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How Ad Rev and YouTube Content ID work  

The Hows and Whys of Ad Rev and YouTube Content ID
With notes and new opportunities w/ Google "Hosted" Ad Sense because they are all interrelated.

Mass Confusion.  Irate Musicians.  Angry YouTube Channel Owners.  Copyright.  Infringement.  Monetization.  Content. Welcome to the internet in the year 2015.  This doesn't exactly sound like a fun party, but for good reason.  Your ideas are at stake.  Your recognition is at stake.  Perhaps most importantly, revenue owed to you is at stake.  

Personally, I am on the front lines of all of the above, because I have my own YouTube Channel named ShaunFriedman, in addition to having a website that offers beats for downloads, and in addition to having other publishers peddle my instrumental music across the globe.  I have seen various claims on some of the videos I upload which include Sound Recording claims and Visual Content claims.  YouTube Content ID claims are not just specific to Ad Rev; they are specific to any business or corporation or entity that partners with YouTube Content ID, and generally speaking, can claim copyright on Images, Movie Clips (Audio in the actual movie or the background music in the movie), TV shows, and of course, sound recordings.

This article will focus on the partnership of Ad RevYouTube Content ID, and YouTube channel owners/uploaders, though the concepts may be congruent with any entity that works with YouTube Content ID.  I'll go through each topic in numbers, covering questions and concerns of music creators and YouTube creators, which often times are the same person, like myself :)  YouTube channel owners are also a very important piece of the equation here, because when approved, they can monetize their own videos directly though YouTube Hosted AdSense, not to be confused with YouTube Content ID, but of course.


1.)
"Can't I just apply to YouTube's Content ID Directly?"  If you ever thought this, congratulations!  Way to go directly to the source.  After all, why would you need a middle man between yourself and YouTube Content ID?  Unfortunately, I have heard rumors that YouTube's Content ID application process has gone dormant and is basically unattainable.

However, this didn't stop me from trying back in August of 2014.  My information was successfully submitted directly to YouTube, and they closed their notification by saying "this is a beta program, and we're in an ongoing process of refining, improving, and scaling the system up to meet everyone's needs."  All in all, it's probably a long shot to get approved directly, because YouTube works with major players like Warner Bros, Ad Rev, Audiam, CD Baby, Universal Music Group (UMG), Warner Music Group (WMG), and Sony Music Entertainment. (SME)  These type of Behemoth companies have the rights to thousands upon thousands of sound recordings and media.


2.) 
How does Ad Rev work exactly?  Ad Rev allows publishers and composers to upload music (music that you are the original owner/publisher/composer/rights holder of)  into the Ad Rev system.  Then, Ad Rev works directly with YouTube Content ID to find instances where your content is used on YouTube.  Ad Rev is strictly a YouTube admin.  It's a pretty robust system that will catch you if you use copyrighted material.  As a member of Ad Rev, you can also submit DIRECT URLs of YouTube videos that use your music.  Once a match is found, the YouTube channel uploader of said video will receive a notice that there is a copyright claim.  Refer to below for what happens once there is a claim on your video.


3.)
"Why are there claims on my Video?!?  Now what!?"  It's important to understand why there are claims in the first place.  There would be a Content ID match or claim on one of your videos if you used copyrighted material from someone else.  As mentioned above, this relates to all media including Images/Visual content, sound recordings, Audio Content (this type of claim happens with major movie publishers/studios), and more.
To avoid having a claim in the first place, you all have to do is make sure every single piece of anything used in your video is an original creation.
When you receive a claim, YouTube sometimes uses threatening language about losing your channel and so on.

You have a couple of choices at this point:
a.) Remove your video
b.) Accept the claim.  Accepting the claim means that you NO LONGER can monetize your own video with Google Hosted Ad Sense.  The little green money sign that usually is available for you to monetize with Ad Sense will disappear, and the advertising earnings made by your video will go directly to the Claimant.  In the below example, Warner Music Group is now monetizing my Under the Bridge Hip Hop Remix.  I have no qualms or anger to this because I clearly used audio from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  My YouTube account is still in good standing, and I have over 30 videos that are claimed by other entities.  Accepting the claim means are you are Acknowledging third party content.  Personally, in relation to the Under the Bridge video, I still list my website link in the description of the video, so at least I'm gaining something from the video.  There are many different circumstances and scenarios relating to Copyright Claims and your YouTube channel, and when a particular video has gone "Viral," the ins and outs of all this hold a much greater stake.



Maybe, as an actual YouTube channel uploader, you have a video of your Cat making scrambled eggs that has over 2 million views, but if your video uses a song from Elton John, you are now making Universal Music Group money, if you accept the claim and you don't delete your video.

In the Cat making scrambled eggs example, if you used background music from YouTube's Audio Library, you would have still been able to monetize your video directly with Google Hosted Ad Sense.  This is clearly something all YouTube channel owners should be conscious of, because by the time it's potentially viral, it may be too late to go back and make changes.  *However*, some songs affect your own advertising and monetization in various ways, so be sure to read carefully before using a music track. Also, terms can "automatically" change, muddying up the waters further.

Another option is to have an agreement with a song publisher or composer that implicitly states they CANNOT administer or claim the sound recording through YouTube Content ID, because IF they WERE ALLOWED, it would render your own monetization null and void (With Ad Sense) and the composer would be the only person making revenue off your video. 
If there ever is a case where you know you agreed (in writing) to use a track without worrying about Content ID, you can provide the written specifics to YouTube, Ad Rev, or any company you are working with, and they can remove the Content ID claim for you.  

Generally speaking, when issues arise over Content ID and Ad Rev, Ad Rev can remove claims or a composer or publisher can remove claims for you (by informing Ad Rev), once everyone is in agreement that the claim should truly be removed. This is also referred to as "White Listing" certain videos.  You can also dispute claims directly through YouTube.

Ad Rev can also reassign ownership of music tracks.  This can only happen if you have a written legal agreement that states why the ownership should change.



4.) Licensing and Distribution deals as a composer.  When you sign (as a musician/composer) a distribution, licensing, publishing, or Record deal with a 3rd party, make sure you are the only Admin of your content on YouTube.  In most contracts, you are granting them administration rights to all media available now or in the future.  This means they are going to upload your songs to Ad Rev or Audiam directly!!! (unless they are a Behemoth that works with YouTube Content ID directly)

If they upload directly, you will receive your small cut (if that) after they receive their share directly from Ad Rev.  This is true for indie bands, rap, and all genres of music.  They might not even tell you about it at all.  However, maybe this WAS part of your deal with them and you are comfortable with them collecting from ALL sources.  Either way, make sure you are knowledgeable about YouTube Content ID.  In a perfect world, you would negotiate terms in a licensing or distribution deal that states YOU ARE THE ONLY ADMIN of YOUR CONTENT ON YouTube.  If that isn't an option, make sure you know what percentage you are getting through Content ID proceeds, if the entity you signed with actually tells you they are administering Content ID. 


5.)
Who pays more for administrating Content ID? Ad Rev or CD Baby?  
Administering Content ID:
CD Baby pays out 50% as opposed to the 80% Ad Rev pays out.
CD Baby also offers a total distribution deal where they make your song or album available in a wide range of media, so it's important to weigh the pros and cons of each.
In a perfect world, you would be able to sign CD Baby's distribution deal where they do all the things they already do, with an addendum that states you are the only admin of your content on YouTube.  


6.) 
What pays more?  Ad Rev or Google Hosted Ad Sense?

What pays more on a YouTube video? Ad Rev or Google Hosted Ad Sense?  If you are a composer, YouTube channel creator, and Ad Rev member all at the same time, this question is pretty important to you.

Fundamentally, this is a question of what generates more: an Audio/Visual (standard Hosted AdSense) or a Sound Recording?  (remember, accepting a sound recording claim makes you unable to monetize through Ad Sense, but what if the sound recording claim is your own self !?!?)

For example, let's say I post a tutorial about music production on my own YouTube channel that gets relatively popular.  At that point, I could monetize directly through YouTube Hosted Ad Sense Monetization. (not to be confused with Content ID)

On the flip side, I could upload a new, original song I made to Ad Rev, embed the song in my tutorial video, and then have Ad Rev claim my own video and earn revenue from the sound recording.


YouTube Hosted Ad Sense is referred to as an Audio/Visual asset, and has demonstrated to earn 15% more than a sound recording (Ad Rev or any entity using Content ID) claim.

Per 1000 views on YouTube, a sound recording (Content ID) may generate $1.00
Per 1000 views on YouTube, your standard Google Hosted Ad Sense may generate $1.15

However, Ad Rev and other entities that work with Google have their own Ad Sense account, and there are sometimes higher quality ads through their network.  So, it's not totally clear at this juncture.  It is possible that a sound recording claim can earn more than a standard Audio Visual (hosted Ad Sense) and vice versa.



7.) Multiple songs in a video vs. One Song in Video: YouTube Content ID
If there is simply 1 song in a video, whoever you gave the admin rights to YouTube will be collecting off that song. (with an accepted copyright claim).  
If, for example, there are 5 songs in a single video, it potentially could be the same entity collecting, but it could very well be 5 different entities, which in turn will split the ad share from the video.



8.) SHARING REVENUE WITH MAJOR BEHEMOTHS!! Remixes and Covers. 
New opportunities [Remixes & Covers!!!] through standard Google Hosted Ad Sense and YouTube Content ID!


While Hosted Ad Sense (YouTube monetization settings as a YouTube Channel uploader/owner) usually claims sampled & found material [Found with YouTube CONTENT ID], leaving you with no revenue stake, in some cases, you can actually SHARE revenue with Warner Chappell, Sony ATV, and any large company who partnerships with YouTube Content ID!!

In the picture [clickable] below, my Carry On remix with a Nate Ruess sample [subsequently matched and claimed by YouTube Content ID) has enabled me to Share with claimants below.


Monetization info: "You're sharing money generated from ads with the relevant artist or copyright owner."

I don't know why they accepted me to share with them, but as a composer that's pretty damn cool how the internet enabled revenue sharing with major players, and I never asked for permission in the first place.  Maybe they're happy that my remix was decent and making them money so  they wanted to give me a nod and include me on the action?  On the not so glorious flip side, maybe it's just a google controlled ad network revenue setting.  It is the use of copyrighted material, so I like to think the behemoths made the decision.




Another shared revenue example can be found here, which is an Alanis Morissette remix: https://www.youtube.com/video_copynotice?v=xJ75cTTiWRk

New Opportunities for COVERS on YouTube!!

Recently, a Parody I made with my buddy Travis was accepted to Share revenue through Google monetization.
As a YouTube channel owner, I was looking over the copyright claims, and I found a notification that said:
"Monetize my video. This is my cover of a song written by somebody else. Learn more."
So, it's definitely a cover of Nelly's Just a Dream, which we re-wrote to be "Just to Pee."
Just to Pee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLOYct7HLtE






9.) Types of Copyright Claims and examples in Content ID as YouTube channel owner.


Example 1: Claimant was Warner Bros for a beat I made with an Austin Powers sample.
The content claim was "Visual" as my thumbnail and image throughout the entire video is an Austin Powers picture.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8p6wV0klY8 - 
So, I have successfully made "MC for Warner Bros" money, though I did get to use the sample, direct visitors to my website, gain subscribers, and remain in "good standing" with YouTube.  
All in all, content ID really does protect creators.  Nothing bad happened to be nor my channel.   


Example 2: A Biggie and 2pac Remix I composed and uploaded on my channel was Claimed by UMG [Universal Music Group], and was Blocked in Some Countries, the "some" which was only 1 country; Germany.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBDu1H5R7yA

I am unsure of what is actually claimed as I used verses from Biggie and Pac in "Runnin' (Dying to Live)" yet used a different instrumental.


Example 3: 2pac and Eminem Remix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxZv8O5QQck - The Copyright claimant is "UMG" [Universal Music Group] 
who matched with "Only Fear of Death - 2pac" - sound recording.  This happened to be blocked only in Germany.  In this example, the Content ID system identified 2pac, which has an acapella I used.
It does not appear as though the Content ID System caught my use of the instrumental "I'm not Afraid" by Eminem.


As you can see, there are many pieces and parts of the Google Content ID System.  Each case is different because there many varying terms of agreements, many copyright owners, many YouTube channel uploaders, and many creative photographers and composers.  Though people are frustrated about copyright claims, at its heart the system is truly trying to protect rights holders. 
 

Review of: The Behringer XENYX 808 Mixer - home or live 

I have had the Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer since 2006.  

Major gratitude to the forum admins in the FL Studio forum, who recommended the mixer to me after I told them I had to hook up a condenser mic, the Roland Fantom X-8 keyboard, the Stanton T.80 Turntable, and possibly a TV! (the audio output of anything on TV).  

I also have the Mbox2, and I must say that the Pre-Amp inside the Xenyx 802 amplifies much better than the MBox2.  The mixer, with the Phantom Power and XLR condenser mic plugged in, really makes recording vocals at home a clear quality.  When doing this tactic, the Mbox2 only serves as a gateway into the computer (Where I record into FL Studio); it's input gain is completely turned down.  The same thing goes for anything plugged into the Behringer Mixer like a Keyboard or Turntable; it seems to boost the audio power.

I recently utilized the FX Send and Return feature in the video: Put the Gun Down Human Being - The small echo is from an analog delay, and the DEEP PITCHED VOCALS on the HOOK is actually from the send/return feature. (a pitch shift fx of sorts)  You can use this feature on the mixer for anything - many times these FX sends are a way to input some Reverb, Echo, Delay, Pitch, and other fun and interesting music/electronic effects.  
The behringer xenyx 802 mixer is of sturdy construction, solid electronics, nice controls and ability.

The unit also has some RCA inputs, as well as a main out and control room out.

When using in conjunction with the computer, I simply use the main out of the mixer into the Mbox2, which connects via usb into the computer.

Maybe one down side regarding the mixer is the power plug in, which has to be fed into the back of the mixer.  No biggie, but that part can get damaged; it is the only piece I have replaced on the mixer since owning in 2006.  Actually, the only damage was to the metal prongs, so take a look inside and be sure not to abuse it.  (I simply never knew they were there)

My buddy in Fort Wayne actually took this unit to a jam session with a band, and the results were pretty damn slick.  So in a live environment, it definitely gets the job done.  

Check out the Xenyx 802 mixer for many applications, clear electronics, and a solid design. 

The unit has a purple/blue laser when on.




 

Direct Sound EX29 Review (professional headphones) 

Thumbs up to the Direct Sound EX29 Professional Headphones.  These were gifted to me while working at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne Indiana.  The owner of the headphones is quite the cool man, and gave our class (training class before hitting the sales floor) free pairs.  I used them in a coffee shop where I created the foundation for what was to be my Deck the Halls Christmas Remix; a competition at work where people submitted enough material for a double disc CD. I used the EX29 headphones to sample deck the halls, as well as add sub bass from Reason in the coffee shop @ Mocha Lounge (Fort Wayne, IN), sequencing in FL Studio. 

In Fort Wayne, my buddy Matt Lowe who engineered @ Tree Sound Studios in ATL recorded most of my vocals.  When I returned to Cleveland, the EX29's helped me again.  The feeling around your head really shuts out the outside noise; this helps tremendously when recording vocals because the microphone won't pick up the leaking of the headphones...or as little as possible.  
The EX29's are sturdy headphones that keep outside sound out when mixing as well as not leak out when recording vocals

On the inside of the headphones, there is a RED color for the right side of your head, instantly squashing the left or right inquiry. ;)

I have used the amazing Bose Quiet Comfort 2, and the EX29's definitely cancel out much of the exterior noise as well.

There's a large sized cup for your ears and the headphones themselves are quite substantial in size, coming with a handy 1/4" adapter that SCREWS onto the tip of the standard 1/8" jack.  (high quality as well).  

Overall, although they came out of nowhere, I have exclusively used the EX29's to produce all of my material since 2011.  

I consider them a blessing and they are legit headphones, whether you are mixing or recording vocals (extra bonus due to less leakage).  They are made of quality components and I never had a single problem. 

Pictured circa 2011; Fort Wayne, Indiana donning the EX29's.






 

It was never about a DAW for me - It was about creating music. 

It was never about Fruity Loops for me, and never will be about Fruity Loops for me.

 

I was born in 1981.  My father produced jingles for commercials, put Cleveland on the map, excelled at jazz piano, and had a state of art studio in 1985.  I was immediately mesmerized by the sounds programmed with a floppy disk and the Yamaha DX-7 Keyboard.

 

Music is an art of expression.  I have given my blood, sweat, and tears to this entity called music.  It is the universal language and relates to both me and every human being around the world.

 

It was never about a DAW for me.  It was about CREATIVITY.  It was never about the Pro Tools vs. Cubase battle for me.  That was simply a vessel to create a final product.  It was never about Ableton.  It was never about Digital Performer.  It was never about the never ending battle in forums and in person.  It was never about Fruity Loops - the stigma of a DAW that is immediately dismissed as "not worthy."  It was about finding the easiest and most user friendly process for my type of production.   In my case, that usually means starting with drums, adding a baseline, and then adding many parts of percussion and additional harmonies.

 

I ask you this: If you write a letter to someone, does it matter if it comes from Hotmail, Gmail, AOL, or another type of email program?  No.  Rather, it is about the content within the email and how it makes you FEEL.

 

Music means creating something from nothing.  Like a painter with a paintbrush on a blank canvas.

 

I ask the world: Why be so obsessed with the Pro Tools vs. other software programs?  I guess I can "sort of" understand those who say "these kids never learned an instrument."  I can't really speak to that because I learned the piano and drums by ear, and then took that knowledge into the digital domain.  I guess you can call me a hybrid of the analog and digital worlds.  I am grateful that my dad "showed me the ropes" so to speak, using midi keyboards like Korg and Kurzweil, and manually playing in each harmony or drum pattern using a keyboard.

 

I ran into somebody today who claimed I was "stuck in box" by using the FL Studio Program.  I would argue that any thinking that claims I am stuck in box is exactly that: Stuck in a box.  For me, it has NOTHING to do with the software DAW so to speak.  Yes, the software FL Studio is good for me because it allows me to sequence quickly.  But the underlying message I am trying to communicate is this:  The most important part about composing music is NOT the software that you use.  Certainly it can help in the process, and you should find the DAW that works best for you, but it is all about your own creativity.  It's about how you add each section of your song, the harmonies you incorporate, and the way the melody or baseline makes you FEEL.  

 

Music makes you FEEL.  It makes you FEEL when you hear it through a radio.  It makes you FEEL when you are working out and listening to music on your iPOD.  it makes you FEEL when you are dancing to music in a club.  It PICKS YOU UP when you are feeling down.  It motivates you.  It connects you.  It reminds you.  It's your friend.  It's the emotion that is indescribable.  It is different for each person listening, yet it connects everybody.

 

As producers, engineers, and composers, it is not about what DAW you use.  It's about how you make your audience FEEL.  If you can get your message across using Pro Tools, by all means use it.  If you like Digital Performer like the famous composer Hans Zimmer, use it.  If you like fruity loops, keep at it.  If you like Cubase or Ableton, stick with what works.

 

The main battle comes between each fellow producer.  We are supposed to be making music that makes people FEEL.  This was never a gimmick for me.  I have seen the forums and I have seen the YouTube comments.  Why do we have to battle with people that are using different DAWS?  We should be encouraging people who are making music, not cutting them down because they use a certain DAW.  Just because you use Pro Tools doesn't mean you are better than someone else.  Rather, pro tools (in certain cases) may be a crutch to certain people, because they have no real creativity.  It's like spraying Febreze instead of really cleaning your carpets: Your house still stinks and the spray is only a cover up.  You will be exposed for who you are in due time.  

 

I can create in Pro Tools.  I can create in Cubase.  I can create in FL Studio.  I can create in Ableton.  I can create in Digital Pefrormer.  I have been multi-tracking since I was 5 years old, using a Casio Sk-8.  It was never about a DAW.  It was only about creating.  I can only shake my head in disbelief when I see or I am part of these arguments, which base themselves upon what DAW you are using, and not WHY you are creating music in the first place.  For the LOVE.  Not for a gimmick.  Not for notoriety.  For the love of music and creativity.

Mac's, Audio, Snotty attitude and arrogance 

 What is with the Mac and PC battle?  Specifically, why do people think that having a Mac is a necessity for creating any type of decent audio.  The only argument they may be applicable is for recording live instruments.  If you are recording a guitar or "miking" up an amplifier, it could be greater quality to go straight into Pro Tools, Logic, or even Garage Band!  (haha, bet I got you there!).  Yes, for straight drum set and live bands that may be better.  The rest of the spectrum is even.  And the rest of the spectrum can only constitute electronic music and all of its counterparts.  It all depends on how you compose and the workflow that suits you best.  From cubase to reason to reaper to pro tools to ableton live, the DAW race is a tight battle indeed, with the Mac or PC platform at the top of the plateu.  I say it's pure marketing genius by Steve Jobs, to make products that really are of superior quality.  That's why I believe the audio is better on Macs.  Is it the platform or the DAW? Or a mixture?  Audio on a Mac seems of higher quality and the internal parts and chasis of the whole computer have better parts than PCs.  Then again, Pro Tools is said to have the exact same Algorhythm as iTunes.  Same thing with garage band and logic.  Notice these are all Mac.  They have a whole structure of audio programs and a cult like status.  That being said, 99% of my catalog has been done on a PC.  I use the combination of FL Studio and Reason.  I use Reason's synths within FL Studio and it is extremely powerful.  Oh no, Mac's are making me feel bad again...

How to Edison, sample, sequence, mix, record, & Master in FL Studio  

I recently recorded a 57 minute screenshot tutorial covering the many aspects of music production.  In this particular YouTube video, I go deep "behind the scenes" of my Alanis "Hand in my Pocket" remix and demonstrate how to use Edison, which is the main editor I use during sampling.  This entails getting a seamless loop, finding the tempo, embedding the tempo information in the sample, and saving it on your computer or dragging it into your project.  I also review many aspects of mixing, mostly demonstrating the importance of cutting low frequencies and boosting your high frequencies on vocals, hi hats, and other instruments.  I review how to set up a reverb send as well as work with delay.  I show how to manipulate a sample on the piano roll and how to set up the sample to be "useable" in music production.  I also review what automation means and how to use it.  The video concludes showing the master track effect chain consisting of the TLS Maximizer and the BBE D82 Sonic Maximizer.  In short, the video reviews tips and tricks in the FL Studio music production environment.  The video would be handy for any type of music genre, but certainly focuses on electronic and hip hop production.  

Instruments vs. Electronic vs. Learning vs. Producing in digital age 

There is a huge ongoing battle concerning the methods of learning to produce music.  I've seen it in the forums and it's very prevalent on YouTube. The argument is about the benefits of learning music on a guitar, piano, flute, drum set, etc (anything in the physical world where you are reading music and playing an actual instrument) vs. the new method of learning music mostly with a computer. The computer has virtual instruments inside of it, as well as a piano, so you are able to make electronic music easily while including the aforementioned Virtual flutes, pianos, drums, strings, and as many synths as you want. I think as long as you are able to blend notes, sounds, rhythms, and harmonics, the method of producing doesn't benefit one or the other, and there are many ways to get to a final good mix. It seems like the older generation or people that actually learned a "real" instrument have beef with the teenagers and D.J.'s on YouTube that are merely "pushing buttons" on an MPC, drum machine, ableton controller, or using any DAW without "learning music" the proper way. And within that statement lies my beef. There is no "proper" way to learn music. Every journey will be different and the way in which you learn will be different. I did learn the piano by ear as well as the drums, and now I mostly use FL Studio and Reason on my computer to produce music. I don't read music all too well. I just use my ears and blend the notes and textures as I see fit. While it's nice to strum or play a real instrument, the sound is still heard and the inspiration is still there. As far as live playing, yes, there is a certain magic that happens as a band comes together or while jamming on open mic night. I do see the purity of music in that regard. That is the human aspect coming into play. I have made hundreds of hip hop beats while sitting alone with a computer and headphones. It simply isn't in the same ballpark as jamming with other musicians. As far as sequencing, I can play a live drum set and I have also programmed hundreds of beats in FL Studio by using the step sequencer and clicking with my mouse. With FL Studio, I can actually do more complex patterns and pick from thousands of .WAV samples to fill in my kicks, hi hats, snares, and all percussion. In the electronic world, I add my own baselines, pick out my own instruments, and mix the entire song on the computer. As long as you can ignore some of the digital and robotic aspects of using a computer to program and sequence drum sounds, the inspiration is still there. This is why when I actually burn a song onto a C.D. and play the finished song in my car, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world. That's why I believe it is not important how you "learn" music. As long as you understand the underlying principles, a new age digital producer learning on an MPC or pads and triggers of some sort isn't any less worthy than a guitar player. It doesn't really matter if you can read music, and this fact has been proven for a while now. What matters is the final result and how it makes you feel. The computer is the vessel to get to the final moment of a finished song. Music is an art of expression. I think anyone on YouTube is a musician no matter how they learned. Now, if they never ever pick up an instrument, yes that is bad! But there is no side that is "evil." Perhaps it's best to have a nice balance of both worlds. Learn the real instruments and learn the digital computers as well. Then you can mix both of them regardless. Every single computer program has the ability to record outside audio. This means you can record your guitar, drums, vocals, or any instrument you want, and have other sounds be electronic if you desire.

Alicia Keys Superbowl hip hop Remix: National Anthem - 3/4 Time  

I was looking for a moment of goosebumps before the superbowl and Alicia Keys delivered.  She played a beautiful white Yamaha piano and sang the national anthem before the Ravens and 49ers kicked off.  Towards the end of the song, she went into a nice little 3/4 time on the piano which really added some originality to the piece.  I took it step further and made a hip hop remix out of it.  I used the korg 05r/w for a flute sound and added a bunch of percussion and fx in FL Studio.  I also added a couple pianos to excentuate the pattern she came up with.  I recorded Alicia from the audio output of my Samsung T.V. 

My Studio Signal Chain and where all my sounds are coming from 

 I've got the studio setup in the basement with all the same casts of characters.   I have revamped the signal flow a little bit though.  My Dell Laptop i5 is the hub, which has a USB breakout with 4 connections.  Connected to the four slots is the Digi Design MBox 2, Roland Fantom X-8 USB, External Hard drive, and Dell printer.  The other remaining USB ports on my computer are for the mouse and ilok key.  I have the digital SPDIF output from the Roland Fantom X-8 hooked up to the MBox 2's digital SPDIF input.  The Stanton Turntable is connected to the Behringer XENYX802 Mixer (RCA left and right outputs into 1/4" left and right inputs on the behringer mixer).  The Mixer's Main outs go from Left and Right 1/4" outputs into the Line Level input of the MBox2.  In this way, anything connected to the mixer (stanton turntable, microphone, Roland Handsonic 10, or Television) can be ran line out from the mixer into the line in of the digi design MBox2.  I also have monitors and a headphone output.  The creative possibilities are endless as my sound pallete includes .WAV drum kits in FL Studio, Sytrus in FL Studio, Alieno VST, other free VSTS, Reason, All sounds from the Fantom X, all old Vinyl Records for sampling, The Roland Handsonic 10, the microphone, and even the T.V.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge Hip Hop Remix? 

I arrived to Mocha Lounge today at 11:15 a.m.  I am most likely going to try and remix "Under the Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I pretty much have the format set.  I will use FL Studio to sample and sequence the song.  I may also use Reason Rewired to gain access to sub bass and other patches picked for harmonies.  FL Studio will have some hip hop kits, maybe even the ones from Global Heat Wave, and I will mix and do a basic master of the song in FL Studio.  After all of this is done, I will export the .wav file and import it into Pro Tools.  Pro Tools is the spot where I will do the vocal recording.  A crucial step before this, and after the new instrumental remix is made, is adding my own "lyrical interpretation."  I have done this already with "Best of My Love" by the Eagles and "Let it Be" by the Beatles.  I look at the original lyrics and write my own spin on it, while still using some of the original lyrics.  It's nice to have an engineer (Matt Lowe) that worked @ Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.  Once the instrumental is imported into pro tools and new lyrics are written, it will be time for the vocal performance!