Pioneer to change hands? Independent festivals say no to disposable tents. Teknival battles the elements.
Pioneer Corporation considers selling it stake in Pioneer DJ. Despite its dominance as the industry standard CDJ, reports say Pioneer is leaving the DJ equipment market. Pioneer DJ currently controls between 60 and 70% of the world’s share in DJ mixers, turntables and other DJ products, and made more than $200 million in 2018 — though its parent company made net losses in 2016 and 2017. Its industry dominance hasn’t shielded Pioneer DJ from restructuring and a $930 million bailout, as well as the layoffs of nearly 3,000 employees. Pioneer sold 85% of its DJ subsidiary to investment firm KKR & Co. in 2015, and now both parties are looking to offload the entire stock to new buyers, hoping to fetch 60 billion to 70 billion yen, or nearly $500 million USD. It’s almost certain that as such a dominant force a new buyer for both parties is plausible and things will continue without much interruption. Read the release story here.
Music creation under the spotlight. According to Swedish-based digital distribution company Record Union, 73% of independent artists have suffered from “stress, anxiety and/or depression in relation to their music creation,” and 33% have suffered panic attacks. The main drivers behind musicians mental health issues are fear of failure and financial instability, followed by loneliness and the pressure to succeed. Almost 1,500 musicians took part in a web survey for the study, titled The 73 Percent Report, which was conducted between March 21 and April 2. For its part, Record Union says it will donate $30,000 to projects that aim to prevent or treat mental illness among music makers. To apply for funding, or to find out more about the study, head here.
Remix David Attenborough. Famed naturalist and documentarian David Attenborough has launched a remix competition. Attenborough is inviting producers to reimagine a three-minute field recording from his 1956 trip to Indonesia called “Gender Wayang,” which is traditional gamelan music from Bali featuring two metallophones and one pair of drums. The competition will be judged by Matthew Herbert, Gilles Peterson, Hannah Peel, Ghostpoet, and others and ends at 6PM on Monday June 10th 2019. The winner will be announced late this year, and will receive an award at this year’s Songlines Music Awards. Find out more here.
Super 8 Polysynth. Native Instruments have introduced a digital polysynth that runs in either Reaktor 6 or the free Reaktor 6 player. Described as a “modern take on vintage polysynth sounds,” Super 8 is an eight-voice instrument with over 350 presets, including pads, basses, and effects from Roland, Sequential Circuits, and others. It’s GUI features sliders for blending four waveforms for each of the two oscillators, which can be mixed and synced, and you can add FM oscillation for a digital bite. Super 8 is available now for for $69. Learn more at Native Instruments.
Behringer CS-80. According to a Facebook post, Behringer is planning on cloning the Yamaha CS-80, and is intending on sharing its design of its own “DS-80 version” in “the next few days.” Behringer made its announcement just days after rumours surfaced that Yamaha might be looking to remake the CS-80, which has achieved considerable status in the decades since its production due partly to its use in Vangelis’ iconic Blade Runner soundtrack. Read more on that here, and see the full Behringer Facebook post below.
Eurorack Slim. German manufacturer and Eurorack pioneer Doepfer has announced the release of Slim Line, a new series of space-saving Eurorack modular cases designed to help build a system on a small budget and in small spaces. For instance, the A-111-6 Miniature Synthesizer is a complete synth voice — one oscillator with pulse width and different waveforms, one lowpass filter, one amplifier and envelope — in 10PH, and runs at €180. Others, like the A-182-2 Quad Switches, A-138n Narrow Mixer and A-130-2 Dual VCA, are only 4 HP, and priced at €100. Slim Line will be on display at Berlin’s Superbooth this week, but head to the Doepfer website to see more about the series.
Fyre on the mountain. French outdoor mountain techno festival, Teknival, had its own wintery taste of Fyre Festival as temperatures dropped below freezing, sending festival goers shivering under survival blankets distributed by the Red Cross. About 30 of the 10,000 people who attended the unauthorised event were treated for hypothermia, as temperatures in the Creuse region dropped to -3C over Saturday night. French authorities tried to prevent this year’s Teknival from happening, and local police managed to keep several trucks carrying sound systems out of the party. The unauthorized event, which is held at a secret location revealed only at the last minute, celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Read the story here.
Ditching disposable tents. More than 60 independent UK festivals are calling for an end to the sale of single-use festival tents. An estimated 250,000 tents are thrown away by festival attendees UK each year, contributing to nearly 900 tonnes of plastic waste. One disposable tent is equivalent to 8,750 plastic straws, which will also be banned by independent UK festivals in 2021. The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), which includes events such as Bestival, Boomtown, and Beat-Herder, is leading the push against single-use tents, with AIF CEO Paul Reed saying, “We call upon major retailers to stop marketing and selling tents and other camping items as essentially single-use, and profiting from disposable culture. AIF launches this campaign to raise awareness and highlight abandoned tents as part of the single-use plastics problem.” Find out more about AIF here, and watch an info video below.
Goodnight Prince Charles. Berlin venue Prince Charles will be shutting down at the end of the month. The Moritzplatz venue broke the news via Facebook, saying that the “space will be redesigned for a new concept coming late summer.” The venue, which had been open for eight years and was famous for its swimming pool bar, often threw house, disco and hip-hop oriented events, with artists like Moodymann, Prosumer, Derrick Carter, Theo Parrish, and Jeremy Underground regularly stopping by. Read full statement on Facebook.
Superbooth Sales. Undrgrnd Sounds are celebrating Superbooth week by offering 50% off analogue and modular sample packs. Treat yourself here.
Ultra leaves Miami. In a statement made on social media last night, Ultra Music Festival has announced it will be leaving Miami after 20 years there. This year the festival was forced to move to Virginia Keys from its former home at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami, and had problems with sound and transportation. Citing a post-event survey conducted by 20,000 fans, Ultra stated that it had listened to feedback, and had voluntarily terminated its license with the City of Miami. The event is now in finalizing a new “unique and impressive” South Florida location that it promises will become the new, permanent home of Ultra for “many years to come.” Read the entire statement here.