New York, NY (May 3, 2021)—Audacity, the long-running open source, cross-platform audio editor, has been acquired by Muse Group. Founded in 1999, the free software program has been downloaded more than 100 million times to date.
In partnership with Audacity’s online open-source community, the new owners will be looking to expand the software’s feature set and update its ease of use. Dedicated designers and developers will be tasked to work on the software, but Audacity will remain free and open source.
Shepherding Audacity will be Martin Keary, recruited based on his efforts running MuseScore, an open-source music notation software that is also owned by Muse Group; Keary will oversee both brands. In a wide-ranging YouTube video detailing the history of Audacity, Keary noted that he will be interviewing users and creating online spaces to interact with those users in an effort to determine priorities and approaches to the program’s development going forward. Keary noted that the company will pre-publish designs and updates so users can comment before widespread implementation, taking advantage of open source’s transparency.
Some early priorities as Audacity moves forward will be the addition of non-destructive, stackable VST effects, as well as user-experience updates with the aim of making features easier to find and use. In the video, other, more experimental ideas are suggested and teased, such as a 3D spectral editing prototype that, if developed, could possibly offer haptic spectral editing via a haptic glove. With these and other additions in mind, Muse Group will be looking to hire a number of senior developers and designers with experience in audio and music technology.
Audacity’s new parent company, Muse Group, is pretty new itself, having only opened its doors last week on April 26, 2021. Muse Group owns the brands Ultimate Guitar, MuseClass, ToneBridge and MuseScore, which together reach more than 350 million users in more than 60 countries. The company is led by chairman Eugeny Naidenov and CEO Michael Trutnev; Naidenov founded Ultimate Guitar in 1998. In total, Muse Group has more than 100 employees in a fully remote-working oriented workforce; the company is privately held with no investors or external shareholders.
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San Francisco, CA (April 28, 2021)—Focusrite Group has acquired American synthesizer manufacturer Sequential LLC., joining other brands in the organization such as Focusrite, Focusrite Pro, Martin Audio, Optimal Audio, ADAM Audio, Novation and Ampify. Sequential’s day-to-day operations and product development will remain unchanged and will continue to be guided by electronic instrument designer and Grammy winner Dave Smith and his team.
Smith said, “With Focusrite, we’ve found an ideal home and a perfect cultural and technological fit. Phil Dudderidge and his team have a long history of quality, vision, and focus on what musicians and audio professionals really want. We’re excited to join such an industry powerhouse and contribute to our mutual success. I expect great things.”
Smith founded Sequential Circuits in 1974, which rose to prominence with its Prophet-5 polyphonic synthesizer in 1978. When the company went out of business in 1987, Yamaha purchased the brand, while Smith went on to found Dave Smith Instruments in 2002. In 2015, Yamaha returned the brand to Smith, and on August 31, 2018, the 40th anniversary of the Prophet-5, the company rebranded as Sequential LLC. A proponent of analog synths, Sequential’s current offerings include the Prophet 5 Rev4 polyphonic synth, Pro 3 hybrid monosynth, and Prophet X Samples + Synthesis keyboard.
Focusrite Founder Phil Dudderidge commented: “We’re excited and pleased to add Sequential’s instruments and pedigree to Focusrite Group’s portfolio of world-class audio and music production tools. Dave Smith’s history as an innovator speaks for itself. From his creation of the world’s first fully programmable polysynth, the Prophet 5, to his co-invention of MIDI, Dave has literally changed the world of music several times. We’re looking forward to continuing his history of innovation and expanding the global market for Sequential’s instruments.”
London, UK (April 28, 2021)—PRS for Music, which represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world, distributed a record payout to members in 2020, but predicts that payments will fall at least 10% this year.
PRS for Music distributed a record £699.4m (roughly $945.5m) to its members in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 2% (£13.4m/$18.1m). But while distributions in 2020 were positive overall, many of the royalties paid out last year were collected before the first lockdown, meaning that the sharp decline in income will be felt by music creators through 2021 and beyond, with distributions expected to fall by at least 10%.
Overall, revenues collected from music being played in the UK and worldwide shrank by 19.7% (£159.9m/$216.2m) compared to 2019 to £650.5m ($879.9m), eradicating years of record growth.
Revenue generated from live performances of music represented the greatest percentage decline in 2020, falling by 79.1% from £54m ($73m) in 2019, to just £11.3m ($15.3m) in 2020. Of that revenue collected, most related to live music events staged towards the end of 2019 and in the first quarter of 2020, including concerts from The 1975, Stereophonics, Mabel and Madonna’s UK tour, where PRS members’ repertoire featured prominently.
Public performance revenue overall, which, as well as live music events, includes music used in business premises, shops, cinemas, pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants, saw a significant 61.2% (£136m/$184m) downturn in revenue collected year-on-year, to £86.2m ($116.6m) in 2020, again due to business closure.
International royalty income continues to be the largest revenue stream for PRS for Music members, underlining the enduring popularity of British music globally, but still saw a 10.7% (£29.7m/$40.2m) decline compared to 2019 on a constant currency basis. A total of £248.6m ($336.3m) was collected through reciprocal agreements with societies around the world. One factor in this decline in international revenue, was the closure of the tourism industry; for example, with cruise ships not operating last year, royalty collections in this market reduced by 75%, from £7.2m ($9.7m) to £1.8m ($2.4m) in 2020.
Revenue generated from music played online was the only area to see growth in 2020, rising to £188.3m, a 5.1% (£9.1m/$12.3m) uplift compared to 2019. As well as increased revenues collected, distributions from online also saw the biggest uplift at 63.2% versus 2019.
Research from charity Help Musicians found that 9 out of 10 people who work in the music industry are in crisis, facing mental wellbeing challenges amidst concerns around their future livelihoods. To support members, PRS for Music, in collaboration with its charity partners PRS Members’ Fund and PRS Foundation, launched the PRS Emergency Relief Fund, and has since paid out over £2.2m ($3m) across 5,500 grants to songwriters and composers facing severe financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic.
AV³ is a one-day virtual experience designed to answer the question ”What’s next for pro AV?” , brought to you by AVIXA, AVNetwork, and AVNation. Sponsorship opportunities are available for pro AV manufacturers, distributors, software providers, and the like.
Watch the video below to learn more about sponsoring AV³.
“With several successful virtual events under our belt, we’re proud to partner with AVNation and AVIXA on AV³ ,” said Adam Goldstein, VP/group publisher of AVNetwork. “Our proven platform allows attendees and sponsors to create new relationships or strengthen existing ones. Plus, sponsors receive a detailed post-event report that allows for actionable follow up with attendees.”
“AVNetwork has set the standard for virtual events. Well before the pandemic, their team created valuable content and real connections between manufacturers and customers,” added Tim Albright, founder of AVNation. “We’re proud to partner with them again, as well as AVIXA”.
New Jersey (April 22, 2021)—Bob Porter, who made his mark on jazz as a reissue producer and syndicated blues, soul, jazz and R&B radio DJ on NPR, died April 10 of esophageal cancer. Over the years, Porter was nominated for five Grammy Awards and won two, recognizing just some of his efforts across a career that saw him involved in the creation of hundreds of jazz and blues albums.
Born June 20, 1940 in Wellesley, MA, Porter made his mark across jazz and blues with his archival work for a number of labels, overseeing compilations and reissues, first for the Prestige label in the Sixties, then later for Savoy Records (1975-1980) and Atlantic Records (1986-1991). Curating and re-contextualizing the work of then-underappreciated artists who would come to be acclaimed by ensuing generations, Porter often chose which artists’ work to reintroduce to new audiences, arguably creating a blueprint as to how history now regards the mid-20th Century oeuvre of both genres.
As part of his reissue work, Porter wrote liner notes for hundreds of albums for numerous labels—an effort that was rewarded when he won his first Grammy in 1980 for his commentary that accompanied The Complete Charlie Parker on Savoy. Six years later, he took home his second trophy, for best historical album, as the reissue producer of the mammoth box set, Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974, Vols. 1-7. An archivist at heart, Porter discovered while compiling the set that numerous masters had been lost in a fire, so he tracked down pristine original pressings to preserve the music and expose it to a wider audience through the project.
Porter’s career as a producer was not solely defined by reissues, however. Over the decades, he produced more than 170 jazz and blues albums, working with artists like Illinois Jacquet and Big Joe Turner. Porter also served nine times as the governor of the New York chapter of NARAS (today known as the Recording Academy), and additionally a member of the nominating committee of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.
Despite these industry efforts, Porter likely was best-known for proselytizing on behalf of jazz and the blues in mass media. Beyond writing liner notes, he wrote for Jazz Times, Down Beat, Cash Box and others; blogged at his own site, Jazzetc.net, authored the book Soul Jazz: A History of jazz in the Black Community-1945-1975, and most prominently spent 40 years in radio, hosting syndicated radio shows such as Keeping The Blues Alive (for which he won a WC Handy Award in 1986), Saturday Morning Function, Portraits in Blue, Beale Street Caravan and more.
Oslo, Norway (March 24, 2021)—Nomono, a spatial audio research firm focused on processing spoken word content in podcasts, broadcast and VR/360 video productions, has brought on Peter Cedmer as its vice president of Product Management.
Prior to joining Nomono, Peter served in similar roles at Dirac, and as both chief product officer and chief technology officer at Jays Headphones. He brings experience in the field of connecting signal processing technologies to audio products, with the focus on providing quality sound to end-users.
“To have someone with Peter’s experience join our team at this time is just what we need to help take our research, and build it into compelling tools that will help podcasters, journalists, and other audio content creators tell their stories, while simplifying their workflows,” said chief executive officer, Jonas Rinde, Nomono. “Many years of research and development have led us to this point, and the whole team is energized to start incorporating our findings into the next generation of audio creation tools.”
“This is an exciting time for spatial audio. We’ve seen major manufacturers make noteworthy progress in bringing immersive, interactive audio playback capabilities right into the mobile devices and headphones we use every day,” said Cedmer. “Our mission is to make it easy for audio storytellers to capture and distribute great sounding object-based audio content, while at the same time minimizing bottlenecks on the content creation side.”
Pro Media Audio Video, a division of Clair Global, has entered the European marketplace under the guidance of newly appointed director Eddie Thomas. Bringing 30 years of experience to the role, he is charged with developing global business for PMAV-EU from an office at Britannia Row Productions’ Twickenham HQ. Thomas has a background in stadium and arena projects, and working in audio system network design with consultants, contractors and architectural specialists.
Freedman Electronics, parent company of Røde Microphones, has appointed former Australian politician, federal treasurer of Australia, and Australian ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey to its board of directors. Hockey joins Røde founder and chairman Peter Freedman on the newly established board; additional appointments will be made to the board this year. It is a time of flux for the company, as it opens a new R&D facility in Europe and undergoes further expansion of its operations in China and the United States.
SE Audiotechnik has expanded its sales team with the appointments of Manfred Sumfleth as sales manager for Germany and Andreas Mayerl as sales director export. Sumfleth, based in Hamburg, advises sound and lighting rental companies, installation companies and system houses throughout Germany on SE audio technology sound reinforcement solutions. In addition, he manages his own warehouse. Meanwhile, Mayerl has been in the music industry since 1986, 30 years of which he spent with a globally successful German manufacturer. As head of international sales, he was responsible for building up its worldwide distribution network.
Void Acoustics has added audio engineer Sacha Hodges as marketing assistant. Hodges joins Amy Harvey, who has recently been promoted to marketing manager. A singer-songwriter who recently graduated from dBs Music, the Sound and Music Institute in Bristol, England, with a degree in audio production and sound engineering, Hodges will be focused on the continuing development and expansion of Void Acoustics’ audience and customer base, raising brand awareness and global recognition for the company.
Bryston has appointed Dave Kakenmaster director of sales, U.S. This position complements existing sales infrastructure for Bryston and is expected to provide enhanced service and support for U.S. dealers. Based in the Denver, CO, region, Kakenmaster brings a record of success in the specialty audio/video channel to Bryston, with prior sales experience at brands including Polk Audio, Definitive Technology and GoldenEar Technology. He works in conjunction with the Bryston team and reports to CEO James Tanner.
Guitar Center has appointed Paul Gimenez director of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging. In his role, Gimenez will partner with key stakeholders across the Guitar Center enterprise in order to design, develop and lead the company’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative and related programs. He will also provide strategic advice and counsel to the organization’s senior leadership on diversity-related issues. Previously, Gimenez worked as director at New York-based firm Mentora Labs, where he provided executive-level support to develop programs, streamline training initiatives and create learning tools to deepen the understanding of leadership, culture building, peer-to-peer collaboration and diversity and inclusion. Prior to that, he worked as a research and solutions consultant at NeuroLeadership Institute, also based in NYC, where he spearheaded the development of diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Paragon 360 has announced the addition of Jeff Pavelec, client representative, to its team. Pavelec was most recently employed at Excellence Marketing, Mid-America, based in St. Louis, MO, where he was an independent manufacturer’s representative servicing over 200 integrators. At Excellence Marketing and with his prior experience at B.C. Electronics, Pavelec represented QSC, Allen & Heath, Biamp, Audix, Middle Atlantic, Atlas, Whirlwind and other AVL manufacturers. Pavelec’s integration experience includes six years of AVL sales, system design and vendor management for houses of worship at Stark Raving Solutions.
New York City’s Sound Lounge, an independent provider of sound services for advertising, television and feature films, announced its new commercial production team as it promoted Lauren Mullen to senior producer, and added producer Camila Dayson Aravena and production coordinator Matt Smith to the lineup. In her role, Mullen will manage the day-to-day production aspects of the studio’s commercial division and supervise its team of producers. During her career at Sound Lounge, Mullen has produced mix, voiceover records, and sound design for clients such as Bud Light, Dunkin Donuts, M&M’s and the New York Knicks. Dayson Aravena joins Sound Lounge from White House Post, while Smith moves up from Sound Lounge’s reception team, and graduated from SUNY Oneonta’s music industry program with a minor in audio production.
Don Zadunayski has joined Symetrix as regional sales manager, overseeing Hawaii, Northern California and Northern Nevada. With a background ranging from first-hand experience as a dealer to managing a network of integrators, distributors and consultants for Bose Corp.’s Pro Division, Zadunayski brings years of experience to the role. Scott Wrege, Symetrix U.S. national sales director, noted, “Don spent the last 20 years working for Bose building sales teams, driving revenue growth and maximizing profits. As Symetrix continues to grow and evolve, we look forward to leveraging Don’s expertise in our sales channel.”