5 Music Making Tips to Get You Started (or Unblocked!)

5 Music Making Tips to Get You Started (or Unblocked!)

We all love music, but we don’t all have the tools to create it. Yes, tools. Making music isn’t a privilege, and you don’t have to be a divine virtuoso to pen a tune or two. Today, we want to inspire your inner music maker and provide a basic music making toolkit. We’ve included tried and true exercises that we’ve all done. By we, I mean us, the folks behind Open Labs. We range from music listeners transitioning to music makers (me!) to expert performers and producers. If you’re already a pro, you may want to revisit some of these fundamental ideas and do the exercises yourself. You never know what will cure sporadic writer’s block.   Tip #1: Record Ideas Creative sparks come and go at the most inopportune times. Be prepared. Have a tool to record random thoughts and spurts of inspiration. Our suggested tool: your smartphone. You can start by using a simple voice memo. Start recording ideas as they come up. Once you’re in a groove, graduate to a more comprehensive tool, like Stagelight. Create a new song and add an audio track to make the most of your built in mic, or use the full-screen drum pad to tap out a beat. You can resume your song later, or build it out when time permits. If this doesn’t resonate, you may be the pen and paper type. We encourage you to pursue your analog ways! Whatever works. Exercise 1: What’s the first sound you hear in the morning? Birds? Alarm? Traffic? Record it.  Does it change? Does it have repeating element or a rhythm?... read more
Stagelight 2.4.2 is here and you should update ASAP!

Stagelight 2.4.2 is here and you should update ASAP!

What are you waiting for? Stagelight 2.4.2 is here and with it comes a slew of improvements and an exciting new instrument, ElectroComposer.     We’re particularly proud of our UI enhancements. Now it’s easier for you to play instruments on your phone. Why? Because we made them full screen. We’re all about that creative spark and having full-screen instruments on phones makes it easier to free the music, on the go.   Stagelight 2.4.2 has made it even easier to take your ideas and turn them into finished compositions with its updated Record to Timeline feature. Once you have added, created, and recorded all of your ideas to cells in loopbuilder and have a basic idea of how you would like to arrange them, you can arm the record to timeline feature and play your loops in the desired order to compose your song. You can find the record to timeline button in the transport options menu. Once record to timeline is armed, all the loops and patterns that you play will be recorded to the timeline and you can now see your timeline recording progress with Stagelight’s new Timeline preview feature. Once you have finished recording, you can go over to the timeline to listen to your song and create a shareable wav file. With the Windows or Android Core Unlock Bundle, you can unlock the timeline and further craft your composition with timeline editing and automation tools.   Lastly, a new instrument for everyone. We want to hear what you come up with using ElectroComposer. Maybe you’ll compose such a great track you’ll win the Stagelight Monthly Music... read more
Stagelight Monthly Music Contest II

Stagelight Monthly Music Contest II

Music makers and music fans get ready! Open Labs is launching Stagelight Monthly Music Contest II on March 14, 2016 and this year, the contest rewards music makers and music fans. Once again we’ve partnered with leading technology partners—Intel and Lenovo—to present winning contestants with the latest in studio technology. And, not to be outdone, our artists partner, Grammy®-Award-winning rock band Linkin Park, will provide the grand prize winner a priceless mentoring studio session!   Interested? Here is all you need to know- This is a global contest. Doesn’t matter where you are. If you create original music, are at least 13 years old, and are not signed to a label, you qualify. To enter, submit your track on the Stagelight Monthly Music Contest II website. Each month focuses on a different music style, first month is rock. You can see a list of upcoming styles on the Stagelight Monthly Music Contest II homepage. Okay, you have a track, you’ve submitted the track and now what? Share, share, share and get some votes! Anyone can vote. Your friends, your family, your social network, your weird neighbor. Share your track, and encourage everyone you know to vote for your track. The more votes you get, the likelier your are to win. Need an incentive to get people to vote? Here it is- Stagelight believes that music fans are vital and should be rewarded for participating. This year, every voter is entered into weekly sweepstakes. All you have to do is listen and vote. Every week a voter will be picked at random and awarded one of four sweepstakes prizes.  ... read more
Open Labs brings Stagelight for Android to the Big Stage at NAMM 2016!

Open Labs brings Stagelight for Android to the Big Stage at NAMM 2016!

This week , Open Labs is headed to NAMM. In case you’re not familiar, NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, is the not-for-profit association that promotes the pleasures and benefits of making music. The members of NAMM also pride themselves in strengthening the $17 billion global music products industry. The annual NAMM trade show serves as a hub for people wanting to seek out the newest innovations in musical products, recording technology, sound and lighting. As such, Open Labs is excited to be there and here is what you can expect to see from us- Open Labs is bringing Stagelight for Android to the big Stage at NAMM 2016 (Jan 21st-24th). Director of Business Development, Nicholas O’Toole, will be speaking on the A3E Architects of Audio™ Series – AoA 3: “Google Powered Audio: The Web Platform & Android OS” panel on Saturday 23, 2016 at 5:00pm/PST. Through a designated moderator, Nicholas and the rest of the speakers will discuss Android and Audio for the Web Platform are emerging as two major opportunities for growth in audio production. Android users make up the majority of mobile device owners, and the past year has seen tremendous strides in low latency and increased product development. Meet the industry giants who conquered the challenges of the Android OS and Web Platform, and explore the opportunities ahead if you make your audio apps “cross platform.” Audio latency is defined as the time delay that an audio signal experiences as it passes through a system. On a mobile device, this is related to the time it takes from tapping on a screen to receiving... read more
2015: A Music-Making Year in Review

2015: A Music-Making Year in Review

With the advent of a new year comes a time for reflection. 2015 has been a year of accelerated growth for Open Labs and we’re excited to keep the momentum going. We wanted to spotlight, recognize, and share all the changes that made 2015 such an exciting year.  Here’s to an even better 2016! Developing Stagelight 2015 saw the most exciting change to date for Stagelight—the 2.3 release with a freemium option. However, the road to 2.3 was paved by two important updates, the Stagelight 2.1 and the Stagelight Android release. Along with enhanced loop builder and drum track, Stagelight 2.1 came with the ability to share your tracks directly on social media. Social sharing is at the heart of our mission to ‘Free the Music in You’ and we couldn’t be happier with the results.  After the Stagelight 2.1 update came Stagelight’s highly anticipated Android release. After many late nights and hours of dedication, the Stagelight development team released Stagelight for Android. The Stagelight build for Android, similar to our existing Windows version, includes features such as: built-in instruments, loop builder, timeline mode, etc. Having Stagelight available for Android introduced a larger and broader audience to music creation. Just like Stagelight 2.1 was aligned with our mission to ‘Free the Music in You,’ Stagelight for Android proved that Open Labs is dedicated to its mantra—The Easy Way to Create Music.   Stagelight 2.3 Although Stagelight 2.1 and Stagelight for Android were both ambitious releases, we didn’t stop there. Stagelight 2.3 launched in Mid-November and with it came the biggest announcement to date—Stagelight is now available on android mobile... read more
New Artist Bundle and New Stagelight Packs

New Artist Bundle and New Stagelight Packs

Stagelight musicians, are you ready? Open Labs is unleashing exclusive bundles and new promotions for the holiday season. Look for the following inside Stagelight- Hybrid Acoustic 1 Bundle A FREE percussion bundle of sounds created by Michael Bernard Fitzgerald with only a vintage 1960 Gibson B25 acoustic guitar. Michael, also known as ‘MBF’, is a touring musician and singer/songwriter from Calgary, Canada. His forthcoming full-length release, “I Wanna Make it With You” is slated for release January 2016. Open Labs had the opportunity to partner alongside BitTorrent Inc. and MBF to bring this amazing music bundle to you. We thought you’d like to know how exclusive content is crafted for Stagelight Musicians. Let’s take a look at how this unique Soundpack came to fruition. Behind The Sounds Beatmakers like making beats, but a guitarist needs beats too. Open Labs posed the question: Can an instrument be transformed? And set out to experiment in several sound design recording sessions with MBF.  Transforming an acoustic guitar to percussion proved very interesting. Two important steps were observed— recording the guitar’s body from different percussive hits, letting it ring, and then muting the body to style different pitches and timbres. Plucking muted strings, high and low, would create sharp picking sounds that added texture. Michael also strummed rhythms on muted strings to get loop-able rhythmic elements. Once every sound is recorded, Open Labs’ very own Nicholas O’Toole wave-shapes and sound designs all the recorded guitars. Nicholas utilizes compressors, EQ’s, filters and effects to mimic acoustic drum sounds to make drum kits saying… “We want to show what can be done with everyday instruments and objects to truly get original sound... read more
Stagelight 2.3 is now available on Android, and, its FREE!

Stagelight 2.3 is now available on Android, and, its FREE!

“Stagelight is the first music creation app that allows people to start for free and unlock capabilities as they progress.” said Cliff Mountain, President and CEO of Open Labs. “With our in-app lessons and unlockable features, music listeners can now easily become music makers in 10 minutes or less. We want to ‘Free The Music’ in everyone, which is why we have expanded to Android, the largest operating system in the world.” Stagelight 2.3 has been updated specifically for mobile devices such as smartphones and phablets. The app’s interface is now enhanced for scalability to all relevant screen sizes, so that users can experience the same quality and familiar workflow across all devices and platforms. Stagelight’s mobile expansion also allows people to start a project on one device and complete it on another. Stagelight Key Features Include: Unlimited Audio Playback and Recording: Import audio loops and/or record your own songs with LoopBuilder In-App Lessons: Step-by-step lessons, learn how to build your first song, record instruments and much more Social Sharing: Easily share your songs directly to Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Tumblr and Email via SoundCloud Built-in Instruments: Easy-to-use drum machine with touch pads, on-screen piano keys, synths and more In-App Store: Browse, audition and purchase professional loops, exclusive artist bundles and other advanced features Stagelight is available on devices running Android 4.4+ and Windows PCs running Windows 7 or higher. Minimum Hardware Specs: Dual Core CPU or better, 1GB of RAM (2GB is recommended) and 300MB of available storage. Stagelight is available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Download Stagelight for... read more
Developing Stagelight Q&A

Developing Stagelight Q&A

On the occasional weekday afternoon in the heart of Austin, Texas you can find Stagelight Product Managers Matt Presley and Chris Brown breaking from their daily development cycle for some much needed fresh air down in the beautiful Barton Creek greenbelt. Inside the office you get what you would expect – a wall of Stagelight sound being tweaked and tested all hours of the day and night. So I thought it would be fun to break these hardworking developers off for a quick Q&A session and expose a bit more about the genius behind the world’s easiest music creation app, Stagelight. Q: Introduce yourself and explain how you first got involved with managing the development of Stagelight at Open Labs? Chris: I’m Chris Brown, I’ve been working on this application for 7 years now in one form or another. We are a small company so you have to wear many hats. I have a music and art background so it fell into place that I should be in charge of the UX design. Managing the team was an added responsibility that I was comfortable with as well so I split my time between the two positions. Matt: I am Matt Presley. My background at Open Labs started in 2003. As Chris mentioned, we’ve all worn many hats here. Over the years I’ve worked in product testing, tech support, sales and marketing, and finally landed in product development around 2008. My official role today is Product Manager. I help with spec’ing out the features and functionality of the app, while listening to user feedback to help shape our roadmap. Fun... read more
Creating Ringtones with Stagelight

Creating Ringtones with Stagelight

Making a Ringtone in Stagelight Stagelight a great tool for creating original music and remixes. Once you have finished your masterpiece, there are many ways that you can share it with the world and create your own personal soundtrack. One great way to use your Stagelight creations is to make custom ringtones and notifications for your Android phone or tablet. Step 1: Creating your Ringtone The first step to do this will be to select the song that you want to use. In most cases, you will not want to use the entire song. If you are using a song that you made in Stagelight, just set the loop region to the part of the song that you want to use for your ringtone and then open the mixdown track menu. In the mixdown menu, select “loop region” to make sure that Stagelight only mixes down the part that you have selected. If you would like to use a song that you have created or found some place else, you can add an audio track to a blank project and use a loop region to select the part that you would like to use for your ringtone. Step 2: Getting your Ringtone in the right place Once you have mixed down the song part that you will be using as your ringtone the next step will be to make sure that it is in the correct location on your Android device. If you are using Stagelight on a PC, you will need to connect your Android device to your PC and move the file to the device’s notifications folder.... read more
Zayed Hassan Interview | Linkin Park Contest Winner

Zayed Hassan Interview | Linkin Park Contest Winner

After 12 intense months of competition and thousands of entries, the Stagelight Monthly Music Contest is officially over and the grand prize winner has been selected by Linkin Park. And the winner is… Zayed Hassan!   We recently sat down with Zayed and learned a great deal about this humble, hardworking and passionate musician. We hope you enjoy reading his story and hope that it inspires you as it did us. Follow your dreams and keep making music! Open Labs: When and why did you decide to become a musician? Zayed: Music was there since the beginning of my senses. I started out as percussionist at the age 3 and my instruments were the bowls and pots in the kitchen. That’s what my Maa says! But I truly wanted to be a musician when I started playing guitar at 10. Since then eventually I started to play all the instruments, which fascinated me over the time. I was influenced by Linkin Park, Deep Forest, Slash and almost every great musicians I stumbled upon, from early 90s! For our listeners who have never heard your music, how would you explain your sound in 5-10 words? This is probably the most casual thing I face almost in my every day’s life, since my genre is experimental and I’m not a professional composer. As an experimental composer I work with various physical instruments and virtual instruments. The mood of the song completely depends on my mood while composing. Mostly they are uplifting ones (as I was told). I don’t think my sounds can be compared to other groups or musicians as I am... read more