Month: September 2013

Are We Spoiled?

We have so many amazing applications at our disposal, for crazy low prices. So why do people complain so much about iOS ad ons that are just as good as their desktop counterparts?
Ill use Auria as an example since it has the largest selection of ad ons and plugins currently available with iOS DAWs.
For the moment lets suspend our personal feelings of the app itself and focus on the relative costs for perspective.
Auria itself is $50 and comes with 32-64 bit audio processing, a stellar convolution reverb, a sophisticated standard EQ, Automation, FX, and numerous pro grade features. All working very well, for a lot of people including for me. Far from perfect but all things considered, not a bad value.
Considering its limitations, largely because of the iPads limited CPU and system resources, its pretty damned capable and priced appropriately.
If you want a comparable DAW on your desktop or laptop you will pay not only more for the hardware, but also a bunch more for the software.
FL Studio Producer is about $199.99 for example with similar standard features. Obviously there are differences, but the relative point here is about what you get for your dollar.
Other PC DAWs can cost more, hundreds more.
Now consider the plugins.
Auria has many FabFilter plugins just as good as the same ones for PCs.
FabFilter Pro Q for example is about $190.00 for PCs and $30 for Auria users. Yet are practically identical.
Somehow I still see people complain that $30 is way too expensive. WHAT?
Folks have their reasons for complaining about prices in great variety. None that I’ve heard have sounded the least bit relevant, or slightly reasonable, and in fact strike me as nothing more than unrealistic, and spoiled.
There are several ad ons and plugins to compare that show the very same price differences for pretty much all the equally available quality plugins. In every case the iOS option is drastically less costly.
Why so many silly complaints then?
Some say it doesn’t work, or they can’t get it to work. That also strikes me as strange since I have no problems with it at all.
I have no special super human powers, so I assume its operator error on their part. It works fine.
Before you start listing all your reasons for why you don’t like Auria or its plugins, remember this really isn’t about why you like it or don’t. If you’re going to go on about why PCs are better, again thats not on topic here, and why would you care anyway? I have no illusions of the disparity of power between iPad and PCs. iPad gets the job done just fine for those who wish to take the alternate route despite known limitations. This is about the costs. This is about the question “Are We Spoiled”?
Looking at the brief (yes I am aware its a general comparison) comparisons it seems clear to me that the complaints about the cost of iOS plugin options are ridiculous at the very best.
Just having a quality convolution reverb with a vast I.R. Library included (not including the additional I.R. libraries purchasable for tiny sums) is worth the $50 that Auria costs alone. GASP! How can I say that?
Well, a convolution reverb sounding just as good on PC will run you around $250! Some cost way more than that even.
So yes, $50 for the whole package (that again works fine for me on my iPad4, once I figured out all the silly settings necessary) convolution reverb included.
What the hell more do you want? Are we spoiled or what?
We’re only just getting started with iOS seeing DAWs supporting high quality options, tools, and plugins. So as we see more in the future are we still going to be complaining about the low prices being way too high?
I really hope not. Its not unrealistic to be concerned that some developers may choose to not go ahead with their product because the users are unwilling to accept the low cost of their product, much less any ad ons they might offer.
That’s a nightmare scenario, and I don’t sit up nights worried about it, but there is some reason to be concerned.
If developers see a community of users still complaining about even low prices, they might not make our dream iDAWs (or whatever app) because of that spoiled cacophony going on and on about nonsensical price expectations.
I’m not point the finger, though it kind of looks that way, but I am just as guilty as the next guy or gal. Or I was. I get it. I understand we have been spoiled by the super low costs of super cool apps for years. All the while we were still complaining or demanding more.
So as we get to the point now that “more” is becoming realized, so are the options, and slightly increased prices. All of the iOS app prices while maybe being higher than we started with are still very low.
You can’t have more, and get it for less. Its not a fair position to take.
Isn’t it time we start appreciating the progress instead of looking for things to complain about?
Its OK to not like something because it doesn’t fit in with your way of doing things, but lets try to not bash things that many folks find to be an excellent value and have no trouble working with. Lets try to not get bent out of shape when something costs a little more than we’re used to while offering us the “more” we demanded, and still for much less than its PC counterpart.
Bad for you is not the end all be all qualifier of a bad app on the whole. Sure there are “bad” apps, and apps that are priced inappropriately, but what’s the point of ridiculing them to death again and again? There are no rewards or points scored for complaining, especially about low prices. It just ends up making a lot of people look very spoiled. Who wants that?
Maybe we can all look a little harder at the bright side? See more of the positives. Be champions for this new thing and have some patience. It’ll all get there sooner than later.
However if its all really that terrible to you, then why are you torturing yourself? Go back to your PC or whatever made you happy before. Not everything is for everyone, but everyone can be a little more positive and grateful for what they have. Why not?

On The Radio ?

**I’ve edited some of this where my choice of words were a bit harsh and unfair. It didn’t really reflect my intentions properly.

For a lot of artists being heard is a major priority. There’s plenty of places to present our music and a profile for friends, groups, and acquaintances to see and hear on demand. Like Sound Cloud for example. Excellent options abound all over the internet, but to me there is something very special about radio still. These days most radio shows are fed to us via the Internet, which is also a great convenience, but I think its extremely important since radio shows are often played all around the world to people who dont want to sign up just to listen to music, and thus who may not use sites like Sound Cloud (or the likes). Unlike those useful sites radio is heard without any need for the listener to set up an account, search around for music they may or may not ever play. People tune in (so to speak) to radio expecting a show to play music that to them may be undiscovered. That’s priceless for the artists. Not just an individual playing you, but people listening.
On Sound Cloud we depend on people finding our page with our music, to follow, favorite and play. It’s a great community service, but with limitations of its reach.
All too often it ends up being a “I’ll pat your back, if you pat mine” system of favors and expectations. A very insincere environment sometimes. Not always, but plenty of times.
Ill admit I enjoy the interactions, but I don’t really put much stock into the stats. I don’t believe they have any real meaning on their own. Yet, many people think their play totals, comments and whatnot are somehow legitimate indicators of how their music is appreciated. Some even think they have bragging rights when they hit some arbitrary “Play” number.
I do not think Sound Cloud is completely one way or another. Its very useful, and beneficial. I just think too much value is placed on the stats that can be as diluted as they are legitimate.

Radio play still has that special feeling to me of really being heard. No followers, no stats, no “Hey! great track, check out my stuff” comments with self serving motivation. Just an honest, and anonymous audience from around the world simply hearing your music. No strings attached. It’s not like you’ll never hear from radio listeners. Some do take the time to find you and offer positive comments.

Of course I want 10,000 or 20,000 plays on Sound Cloud, but I don’t think of that as anything to brag about as the single most important indication of anyones artistic worth. Appreciated yes! Worthy of a snapshot to share with all my friends not really since its mostly them doing the playing anyway. It’s still nice though.

So that all said, I feel radio is still very important for artists to maximize options to really be heard. I believe we should be more supportive of radio shows like host Bruce Galls, ARfm U.K. Sunday Synth (see screen shot of his blogs playlist below for example) and his One World Music, “Atmospheres”

I always feel incredibly grateful when I see my name and music on any radio shows playlist, but Bruce is special. He sincerely appreciates the artists, and plays music that might not ever be heard anywhere else, as well as music that is.
All mixed together, and no matter how it was made.
There are a lot of great electronic music radio shows around like one of my other favorites from KXLU Los Angeles “Alien Air” hosted by Pat Murphy since 1984.
There’s Radio Happy in the Netherlands, and many more.

What’s your favorite radio show that supports artists who aren’t signed by some mega label?

I’d love to see comments sharing links to radio shows from around the world for us to all enjoy hearing and maybe even that other readers of my blog could send their music to.

Remember, Sound Cloud stats are nice but don’t get caught up in thinking they are the end all be all. They are not bragging rights, nor are they complete qualifiers of anyone’s quality of music or any artists talent. They are just numbers and sadly can be very easily padded.
Its about maximizing being heard as much as possible. New fans are out there and many are unwilling to create an account on a social media site to find music. Radio has potential of one play being heard by hundreds or thousands of more people. So why not give it a shot? You never know who could be listening.