April 02, 2007

The Future of Music

Old news now in the blogosphere - EMI lets go of DRM on iTunes (a good summary - and links to the press releases - here) - but a useful hook for this post - who's interested in MP3 downloads when you can recompile the source?

NIN (that's Nine Inch Nails) look set to release all the tracks on their forthcoming album as Garageband 'source' files;


NIN have actually been doing this with one-off tracks for a couple of years, and encouraging remixers to upload their mixes as part of a remix competition. In addition to Garageband files, releases have also been made for other audio mixing software.

A slightly different approach is taken by U-Myx who require users to use the U-Myx software - and pay for the downloads.

But for a similar result - the user gets to play... ;-)

This approach is something I have dreamed of over the last 15 years as wouldn't-it-be-good-if idles, and anticipated eagerly more recently. My expectation over the last 5 years or so was that CD singles/albums would start to include remix applications/software studios on that medium - but I've been tracking it as a download reality on and off for the last 6 months or so (though it's been happening for longer).

That said - my expectation of getting the 'src' on the CD was predicated on the supply of the remix application on the CD too, rather than it being pre-installed on the users' computer.

The next thing I'm looking out for is a 'live by machine' gig, where a club franchise has real hardware/synths being played at a distance by the band, who are maybe in another venue owned by that club chain?

For this, you have to imagine banks of synths receiving (MIDI) control signals over the net from the real musicians playing live elsewhere.

This is not so much online jamming (or here: eJamming) - where you mix realtime audio feeds from other musicians on the web with your own efforts - as real time creation of the music from audio generators...

.. a bit like the way audio in games works today, and how MIDI created audio in computer games is going.

And the next step after that?

Well, you won't be downloading MP3. Instead I'm looking forward to a time when we'll be downloading a Garageband-like mix to our Garageband-like stereos - its audio card will generate sounds using onboard synths and samplers and do a real time audio mix for you.

So if you like to tinker with a graphic equaliser on your current stereo, the Garageband-like remix player is gonna be a whole load of fun... ;-)

PS have you ever wanted to play in a band - then Rock Band - The Game may be just the thing... participatory culture, here we come... ;-)

Posted by ajh59 at April 2, 2007 07:53 PM