Pro Sound Effects (NYC) Releases Soundrangers Library for Interactive Media Production

March 17, 2011 by  

Pro Sound Effects has released the Soundrangers library, delivered on a portable Glyph drive.

NYC-based sound effects/licensing provider Pro Sound Effects has announced the release of the Soundrangers Sound Effects Hard Drive, created by the Soundrangers game interactive audio studio.

The library contains 21,117 sound effects, and is delivered on a portable Glyph hard drive that features search software and includes one year of free sound effects updates. The Soundrangers library has been used by companies including Google, Nickelodeon, Microsoft, Cartoon Network, Adobe and HBO.

The Soundrangers library has been created for maximum ease of use in interactive environments. In developing, formatting and organizing the library, the Soundrangers team applied their own workflow and creative expertise in sound design for console and social games, iPhone and iPad apps, interactive software and websites.

The hard drive is meticulously organized into intuitive hierarchical categories such as gameplay and user interface elements, foley, nature, animals, vehicles, weapons, looping ambiences, whooshes, cinematic transitions and more. One shots are provided with multiple variations and precisely edited for easy plug and play and ambiences are pre-edited to loop.

The introductory price is $2900 USD, single user license (retail $3900 USD).

Soundrangers Sound Effects Hard Drive Features:

•    21,117 sound effects (137 GB) on external hard drive
•    Compressed formats: mp3 and Ogg Vorbis
•    Optimized for interactive, video game, and web design
•    Embedded Metadata, Intuitive Category and File names
•    Sound Effects Search Software (NetMix Lite): Search, Audition, Drag & Drop
•    1 Year of Free Sound Effects Updates (digitally delivered 4 times per year)
•    Mac and PC compatible
•    3 -year Data Replacement Policy

Eventful Establishes New York Office, Names Matt Spielman VP of Strategic Partnerships

March 15, 2011 by  

Eventful, Inc., has announced the opening of its New York office and the appointment of Matt Spielman as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Alliances. Based in San Diego, Eventful is a digital media company that connects consumers with live entertainment and local events.

Eventful has opened it's NYC office. Matt Spielman is VP of Strategic Partnerships

Spielman will also serve as Eventful’s General Manager for the Northeast Region, enhancing and building key strategic business partnerships with leading brands and entertainment properties.

Spielman comes to Eventful from MTV Networks, where he was a Vice President in their Client Solutions division. He worked across the MTV Networks’ portfolio of properties, brands, and assets to execute multi-platform campaigns for such companies as Capital One, Flip Video, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, New York Stock Exchange, and Pepsi.

He is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Columbia University, and he also helped grow mtvU shortly after it was launched, building new strategic partnerships.

“I’m incredibly excited to be establishing a formal presence for Eventful in the Northeast Region,” said Spielman. “I have seen Eventful deliver on the increasing need of companies to activate millions of consumers with powerful social media and digital marketing campaigns. The expanded footprint will allow us to work more closely with key partners to address their business objectives.”

Eventful works with leading brands and entertainment properties to reach consumers and drive commerce by combining digital, social media, and direct marketing. Eventful’s social media service “Demand it!” ™ allows consumers to influence the content and location of entertainment and live events.

SPARS NY Presents Audio over IP by Skip Pizzi, Tuesday 10/26

October 24, 2010 by  

SPARS NY will hold “Audio Over IP: A Presentation by Skip Pizzi” on Tuesday, October 26th at 6:30 PM, taking place at SAE Institute, Classroom #2 in Herald Square.

SPARS digs into networked audio on Tuesday at SAE

Reservations are required at this free event.

The presentation by veteran media technology consultant Skip Pizzi (NPR, Microsoft Zune, Xbox, Windows Media and IPTV products) provides an overview of Networked Audio and AoIP, with emphasis on the technology’s practical applications and advantages for audio recording, production and presentation facilities.

For the full presentation scope and to RSVP, visit here.

Full Details

What: SPARS NY holds “Audio Over IP: A Presentation by Skip Pizzi”

When: Tuesday, October 26th at 6:30 PM,

Where: SAE Institute, Classroom #2 in Herald Square.

Schedule:
6:30 – 7:00 Mixer
7:00 – 7:10 Introduction
7:10 – 8:10 Audio Over IP Presentation
8:10 – 8:30 Q&A

Beat 360: Much More than Just a Music Studio for Mark Saunders

August 10, 2010 by  

HELL’S KITCHEN: Dig Art Deco? Most definitely, and we could always do worse than to be in the majestic polychromed lobby of The Film Center Building on Ninth Avenue – especially if we’re visiting Beat360.

Beat360 mission control

Evolution is the solution at this extra-comfy facility founded by the busy English music producer Mark Saunders in 1997. He was in town then to produce Cyndi Lauper’s Sisters of Avalon, and never really left. With a production/mixing/programming discography that includes The Cure, Neneh Cherry, Shiny Toy Guns, David Byrne, Tricky, and A-Ha, Manhattan has been more than happy to take him.

The addition of Ollie Hammett as Director came in 2007, and Beat360 has grown out beyond just being a great place to track and mix. Today, this flexible sound concern takes on everything that touches artists and producers – management, synch, publishing, distribution and more. Corporate clients have been attracted too, including Nike, Reebok, L’Oreal, Chevy, Motorola and Microsoft.

With all that going on, they seem as eager as any of us to see what’s next, as Hammett made abundantly clear in a recent convo.

What kind of group are you and Mark working with at Beat360?
It’s essentially just the two of us, and we have a pool of assistants who help with the day-to-day running of projects. As a small team we cover as much as we can in-house and for larger projects we outsource to additional engineers as and when needed.

Mark came up in the industry as an engineer, producer and mixer. Recently he has been establishing a name for himself as an exceptional co-writer working with artists/writers such as Teddy Geiger, Cathy Dennis and PNAU (production duo behind Empire Of The Sun).

My time is equally split between studio work as an engineer/mixer and project management/business development. Projects I’ve worked on include Idris Elba’s High Class problems v1 (engineer/mixed), The SoundsCrossing the Rubicon (engineer), A-Ha’s upcoming Farewell single (engineer & additional production), and So So Glos‘ self-titled debut album (mix engineer).

That’s a small but diversified and accomplished core team. From there, how would you explain Beat360 as a business today? Is it a recording facility? Mix facility? Producer/songwriter haven? All of the above, or is it something else entirely?
I would say we’re all of the above. We market ourselves as a “full service music and audio solutions company.” It was originally established as a private recording, production and mixing facility for Mark’s projects. We now work with a whole array of different clients – bands, brands, digital interactive agencies, management companies, record labels — less and less — and independent artists more and more.

Mark Saunders

While diversifying, it’s really important for us to continue to try and bridge the artist development gap we now see in the music industry, so I think this is something that’s integral to everything we do. We’re always looking for opportunities for the artists we work with through our network of contacts and relationships.

I’ve had a couple visits to your studio HQ in the landmark Film Center Building, and it seems like a very productive place to work. Can you fill us in on the design philosophy, plus the hardware and software goodies?

Beat360 is a 2000 sq. ft. facility with two mix/production suites, one live room, a kitchen, lounge and chill out area. Our philosophy is for artists/clients to feel as comfortable and creative as possible.

Our main production/suite is a hybrid system – no mixing board in sight. The main DAW is an Apple Quad Core/Logic/Apogee symphony system with X series converters, and a Mackie Control. We have a Dangerous 2-Bus summer and a selection of outboard gear that can be integrated into Logic sessions as insert plugins. We both use Pro Tools but prefer Logic so we have a Pro Tools LE system for converting projects that come to us in that format.

We have software, hardware and musical instrument toys in serious supply. See the full list here. But here’s a taste: Logic 9, Waves Platinum v7 bundles, Sonnox plugins, Arturia Collection, a Ludwig 1968 Drumkit, Soundelux U95S, Neumann U67 (1960’s), Telefunken SM2 stereo (1960’s), Urei 1176, Manley ELOP leveling amp/compressor, Night Nt3 mastering EQ, Telefunken V72 (2 channels) racked by Dave Marquette, John Hardy M-1 (4 channels), Neve 33122 (2 channels), Neve 33115 (2 channels) and API 312 (5 channels) racked by Brent Averill.

Ooooo, tasty. So what niche does Beat360 fill in the NYC spectrum of facilities? And globally for that matter, since you’re doing international services like FTP mixing.
I would characterize our studio as a full-service professional recording, production and mixing facility. In addition to the hiring the studio and services out to NYC clients, we also offer remote mixing and mastering solutions for independent artists all over the world through www.beat360-master-mixing.com.

Clients upload sessions to our server and we mix/master the tracks working closely with them on revisions to make sure they’re 100% happy with the end results. More than just an online service, it’s an artist development vehicle. A number of these artists we have gone on to help find management, legal representation, sync placements, TV show appearances, etc…

Our niche is that we are centrally-NYC-located with a great-sized space by today’s standards, have a diverse client base and work with both high-profile established clients, as well as helping to build the careers of indie artists.

The Beat360 live space...where stuff sounds good.

I think that sounds like a real indication of where “music companies” are going. The model is comprehensive but light on its feet. But would you say you’ve been high-profile or under the radar? Is this by accident, by design, or a little bit of both?

I would say we’re in the process of establishing ourselves. As of September, I will be managing a small producer/writer management division of a new international music group, rocketmusic.com. The starting roster in the US is Mark Saunders, Dan Romer and a couple of others to be determined — if you’re the next Quincy Jones feel free to get in touch! This exciting new venture will be integrally linked to BEAT360 and will no doubt help to put us more on the radar. I think the next few years should see our business become a more visible part of the New York studio facility and music production landscape.

Ambitious – we LIKE. Can you tell us a few projects you’ve got in the hopper right now?

We have been working with phenomenal talent Teddy Geiger for the last few months, Mark is producing his new album. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I hear his work. It reminds me why I followed a career in music. He really is a prodigious talent.

Mark is in the process of mixing music in surround sound for a forthcoming Luc Besson film. We’re beginning production of French singer/songwriter Emilie Gassin’s debut E.P this month. We’ve been recording Idris Elba’s features for several UK artists including Ty and recent XL signing Giggs. Also, we’ve been producing/recording audio assets for a multinational brand website.

That sounds like a solid spread. Would you agree you have to be a constant innovator in this business today?
Yes, I think you have to be creative with how you approach business and you have to pay attention to the market forces/technological advances that affect us all and try to stay one step ahead. Technology aside I think there’s something to be said for consistency: If you do something consistently really well, people will hopefully pay attention.

I’m a big believer in good old-fashioned customer service, the value of genuine win-win relationships and being proactive.

Aye! On the growth tip, how do you strive to publicize/promote Beat360, and successfully diversify your revenue streams?
A lot of our business is word of mouth and referrals. Luckily we get to work with some very cool talent that automatically creates visibility and awareness for what we’re doing in the right circles.

We promote our facility and services through various mediums, the obvious ones being Google/Facebook and relevant local business and directory listings. We normally attend events such as SXSW, NMS, Billboard and CMJ helping us keep up-to-date, hearing great new music and building relationships with potential partners and clients.

What or who is keeping you motivated right now?

I’m inspired that the music industry — as unstable and tough as it is seems to be – is moving towards a more transparent place where there is less room for monopolies. It’s more about passionate people doing stuff really well and building authentic relationships around it.

Beat 360's Ollie Hammett

I’m inspired by independent artists doing it for themselves without record label backing. April Smith just made an awesome album independently and has had several significant TV placements after raising $13,000 through Kickstarter.com, and Jenny Owen Youngs has raised over $30,000 through the same platform to record her next album. Wow!!

I’m inspired by tech companies such as Pandora, Echospin and SoundExchange who create great digital services and platforms for artists and fans alike.

Some key influences for me are entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, and Chris Blackwell who have managed to enrich lives through brilliant music and art-based ventures. Thought-provoking writers/bloggers such as Chris Anderson, Seth Godin and Bob Lefsetz help me get perspective and try to stay on top of what’s relevant to the ever-changing business we’re in.

How would you characterize the overall studio scene in NYC today? What’s making you determined to be a part of it?
It’s difficult for me to characterize the scene in NYC today, actually, but it’s certainly great to see a website like SonicScoop helping to build a community around the facilities and professionals who work in them. I just try to stay in the loop with people, companies, technologies and music that excites me.

Thanks for those props, Ollie! Last off, what makes Beat360 an only-in NYC story?
I think we’re probably one of the only 100%-British-run music studios in NYC – I could be wrong! — and as you would expect we make a killer cuppa tea!

The advantages of being in NYC surrounded by so much talent, ambition and competition is that it drives us to constantly better ourselves. The main disadvantage is that there are not enough hours in the day to stay on top of any reasonably sized to-do list.

We know how you feel, OLD CHAP.

David Weiss

Internet Week New York 2010: The SonicScoop Music Guide

June 5, 2010 by  

Internet Week New York kicks off today, and will continue through June 14. Many panels are relevant to artists and businesses across the music industry, such as talks on how to pitch ideas and find sponsors, as well as how to increase your profits through the Internet.

Started in 2008 to advance New York’s Internet industry and community, IWNY was organized by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). The event will hold a variety of conferences, networking opportunities and performances, covering a range of topics.

This year the festival will include organizations such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, HP, Twitter, PepsiCo., StartupAlpha.com, Google and Forbes to name a few. The Internet Week headquarters will be located at the Metropolitan Pavilion however, many events will take place at different venues throughout the city.

SonicScoop picked out the following highlights throughout the week. Check the Internet Week New York Website to find more! Also watch out on Twitter for impromptu event notices, throughout the week #iwny.

Monday June 7th
12.00-12.30pm Phil Thomas DiGiulio Presents: Mobile Applications in the Modern World (at Metropolitan Pavilion)
12.30-2.30pm StartupAlpha.com Liquid Lunch & “Big Deal Room” Launch (at Whiskey Rebel)

Tuesday 8th:
8.00-8.00pm Digital Media Summit (The Westin New York at Times Sq.)
9.00-5.00pm MMA Mobile Marketing Forum (The Waldorf-Astoria)

Wedsnesday 9th:
11.00-11.45am  Windows Phone 7 in Action: Design and Development Process Guidelines, and Workflow the WP7 Platform (Metropolitan Pavilion)
6.30-8.00pm Pitch out of Water

Thursday 10th:
6.20-11.30pm Girls who Rock Benefit Concert supporting She’s the First and AfricAid (Santos Party House)
7.00-11.00pm SoundCtrl: Fireside Chat, Followed by Performances from Free Sol and Jared Evan. Music by DJ GetLive (DROM)

Friday 11th:
8.00-8.00pm 12hours of Tech for Growing Businesses (Microsoft NY Offices)
8.30-5.30 ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Web Summit (Metropolitan Pavilion)

Saturday 12th:
3.00-4.30 How to Fund Your Project Using IndieGoGo (Soho Apple Store)

Sunday 13th:
9.00-4.00pm NYC Startup Weekend (NYU Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences)

Monday 14th:
10.00-5.00pm Digital Marketing Days (Hilton NY)
7.00-10.00pm The 14th Annual Webby Awards GalaCelebration  Hosted by B.J. Novak of NBC’s ‘The Office’ (Cipriani Wall Street)

See you there! — Erika Pontes


Tom Salta: A Video Game Composer In Control — Scoring for Prince of Persia, Red Steel 2

May 16, 2010 by  

NORWALK, CT: All work and no play make it mighty hard to be a successful video game composer. So Tom Salta plays and plays and plays, and the more he does it the better things seem to go for him.

Tom Salta

Tom Salta

First off, he plays with ideas. Possibilities – musical, technical, career, life – are like so much putty in his hands, as he imagines a future and then simply makes it happen. Salta has progressed smoothly from the role of music performer/programmer/producer (Peter Gabriel, Junior Vasquez, Everything But The Girl, Deep Forest, Mary J. Blige, Sinead O’Connor), to becoming electronica artist Atlas Plug, to his current status as one of the top video game composers in the business.

Then he plays with music. Originating from his Norwalk, CT studio, his latest scores for the Nintendo Wii video game titles Red Steel2 and Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands (from Ubisoft) pair up perfectly with the awesome visuals and drama of these games. Standing alone, Salta’s soundtracks are transporting experiences that are intense, subtle, inspired and gripping works of art in their own right – matched with the game play, they make magic.

Salta’s other game scores are eye-openers as well, including Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X., Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1&2, Crackdown, and many more. Film/TV/trailer scoring credits also include the likes of Toy Story 3 (Web Trailer), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (theatrical trailer), Marine Corps’ recruitment trailer “America’s Few”, and Volvo.

Most important, Salta plays video games. LOTS of them, controlling the controllers and getting inspired by each title’s action and creators.

He’ll also play the crowd — he’s the keynote speaker for this week’s three-day Music and the Moving Image Conference put on by NYU Steinhardt (speaking 10:00 AM Friday, 5/21 at the Loewe Theatre downtown),  starting May 21st. First, he gave SonicScoop an inside perspective on how to always move forward creatively.

Q: You seem to have a pretty expansive composing practice now. How did your career unfold?

A: The first fifteen years of my career were based around the music industry — programming, recording, working on records, and generally it was not music-to-picture. I had started my pro career touring with Bobby Brown as his keyboard tech and sound designer, then with Mary J. Blige.

After years of that, I decided I’d rather be in the studio where I could be signing new artists and developing new projects. In that time I worked with Junior Vasquez doing dance remixes, and even collaborating with him on Cher’s Believe album. It was interesting and a lot of fun.

But right around 2001, shortly after the original Xbox came out, I started playing games like Halo and Rainbow Six. Given the fact that I was an avid video game player — a gamer since the pre-Atari 2600 days — it was always a big hobby of mine, but never in a million years did I see these two worlds colliding until 2001.

Then I had my epiphany: “This is what I need to be doing. I’m not feeling the record thing anymore.” I kind of fell out of love with it, and in love with pursuing a career in creating music for video games. But that was a scary proposition after 15 years in one industry, switching careers. I had a wife and kid.

I decided I better come in strong, so I started attending the game conferences, and I did a lot of observation. I got the impression that composers were perceived to be a dime a dozen, but artists were considered cool. I decided, “Why don’t I become an artist?” So I developed Atlas Plug, an alter ego that I used to break into the video game industry. I put out an album of electronica orchestral music, and it was intended to be licensed in video games, TV and film trailers.

Q: Wow, not quite the same as Steve Guttenberg posing as his own agent, but still a switcheroo. WHAT HAPPENED?

A: The plan worked. Before I was even finished with the album, Microsoft approached me and wanted to license four songs for video games in 2003. More licensing followed, and gave me some credits to my name to launch as a game composer. The first major game I ever had the chance to score was Need for Speed Underground 2. The music for that was very similar in style as for Atlas Plug, and that’s how I gained the attention of Electronic Arts. This is where I wanted to end up.Red Steel 2

That’s where it all started, and since then I’ve slowly gained more credits, doing various video game scores of every kind of style you can imagine. That’s what I love to do: break into these new, uncharted territories of musical styles.

Q: When I reviewed your credits, I was struck by that diversity you achieve – you see everything from Wild West to electronica to military to classic Japanese. How can you switch gears from style to style with such authenticity?

A: When I was pitching the original music for Red Steel to Nintendo for approval, the first thing I did was create this Japanese choral piece, sung in Japanese. It was authentic in every way, and when it was presented to the executives at Nintendo, they assumed I was Japanese when they heard it! I take that as a very big compliment.

But I love immersing myself in a style. I compare myself to an actor. There are some actors who take on a role, and totally morph into a character you’ve never seen before. That’s the style of composer I try to be.

When a session comes up, I try to grab opportunities to reinvent myself, and/or find a musical style I’ve never done before. That comes from a lot of years listening to so many different styles – for 15 years in my career, I was never stuck on just one thing, kind of like the Forrest Gump of the music industry: “How did I get here?”

I was certainly not a Japanese expert. But I studied it. I’m very close to New York City, which is fantastic, because you can find anybody or anything. I called the Japanese embassy, looking for Japanese artists and singers. Eventually, I found three Japanese opera singers, plus two other musicians there who I recorded with. I asked them to teach me the core things about what makes Japanese music Japanese. I enjoy the adventure of it. It’s an excuse to explore things I’ve never done before. It’s a lot like traveling the world, but the world is music.

I’ll be explaining more about that experience when I do the keynote address for Music and the Moving Image at NYU Steinhardt  on May 21st.

Q: We music types are aware that not all composing is the same. What is unique, especially technically and logistically, about scoring for video games, as opposed to film and TV?

A: The world of video games is definitely a very unique market. People who are into games, this is what they live and breathe. There’s a culture about video games. So if you’re interested, at least try and learn to play them, or watch someone who does. Learn the vocabulary and style, and attend some events and conferences that are about video game audio. It’s a field, another world. There’s a completely different set of rules, players. It’s its own community.

That’s the research part. But as far as the practical, let’s-get-down-to-making-music part, basically video games are a more non-linear experience. That’s the biggest difference. Watching a movie or a TV show is a linear experience: Beginning, middle and end. Video games have the same beginning, but fifteen middles and ends. And things jump around and last for different lengths of time. A level of a video game could play out very differently. I could get through it fast, or get killed in a battle. The music has to adapt to that.

That can be done in many different ways. The simplest way is to compose shorter chunks of music that can connect, like musical Lego blocks. A :60 battle cue, depending on if you win or lose, can have two different endings.

Or you can have layers of cues, where the audio engine of the game can support multiple streams of music, and the game mixes them depending on the status of the game. For example, there can be three intensity layers, and when a few things are going on, you have the first 5.1 stream. Then you’re fighting some enemies, the second layer comes on as well, maybe takes out the first level, and when you’re being bombarded the third layer comes on as well. Maybe the first layer of music comes out then — it can be different every time.

It often requires flowcharts, which would freak out most traditional composers or musicians. In a nutshell, you have to think of music non-linearly. Consider the key, tempo and all the places it could reconnect so you could say, “Hey, I meant to do that.”

And the other major thing is we don’t always have the luxury of seeing what we’re scoring to. Many games take years to put together, and music is often done right at the end. So when a composer does the music for games, it’s quite common that they hand in the music, and the audio team will implement it into the game. Those are the people who decide where it stops and starts, and they sometimes chop it up into segments. That’s implementation, a part of the process which the composer often has no control over.

Q: That’s a really concise video game audio primer, thanks a lot. So, do you think an increased amount of video game work is now in the offing here in NYC?

A: In my case, I don’t depend on local work. Most of my clients are remote. Now if I had to plop myself down in the ideal geographical location for video games, I wouldn’t pick New York. But where would I pick? In the US, maybe LA.

But depending on who my clients are, I might live in another country. Ubisoft is based all around the world: Romania, Paris, Shanghai, Vancouver, Quebec City. That’s common for a lot of big companies like Ubisoft and EA, they’re spread out all across the world.

But in general, a career in video game music doesn’t require as much face time as does film composing. In film composing, more often than not, the director might want to sit in with you, or have you stop by the scoring stage. That’s not as common in video games, so as long as they don’t purely depend on the local companies to get the work, I’d say there definitely is hope for NYC video game composers,. – David Weiss