-an-internet–pirate day or if they were just constantly amazed)

The oldest and awesomest instance of this i know is audionomad, where composers made the landscape into a a weird compositional acoustic hallucination. I heard Nigel Helyer’s composition from a chartered boat with multichannel sound system bolten on for full-spatialization goodness. The Sydney harbour bridge was a traversed by invisible roller coasters, Sydney Cove resounded with echoing screams of the drowning victims of the Greycliffe disaster, and as we passed the couple posing for their wedding photos on picturesque Dawes point, a dry voice read extracts from an early colonist’s diary, recounting  that the site was where the scurvy riddled- bodies of the dead and dying convicts where dumped from the vessels like sacks of wheat. Historicity FTW.

All you’d want is to make those annotations be collaborative and it would be webalicious.

Of course, a multichannel ferry is overkill in this day and age. everything’s made of smartphones, and the hallucinations are a little more solipsistic than a boozy ferry-ride.. Layar, for example, supports audio.

For what its worth, I’m not really interested in the web as a site for audio, as that is not what I use it for. rather, I’m interested in the web for audio control. Nothing supports nested, dynamic controls like a browser does, not even the ex-Jazzmutant-lemur. It’s still a bit more tedious than it needs to be because OpenSoundControl is a zany binary format that prefers UDP and browsers prefer delicious JSON-over-TCP. Which, as an ex web guy, I argue is excessively tight coupling on OSC’s part owing to a confusion of the hierarchy of the protocol stack. But that is a nitpick for another day.

Any of that brain dump what you’re after? What DO you mean by “web” anyhow?



Week 10 – Podcasting

May 9, 2011

What is a Podcast? Despite the implication that it must involve an iPod, this is not the case, and although Apple’s iTunes software is a popular destination for many podcasts ( iTunes makes subscribing to Podcasts easy for listeners, so even though it requires extra steps from producers to submit, most prefer to do so), iTunes is not necessary for a podcast either. This basic definition from wikipedia is a useful starting point:

“A podcast is a digital audio or video file that is episodic; downloadable; program-driven, mainly with a host and/or theme; and convenient, usually via an automated feed with computer software.”

– Wikipedia via Academics at the Community, Journalism & Communication Research group at the University of Texas at Austin.

And this weeks reading ( as discussed by radioblaster and nikkichook), expands on that definition, outlining some of the technical foundations that make it possible, and some of the social uses that spring from this.

Some Example Podcasts?

Technopodcast – note their automated availability via itunes, soundcloud, mixcloudtwitter and facebook. – daily 3 minute dose of net culture as a video. ( Which dovetails podcasting with ‘video blogging‘ )
Radiolab ( WNYC ) – An existing radio show expanding it’s reach.

ABC Australia’s Podcast collection, Australian Government Podcasts, Aussie Geek Podcast, Skepticzone (Australian based show, charges per episode)

Why Make A Podcast?

Where is your potential audience? How can you remove barriers to them finding out about your work? How can you adapt your own workflow to take advantage of automated systems?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of subscription based media / feed based media / push (notification) based media?

How To Make A Podcast


a) Using built-in services such as podomatic or podbean

b) Rolling your own, with all the added customisation ( and potential monetisation ) benefits

Wikihow’s guide to making a podcast is probably the simplest set of instructions available online, boiling the process down to:

– deciding on what type of material you will produce (research + planning )
– recording, producing
– Adding metadata – ‘Tag it, give it ID information (Artist, Album) and give it album art.’
– Creating an RSS Podcast Feed (using a blog and the Feedburner service)
– Uploading your .mp3 ( to any site or server that will generate a media file URL that ends with .mp3 )
– Make a blog post, and including a direct link to the .mp3 file ( This will enable Podcast software to auto-download it for any subscribers)
– Add a podcast button and link for people to subscribe to your show

More details are included in the Wikihow guide, but those are the basic steps. Another guide?

c) Adding your podcast to iTunes?

Apple’s guide to making an itunes friendly podcast ( See also Understanding the (difference between the) iTunes Client and the iTunes store)

Monetising your podcast

Generating a Podcast from Soundcloud
Soundcloud wrote in January 2011, that they will ‘soon’ be offering podcasting abilities from within Soundcloud:

“We’ll soon be able to offer RSS feed capability for your tracks and will be rolling this out slowly with selected users. If you’d like to apply to be included in this program and possibly have the chance to become a featured podcaster, just fill in the form below… SIGN UP FOR BETA ACCOUNT! Check out our SoundCloud for Podcasts 101 and Podcasting 101 for further details on the features and technical side of podcasting.”

You can see this being rolled out already with some Soundcloud artist pages that have an RSS icon, such as Create Digital Music ( a podcast to accompany their website ) ,whose Soundcloud page has this RSS address. In the meantime, this useful script at Cloudflipper, makes it easy to generate podcasts from Soundcloud artists, and subscribe to these with say Google reader, or any dedicated podcast software. Examples?

These two fine Melbourne artists : Faux Pas on SoundcloudLewis Cancut on Soundcloud

Group Research Tasks: (To be done in class today, in separate groups) 
1. Popular software (mac and PC) for subscribing and listening to Podcasts? List some of the key distinguishing features. Make a recommendation for best mac and PC software.

2. Research cost for:
– buying your own domain name
– buying your own server space
– having your own custom email address ( eg )

3. Find examples of podcasts that have large audiences, and find examples of podcasters who appear to be making some form of income from podcasting.

Creative Task: (To be done in class today)
– Brainstorm a podcast that could take advantage of remote collaborations ( eg something as involved as co-editing, co-curating, remixing, or something as casual as using specific twitter hashtags ),
– Think of a suitable name for your podcast, and a suitable domain name.
– Write a brief blurb describing your podcast.
– Describe some ideas about how you might use social media for research, collaboration, production and promotion of your podcast.
– Outline potential roles for delegating between participants.
– Develop a simple budget that would show the minimum costs needed.
– Publish as a blog post.

Individual Research Task :
Find a good podcast worth sharing with your peers. Write a brief blog post that includes a link, summarises the podcast and describes what makes it successful. When publishing your blog post, use a subject line like this:  “Podcast: Name of chosen podcast”. This should deliver us a large range of podcasts from the group as a whole.

Week 9: Embedding Time-Based Media Files

May 2, 2011

This week: time-based media and HTML. We’ll be covering everything needed for the video and sound part of your final assignment – Time Lapse Video techniques, sound and video compression – and below, how to publish these files within your webpages.

There are 3 main ways to display media files within a web page.

Method 1: Direct linking to a media file.

1. Upload your media file to a server. Noting the location on the server, figure out the URL for this file.
2. Enter the full URL in a browser. If pointed to the address of a media file stored online, a web browser will play back the file in the centre of a blank web page. eg the link below:

That same URL can be used with hyper-linked text (eg my time lapse video file ), to take viewers to a separate page with the media file.

Method 2: Using Files Hosted at Online Services

Most media hosting services such as Youtube, Vimeo and Soundcloud etc will give you embedding code for a file, which can then be placed within the body of your HTML page. While this allows positioning of the media file (instead of having it centred in an empty page), it still limits control over playback of the media file, and limits the look of the media player.

Method 3: DIY Embedding Codes

The most flexible, customisable option for embedding media files – is only a couple of steps more difficult than the other 2 options above, but through learning this method, we gain the capacity to play sounds in the background (by setting the values of the player visibility), add the ability to loop playback, design the look of the media player, and several other functions.

What Code Do We Need for Embedding Media Files?
W3Schools outlines the structure and syntax of HTML, and explains the relevance of elements within that structure. For embedding time-based media files, we are interested in the Object Element which ‘supports many different media types, like Picture, Sounds, Videos and other multimedia Objects’.

Below is a HTML page with a table in it, and the code for a video file embedded within that table. This allows control of where the video player is located on the page. Use the browser menu to view the source code for the page.

Having viewed the code, note there are two options for generating the relevant codes for embedding time-based media files within webpages.
1. PageOT is free software ( mac + PC ), that “an immediate access to the complex features of QuickTime plug-ins, and gives you the power to create interactive playlists and presentations.” (If installing PAGEOT in the mac lab, install into a folder on the desktop, as you don’t have permission to install into the applications folder)

2. A web based generator of embedding CODE for embedding ]

For both processes, you will need to enter the URL of your media file, choose various settings, then collect the relevant code outputted, and then place this within your HTML page.

And some context for the near future of web publishing – HTML 5audio and video:
“HTML5 is not yet an official standard, and no browsers have full HTML5 support. But all major browsers continue to add new HTML5 features to their latest versions.”

Scanning the Field: Australian Music Blogs

April 4, 2011

The Concept Development group blog posts have yielded a nice list of Australian music blogs. I’ve gathered some of these below, and will add to it as others publish. Although these blogs are made by a wide spectrum of people (artists, labels, radio stations and media outlets, music journalists, music critics, general fans), there are some common threads to within the blogs listed below, some common benchmarks that help each of these succeed – good (web appropriate) writing, clarity of design and a good understanding of their audience /readers / network.

– What are some of the writing techniques used? (within blog posts, comments and the wider site. Voice? Style? How do they include links? How do they maintain or develop interest and sustain desire to return and read more? How often do they write? etc)
– How do they use and prioritise available screen space? What do you notice first?
– How do these blogs include / involve / engage their readers and peers? (Using any novel techniques?)
– What other bloggers and artists seem to be included within their inner network / community / fanbase / set of peers? How does this shape your perception of this blog?

Which of these blogs would you be most excited to see reviewing your music? Aside from directly writing to them, in what other ways might you engage with them and become visible on their network?

via Helise ( who mentioned these blogs, but didn’t link to them) Waycooljnr (discusses music, marketing and social media – and includes a reminder for songwriters to join APRA), The Empire Ship (artist blog), The In Sound From Way Out (EMI blog).
via mickeywsy Cut Copy (artist)s, Open Your Eyes (reviews, gig listings)
via Siblog thetempertrap (artists), entertainmentdepot (news) (experimental music)
via Morganblack Electrorash (also a member of Grindin, a network of blogs ) TheMusicBlogs (collaborative blog with writers all around Australia). The Temper Trap’s blog.
via Crystal Rainbow Pyramid – Cyclic Defrost (electronic music), whiteboydancefloorStoney Roads
via radioblaster – ALIA – Australasian Lighting Industry Association, Channel [V]Triple J version “Home & Hosed”
via Piper at the Gates of Dawn – Fran and Daves Musical adventureCamden Sounds (gear review), Twenty Songs(weekly countdowns of different genres), Who The Hell (event promoters), The Drones (tour diary blog)
via BlogEugene – Momentary Shelter (well networked in rural Victoria), Electrotrash (Aus club scene), Two Bright Lakes (artist+label blog)
via OGMartin – New Weird Australia (NWA coming straight outta Compton Sydney: ‘is a not-for-profit initiative designed to promote and support new eclectic and experimental Australian music.’), Mountain Fold music journal ( Melb based journal), life is noise ( Perth events)
via Starkyblog – Canberra Jazz
via Lucasskinner – Tone Deaf ( Melbourne music), Mess and Noise (National)
via nikkichook – (tour, artist info), (awards site)
via alexlikestotravel – Audio technology, The Music Blogs (collaborative blog, anyone can submit reviews).

via Fight the MCP – The Melbourne Deepcast (Melb tech / house), Everybody Loves a Buzztech (tech / dubstep), Open Your Eyes (band reviews)
via Tashalloyd – New Weird Australia(experimental), Polaroids of Androids ( mostly Sydney)
via Glapeshhh – auscore (Aussie ‘core), Spoz’s rant (Adelaide music), mess+noise (indie)
via Coltdebango – Woo-Ha!! (Melb DJs), There’s Nothing Like Australia (not an Australian blog, but an L.A. music perspective of Australia..), Northside Records (Melb store).
via FisherfisherfisherTONE DEAF (gigs), Rock ‘n’ Rollerdex (contacts), Who The Bloody Hell Are They? (news, reviews)
via TheElectric StrangerPogomix, a DJ/VJ from Perth who remixes tracks by sampling snippets from existing popular films.
via Madddg – Oceans Never Listen (reviews), Who The Hell?  ( & the other blog wasn’t Australian..)

The Concept Development Blog Network

March 28, 2011

Because we are studying the same material, and have similar set goals (the assessment), and because all of our blog posts are gathered in one place and are easily accessible to all classes via RSS feeds, the three separate classes doing Concept Development effectively form a network. What can we learn about online networks, from observing this network? What sorts of writing make sense in this network? What sort of social behaviours make sense in this network? In what ways does the technology influence or shape our group conversations? What technical limitations do we have? What are some interesting possibilities for expression, dialogue, sharing? What makes a good or bad post in this context? What adds value to our network?

Related: Here’s a review of student blogs by Ed, noting that a) many haven’t yet fulfilled basic blog functionality criteria, and b) many are currently failing their participation component by contributing so little to their blog. Next week is week 6, which should represent half a semester’s worth of participation on your blog.

Homework Task:
Identify 3 key blogs in the Australian music industry (including only one by an artist/band). Explore and explain why they are significant, successful or unique. Describe their sphere of online influence, and their strongest online affiliations. Note any unusual or interesting techniques of engagement.

Write a music post and include ‘Aus-Music Blog’ in your blog post subject title. Given that we have 50+ students across the 3 classes, this task should yield a very interesting map of Australian music online, and we should start seeing this reflected in our RSS feeds this week.

Interesting Web Project Case Studies

March 22, 2011

Below are a range of online projects that might generate some ideas for your projects – or perhaps some questions, some challenges to consider. Many of these are quite advanced projects, the result of many more hours effort than we have available this semester. There is still much we can learn from them though. When browsing these projects, ask yourself about the techniques they use. Which of these techniques might be suitable for your project? Which of these techniques demonstrate, and take advantage of, the web’s affordances? What can you learn from each of these projects, about how to better make your project more ‘web native’, and less like a linear, print based project? What can you learn from each of these projects about how to create a more engaging and compelling project, that draws the viewer/ reader / listener into the world of your making? What new creative problems do these projects suggest about your project?

Interesting use of navigation, non-linear design?
Wax Or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees is the first independent feature film to have been edited on a digital non-linear system. It is also the first film to have been re-formatted as hypertext and posted on the internet.

Media Relationships?
Example projects that feature interesting relationships between image and text? ( Online comics are often innovators here.. See also, Scott McCloud’s discussion of image and text relationships.) Image and sound? 10 tips for effective web sound design. Gamers have long been thinking about non-linear uses for sound and issues that arise. Some of these game desig thoughts about interactive audio might be useful in thinking through how sound could work on your website.

Collaborations and crowdsourcing?
Projects built by engaging with an audience / promoting during development / aggregating content?

Star Wars Uncut – Features a constantly changing version of a the film, constructed with 15 second clips made by anybody, with the highest voted clips at any time, being included in the current playing version. See the CNN profile about the project creators
White Glove Tracking – volunteers isolated Michael Jackson’s white glove in all 10,060 frames of a video clip, so that this data could be used by anyone to create remixes or special effects.
Webcam Sour project – “The cast were chosen from Sour’s international fan base and filmed entirely via webcams.”
Where is Gary? Using social media and the audience to track down a scammer, and build a documentary around this.

Episode Based Productions
Taking advantage of subscription based technologies and social media to develop projects and build audiences over time…
Hometown Baghdad
The XKCD comic ( now a book, like many webcomics that’ve gained popularity )
Rocketboom ( daily 3 minute video news )
Ze Frank a whole range of ideas and projects, many collaborative.
thejuicemedia Satire and hiphop meets current affairs in the Melbourne based ‘Rap News’.
Ask A Ninja

And Bringing it Back to Basics
We’ll be exploring some more project management and multimedia storyboarding ideas next week, along with our next dive into HTML (bring along some sample text and images for use). Below is some useful reading in regards to framing and designing your project.

Tips on building portfolio sites, “Your site is a frame: A frame exists to hold its art. It should compliment your work, but never overshadow it. Think of your portfolio site as a frame for your work. Keep it clean and easy to navigate. Don’t let your site get in the way of letting me see what I really came for.”

Advice for designing your website layout.

Feedback on Soundscape Assignments

September 27, 2010

Everyone should’ve received email feedback about soundscape assignments by now (if you haven’t email me asap). Soundscape productions veered from competent at a minimum, through to lushly detailed, and were in general, technically satisfying. The soundscapes that provided a more stimulating and engaging minute of listening, tended to have accompanying essays which reflected some level of research into ideas around soundscapes – not just how they can be recorded, but investigations about composition, choreography, dynamics over time, the psychology of listening and more.

Interesting Soundscapes:
Lake Learmonth – for good use of panning, mixing, sense of space.
Isle of Wight Hotel – interesting use of voice..
Au Go Go records – good sense of spatial exploration over time.
Beach House – Nice transitions, and nice use of text overlay on photo to give personality to a space..
The Pump Shed – subtle use of music to enhance and amplify a mood.

Interesting Essays:
A local pool… – referencing the idea of ‘keynotes’ and ‘sound signals’…
Lake Learmonth – how recorded spaces colour the final sound.
The Pump Shed – including interviews, and an attempt to reflect on broader meanings.

For the Final Video Project then..
This is 50% of your semester’s mark, so please re-read the course document ( many people didn’t cover the basic requirements of the assignment / brief). That will be broken down like this:

25/50 = Essay ( Evidence of theory research, bibliography )

12.5/50= Video ( Editing, composition ideas, appropriate visualisation of theme, audiovisual relationships)

12.5/50= Web context ( ie the wordpress ‘page’, use of image, text, links, separate pages, to create context and depth.)

Copyright And Creativity: Public Talks and Downloads

September 27, 2010

A famous illegal art compilation, Stay Free, was recently made available for download on Well worth a listen, and the liner notes are worth a read too. Found via Example track?

Steinski & Mass Media “The Motorcade Sped On”
Steven Stein created this cut-up of Kennedy assassination coverage. His label, Tommy Boy, was unable to officially release it because CBS refused to grant clearance for the use of Walter Cronkite’s voice. It was instead released as a white label 12-inch single in 1986.

And the rest, each song surrounded by copyright controversy of some sort…

01 Negativland U2: Special Edit Radio Mix (5:46)
02 Biz Markie Alone Again (2:52) *
03 People Like Us Swinglargo (5:20)
04 Culturcide They Aren’t the World (4:30) *
05 The Evolution Control Committee Rocked by Rape (4:28)
06 Beastie Boys Rock Hard (4:53) *
07 Dummy Run f.d.(1:23)
08 John Oswald black (2:01)
09 Corporal Blossom White Christmas (3:19)
10 Tape-beatles Reality of Matter (2:37)
11 Public Enemy Psycho of Greed (3:11)
12 The Verve Bittersweet Symphony (4:35) *
13 Wobbly Clawing Your Eyes Out Down to Your Throat (1:21)
14 De La Soul Transmitting Live from Mars (1:07) *
15 Buchanan and Goodman The Flying Saucer (4:18) *
16 The JAMs The Queen and I (4:50) *
17 Elastica Connection (2:20) *
18 Steinski and Mass Media The Motorcade Sped On (4:26) *
19 Invisibl Skratch Piklz white label edit (5:30) *
20 Xper.Xr Wu-chu-tung (1:43)
21 Boone Bischoff Happy Birthday To You (0:28)

Critically Thinking About Networks

May 17, 2010

First, A Re-Cap
Let’s re-examine what we’ve been exploring within social media. And we’ll follow up that discussion, with some research, which we’ll monitor through our delicious network and group blog posts, subscribed through with RSS.

Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody ( and who teaches a course named “Social Weather”) delivered a TED talk about the promise of social media. But what of the threats? Danah Boyd speaks of privacy issues around Facebook. What other issues abound within social media? Beyond dystopian and utopian views, what are prominent online issues that are especially relevant for musicians today?

Show Me The Money
How do web economics fit in with the above mentioned privacy issues, copyright issues, with netiquettes and social media?

Task –
If you were hosting your own website at an ISP, and placed google advertising on your page, how many viewer visits would you need to pay for your annual hosting and domain name costs?

This will involve some research…
( how much does hosting cost per year? how much does a domain name cost per year?
how much does a google ad pay? )
and then some maths…

Publish your research + results as a blog post.

Further Discussion :
Bandwidth / Open Source / peer to peer / free software / crowdsourcing / hotlinking /

Leveraging The Network
SoundCloud : on using the network for more than just distribution..

Next Week : Excursion ( and manifestoes.. )


Monday May 24 from 6:30PM
Clemenger BBDO Auditorium,
NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Enter North Entrance, via Arts Centre forecourt
Duration: One and a half hours
Price: Free

[ We will attend class from 4-5.30, discuss art + the manifesto, and what this might mean for how social media can be approached today, then head off to the lecture… ]

CINESONIKA: Soundtracks!

May 12, 2010

Relevant to this week’s discussions… Via Networked Experience:

Call for entries
Deadline: 1 September 2010

The First International Film and Video Festival of Innovative Sound Design

Nov. 12th-21st, 2010 – Vancouver/Canada

The theme of this international film and video festival is to celebrate the soundtrack. Usually in cinema festivals there is a fixation on movie stars, or captivating imagery, or the literary qualities of screenplays, or the abstract concepts of film theory. Sound tends to be relatively unvalorized in moving-image making. The intent of the festival is to give attention to innovative work in the creation of film and video soundtracks, and to give due credit to the importance of audio in audiovisual media.

This first annual festival will showcase international works of film and video with fascinating soundtracks, idiosyncratic sound design, eclectic scoring and innovative approaches to the sound-image relationship.

Submission Deadline: September 1st, 2010
For more information, including Submission details, please visit
Contact Details: