Maker Movement Mania

Will This Music Editing App Find the Next Hit Maker?

Kristin Houser Writer & Editor, LA Music Blog
Stagelight music app - band playing

Music creation app Stagelight could be the ticket to stardom for any one of a dozen artists and bands competing to get studio time with Linkin Park.

New music finds its way into people’s lives in more ways than ever before. The advent of digital recording makes it possible for almost any aspiring pop singer, DJ and band to create songs that can compete with big recording labels and be easily shared online. Since Open Labs introduced Stagelight a few years ago, amateur and professional musicians have used it to turn ideas into songs for the world to hear.

The free Stagelight app – for Android and Windows phones, tablets, phablets, laptops and desktops –includes everything artists need to create music, from instruments and loops to effects and beats. It helps music listeners become music creators, by providing in-app lessons and easy-to-use on-screen instruments.

Since 2003, Austin-based tech company Open Labs has been creating software and hardware products designed for musicians of all skill levels. This year, their Stagelight app is helping a dozen musicians competing for a chance to spend a day in the studio with digital rock band, Linkin Park.

Stagelight Contest Image

The Stagelight Monthly Music Contest II runs through March 2017, and so far four musicians have each won a monthly prize. (Rules for contest)

Each month, a panel of judges narrows down the entries to the 10 entrants who scored highest in the following categories: Public Appeal, Creativity/Originality, Recording Quality and Fit to Monthly Contest Music Genre.

The public appeal score is determined by voting, and every voter has a chance to win a prize of their own as Open Labs is giving one voter every week for the duration of the contest their choice of one of four sweepstakes prizes from Intel.

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The monthly genres include hip hop, electronic and rock, but like Linkin Park, the artists entering the contest have been putting their own twists on genre norms.

“Genre wise, it’s a fusion of hip hop/alternative with soul-driven verses and melodies,” said Nick Ray of his song “November,” which won Month 3 of the Stagelight contest in the hip-hop category.

“‘Oxygen’ is the culmination of our very different musical tastes here in the band,” said David Arnold, who won Month 4 with his band The Broken Thumbs. “EDM components mesh with live instruments to create what we hope is something unlike what you’ve heard in the rock/alternative world.”

The highest scoring monthly entrants receive a Linkin Park Underground Digital Membership, a must-have for any fan of the band as it grants them access to pre-sale tickets, exclusive content and more. The second place monthly winner gets an upgraded membership and some cool gear to go along with it: a Lenovo Ideacentre AIO 300 23-inch all-in-one computer from Intel.

The entrant with the highest-scoring submission each month receives the upgraded membership, archived Linkin Park merchandise and a gear pack that includes a Lenovo Ideacentre Y900 series computer, a ThinkVision P27 27-inch wide UHD IPS monitor, a Blue Yeti Pro microphone and Blue Mo-Fi headphones.

It’s just about everything an artist needs to make professional-sounding tracks, said Rajeev (Raj) Puran, a business development manager at Intel.

“It’s going to allow them to really unlock the potential of what they do in music,” said Puran.

The 12 monthly winners will then compete for the grand prize: a Lenovo Yoga Home 900 all-in-one touchscreen PC, a Yamaha Reface CS analog modelling synth and that once-in-a-lifetime day in the studio with Linkin Park.

“If I won the grand prize, I would hope to spend the day learning as much as possible from Linkin Park about their process of production and writing as well marketing,” said Rob Grounds, whose song “Ease My Scream” won Month 1 in the Rock category. “Maybe see if they have any tips that I could use to take my music to the next level.

Grounds has been making music for years, but tons of experience isn’t necessary in order to enter the Stagelight contest.

“Stagelight has a great library of pre-made samples and loops that are industry standard and easy to use,” Ray pointed out. “For someone who is just starting out, this app gives them the ability to jump into production with ease and start making music like the big dogs!”

Seasoned music creators can take advantage of more advanced features of the app, according to Marc Alan, whose song “Living Shadows” won Month 2 of the contest.

“Stagelight offers a complete workstation experience without cutting corners,” said Alan. “It lets you expand your arsenal with more effects and sounds as you grow.”

Puran said the app has built-in intelligence, allowing it to adapt over time.

“As the user grows in their ability to create content, the software automatically grows with them,” he said. “It starts releasing features like quantization and key gen lock and all these things that musicians understand and know that someone just starting out might not.”

That key lock feature, a LoopBuilder and an electro instruments series were amongst the tech upgrades made to the Stagelight software when Open Labs released version 2.0 in 2014. The company is now gearing up for the next evolution: 3.0.

“With Stagelight 3.0, you’ll be able to easily and quickly transfer a song between devices,” said David Miletta, Open Labs’ director of sales and marketing. “This means a person can start a beat on a phone, build it out on a tablet, and finish it on a PC or a MAC.”

The competition in the Stagelight Monthly Music Contest II is already proving to be fierce (just check out the songs that have already won). Just half way through the contest, the grand prize — a day in the studio with Linkin Park – is still anyone’s for the taking.

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