From a homegrown AI classical music app that was recognised by Apple for its intuitive capabilities, to noteworthy COVID-19 fundraising initiatives during the devastating second wave, ‘The Buzz’ is a round-up of five stories from the music industry you need to know.

Indian AI classical music app ‘NaadSadhana’ wins big at Apple Design Awards 2021

Pune-based Sandeep Ranade’s artificial intelligence (AI) classical music app ‘NaadSadhana’ won the award for innovation at the Apple Design Awards this year. On how he came up with the idea for a vocalising app (similar to guitar tuning apps), the software engineer-singer-songwriter told The Hindu that his friend, who is a classical music student, needed help vocalising but her notes were far from perfect. “This – iOS, vocal analysis – was not my expertise, but I wanted to get into it to help my friend and potentially others too,” said Ranade. In a month, he had developed a working iteration of ‘NaadSadhana’ that helped his friend dramatically improve her vocal score. This was in 2018.

Today, ‘NaadSadhana’ has evolved into an AI-powered app that accompanies users as they sing to simulate “the overall ambience of concerts and practice sessions” with options for the swaramandal, tabla, ghungroo, harmonium and tanpura. The addition of harmonies helped ‘NaadSadhana’ cross over to other genres, like Western, Bollywood and Fusion. Ranade’s app, which skyrocketed in popularity last year during lockdown when people began to explore hobbies and up-skilling courses, also includes a multi-track recording feature and a mini mixing studio.

‘The first K-pop meets I-pop collaboration’


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Premiered on May 21, the song ‘Echo’ is about love, longing and relationships rocked by indecision. These themes transcend geographical boundaries and the nuance of language, making them the perfect starting point for a cross-country collaboration between Indian singer-composer Armaan Malik, Korean-American singer Eric Nam and Indian-American producer Niles Hollowell-Dhar, better known as KSHMR.

Malik recounted listening to unreleased music at KSHMR’s Los Angeles-based studio before the start of the global pandemic and “Echo just stuck” he said. Malik said he recorded his demo verse at the studio on the same day itself. Then, last year, a fortuitous Twitter interaction between Eric Nam and Malik (orchestrated by Malik’s fans in India!) led to their teams connecting to discuss the possibility of collaborating with each other. “The track we all gravitated towards the most was ‘Echo’,” Malik said in a statement. Eric Nam told The Indian Express, “I’m so glad…for us to be able to create this collaborative moment” or an echo that reverberated across three different music industries simultaneously.

Apple, Amazon launch lossless audio streaming successively

On May 17, Apple Music announced that subscribers could enjoy industry-grade sound quality with the addition of spatial audio with support for Dolby Atmos at no extra cost. Oliver Schusser, Apple Music and Beats Vice-president said, “Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible.” On the same day, Apple Music also announced that it would be making its entire catalog of over 75 million songs available in lossless audio. Lossless audio compression retains every last bit of the original recording so listeners can enjoy the exact studio recording of the song.

A few hours later, Amazon said Amazon Music HD will be available to all Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers for free. You can read more about the rise of lossless streaming (and the fall of subscription fees) here.

India’s indie music industry aids COVID-19 relief efforts

Spanning the length and breadth of India, indie musicians, performers and collectives came together to raise funds for COVID-19 relief work at a time when both hospital beds and oxygen were in terrifyingly-low supply. These include:

Apple Music debuts City Charts in 100 cities across the world

Following the release of iOS 14.5 on April 26, Apple Music launched City Charts or playlists that are updated daily with what’s trending in 100 cities around the world. Three Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru – have also gotten their very own Top 25 lists and the differences in streaming patterns is really fun to observe! At the time of writing this article, New Delhi’s Top 25 list underscored the city’s inclination towards Punjabi music, with hits like ‘Insane’ and ‘Brown Munde’ by A.P. Dhillon, Gurinder Gill and Shinda Kahlon among the top 10. Mumbai and Bengaluru charts followed almost similar trends as each other with a blend ranging from Arijit Singh’s Bollywood hit ‘Agar Tum Saath Ho’ to TikTok virals like Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar and Giveon’s ‘Peaches’, ‘Levitating’ by Dua Lipa, Doja Cat and SZA’s ‘Kiss Me More’. Prateek Kuhad’s new single ‘Tere Hi Hum’ began inching its way up on all three city lists, and was most popular in Mumbai at spot 18 on June 20. The first song from A.R. Rahman’s brand new label ‘Maajja’, viral ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ sung by Arivu and Dhee, and released in March is still being streamed quite frequently in Bengaluru.

You can check out the Top 25 lists on the Apple Music website even if you don’t have a subscription, making this an excellent way to discover new music that’s trending in faraway places, from Accra to Zurich.

Buzzing in June

Our playlist of new releases from Seedhe Maut, Lifafa, Ankur Tewari, Mali and more

Edited by Maanya Sachdeva

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