Month in music tech: the biggest news of July 2021
Here are all the new music technology developments from July that you should know about.
Kanye West holed up in a sports stadium to put the finishing touches on Donda and the US government sold a mythical Wu-Tang Clan album seized from ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli – you could say July was a pretty strange month for hip-hop.
Elsewhere in the music industry, Spotify and TikTok rolled out real-time features for creators and fans, while the iPod click wheel celebrated its 17th birthday. On the gear front, IK made the jump to guitar pedals, Behringer drops new hardware and the social music-making app BandLab hit version 10.
In this round-up, we’ve gathered the biggest headlines of the music technology world from July 2021 – read on to learn more.
- Spotify’s What’s New feature lets users know when artists and podcasters release new content in real-time.
- A study suggests the top 0.8% of Spotify’s artists earn under $50k in streaming revenue.
- Spotify could be looking to expand into ticketing for virtual and in-person events in the future.
- Data miners allegedly unearth and screenshot Spotify HiFi’s interface graphics and settings before its launch.
- TikTok dishes out live features for creators and fans, including scheduled events, co-streaming and picture-in-picture mode.
- A study on TikTok suggests 75% of its users discover new artists through the social video platform.
- Clubhouse scraps invite-only membership to become available to the public after 16 months in beta.
- The iPod’s click wheel celebrates its 17th birthday with nostalgic experiences from Spotify and Apple Music.
- UK MPs call for a “complete reset” of streaming and crack down on major labels.
- An Anthony Bourdain documentary uses deepfake to voice three quotes written, but not spoken by the late personality.
- Sainsbury’s supermarket clears its aisles of CDs but keeps vinyl.
- Rhodes begins a new chapter by relaunching as Rhodes Music Group Ltd.
- Uncanny Valley show off Memu, an AI engine that generates new music around the clock.
- Behringer fulfils its promise of donating 1,510 synths and headphones to underprivileged children in Rwanda.
- A doomsday vault safeguarding the world’s most important recordings is being built in the permafrost-rich Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.
- Audacity clarifies its stance on privacy, issuing a statement to inform users it does not collect nor sell data to third parties.
- MusicTech’s My Forever Studio podcast guests for the month include Rachel K Collier, Nick Batt, King Britt and Matthew Herbert.
- Nothing, the London-based consumer tech company helmed by Carl Pei, debuts its $99 Ear (1) buds designed with Teenage Engineering.
- Boss announces its first-ever “electronic” guitar, Eurus GS-1, which is loaded with a synth engine.
- IK Multimedia makes the jump to hardware guitar effects with the X-Gear pedal series.
- Soma Laboratory officially announces Enner, a touch-based synth first shown off at Superbooth 2019.
- Behringer launches the Studio L and TD-3-MO, the former is a monitor control and interface while the latter is a “modded out” version of the TD-3 acid bass synth.
- Behringer teases a Polivoks-inspired hardware synth in partnership with original Polivoks designer Vladimir Kuzmin as well as its upcoming Roland SH-5 reproduction, the MS-5.
- Korg’s Modwave, a modern take on the DW-8000 with wavetables, Kaoss Physics and more, is now available for purchase.
- Akai updates MPC devices with Vocal Tuner and 14 new plug-ins for deeper standalone production.
- Rane teams with A-Trak to launch a limited-edition, signature Seventy battle mixer with new Fader FX feature.
- Look Mum No Computer designs a synth fed by real-time cryptocurrency price data.
- Kanye West takes up residence in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to finish his 10th studio album, Donda; fans react online with both disappointment and amusement.
- The sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin has been sold to a mystery buyer after the US Government seized it from former hedge fund manager and convicted felon Martin Shkreli.
- Peter Rehberg, electronic musician and founder of the celebrated Editions Mego label, dies at 53 from a heart attack.
- The world says good-bye to LA-based producer Napolian, who passed away at just 29.
- Fans condemn Whitney Houston hologram concert in Las Vegas, calling it “disrespectful” to the late singer’s legacy.
- Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics 2021 march in to a live medley of video game music from Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and more.
- Moodymann premieres new music in GTA Online while also becoming a full in-game character.
- BandLab 10.0 has arrived and features a complete sampler, mastering upgrades and direct uploading to TikTok.
- Cherry Audio brings back the Moog Memorymoog in virtual form for just $39.
- Spitfire samples the Abbey Road upright heard on the Beatles’ White Album with Jangle Box Piano.
- Ableton’s Live 11 Lite adds MPE support, audio effects and more; available for free to Live Lite owners.
- Apple’s Garageband gives users free Remix Sessions of Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga, along with free Producer Packs by Mark Ronson, Oak Felder, Boyz Noise and more.
- Check out our round-up of the best freeware of July 2021 for more.