Month in music tech: the biggest news of August 2021
Here are the latest and biggest developments in the music technology world from August.
Image: Natasha Moustache / WireImage
The UK’s arts sector welcomed the government’s announcement of a £750m COVID insurance scheme for events, and visa-free travel for artists to 19 EU countries. For a pandemic-decimated live industry, the schemes mark some semblance of a return to normalcy – though their effectiveness has yet to be proven in the coming months.
August was also spotted with legal battles, with musician Four Tet taking action against Domino Recordings over streaming royalty rates, and Sonos beating Google in a patent dispute over speaker technology. Meanwhile, some employees of Apple have built a website to collect allegations of workplace abuse.
On the lighter side of a rather serious month, Look Mum No Computer opened his Museum Of Everything Else, dedicated to educating the public on experimental instruments and obsolete technology. Oh, and Donda still isn’t out yet.
Read on for the biggest headlines of the music technology world from August 2021.
- The UK government announces a £750m COVID-insurance scheme to protect festivals and live events, covering the cost of cancelling events due to government restrictions.
- UK’s musicians will be able to tour 19 European countries visa-free, following concerns of such policies being revoked under Brexit.
- Music Tribe transfers the rights for the Oberheim trademark back to Tom Oberheim.
- Yamaha, Roland, Fender, Thomann and Music Store were fined a total of €21m for price-fixing by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office.
- Endlesss raises £300k to create a “musician’s metaverse” and transform online collaboration.
- A group of Apple workers have built a website to collect allegations of workplace abuse under the banner #AppleToo.
- Music for Dementia and the NASP are supporting four new musical therapy projects based on previous studies that music can reduce depressive symptoms in over 50% of dementia patients.
- A US trade judge has ruled Google infringed on speaker technology patents owned by Sonos, leading to a possible import block on Google devices.
- Pirate Studios and Jaguar’s Future1000 are offering free mentoring and 1,000 hours of studio time to young women, trans and non-binary students.
- Research has shown that A-level Music education could “disappear” by 2033.
- Apple’s 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models for 2021 are reportedly in production and expected to be announced within the year. We round up everything we know about them here.
- Sequential unveils the Take 5, a new compact analogue polysynth with the Prophet-5’s filter and an array of digital effects.
- 512 Audio debuts with $199 Limelight and Skylight microphones for creators, developed by the team behind Warm Audio’s award-winning microphones.
- Rhodes teases behind the scenes images of the instrument it’s calling “the best Rhodes keyboard yet”.
- Oskitone releases Scout, a build-it-yourself monosynth that the San Francisco company encourages users to hack.
- Keith McMillen Instruments launches an updated K-Mix Blue audio interface with low-noise preamps and Ableton Live 11 support.
- Nektar launches the affordable Impact GX Mini MIDI keyboard controller for just $70.
- PreSonus releases a new audio interface designed for recording and streaming.
- Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 arrive and are the brand’s cheapest, smallest and lightest wireless earbuds yet.
- API’s new Select series offer familiar but reimagined preamps, EQ and compressors, including two guitar pedals.
- Look Mum No Computer opens the Museum Of Everything Else, dedicated to collecting experimental instruments and obsolete tech.
- Orchestral Tools lets you command the sounds of 18th-century instruments and voices with Miroire.
- Frank Dukes, the producer sampled by Madlib, Kanye West, J. Cole and more, has partnered with Tracklib to host his entire collection of Kingsway Music Library samples.
- Goldbaby fires out a vintage-inspired sample pack called EPROM Grind, with sounds from the Oberheim Prommer, DMX and DX.
- Native Instruments releases Ashlight, a granular engine for crafting immersive atmospheres.
- PlayStation’s new pre-apocalyptic game Season lets you take on the role of a field recordist.
- We said a sad goodbye to Detroit techno pioneer K-Hand and Chicago house icon Paul Johnson, who both tragically passed away within the span of a week.
- While Donda still isn’t out yet, Kanye West has released a $200 stem player that isolates instrumentation and manipulates samples.
- Janet Beat, who owned the first synthesizer made commercially available in the UK, has released her first-ever album at age 83, titled Pioneering Knob Twiddler.
- Four Tet takes legal action against Domino Recordings over streaming royalty rates.
- Disclosure dropped five new singles on a day-by-day basis in hopes to “revitalise” a “very fractured & uncertain” global dance music scene.
- A Redditor has seemingly uncovered Spotify HiFi’s onboarding pages and shared them online. More on Spotify Hi-Fi, here.
- Third Man Records open a physical store in London where recording booths let you instantly press music to vinyl.
- MusicTech’s podcast guests this month include Sasha and Soulwax/2manydjs.
- Lex Luger, producer to Jay-Z, Kanye West and Snoop Dogg, drops a free sample pack on BandLab Sounds with hip-hop drums, keys and pads.
- Sensel releases Spectral Shiatsu, a free Max For Live device that lets you “massage your way around a sound”
- Our freeware round-up for August includes a selection of tools to help manipulate, smooth and mangle your audio, plus a tasty, multi-sampled violin.