Laurent Martin, Cofounder and CMO, Aitokaiku
Kevin Klingler, President & CEO, Smartsound Software, Inc
Tony Cariddi, Product and Solutions Marketing Director, Avid
Peder Jørgensen, Developer and Sound Designer, Soundly
Scott Page, CEO, Ignited Networks
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we are talking about music. We start with Laurent Martin who, along with his business partner, has invented a way to create interactive music in real time using artificial intelligence. Their company, called Aitokaiku, invents music to match your mood.
Larry Jordan: Tony Cariddi, the product and solutions marketing director for ProTools, joins us to explain their latest update and how it enables musicians and mixers to find exactly the right piece of music when they need it.
Larry Jordan: Next, Peder Jorgensen is the co-founder of Soundly, a new cloud based sound effects collaboration tool. He explains what it is and why sound designers should consider using it.
Larry Jordan: Scott Page looks at the current state of music, from the cloud to AI to improved software tools and shares his thoughts on what musicians need to know to survive in today’s technological environment.
Larry Jordan: Kevin Klingler, the founder and CEO of Smartsound looks back at the last 25 years at the state of software manipulated music, and shares his thoughts on the industry and what still makes Smartsound unique.
Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts: production, filmmakers, post production and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. Hi, my name is Larry Jordan.
Larry Jordan: NAMM starts next week in Anaheim, California. NAMM is the annual trade show for the National Association of Music Merchants, so tonight we thought it would be interesting to look at the changing face of music. One of the themes at this year’s CES was artificial intelligence and computer learning. Our lead interview looks at how artificial intelligence can compose music. AI created music has profound implications for media, but more importantly, for musicians and the music industry which is already under severe stress.
Larry Jordan: Later in the show we’ll talk with Scott Page, a professional musician, about the challenges of earning a living and what musicians need to know to stay afloat. This should be a fun show.
Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week, gives you an inside look at The Buzz, quick links to the different segments on the show, and curated articles of special interest to filmmakers. Best of all, every issue is free, and comes out on Friday.
Larry Jordan: To get us started, it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. Hello James.
James DeRuvo: Hello Larry.
Larry Jordan: A very pleasant day to you. What is in the news today?
James DeRuvo: A pleasant and wet day.
Larry Jordan: Oh man, I tell you. I’m not knocking it, but I’m shoveling water off the back porch.
James DeRuvo: I hear you. Remember that three screened Razer Project Valerie laptop that we talked about last week?
Larry Jordan: Oh yes.
James DeRuvo: It had three screens with 4K, it’s gorgeous. It could be a game changer for gaming and maybe even video editing.
Larry Jordan: It won best of show at CES if I remember right?
James DeRuvo: Actually it won the people’s choice award, I found out, and then their Project Ariana Chroma projector took best overall gaming product. But while Razer was celebrating on Sunday the winning of these two major awards for best at CES, both their laptop prototypes were stolen out of the pressroom.
Larry Jordan: Oh no.
James DeRuvo: They don’t know if industrial espionage is involved, but something similar happened to them back in 2011 when their Blade laptop was being developed, and it was stolen out of the headquarters. So, there’s been this history of what could be industrial espionage, hitting Razer right after a big reveal. It’s a very sad story and they’re getting the authorities involved and the thing is that that’s a terrible way to end CES when you’ve had such a successful run. I hope it doesn’t delay their bringing this device to market because it’s a pretty cool device.
Larry Jordan: Let’s hope it turns out for the best. What else do we have for news?
James DeRuvo: RED announced this week that they’re future proofing their HDR workflow with enhancements called IPP2. It adds Log3G10 for more accurate tone mapping, especially to get better quality skin tones in high dynamic range. Added a new color gamut and dynamic range support to squeeze out every fraction of a stop of dynamic range they can, and it was developed right alongside RED’s Helium 8K processor which also just received the highest rating in history from DxOMark. So pretty exciting news for RED as far as HDR workflow goes for RED head.
Larry Jordan: I think HDR is going to be killer, but I’m looking forward to having it evolve over time. It is a huge task to get our stuff up to speed for that.
James DeRuvo: It is.
Larry Jordan: What else we got?
James DeRuvo: But when it’s done right, it’s absolutely stunning.
Larry Jordan: Oh yes.
James DeRuvo: I think it’s a better development than the increase in resolution.
Larry Jordan: Well I think increasing resolution may be up to 4K but beyond that, HDR and wide color gamut’s going to be much better than higher resolution.
James DeRuvo: I absolutely agree.
Larry Jordan: What else you got?
James DeRuvo: Well, Sundance is right around the corner.
Larry Jordan: True.
James DeRuvo: Robert Redford’s independent film festival up in Park City, Utah. Adobe is dominating the films and competition at Sundance this year with over 90 percent of the documentaries have used Creative Cloud or Adobe Premiere Pro in at least part of their workflow. Four out of ten of those were cut in Premiere Pro and six out of ten of the virtual reality projects used Creative Cloud in at least part of their workflow. I’m told, some 81 percent of all the films used Creative Cloud.
Larry Jordan: Creative Cloud includes Photoshop, so if people are processing stills, Photoshop would be included in that wouldn’t it?
James DeRuvo: Yes, and what’s interesting about that is Adobe also announced today that they’re working on a voice activated Siri-like assistant for photo applications that will enable a user to use voice commands to edit their photos and share them. Now, it kind of makes me wonder, can video be that far behind? Maybe in a couple of years.
Larry Jordan: I saw that demo, it is amazing to do photo retouching just by telling your computer what to do. It’s going to be a fascinating time.
James DeRuvo: It’s called Project Sensei.
Larry Jordan: And for people that need to know what the latest news is, where can they go on the web?
James DeRuvo: All these and other stories can be found at doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for doddlenews.com. He returns every week with our weekly DoddleNEWS update. James, thanks so much. This has been fun, we’ll talk to you next week.
James DeRuvo: Take care Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
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Larry Jordan: Laurent Martin trained as an opera singer in Los Angeles, then sang professionally in Germany. However, three years ago, he co-founded Aitokaiku which is a mobile application that creates original music using artificial intelligence. Hello Laurent, welcome.
Laurent Martin: Hi, thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: It is my pleasure. I looked this up by the way, you are only the second opera singer we’ve ever had on the program in the last ten years. What first got you interested in opera?
Laurent Martin: You know, I was really lucky to go to school at a school district in Los Angeles that put on pretty much professional productions, you know, in a 1400 seat professional theater, professional sets, orchestra, all of that stuff. And I started doing that at 12. I think at some point I started taking music lessons and opera seemed like the hardest thing I could do with my life, and for some brilliant reason, I decided that’s the path I wanted to take. You know, the hardest challenge.
Larry Jordan: So here you are in Germany performing music. What got you to shift focus into creating music using software rather than your voice?
Laurent Martin: I’m a singer but the first thing I am is an artist and a musician. I was doing performances with an Ecuadorean surrealist poet as one does in Berlin. We were doing these performances of her work in galleries all around the city, and in 2013 at some point she introduced me to my co-founder, Jarno Eerola, and said, “This guy’s from Finland, he’s going to do music.” I said “Great, nice to meet you,” and about 30 seconds before I was standing in front of the audience, he came up to me and in a very Finnish and stoic way said to me, “Everything you do is music. Every sound you make, every movement.” I actually experienced Aitokaiku’s music technology for the first time in front of an audience. I started to speak, and I started to sing and there were strings and bass and everything following with me, and when it got intimate and quiet the music matched that and went down in volume and instruments fell out. Then people applauded, and the music came back and afterwards, I said, “Wow, that was great. You’d never seen our performance before, but you were just really right with us,” and he said, “I didn’t do a thing. You created all the music.”
Laurent Martin: So I said, “OK, wait a second, let’s sit down and talk about this.” And this is where he first explained to me that, you know, he developed this technology which uses sensors to compose live music that is reactive to everything that’s going on in someone’s environment, whatever activities they’re doing, and we were doing performances with this for a couple of years and then late summer, early fall of 2015, he said, “Listen, the technology has come to a point, especially in mobile, where we can take this thing that looks like separate hardware, and a lot of human intervention, and we can actually import this to a phone. We can automate a lot of the human things that I was doing with machine learning, and I’ve got resources, we got friends to build it, we’ve got investors that are interested. Do you want to join up and help me do this?” We’ve been developing this product and this company ever since. And I wanted to make one important note there, we do have this app, the prototype is out for Android, for people to experiment with, but this technology really is extremely flexible and so, yes, it is something that we’ve been focused on trying to get a mobile app out for the last year, but it can be used in live performance.
Laurent Martin: We’ve got a cloud based server version where people can upload their own sensor data and get back a personalized soundtrack that reacts to the sounds or anything really that they give us. And it really is something that people can create from, it’s a platform. We’re artists and musicians and we want to make this something other people can play with so there’s a content layer to that where you can work with us. We can make a theme with you out of your signature sounds. The music engine takes in sensor data and it creates a music data stream, and you can think of that as like writing sheet music. From there, the content layer, the theme, that takes that sheet music and decides what are the sample stem loops, what are the sounds people are going to hear and what are the rules, what are the genre that’s going to come out of that?
Laurent Martin: So it’s also something that people can create on. Not just us and not just the end user that can then have their own unique music that goes with whatever they’re doing.
Larry Jordan: Where did the company name come from?
Laurent Martin: Ah. The name is Aitokaiku, and Aito is like a portmanteau, it’s Finnish. Aito means authentic, and kaiku means echo, so this is sort of the true music, the true sounds of coming back from your world to you.
Larry Jordan: Well that gets me to the bigger point. How does the software work? What is it actually doing?
Laurent Martin: Ah, you want the recipe to the secret sauce.
Larry Jordan: No, it’s not so much the secret sauce, but what is it doing in general? Because I know how secret sauces are guarded, but is it just randomly associating notes and blending them together?
Laurent Martin: No. This is where the machine learning working goes into it, and we’re developing the technology. One of the machine learning instances is actually teaching it how to compose and so that is feeding in bits of music, having it recognize that and turning that into learning actual composition. Almost in the way that a person would. Then the other parts to it are creating machine learning instances that identify different parts of the sensor data streams, and so as that gets more sophisticated, we can determine what kinds of things lead to positive or desired musical events, musical gestures. So we’re really bridging that gap between there’s a certain sound, there’s certain frequencies, and that leads to a music event on the other side that somebody likes or that fits in with certain patterns that we’ve determined are desirable. So then it continues to do more of that and it continues to learn how to better create music for everyone.
Larry Jordan: Looking at the website, it sounds almost like it’s a background, not quite EDM but more of an ambiance than songs. Is that true?
Laurent Martin: I would say, because this music is generative and infinite, it’s not a three and a half minute single that is really tightly produced. But in terms of that sound, we’re from Berlin. My co-founder Jarno is a very well established house music producer, and DJ, and so right now for this first edition, this sounds very much like our musical expertise in that. But now we are recruiting musicians to work with us to bring their expertise in there, and so the next round of themes will have acoustic sounds and rock sounds and jazz sounds. We’ve talked to people in a bunch of different genres that want to help create for this, and we think that’s really exciting as well to kind of push it and see all the different types of music that it can make.
Larry Jordan: You’ve currently released this as an Android application. What are your plans for IOS?
Laurent Martin: IOS is coming. I’d say it’s weeks not months and we did the Android prototype to learn a little bit from the market and see how users reacted to it. The IOS version will be a little bit more full featured out there, and that I think especially with your audience, will probably have a little bit wider appeal. I know a lot of audio guys tend to be using IOS.
Larry Jordan: I was reflecting, you got your start in music in opera, which is a shared listening experience, and what you’re creating here goes in the opposite direction where you’re creating custom music for private listening on headsets. Are you making a larger social point here?
Laurent Martin: Yes, absolutely, and I’m really glad you said that. Here’s the thing that maybe I can clarify where it’s not so much that I’m turning around for the technology as much as I’m hoping to turn around technology a little bit. Right now, as a music creator, as a musician especially opera is completely acoustic, there’s no amplification. I create music that is directly heard by human ears, and I have this idea that music is always live because that’s how I produce it and that’s how my listeners experience it. So for me, I love this idea of giving people the power to create their own music. Music is not something they wait for someone else to do. I love the idea that their music is always live, because as a performer, every time you make music there’s something different about it. There’s something different about you. So this idea that every time you go to listen to music, and you select the theme, you select something that is going to have familiarity to it, but there’s still a freshness, a uniqueness to it, and to me, that is what music is. There’s certainly recordings I know and love and will play again and again, but it’s always exciting for me to see a musician live and just see how they are doing it today and how it changes with how they’re feeling now. I want to bring that to the music making technology that everyone gets to experience.
Larry Jordan: The app is currently free. How are you going to turn this into a business?
Laurent Martin: The app is currently free for users. There are four themes that you can play around with. Two of those are sponsored, so our first customer is Visit Finland and that’s the national tourism board of Finland. They are sponsoring that content so that it’s free for users. In the future as we recruit other musicians, as I was saying we will have a marketplace so that there will be some sort of value exchange and we will share in the revenues with that for people that create content with us. I should also add, this is a really exciting thing for people like Visit Finland, because the music is created on the end user’s device, from this very unique cocktail of sensor data that’s impossible to reproduce really. It means that the music belongs to them, and it means they’re free to use it for any purpose they want, whether it’s an event or a commercial use, or to share it on any platform, or to share it globally. That’s something that’s really exciting to people like Visit Finland who can create music with us and they can give this to their users, they can use it in global advertising campaigns, and people can create music with it that they can then go and spread around. I think that part of it has been an unexpected point of appeal that we found.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information, where can they go on the web?
Laurent Martin: You can visit our website at aitokaiku.com, and that’s where you can also join and follow us on social media, Twitter and Facebook and find out about when we’ll release for IOS or contact us about making a theme or plugging into Aitokaiku.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, aitokaiku.com. Laurent Martin is co-founder and chief marketing officer. Laurent, thanks for joining us today, this is fascinating.
Laurent Martin: It was a real pleasure, thank you.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Since joining Digidesign which is now Avid, in 1996, Tony Cariddi is the product and solutions marketing director at Avid, focusing on ProTools. As an audio engineer and artist he’s recorded, mixed, prepped and cued sound for just about everything or everybody. He’s also worked with such notable artists as Jennifer Lopez, Keith Richards, Joan Jett and many others. Hello Tony, welcome.
Tony Cariddi: Hi Larry, thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: What’s the latest news from ProTools?
Tony Cariddi: We’ve just released ProTools 12.7 just a few weeks ago. This is the seventh consecutive quarterly release we’ve put out in the past nearly two years. The latest release adds a lot of improvements around the fluid collaboration that we introduced with ProTools 12.5, the cloud collaboration capabilities. We kind of made that a little bit more sophisticated enabling people to have different versions, so much like you could create local versions, typically with any application, we’ve brought that smart revisioning to the cloud based projects. In addition, we’ve improved some of the music creation workflows for helping people creatively explore their sample libraries for loop creation workflows and even for post production folks who are exploring their vast, sometimes huge sample libraries for different sounds that might work for that context.
Larry Jordan: Why quarterly updates? I know on the video side where I’m more knowledgeable, we’re always leery of new updates for fear they’re going to break something, and we want to hold off updating for a while and now you’re updating four times a year.
Tony Cariddi: Well across the board we’ve transitioned to this model on the video side as well, so Media Composer and also the notation products are all taking this approach. The benefits here are, with respect to your immediate concern which is stability, is that we’re able to address stability issues much quicker than we have before. So that’s one aspect of it. The other aspect of it is the previous model, we would put out a release every 18 months, 24 months. That’s a really long time to wait in between releases, especially today. Ten years ago, 15 years ago is a different story. Today we’re in a market where things shift very quickly. Workflows evolve and transform very quickly, so what this allows us to do is be more agile. So if we see the market is responding a certain way, we’re getting requests, pulling the product in one direction or another because the business is requiring that, then we’re able to respond in a much more agile way.
Tony Cariddi: The flip side is, there’s no obligation for a customer to download or use the latest update. However, it does provide a lot of value and at the end of the day when you look at how much innovation we’ve delivered over the course of 12 months, it’s much greater than what we were able to do with the older model.
Larry Jordan: I want to come back to one of the things you mention. You’ve talked about Soundbase which is your improved searching criteria, and revision history where you’re able to keep track of multiple versions of the same project. But you’re also now bundling in samples with loop masters. What’s this?
Tony Cariddi: That’s true. That’s not a completely new theme for us, but this is a brand new curated loop library that we’re throwing in just as another added value in there. That’s a huge benefit especially for people who are just starting out. It’s a fantastic foundation to get your inspiration going. It’s also a great way to complement an existing idea. Of course a lot of the users that Legacy or existing users we have out there, they have massive sound libraries of their own, and what’s so great about Soundbase is, it deals with all the filtering and tagging and browsing in a completely open, architecture way. The Soundbase functionality is really fantastic. I’ve been using ProTools for a little while so I’ve got a decent sample library and I was able to not only get started with the two gigabytes of loop masters content that we bundled in, but also really quickly take advantage of the existing tagging that was in my library, and also quickly customize my own tag. So not only can you create favorites, but you can do a certain search criteria, control select a number of these, and tag just a select sub-group with a new name if you wanted. Personally, I’m probably most excited about Soundbase.
Larry Jordan: For people that need more information, or want to get ProTools for the first time, where can they go on the web?
Tony Cariddi: You can go to HYPERLINK “http://www.avid.com/protools” www.avid.com/protools, and if you want to just check ProTools out for the first time, there’s a free version called ProTools First, that can be found at avid.com/ptfirst.
Larry Jordan: Tony Cariddi is the product and solutions marketing director at Avid. Their website again is avid.com/protools. Tony, thanks for joining us today.
Tony Cariddi: Thank you again Larry. Take care.
Larry Jordan: Peder Jorgensen is from the cold country of Norway, far to the north. He currently lives in Oslo doing music, sound design and programming. He’s also the developer of Soundly which is what we want to learn more about today. Hello Peder, welcome.
Peder Jorgensen: Hi Larry.
Larry Jordan: Tell me, what is Soundly?
Peder Jorgensen: Soundly is a cloud based sound effects app for Mac and Windows that lets you audition files, and get them into your door really quickly.
Larry Jordan: Well, I can’t think of how many companies manufacture sound effects but there’s at least 750,000. Why create a sound effects library?
Peder Jorgensen: When I started out quite a few years ago on this project, I needed a hand with tool just to do my sound design. I didn’t want to carry around a hard drive everywhere I went, so I wanted it to be in the cloud, so I started to look into it and see if I could make something as fast, as local, but in the cloud and I kind of figured out a really good way to do it, and I just started building the whole thing and started using it. What we have found is that we’ve kind of tried to build a simple tool for doing sound design, and what we noticed is that video editors really like it, like people working in Premiere.
Larry Jordan: Why do you think?
Peder Jorgensen: I think it’s the simplicity, because I think other people are more technical, in my experience at least, other people like the technicalness of doing things. While video editors like simplicity, they just want to get the job done in a way. So I think they like how simple it is to just search for a sound, and when you find something you like, you can just drag it straight from the cloud and into like Premiere, so it just makes everything lot faster.
Larry Jordan: Is this a plug-in, or is it just a website, and I’m dragging from the website? How does it work?
Peder Jorgensen: It’s a local app so you download an application, which is called Soundly, and then you install it on a computer and you register user in there, and from there you can go and search for sound effects, and then when you find sound effects you want to use, you can easily just select area of the sound effect you want, and you just drag it straight from the tool and onto the timeline, say Premiere or ProTools or Final Cut, whatever you’re using. It works with every door and video editing suite that we’ve tried it with at least.
Larry Jordan: So the benefit to Soundly is not only access to your sound effects library on the cloud, which means you can access it anywhere, but the ability to search for a specific sound effect, and then simply drag it from the application into our editing tool?
Peder Jorgensen: Yes.
Larry Jordan: Which makes importing simple.
Peder Jorgensen: That’s right, yes. So it’s not like a website that offers sound effects at all. It’s more like a software.
Larry Jordan: So not only can we access sound effects that are created by Soundly, but if we had sound effects that we’ve accumulated for ourselves, we can load them up to the cloud, and be able to access our stuff?
Peder Jorgensen: Yes, that is a possibility for most users, but you can also, like other sound effect software, just index your local library, and have it accessed, so when you do a search you’ll search both in the cloud and on your local hard drive.
Larry Jordan: What kind of sound effects are you guys creating, because I know you’re the programmer side, and your partner is the sound designer side.
Peder Jorgensen: Yes.
Larry Jordan: What kind of sound effects are you emphasizing right now?
Peder Jorgensen: Right now, we’ve done lots of guns, Foley and stuff like that. I had a really fun session with a friend of mine, Robin, a great recordist at the Science Museum in Norway. We had the whole place for ourselves for one night, and we went out and recorded buttons and switches and stuff like that, which I like to use in my sound design when you do animations and stuff like that. You want like chunky, weird sounds you can use. So, we’re trying to put in lots of general stuff like Foley and wind and city ambiences but also focus on like special weird things that are good to use.
Larry Jordan: How big is your library now?
Peder Jorgensen: I think we’re just past 7,000 sounds now. So we’re building it as we go.
Larry Jordan: What’s it cost?
Peder Jorgensen: It’s $14.99 a month. It’s a subscription thing.
Larry Jordan: Does the download cost anything?
Peder Jorgensen: No, it’s free. There’s always a free version, so you can download it and use it for free, or then you can start subscribing to the pro version when you want to do that.
Larry Jordan: For people that need more information, where can they go on the web?
Peder Jorgensen: They can go to getsoundly.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, getsoundly.com. Peder Jorgensen is the co-founder and principal programmer of Soundly and Peder, thanks for joining us today.
Peder Jorgensen: Alright, thank you very much Larry.
Larry Jordan: Scott Page is a musician, technologist and serial entrepreneur. He currently serves as the CEO of Ignited Network which is a start up music accelerator focused on teaching artists how to think like a start up. He’s widely toured as a professional musician. Hello again, Scott, welcome back.
Scott Page: Hi Larry, nice to be back on the show.
Larry Jordan: It is always good to have you on.
Scott Page: Always Larry.
Larry Jordan: Every time I talk to you I learn stuff, so it’s very cool.
Scott Page: Great, well Happy New Year buddy. 2017, let’s do a bunch of these.
Larry Jordan: A very Happy New Year to you as well. Scott, we’ve talked with you with your business hat on, but tonight I want you to switch hats and let’s talk music and music generation.
Scott Page: Sure, sounds great.
Larry Jordan: CES is all about new toys and a hot topic this year is artificial intelligence and more specifically, artificially generated music. Well as a musician yourself, what are your thoughts?
Scott Page: Well, yes, this is coming on really fast. Actually you’re going to see at the end of 2017, Sony’s putting out the first completely auto AI generated album. This whole area of music clearly has a lot of implications for musician composers and arrangers. There’s already a lot of music that’s actually being built right now using AI, commercials, you can start Googling some of these things. Google did a really nice commercial, and the entire score was done through AI, so there’s no question that it’s going to have a major impact on the musicians, composers.
Larry Jordan: Wait a minute. Let’s take a breath here for a second. What’s the difference between MIDI and sampling and artificially generated music?
Scott Page: MIDI and those things are basically tool sets where you can control it through the tool set as an artist. You create a program, then the MIDI transmits and will trigger different types of devices. What we’re talking about here is you type in a mood, give it some parameters, and it goes off and actually creates the composition on the fly. There’s a company out there right now that’s called Jukedeck where you can go in and get license free music for your scores or your background, where it will completely create a music score, under bed, directly for your project. No musicians involved, just totally built through an artificial intelligence to supply what you’re looking for.
Larry Jordan: The music industry has cratered over the last ten years with the near death of CDs, and now with the fact that music is available online from 99 cents a tune. People that are not A list musicians, who are having a hard time making a living, is this going to make their life worse?
Scott Page: Well there’s no question this is going to make it tougher. Especially when you think about a lot of the types of projects out there that now only need a groove and a bed underneath their music under dialog and stuff. There’s no question. What’s happening even more now is you’re starting to see where the music will generate on the fly, based on what you’re doing and the mood that you’re in as a listener. You know, that’s happening a lot in the game business, so there’s no question this is going to have a major impact. Just like all artificial intelligence out there, and this is a very disruptive time right now and it’s not stopping with the music business that’s for sure.
Larry Jordan: If you’re a musician, and I know you are, how do you respond to this? Do you fight it and go with it, and if you go with it, how do you make money with it?
Scott Page: That’s a really good point. Fighting it is a futile exercise. None of this is changing, this is all going to happen. So I think the most important thing is to really dive into it and learn more how you can participate in this space. At the end of the day, the real deal guys will win, because of just the soul and stuff that’s there, that comes out of a human which is really hard for machines. Although, as machines now are going into quantum computing, where before it used to be just on and off, ones and zeroes, well now they’ve added a maybe in there, so that’s going to change everything. So get ready folks, this is about to be a wild time over the next three to five years. It’s going to really start coming on fast now.
Larry Jordan: Scott, for people that want to keep track of all of your thinking, where can they go on the web?
Scott Page: They can either go to my Twitter account which is iamscottpage and I try to communicate with everybody there, or you can go to ignited.network and check out the accelerator, about which we’re actually very excited, Ignited.live, which is our broadcast platform that we’re releasing in the next few months.
Larry Jordan: That website is ignited.network, and Scott Page is a musician, and a technologist. Scott, thanks for joining us today.
Scott Page: Thanks very much Larry. Look forward to doing it again.
Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, filmmakers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go. Doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: Kevin Klingler is the founder and president of Smartsound Software. Founded in 1995, Smartsound combines a large library of royalty free music, with software that allows that music to be retimed, remixed, even revised without requiring any musical knowledge. Hello Kevin. Welcome.
Kevin Klingler: Hey Larry, thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: Let’s start at the beginning. Why did you decide to start Smartsound all those many years ago?
Kevin Klingler: Well at the time in the mid 90s, I had recognized that there was a real gap between the kind of audio software that was available on the market and a whole new crop of users using audio software. And that gap was that there were a lot of media creators, video editors, and in 95 this was the old analog days, but there was a growing group of users who were not musicians, and at that time all of the music software in the industry, which I was familiar with, because as a professional film and TV composer, I used most of it. So I was highly familiar with what was available on the market, and I was getting to know and learn about and meet all these people who were making videos, and trying to put these music tracks in the videos, and really struggling with it. That was the genesis. We were the first audio software product on the market to actually be for non-musicians, for video creators and media creators. Completely unique. There wasn’t anything like that on the market at all, in those days, and actually for many years after that.
Larry Jordan: Are you still doing composing now?
Kevin Klingler: No, well actually I play guitar for fun and I write songs on my guitar and I just do all that for fun. Smartsound definitely keeps me pretty busy.
Larry Jordan: What would you describe are the key benefits that Smartsound provides that are unique to Smartsound, that we wouldn’t find in a normal music library?
Kevin Klingler: I think it’s significant, and the key benefit is that the tracks are so malleable. You can modify them so easily and in so many ways. We give you so many parameters of control over them. By the way, the software, and as you know, you’ve been a user for a long time, it’s so easy to use. It’s so easy to access these parameters. So it’s not difficult, but we give you so much control that you can actually take one of our tracks, and you have so many creative options with it, you can literally make it into hundreds of other tracks. Not only can you change the length, instantly, but you could change the arrangement, the mix, and we also call that mood mapping, and you can change the timing of certain beats and now you can change and edit your beats. To be more specific, let’s say you have a certain mix, and you change that mix and you can also change the different arrangements of that mix, and you could change that over time so that the track actually sounds like a completely different track. You could take, for example, all of the drums out, just leave in some of the basic sustaining chords and now it becomes a much more atmospheric track. You could focus on just the counterparts of the rhythm and just the melody, so creating kind of a little bit of a breakdown. All of these would make the tracks sound completely different. That’s unique to us, no-one else really does it, and certainly does it the way we do with an eye towards how it’s going to affect your visual.
Larry Jordan: I was on your website and I saw the music library, but what’s Sonicfire?
Kevin Klingler: Sonicfire is our professional desktop application. That’s actually the founding product of the company but Sonicfire Pro has been on the market since 2003 and we just released version six in June of last year, 2016. It’s very exciting, it’s been very well received and was a complete makeover of the software. We updated the interface, we made it easier to use, more flexible. We added several great new features including our cut video to music feature, and a new timing control update. Added a new sound engine. It’s just been really well reviewed and well received by the marketplace.
Larry Jordan: Do you view yourself as a music library that also has software? Or a software developer specializing in music?
Kevin Klingler: All of the above. You know what Larry? If you’re really more oriented towards music, we’re a music library that has great technology. And if you’re more of a software or a technology guy, we’re a great software company that also has good music.
Larry Jordan: Given the fact that we can make lots of different variations on the music, but if we look at the library itself, how big is it? How many pieces of music?
Kevin Klingler: We have over 4,000 separate tracks. I think we’re around 4200 now, separate and unique tracks. A lot of music libraries make a big deal about their hundreds of thousands of tracks. But to enable the tracks for this special technology, that takes time, that’s why we can’t pump out as much music as often and fast as the big libraries. However, one of our tracks, like I said, literally equals up to maybe 1,000 or more of their tracks. But more importantly, when you get one of their tracks, you are stuck with what you have. When you have one of our tracks, if the brass is coming in on your narration or dialog, take the brass out, and you can take it out right at that moment, put your mood marker right there, and take it out right there and have it be out for those next 13 seconds while you have your narration or dialog in and have it come right back in. It’s easy, and it’s quick and it gives you the most flexibility and boom, you’re done, and you’ve got a track that fits perfectly.
Larry Jordan: I want to take a step back because you’ve been in the music industry for a long time, both as a composer and as a library. With so much free music available today, why should anybody pay for music?
Kevin Klingler: That’s exactly what I think our opportunity to the customer and to the market place is. You can get free music, but you are going to just be stuck with the music that you have. You can’t fit it to anything, you can’t do anything else with it. I mean yes, you could put it on another project or something like that, but the piece is going to be the piece is going to be the piece, for as long as you have it. With us, yes, you do have to buy our tracks, but once you own that track, you have so much flexibility in customizing it that that track actually has its own value to you, the way you could form fit it to any project. The way you could form fit it and make it sound different for the next project. It really has a much longer shelf life for you as an owner of the track than a free track.
Kevin Klingler: The other thing I would say that a lot of the other libraries could say, invaluably I think, that we can say as well is, a lot of the music that’s free just simply isn’t that good. By and large, music that is free isn’t that good, or they’re trying to get you to buy something else like their composing services or something. There are strings attached. It comes with all sorts of hidden issues for you that aren’t necessarily going to be best for you. Us, it’s a straightforward inexpensive purchase. By the way, I’ll say that a permanent infinite use license for us, which includes TV use and national use, as well as corporate use, web use and other use, national film use as well, is only $49. But for that $49 not only do you get all those uses, you get to use it on all of your projects for the rest of your life, and change it for every project, and use it as many times as you want. We think that’s a fair business proposition.
Larry Jordan: How should a filmmaker pick their music? Should they look at the library? Does the library even make a difference? Should they look by composer or should they just listen? What criteria should we use for judgment?
Kevin Klingler: A lot of that’s personal. If they have a film that they’re in the process of shooting and or posting, then they probably can go straight to the aspect of looking for the track itself. If it’s more conceptual, or they haven’t started a project yet, then they should start to look at really what does the library offer me in general? Who should I partner with to be a supplier? Some libraries are very good, but you’re going to be very limited creatively with what you can do with the music. Other libraries give you more creative options, but you don’t have any creative control over the tracks themselves like Smartsound, so we try to give you the best of both worlds. If you’ve got the time, I would investigate what all of the different library options offer you in terms of the value for what they charge. For example, there are other music libraries that charge $49 for a track, and when you read their license and you read our license you discover that their license is web use only. It doesn’t include any of the corporate stuff, or any of the regional television stuff or any film festival things or any of the things that we include in national, theatrical use in the US as ours does. So not all licenses are even created equal, so need to really kind of dig deep into what you’re getting into. I think that will really help. When you see the value that something like Smartsound adds to it between the creativity of the technology as well as the broadness of our license, and by the way we have another inexpensive license that gives you pretty much all rights you’d ever want. That’s a very comprehensive license, and it’s easy. You can purchase that right at our sight for no fuss, no muss. If you’re on a project, I would first start right away looking for the music. If you have a sense of what you want. But then you want to look at what kind of technology do they offer? How can you work with the music afterwards? Can I use the music on multiple projects? Or am I just stuck with this one project? That’s another thing, a lot of music libraries will license you a track for that one project and you can’t use it ever again for any other projects. So I think that’s something very important to look at as well.
Larry Jordan: For people that want to learn more about Smartsound and its library, where can they go on the web?
Kevin Klingler: They can go to HYPERLINK “http://www.smartsound.com” www.smartsound.com.
Larry Jordan: So all one word, smartsound.com and Kevin Klingler is the founder and CEO and Kevin as always, thanks for the visit. This has been fun.
Kevin Klingler: Great, thank you Larry as always. Take care.
Larry Jordan: You know, every time I think that video is in a state of confusion, I just have to look over to music and realize what true chaos actually looks like. From software enhancements like ProTools to improve our sound, to software enhanced music like Smartsound, to artificially created music with artificial intelligence, and the challenges that technology is bringing to musicians around the world, it is an amazing time, and we’ll learn more next week at the NAMM trade show.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank this week’s guests, starting with Laurent Martin with Aitokaiku, Tony Cariddi with Avid ProTools, Peder Jorgensen with Soundly, Scott Page, Ignited Networks, Kevin Klinger with Smartsound and James DeRuvo with DoddleNEWS.
Larry Jordan: There is a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at, digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online, and all available to you today. And remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday. Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.
Larry Jordan: Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription. Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our producer is Debbie Price. My name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2017 by Thalo LLC.