If It Sounds Good - It Is Good!
— Duke Ellington

Hell Freezes Over (and other Frosty Treats)



(Stole that from Peter Kirn over at CDM, but he's spot-on)

Propellerhead adds VST support to Reason. Peter says this is an additional to the already successful Rack Extensions, but I disagree - this is because Rack Extensions were not the huge deal Props' intended them to be. Although they do some cool things, the biggest problem with RE's was the fact that you had to buy them all over again if your manufacturer made a Rack Extension of something you already owned. Although Propellerhead initially said they would either make RE's free or cheap if you already owned them, they backtracked on that pretty quick, making you pay again for a plugin you had already purchased. Like me, most went 'no thanks' and stayed with VST's or AU's or RTAS or AAX in their fave DAW. I think this has been hurting their bottom line (and that they have taken on VC is a pretty clear sign IMO) and they had no choice but to capitulate. Also, the fact that this is happening in a 'Dot Release' is suspect - this is the kind of feature you would expect in a major revision.

I started using Reason way back with version 1, and I stopped upgrading at 6.5 because there has been nothingVin the subsequent updates that made me want to drop the cash for them. This is an intriguing addition though, and I want to see how 'outside' plugins work within Reason, so I will check out the demo and see if it's worth it. This also makes me wonder what's in the cards for Version 10, so I'll most likely wait to see if it's worth the upgrade cost then. Truthfully, I don't use Reason that much anymore as the other DAW's I have do the same things that endeared me with it years ago.

It's tricky times for DAW manufacturers, but a boon for users. You can spend $200 for Logic Pro if you're on Mac and get more than everything you could possibly need (if you're a student you can get all the Pro Apps for the same $$$). Garage Band is now free, and basically 'Logic Lite' with a clumsy interface but more than usable for basic music creation. Reaper is $60, cross-platform, and updates are constant and add functions and workflows even 'Big Software' hasen't copied yet. Ableton Live Lite bundled with most audio interfaces will do most of what a 'bedroom producer' needs to get creative. This may be the big stumbling block with getting people started (or back on board) with Reason, and why it's been released now and for free. It's a bold move to get Propellerhead back in the game, but it might be too little, too late. I have a hunch about the answer, but will reserve my judgement until 10 comes out and how much the upgrade cost is. This will be critical as updates for existing software can be as expensive as buying a competitor's whole product. If they are serious about turning the tide, they will have to be serious about how they price it to their current user base.

Speaking of Avid, looks like they've made a deal with Microsoft to handle their Cloud. I agree with Bobby O that this is more of a 'Wall Street' rather than 'Main Street' move (see my snark above), and Azure is a solid business platform, but it might not be the best for the 'home gamer'. Avid has made it pretty clear they don't really care about the entry level musicians and engineers, and this may be another shot across the bow towards appealing more to the Corporate Clientel. In all fairness, I have to say that PT 12 has been the most stable version of Pro Tools I have used since probably 7 or 8, and I had hope that they might be finding their way back from the brink. I had faith that Pro Tools First would be a way to get the beginners back into their court, but it's so hobbled that it's pretty much unusable. My license is provided by my (Corporate Clientel) employer. If I personally had to pay $25 a month to use it I wouldn't - there are just too many great ways to make music digitally on the market, and everything plays well with everything else these days.

In other Frosty Bits, it seems like The Mothership is afoot with music and social media-based announcements these days. From helping young artists destroy their careers get ahead in the Industry to pushing moar video in the next iTunes to a new doc on PuffMommyP-Doodle®, Iovine is trying to stay relevant, and most of this smacks of 'Major Label' thoughtspeak. Is Apple thinking Music Label to go with their upcoming TV Shows and rumored banking inclinations? Apple Music seems to be holding its own (I use it and like it, although Spotify's discovery features are better) and they have the $$$ to try anything and eveything, so I'm hoping this push is a harbinger of the company revitalizing their music business, and not just following the 'gotta stay relevant' calls of the Punditry Class. Stepping out on a limb here, but this may also be an indicator of changes coming to Garage Band (or Music Memos, or hopefully Logic) at WWDC or thereabouts. They have opened up quite a bit after the Mac Pro fallout, and am hoping the Pro and Prosumer Apps are a part of that strategy. Fingers crossed.

Elsewhere, looks like iHeartRadio is filing for bankruptcy (shocker) and Blockchain is coming to Spotify (Michael has more info over at the 8-D Industries Blog, and the original link is here.) WTF is Blockchain? Tech answer. Musical answer.

Also, MusicMesse and Superbooth happened with Metric Shedloads of goodies for every musical taste, genre, and quirk. I didn't see anything that really made me giddy with excitement (W00t! The GAS Cessation Program is working!) but per usual, Your Milage May Vary. Nick and Company have their usual phenomenal coverage over at Sonic State if you want to kill a lot of time. :)

One last thing: sorry I missed a post last Friday, but it's been pretty busy 'round these parts lately and I completely spaced it. I have what was scheduled for last week coming up next week. And that didn't sound awkward at all, now did it? :)

(Edit 5/1/17): Caught this Tweet from Magnus of Sonic Charge over in the CDM commentariat:

They've been sitting on this for over a decade 'just in case' I'd bet... :)

The State of Digital Audio Workstations (2017)

April 2017 Dynamics Check