The Tale of Stagelight and the Linkin Park Undergound Summit in Houston

Stagelight - LPU Summit CrowdHard to believe it’s already been a week. On September 5th, a select team from Open Labs traveled to Houston, Texas for the Linkin Park Undergound (LPU) Summit and ensuing concert by Linkin Park. After arriving a little after 11 a.m. at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands, the very kind LPU administrators let us in to set up our Stagelight merch table. Thankfully, it was in an enclosed area with air conditioning. The day was a scorcher, in case anyone was wondering.

During the meet and greet with the members of the LPU, we gave out free Stagelight t-shirts, free Stagelight bandannas and handkerchiefs (which would come in handy later at the concert) and, of course, some free copies of Stagelight, the Easy Way to Create Music. Many LPU members even gave us their email address so they could receive the Open Labs newsletter, updates, deals, etc. It was a solid two hours of shop talk and music education, and everyone knows how passionate the LPU is for that kind of convo. The most enthusiastic responses we got were for the Linkin Park sounds available inside the Stagelight in-app store. People want to drum, strum and loop with the same sounds LP uses!

Stagelight LP Crew Q&AAfter the greeting period, the staff moved all the tables and chairs around to make room for two Q&A sessions. The LPU crowd gathered together again and sat on the floor. First out of the gate was Linkin Park’s impeccable stage crew. The techs and sound pros unwound tales of last minute fixes, arrangement innovations and other vagaries of the touring industry. For folks who would be working super hard in little less than two hours, the LP crew were all very jovial and friendly.

Then, with a greeting of rapturous applause and hollering, Linkin Park themselves came in for questions. The LPU crowd was clearly amazed at being in the same room with their heroes. There were questions about the band’s songwriting process, the thoughts that went into recent album release The Hunting Party and the method Chester Bennington uses to keep his vocal chords from tearing night after night. The climax and highlight of the session was when Brad Delson pulled out an acoustic guitar for an impromptu, unplugged performance of “Final Masquerade.” Chester’s voice, without a Stagelight LP Q&Amic, is still all kinds of powerful.

After the Q&A things got really special for the Open Labs team. We were allowed to go backstage and actually meet Linkin Park one-on-one. It’s always surreal to see incredibly famous people up close and personal. However, the LP guys were nothing like the rock star stereotype everyone dreads. They were friendly, down-to-earth people who just happen to be in one of the biggest rock groups in the world. Mike Shinoda, in particular, is a great conversationalist with a lot of insight on technology and the music industry. Pretty soon, though, the guys had to get up and get ready for their sold-out, headlining show at the Pavilion. This would be a major stop on their Carnivores Tour, and the sounds of LP’s two opening acts – AFI and Thirty Seconds To Mars – were already filling the area.

We got to our seats just in time to see Jared Leto, frontman for Thirty Seconds To Mars (and an Oscar winner) run by us on his Bone-esque concert-ending routine. The final song by the band was punctuated by a gigantic confetti explosion – shades of The Flaming Lips’ show – and dozens of people LPU Summit diplay Stagelightgathered on stage after an invite by the generous, bare-chested Leto. If anything, Thirty Seconds was trying to tear the roof off before the headliners made it to the stage. An admirable desire, at least.

But the crowd reaction to Linkin Park’s beginning put to bed any notions about who had the main show. Exploding out the door with a rampaging “Guilty All The Same,” the following 28-song concert was like a torrential downpour of music. Well into their second decade as a band, Linkin Park owns whatever stage they play on. Mike and Chester moved around in tandem, basing their stage placement according to who was singing lead. You don’t realize how important Dave “Phoenix” Farrell is on bass, or how much Joe Hahn adds as the DJ, until you see it in person. The set design – replete with moving, cage-like pieces – further impressed. Also, the new Hunting Party material gives all the guitarists, especially lead axe-slinger Delson, a lot of room to shine. Delson is a guitar player’s guitarist – strumming from his arm and not his wrist and letting his picking hand lead the way on his extensive solos.

It’s an impeccable show. Chester’s screams arch over the rhythms and melodies, and the momentum never lets up. All the big songs – “Numb,” “One Step Closer,” “In The End” and especially “Until It’s Gone” in the encore – became a concert-wide singalong. It’s not hard to imagine a non-LP fan (if there were any in the crowd) coming out of this September 5th show with a newfound appreciation for the group.

After this exhausting and thrilling trip, Open Labs is more convinced than ever that Stagelight has a great ally and booster in Linkin Park and their organization and fanbase. The trip to Houston makes it clear that LP is the musical real deal in all the ways that count. If you still want to catch them, here are the remaining dates on the Carnivores tour:

To see more images from Open Labs trip to Houston, check out our Facebook photo album:

Stagelight Linkin Park Concert

Blake: New U2 Album


Have you listened to U2’s latest yet?

Originally posted on 98.7 KLUV:

Bono says that U2 had one goal in mind when making their new album Songs of Innocence.

The singer tells Rolling Stone, “We wanted to make a very personal album. Let’s try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys — first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually. And that’s hard. But we went there.”

Bono adds that the album “has a lyrical cohesion that I think is unique among st U2 albums. I don’t want it to be a concept album, but the songs come from a place. The Edge laughed and said this is our Quadrophenia. We could be so lucky.”

Check out a video of the U2 appearance on YouTube

The release of Songs of Innocence for free for iTunes users (everyone else can get it…

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Amazon Fire Phone gets a $200 price cut


This might help the #Fire Phone.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Amazon Fire PhoneAmazon’s first smartphone, the Fire Phone, may not be a runaway sales success, but don’t count it out yet: It’s about to get a lot cheaper. Amazon announced on Monday that it was reducing the price of its ambitious smartphone to 99 cents with a 2-year AT&T contract. The price cut also applies to Fire Phones off-contract, which now cost $450 for a 32GB model. Sure, the Fire Phone hasn’t been especially well-liked, but at its new mid-range price it represents a different value proposition, especially considering it still comes with a free year of Amazon Prime.

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Google VP Megan Smith Gets Top White House Tech Job


From the world’s most powerful search engine to the office of the most powerful man in the world. Congrats Megan Smith.

Originally posted on TIME:

The White House announced Thursday that it has named Megan Smith, most recently Vice President at Google’s X labs, as the nation’s next Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President.

Smith, an MIT-educated engineer and entrepreneur, will “guide the Administration’s information-technology policy and initiatives,” according to a blog post from John Holdren, the White House Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “I am confident that in her new role as America’s chief technology officer, she will put her long record of leadership and exceptional skills to work on behalf of the American people.”

Smith—the first woman and third person ever to hold the position—will be joined by the legal expertise of Alexander Macgillivray, former General Counsel of Twitter…

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Stagelight Users! Who Wants to #TeamUp with Timbaland?

#TeamUp with Timbaland logo for Open Labs

Aspiring musicians have been using Stagelight to make their musical dreams a sonic, shareable reality for a few years now. But there’s a new contest kicking into gear this week that will go even further to make the dreams of some lucky Stagelight creatives come true. It’s the #TeamUp with Timbaland Song Contest. Along with Microsoft, Lenovo US and SMS Audio, Open Labs is behind another chance to get your music heard by thousands and to pick up some awesome prizes in the process. And the grand prize is enough to make any potential creative pause: studio time with Timbo the King, where the super producer will work on and produce the lucky winner’s original composition. That’s right, the winner (plus a guest) will be flown to Miami, Florida to work with the legend himself. In terms of advancing a recording career, an assist from Timbaland is quite the helping hand.

While the contest has been accepting entries since mid-August, it wasn’t until today (August 27) that people could listen to the songs and vote for their favorites. See the hundreds of entries here. To enter, it’s a three-step process. 1.) Create a song (Stagelight is available here if a music creation app is needed). 2.) Upload it to SoundCloud or YouTube with the corresponding link. At this point the song is in the running. But to get up to sprint, all creatives need to 3.) share the song and contest with friends, family and fans to rack up the “likes” necessary to be a finalist.

Here’s how the official contest page lays it out:

The contest is open to individual, aspiring music artists who are 18 years and over and legal U.S. residents. Your submission must be of an ORIGINAL SONG and you can submit only one song. To submit, simply provide either a SoundCloud audio link or YouTube video link to your song. Your original song can be with or without lyrics and across any music genre. If you haven’t already recorded your song, we recommend you use Stagelight, The Easy Way to Create Music. You can download the app for 30-days FREE here.
Use the share icons on your song profile page to share your original song entry/entries with friends and ask them to vote! Voting begins on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.
Phase One judging will be based on a combination of votes from the general public and judging by Timbaland as well as our judging panel. Up to five finalists will be selected. During Phase Two judging, those finalists will be given a music challenge by Timbaland to determine the Grand Prize winner.
The winner (and a companion) will be flown to Miami where they will spend the day in the studio with legendary music producer Timbaland. Timbaland will collaborate with the winner to produce a song. For complete details of the Grand Prize, click here.
It’s worth noting, as well, that unlike the still-running Stagelight #MonthlyMusicContest, the prizes for #TeamUp with Timbaland will be handed out on an every-other-week basis, not a monthly one. Still have questions? Here’s the contest FAQ:
Visitors to the site can vote as often and on as many songs as they want, but can only vote once on a particular song submission.
Submitted song entries must be approved by the contest moderator before they appear on the site. Please allow up to 24 hours.In addition, the Music Gallery featuring artists’ song profiles will be viewable starting Wednesday, August 27, 2014 [EDITOR'S NOTE: TODAY], when voting officially begins. It may be that the Music Gallery isn’t live yet on the #TeamUp with Tim additional logo for Open Labssite.
Voting period begins Wednesday, August 27, 2014. It may be that you shared your video during the initial Song Submission period and voting hasn’t begun yet.
The Song Contest is limited to those submitting songs. The Sweepstakes is open to both site visitors and contest entrants.You may enter the Sweepstakes once per day to increase your chances of winning.
The Grand Prize is the ultimate trip for two to Los Angeles, with two VIP Weekend One 3-Day Passes to the Coachella 2015 Music Festival. You can also win incredible tech and music prizes from Lenovo, Stagelight, and SMS Audio every other week. For a complete list of sweepstakes prizes and details, see the prizes section in the Sweepstakes’ Official Rules.
Contact Us
Creatives can contact the contest through this page.
The exact prizes, other than the famed studio time with Timbaland, are impressive. We didn’t lead with the Coachella passes that you can get from the sweepstakes, because those are a pretty great surprise for readers getting down this far. There are more, though: a Lenovo Y50 Ultra HD Laptop, SMS STREET by 50 Pro DJ Headphones and (of course) Stagelight: Timbaland Edition. This entire prize package here is valued at over $1,600. The Grand Prize, aka WORK WITH TIMBALAND ON YOUR SONG, includes the following:
Trip for two to Miami, Florida
Roundtrip air transportation to Miami, Florida
Ground transportation to/from airport/hotel and to/from recording session.
Two (2) nights hotel accommodations.
Note: Hotel may require the minimum age of 21 or older in order to register. If the winner is under the age of 21 a parent or legal guardian may be required as the Winner’s guest.
Recording session with Timbaland (not to exceed (6) hours).
Winner to receive a $500 American Express® Gift Card
This prize package is valued at over $4,900.
The time is now and the choice is clear. As Twitter user (and soon-to-be contestant, apparently) Emissary says, “I… cannot waste… this opportunity hahahahaha too good to be true!”
The five finalists for Tim’s production help will be announced on October 13. The Grand Prize winner will be selected on November 6. Who will be the lucky creative to #TeamUp?
Open Labs graphic for #TeamUp is Live

Researchers propose new Android security framework that could aid BYOD schemes


Android security might be getting a major facelift, if these researchers are to be believed.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

U.S. and German security researchers have proposed a new security framework for Android that would make it easier to install new security extensions – both enterprise and consumer — for specific purposes. A major aim is to make Android friendlier to corporate bring-your-own-device schemes.

The researchers, from North Carolina State University and Technische Universität Darmstadt, described the Android Security Modules (ASM) framework in a paper (PDF) that will be presented at the USENIX Security Symposium in San Diego on Friday. The framework (source code info here) can already be installed on a rooted Android phone, but the hope is for [company]Google[/company] or a big phone manufacturer to bake it into the operating system.

Senior author William Enck said in a statement that plenty of researchers are coming up with new security extensions to protect Android users, but “these new tools aren’t getting into the hands of users because…

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The 2.0 – and More Open Labs News – Wrap-Up

image of Stagelight features for Open Labs

So far this month, Open Labs has been pretty focused on a few major items. Stagelight 2.0 – which has been the subject of the past few blogs – continues to ramp up in the world of music software. More creatives are downloading the app and putting their compositions down. Additionally, the Stagelight Monthly Music Contest is running a parallel track of increasing awareness as more and more contestants enter their creations in for a chance to win $1,000s in gear, and a chance for a free Dell XPS computer, and the opportunity to work in the studio with Linkin Park. So let this be a wrap-up post, where we say goodbye to the week by consolidating all the new Open Labs info in one, easy-to-read place.

Turn your attention, if you will, to the new Stagelight Electro Instrument Series. This new facet of the Easy Way to Create Music journey is yet another feather in the cap for the 2.0 update. Though we have grouped the Electro Instrument Series in with the already well-known Stagelight features like Key Lock and the Native Effects in Open Labs’ public relations material so far, this instrument series requires a specific look of its own. The Electro Instrument Suite unlocks the following instruments: ElectroKeys, ElectroOrgans, ElectroBass, and ElectroGuitars. The upgrade also provides extra presets for each instrument. So the whole range of sounds have been given a power-up. The EQs have evolved, the filters are far more nuanced and focused and the Stagelight reverb continues to give that classic soundscape to creatives’ melodies.

Stagelight 2.0 also comes with SongBuilder 2, an updated version of the famous “step-by-step” learning process built into the app’s infrastructure. Stagelight 2.0 has more tools and tricks than any previous version, so it makes sense that Open Labs would put in some new architecture for our signature app tutorial process. Not only will Songbuilder 2 introduce creatives to the new features of Stagelight, it is also a great launching point for exploring new genres outside the Stagelight musician’s usual comfort zone. If the musician behind the computer/laptop/tablet is interested, Songbuilder 2 will show the building blocks for a new hip-hop/country/dubstep/rock song.

The new version of Stagelight also carries the well-known, easy, one-touch publishing to the cloud or SoundCloud, so those new sounds and techniques the creative has learned can be shared with a worldwide audience as quickly and easily as ever. Also, the 2.0 update has an improved interface that makes our beloved touchscreen interaction more intuitive, and easier, than ever. Open Labs wasn’t joking with the “Easy Way to Create Music just got easier” tagline. And, did we mention faster load times and the smaller digital footprint? Yep, Stagelight 2.0 has that too. All in all, it’s a pretty complete package.

In other Open Labs news, only a few days remain until the August 21st deadline for the third edition of the Stagelight Monthly Music Contest (or, as many have probably seen it plastered across social media, the #MonthlyMusicContest). As of this writing, there is still time to submit your Stagelight-created, original rap track for a chance to win $1,000s in music gear from top-name music industry brands. And, remember, if you win that’s not all. All 12 month winners will be entered into a race for the grand prize, which is a free Dell XPS computer and studio time with the actual Linkin Park. It’s too good an opportunity to waste, so put something into the contest if you haven’t already.

Monthly Music Contest banner for Open Labs

By the way, the next month’s genre is “Wild Card,” so Stagelight creatives can send over whatever type of composition they want!

Meanwhile, keep a look at our Facebook, Instagram, Google+, TwitterYouTube and Tumblr pages for more tips, tricks, news and other interesting tidbits straight from Open Labs. We are all over the web, meeting tomorrow’s music stars and enjoying the creativity that’s thriving in the digital world. Thanks for visiting and we’ll see you soon.

Musicians Are Shopping in Stagelight’s New In-App Store

in-app store for Open Labs StagelightRight now, as we sit at our computers/laptops/tablets/phones, some musician somewhere is finding the perfect loop or sound for their latest composition in the Stagelight in-app store. Another of the huge advancements Open Labs has created for the Easy Way to Create Music in the 2.0 launch, the Stagelight in-app store vastly expands the options that any Windows-based creative can work with.

The aim with the in-app store is to give the Stagelight musician the power to find all the world-class sounds and features they want or need. The idea is that the musician will then take those sounds and features and make their musical dreams into reality. The fact that the store is contained within the Stagelight app means that the creative can have the options they want, when they want them. Gone are the days of Google searches to fish out desired sound packs. The in-app store is also the simplest way to purchase the Stagelight app itself if the creative is working on the free trial demo version.

loops image for Open Labs StageLIGHTThere are a ton of loops to browse through, audition and purchase. They are all professional-quality and the collection touches on pretty much every major popular genre. Whether the artist using Stagelight is a country crooner or an EDM hero, there’s a loop (or loops) for what they need. No matter the genre, the Stagelight in-app store has the loops of best quality for the most affordable price around. Listen to the RaveHosue demo loop here.

Now, let’s talk bundles. The in-app store allows Stagelight creatives to purchase exclusive sounds, royalty-free, from Open Labs’ superstar partners Timbaland and Linkin Park. Millions of musicians around the world have been inspired by the artists, and now that inspiration can take the form of songs that contain the actual sounds on those famous Tim and LP records. These bundles include synths, drum kits, guitar textures and exclusive samples. Enoughbundles image for Open Labs Stagelight to keep all musicians’ appetites whetted. Here’s the demo from the Timbaland bundle.

And the in-app store also allows musicians to unlock the full potential of Stagelight’s built-in effects and instruments. Along with the bundles and loops mentioned in the previous paragraphs, these native features can further the aim of creativity for musicians everywhere. The in-app store, thus, offers a comprehensive package that can invigorate and empower the creative muse, no matter the favored genre or skill of the musician in front of the app. The latest Stagelight technology, feature enhancements and modules are all open for business. For a taste of what is offered, lend your ears to the Stagelight ElectroSynth preview (and mixdown) here.

The evolution in user experience presented by Stagelight’s in-app store can not be dismissed. features image for Open Labs StagelightFor the first time, the Easy Way to Create Music is consolidating all possible sound offerings in one package under the Stagelight banner and inside the interface of the app. If the creative using the app never has to leave the program in order to find that perfect instrument tone or rhythmic action, the idea of “music creation made easy” is made reality in a more impactful way than ever before. Truly, Stagelight now gives the composer everything he/she needs to make that song (or album, or EP, or anything musical) shine.

Additionally, if Stagelight creatives have any questions about the capabilities of the sound packs, such as how many loops are in a pack, or what is included in (for instance) the Electro Instrument Suite, all of the necessary information is included and displayed in the store for each pack.

Stay tuned in the future for even more in-depth explorations of the bundles, loops and sound packs inside the Stagelight in-app store. This is just an introduction, and there is so much to explore inside Stagelight 2.0 that we’ll be talking about it for months to come. Until then, keep creating and growing the musical muse inside Stagelight. Now is the perfect time to make a new great song. The in-app store, obviously, can help a lot.

Let’s Take a Look at LoopBuilder in Stagelight 2.0 (and other Open Labs News)

Open Labs image for LoopBuilderAt this point at the end of July, the news about Stagelight 2.0 has spread far and wide. Open Labs knows, however, that the 2.0 update has a whole lot to unpack for music creatives old and young. As Open Labs community artist and Stagelight super-user C. Rich Productions puts it, “Wow. Stagelight 2.0 is not an update. It’s a whole new program.”

In the spirit of that statement, let’s use this blog as a portal to investigate the nooks and crannies of the new Stagelight app. For the purposes of this installment, we are going to focus on one of the biggest and most groundbreaking changes in the interface. It’s a layman’s introduction to a brand new tool. We’re speaking, of course, of LoopBuilder.

LoopBuilder is just one of many new features in Stagelight, but it could promise to be one of the most effective and far-reaching. This loop-style production feature allows Stagelight creatives to mix, mash up and record their best performances and takes in a single touch. Breaking it down, what that means is that songwriters can now move their composing focus from one song-length block to a series of melodic compartments that fit seamlessly together. LoopBuilder allows the Stagelight creative to dig into one particular aspect of a song – the intro drum beat, the piano part behind the verse, layering voices on a chorus, etc – and tinker and mold it to perfection. The resulting loop can be placed into an artist-chosen spot in the Stagelight interface, where it can be moved and turned off/on as the artist needs it. Once the creative starts layering these loops on one another, song creation will literally fall into itself through the various loops working together.

The impact of LoopBuilder on composition has yet to be seen in its full power – Stagelight’s 2.0 update has been out for a little more than a week at this point. But the implications are huge. Artists thinking of making a full song may be intimidated by the full weight of the composition placed upon their shoulders. LoopBuilder allows the job to be broken down into easier, more manageable bits. And the high level of creative control that can be wielded makes sure that the recording of the song segments goes exactly to the Stagelight creative’s plan.

Check back in with the official Stagelight 2.0 release video: You can see some footage of LoopBuilder in action. However, the real excitement will come from the many, many Stagelight musicians who are shaping LoopBuilder to the whims of their muse.


There’s a lot going on with Open Labs these days. Beyond the continuing effect of the new Stagelight update, we’re moving in new directions with various other initiatives.

First off, the third month of the Stagelight #MonthlyMusicContest is right around the corner. The genre for the third month is hip-hop. It will be a rap and beat-filled August. Entries begin on August 1 and the final day to vote will be on August 21.

Additionally, keep your eyes open for the official announcement of the second month’s winner. The best electronica track has been picked and we are going live with the celebration on August 1.

This past weekend Open Labs’ production team went to Miami and took part in the shooting of a commercial for Stagelight with the one and only Timbaland. We’ll have to wait a bit to see the final version, but we’re sure it’ll look great. Tim had a great time, too:

Open Labs image for Timbaland commercial shoot

And Open Labs community artist Jamie Starr, the man behind Echoscape Records, released his new album “Love” earlier this week. You can hear the record here: That’s the kind of work you can do with Stagelight on your Windows desktop, laptop or tablet. We expect many more recordings to appear in the coming weeks and months.

Let us know what you’ve been doing with LoopBuilder in the comments below. It’s an exciting time for Open Labs and musicians worldwide.