Pomplamoose: ‘We are the mom and pop corner store version of “the dream.”’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Jack Conte:

We’re entering a new era in history: the space between “starving artist” and “rich and famous” is beginning to collapse. YouTube has signed up over a million partners (people who agree to run ads over their videos to make money from their content). The “creative class” is no longer emerging: it’s here, now.

Great perspective.

Notes on Creativity

by Nikolozi Meladze

I highly recommend checking out a great essay on creativity by Isaac Asimov. Here are some excerpts that ring true:

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)

The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.

Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

Cycling '74 CEO on Max 7

by Nikolozi Meladze

David Zicarelli:

One of the biggest challenges in designing software is dealing with what is known as the first user experience. We’ve been looking at this problem for the last four or five years, and I have to say, observing someone else try to use what you’ve designed is a devastating experience. Everything you assumed to be true is exposed as wrong. You can retreat into your shell and declare your work is art and simply misunderstood, or you can try to figure out why your assumptions are wrong. It is an endless process, with well-meaning attempts to be “more user-friendly” usually falling flat for reasons that suddenly seem obvious and make you feel like an idiot. And that’s putting it mildly.

This is very true. Read the whole post to find out the effort the C74 team put in to make Max fun to use.

‘Taylor Swift is intentionally adding inefficiency back into the market’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Philip Kaplan:

When record stores were a thing, there were exactly sixty musicians who figured out how to work within the system to become wildly successful (in that case, selling 100 million copies each).

Specifically, they took advantage of inefficiencies in the market.

How many of those millions of people only wanted one track but had to buy the entire album? iTunes fixed that by decoupling the tracks from albums.

How many of those millions put the album on a shelf and never listened to it? Spotify fixed that—artists only get paid for plays.

By removing herself from streaming services, Taylor Swift is intentionally adding inefficiency back into the market. Like Comcast, her product is popular enough that people will put up with it. And while I believe an artist gets to choose what happens to her art, I still think it’s a dick move to her fans.

Twitter Audio Card

by Nikolozi Meladze

Twitter Blog:

With a single tap, the Twitter Audio Card lets you discover and listen to audio directly in your timeline on both iOS and Android devices. Throughout your listening experience, you can dock the Audio Card and keep listening as you continue to browse inside the Twitter app. We’re launching this new audio card in partnership with third-party streaming services. The first partner for streaming on Twitter is SoundCloud.

Twitter’s dedicated music app didn’t take off, but this sounds like a cool idea. Tried it and it works very well. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work if the Twitter app is in a background mode. Hopefully, that will change in the future versions.

‘Eventually, you’ll figure it all out’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Jason Fried:

During the development of most any product, there are always times when things aren’t quite right. Times when you feel like you may be going backwards a bit. Times where it’s almost there, but you can’t yet figure out why it isn’t. Times when you hate the thing today that you loved yesterday. Times when what you had in your head isn’t quite what you’re seeing in front of you. Yet. That’s when you need to have faith.

MIDI Editor Updated to v1.5, MIDI Import Support Added

by Nikolozi Meladze

Here is what's new in MIDI Editor v1.5:

  • Import MIDI files from the other apps via Open in...
  • If a MIDI file consists of multiple tracks they will be imported as separate clips.
  • Triplets grid support added.
  • It's now possible to create notes in edit mode via a pop-up menu.
  • Edit mode is a default mode now.
  • Bug fixes.

At the moment maximum imported MIDI clip length is 32 bars. This will change in the future versions.

The Best EQ Plug-in Just Got Better

by Nikolozi Meladze

Out of nowhere, yesterday, FabFilter posted Pro-Q 2 overview tutorial delivered by Dan Worrall (as expected).

Just when I thought Pro-Q couldn’t get any better. New features include:

  • Natural Phase Processing mode
  • Automatic makeup gain
  • Slope control
  • Spectrum graph
  • Full screen mode
  • Tilt shelf curve
  • Gain-Q interaction
  • Snap band to exact musical notes
  • Improved DSPs

FabFilter Pro-Q 2 will be available this Thursday.

‘I don’t work for free’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Adweek:

When Showtime invited Dan Cassaro to join a design "contest" he felt amounted to milking professionals for free work, he let the network—and the world—know how he felt about it. The offer, made to a number of designers, involved promoting the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana boxing match on Sept. 13. Those who submitted designs for Showtime's use "could be eligible for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and have your artwork displayed in the MGM Grand during fight week!," the network told Cassaro in an email. After sending an email response slathered in sarcasm ("I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are extremely low-budget affairs"), Cassaro then posted the exchange to Twitter.

This is so great. It reminds me of remix competitions run by electronic dance music labels, which became very popular a few years ago. They promised winners a release on the label and a few pieces of cheap studio gear. I have yet to hear of an artist who became big after participating in such competition. These little contests are ultimately designed to promote the original artist, no one cares about the remixers.

Shazam for Mac is Cool and Creepy at the Same Time

by Nikolozi Meladze

A few days ago, I saw in my newsfeed that Shazam released an app for Mac. The app is designed to run in the background, monitoring all sounds via the Mac’s built-in microphone. Once it detects a track you are playing it pops up a notification showing the track title and the artist name.

Out of curiosity I installed Shazam on my MacBook Pro just to see what it does exactly, while thinking that I’d remove it within a day or two. But now, I’m considering keeping it running in the background.

It’s amazing how well this works. All tracks that I played from Spotify were detected correctly. After I played Asphalt 8 on my iPad, I checked Shazam log, all background tracks of the game were listed there. Later on, when I was watching A Long Way Down, again it detected all the tracks played in the movie.

All this is cool, but it’s creepy at the same time. Shazam is monitoring all the conversations in the room where your mac is. And all the recorded audio is sent back to their servers. So, it comes down to whether you trust Shazam that they won’t breach your privacy.

One last thought, all Macs have a green LED indicator letting the user know when the built-in camera active. It would be cool to have a similar LED that could act as a reminder that an app running on your mac is using the built-in mic. It doesn’t even have to be a separate indicator. The same camera LED can simply turn blue indicating that the microphone is active (though, this could be confusing for some users thinking that their camera is active).

Fortune Interview with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek

by Nikolozi Meladze

It is no secret that I love Spotify. I don’t think any other music streaming service comes close to the great user experience it offers. So I found this interview with Daniel Ek interesting. The CEO of Evernote, Phil Libin said, “The easiest way to get 1 million people paying is to get 1 billion people using.” From that point of view, Spotify is doing wildly well. Out of 40 million users 25% of them are paid subscribers.

PreSonus AudioBox iSeries Audio Interfaces: iOne and iTwo

by Nikolozi Meladze

Excellent choices for mobile musicians, sound designers, and podcasters, the USB 2.0 bus-powered AudioBox iOne and iTwo provide high-quality audio I/O for Mac®, PC, and Apple iPad®. These compact, ruggedly built interfaces offer high-performance Class A mic preamplifiers, record 24-bit audio at up to 96 kHz, and include powerful, easy-to-use Studio One® Artist DAW for Mac and Windows and Capture™ Duo recording software for iPad.

These interfaces look great. I’ve been holding out for iConnectAudio4+. It has all the features I want in an audio interface. It can digitally stream MIDI and audio between an iOS device and a Mac using the audio passThru technology. This means I can easily integrate iPad music apps into my production. But, I’m not sure how much longer we’ll have to wait before it’s finally released. So, I might have to grab iTwo (I’m not a big fan of the name by the way) instead. It looks great, has a big volume knob, supports iPad and will be shipping soon.

‘Apple is Still Going Pro, from Hardware to Pro App Updates’

by Nikolozi Meladze

Another great post by Peter Kirn, but what got my attention was the following paragraph:

I think it’s time to spend this energy elsewhere. The computer as we know it is for the most part better than ever. If anything, we need to stop worrying about backwards motion and start thinking forward. Desktop creative software is still stuck in 90s-era metaphors. Most of it doesn’t deal with touch input or gestures – even trackpad gestures in many cases. It doesn’t deal with Internet connectivity in any meaningful way. It doesn’t scale properly to higher-resolution displays. It doesn’t deal with the widespread use of mobile devices in most cases – most desktop software lacks dedicated mobile control or round-trip mobile workflow options.

We are indeed stuck in 90s-era metaphors.