Free Download – New Song – The Flight of Smaug

New song posted!

The Flight of Smaug is a tribute to the upcoming movie “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Can’t wait to go see it December 14th!

An excerpt about Smaug from Wikipedia, “One of the last great dragons of Middle-earth, Smaug rose to prominence by laying waste to the town of Dale and capturing the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) with all of its treasure. These events occurred some 150 years before the events of The Hobbit, and Smaug was already centuries old at the time.”

This is the music I envision as Smaug awakes from his long slumber in the deep caverns of the Lonely Mountain and realizes that a piece of his treasure is missing…

(Right click or option-click the button and choose “Save As…” to download the song.)

Mastered for iTunes

Earlier this year, Apple introduced Mastered for iTunes, a new set of guidelines and tools for musicians submitting music to iTunes. This is great news for music-makers and music fans alike!

In a nutshell, Apple is providing a much needed standardization of digital audio formats [a variable bit rate (VBR) 256 kbps AAC encoding format] and providing free tools to hear how your music will sound on iTunes before you upload. This is incredibly valuable for the rapidly growing populace of independent musicians who wish to make thier music available for download via the iTunes store. After all, iTunes is the #1 most popular music retailer in the world.

The iTunes software first arrived in 2001 as the end result of Apple’s acquisition of the SoundJam music player. The iTunes Music Store opened for business in 2003 and quickly grew into the world’s largest digital music seller. In just five years, Apple passed Walmart to become the world’s No. 1 music retailer overall.

From Apple’s Mastered for iTunes Technology Brief, “Digital distribution is no longer an afterthought. It is today’s dominant medium for consuming music and as such needs to be treated with utmost care and attention. For decades, the standard for consumer digital audio has been the compact disc, and most mastering has been done with CDs in mind.” Digital downloads have surpassed physical CD sales and music fans want access to their music library on all of their media devices (home computer, work computer, car, iPod, cell phone, etc.), which is why Apple is integrating iCloud with iTunes very soon. Some say that these recent moves by Apple indicate that they intend to have consumers streaming everything from a cloud based subscription service to all of their portable devices. These changes could receive mixed reactions from independent artists, musicians, and content creators who have struggled in recent years to find fair and reliable ways to monetize their work. Apple seems to be fostering a platform based around maximizing (wireless) connectivity and sharing, which can only be good news for musicians seeking exposure. Hopefully these free new mastering tools from Apple will curb the ear-fatiguing digital clipping that has become a hallmark of modern music and put an end to the Loudness Wars.

Ultimately, if you want to get your music in the store where the most people are legally downloading music, it looks like you’ll have to play by Apple’s rules… which may not be such a bad thing after all.

To get more details and read up on the technical specs on the internal workings of iTunes new encoding procedure, read this technology briefing: Mastered For iTunes PDF

If you want to download the mastering tools from Apple, go here: http://www.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/