CDM has been publishing for over four years.

For once, I actually can say … nothing. Please provide your own snark in the comment space below. The CDM family thanks you.

Beamz ad, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Gizmodo: Beamz Infomercial Is Most Stupid Promo Video in History [Published in the more innocent times of April 2008]

Updated: Yes, this is the Microsoft Research team doing the video. So, in their defense, they don’t do promo videos or music for a living. We love you, Microsoft Research. It’s not even worth saying “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” As we have previously learned, the best way for researchers to look really cool is either to involve head crabs or, if they must do vocals, be sure to involve particle physics.

  • I think Songmmith needs to package in Melodyne and some other vocal processing plugins, so the sound of the people's voices in this video don't make me keep repeatedly bashing my face into my desk.

  • Nomis

    Thank you for bringing back the Beamz ad, pretty painful memor– WAIT is that a macbook with a big sticker on the apple? Macbooks, in MY Microsoft ads? It's more likely than you think.

    I don't see any use for this program apart from a toy for blond 11 year olds with an high pitched voice. Wow, let's use the same harmonization and chord progression a computer tells us to! I'm sure this will push the boundaries of music further and create new ground breaking hits!

  • Human Plague

    Two of the best commercials for two of the greatest achievements in music history. As they say in public speaking: Picture them naked?

  • Don't worry Peter I heard the RIAA is planning to slap Microsoft with a breach of contract suit tomorrow. Apparently three of the major labels have been using this technology for years to produce the hits we love, and they refuse to let them go public.

  • sasarasa88

    I seem to remember the lady at 2:51 . She works for Microsoft Research ( ). So Microsoft did not even pay professional actors for this ad?

  • I'm guessing this was at least a partially homebrewed creation by the Microsoft Research team. On the upside, at least it's … awesomely horrible. It's, you know … memorable.

  • I think you've all got it wrong. No actual humans were involved in the making of this video – just like Songsmith itself, it was completely autogenerated with the "schlock" slider set to 100%.

    I mean, real people don't lack the self-awareness it takes to consider this sort of thing passable, right? Right?

  • Is it just me, or is thing absolutely the gayest thing sing the Village People?

  • Adrian Anders

    That guy didn't need a glow in the dark towel to find his way out of the closet.

  • Dart

    Still more useful than Pro Tools AMIRITE?

  • FINALLY, Microsoft has embraced the true power known as CASIOCHORD!!

  • Barry Wood

    Damn you Peter Kirn! Damn you to hell for unleashing that abomination on your unsuspecting readers. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go stick forks in my eyes and ears. What a time not to have a "Men In Black" short term memory eraser.

  • Just wait, there will be an "All Songsmith" free album.

  • I call dibs on making the first "All Songsmith" YouTube musical:
    "Fred Frederson and the Songsmith of Redmond" will chronicle the glorious transformation of a down-on-his-luck talentless hack into a pop superstar by secretly using Songsmith to propel him to the top of the charts. The musical will climax with Songsmith crashing during a live performance, helping Fred to discover he had the power to generate auto-algorithmic music on his own, all along. He just had to believe!

  • (Also – it will feature exclusive footage of the world's first Beamz street Ensemble performing many of Fred Frederson's catchy hits!)

  • Marc Schonbrun

    That's the worst thing I've ever heard in my life. I'm scarred for life. I'll really need therapy. I mean, I'm in therapy now, I'll just need more now.
    Hold me.

  • TCR

    Crystal Meth… It really f***s you up.

  • So I don't get it… Is Microsoft releasing the flipping glow-in-the-dark towel or not?

  • David

    Oh yeah… it's the Ableton Killer.

    Seriously, though, the advertising division at Microsoft needs to be sacked… We came up with better pitches in High School

  • I have to admit, the technology underneath it seems pretty cool, but I'm guessing there's precedence to generating a reasonable chord progression under an arbitrary melody?

    But the the implementation.
    oh, the implementation.
    And the ad.

  • Anyone care to dub this song - – or another over the Songsmith video for lulz?

  • Heart Pound

    Oh man, I'm at a loss for words here.

  • wow Microsoft, a DAW as good as your OS! congrats!

  • I really hated it when I saw it first time, but me and my daughter will get a good 6 hours of laugh from the trial version this afternoon.. I'll download it right now. If anything interesting comes out, I will post it in the open.

  • I'm speechless…except the part where I said I was speechless

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  • Justin

    Looks like just in time for NAMM…

  • 4lefts

    i made it 38 seconds into the first vid. fuck me.

  • poorsod

    All the best musicians use chord progressions that sound just like a computer wrote them

  • spinner

    That was one of the most nauseating things I've seen in my life……..
    Beamz come back you're all forgiven!

  • Johan Larsby

    epic fail on that ad. it was not only bad, it was to long, and the multiple storylines.

    I feel physically sick.

  • tobias

    OMG!!! he uses a MACBook Pro in a microsoft ad. How dare he!

  • dan s.

    Microsoft, huh?

  • aaouuuuuuu wwahahaouuuu.. (I almost though my dog had been run over by a truck, no it just reacted to the commercial).

    Concerning Beamz… this guy seems to know better:

    Actually if their product is using midi, it can probably be modified to some extent as a cheap laser harp for live shows. (I just wrote them to ask the question actually, I'll keep you updated)

  • "help me find a way to move my groove on."

    this is the exact request i pose to my computer every time i sit down to write new material. needless to say i will pay top dollar for songsmith when its released
    so that the future will sound like this…

  • Arp

    I would not let my daughter be in something like that.

    Of course, now the friggin' melody is in my head and this whole comment sounds like it was made with Songsmith.

  • mckewans

    I can't believe that Beamz costs £399! Get Dave Smith's MoPho instead…

  • i think ya all being overly harsh on the microsoft advert…

    its pretty obvious that they must realise songsmith is gonna unless terrible cheese upon the world

    but at least they go with it and make an appropately bad ad.. which i think is cringe making in the extreme but damm funny too

    and yah – its just good they have put this out like peter says …
    maybe someone will harness the tech and make it less 90yr old casio pub band…

    now where can i buy a glow in the dark towel from?

  • JohnG

    I'm stunned. So bad that it's brilliant.

  • snoball

    And I thought I was a bad singer… Actually, glow in the dark towels would probably sell more.

  • ms-mtsh

    I don't know why apple spend money with "I'm a mac" campaign… Expanding through internet songsmith video would be more effective.

  • gustavo

    someone please please subvert this in the craziest way possible e.g. scream in to it dementedley, cut a 50ms loop of the resultant melange and alter the loop length and pitch wildly for about a minute…

    if songsmith allows this kind of functionality, i'm sure microsoft are on to a winner…;)

  • i pray al quaida doesnt see that one on youtube. its kinda hard arguing not to blow up the western world after you went thrugh the whole thing…
    i just prayed for a chainsaw the WHOLE time…
    no seriously, if i catch the guy that made up that stuff he will be tortured. with a 24h loop of the beamz ad.

  • bliss

    "Glow in the dark towels for everyone. They're free like me, boys. Rave!"

    R. Kelly can't touch that.

  • Rob P.

    Oh I can't wait for the remix videos to surface about THIS one. Imagine an "up butt coconut" remix for this. MS deserves it for this drek.

    The shrill of that girl's high pitched voice should be used to torture captured terrorists.

  • anonymous white guy

    i am once again embarrassed for my stupid, pale, rhythmless race.

  • “Microsoft, huh? So it’s pretty easy to use?” lol

  • Chris

    If that guy was in my band he presented me with that travesty of a song I'd quit music.

    On another note: Who showers in the dark?

  • ernesto

    Argghh!!! Snuff on CDM!!!!! I need to smoke one big glowing hit in the dark to let this memories go away!!!

  • Oh ye of little imagination. This will be the secret weapon of countless neo-old school progressive dark avant trance wave composers within 6 months.

  • Lu

    AHHHHHHHHH… Where's the next therapy session? I need some hard stuff now to kill those braincells!

  • Ow, my dignity!

  • Pingback: Microsoft Songsmith, create songs using just your voice, by choosing musical accompaniments to match whatever you sing()

  • neal johnson

    From metafilter… the people are all MS employees in the research section and this is their product. Why no one commented on the beautiful follow the bouncing paperclip like animated characters? That was at least distracting…

  • Eatmoreokra

    So they couldn't find a single attractive PC for the ad, so they just covered a Mac with stickers. Classy.

  • who knows, could be interesting using a leafblower, etc.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

  • Let a thousand bad musicals bloom!

  • Krusteaz

    Kinda seems like a musical version of "The Boy In The Plastic Bubble."

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  • Andrew

    The two main guys in the video are Dan Morris ( and Sumit Basu (, both MSR people that worked on MySong.

  • notcynical

    Is this software perfect? Of course not. Will it lead to some more practical breakthroughs down the road? Who knows, but hopefully. I don't see where they have advertised it as a DAW or anything like that. It seems like some interesting research released to the public at 30 bux a pop for giggles.

    As for the commercial, I think it's cool that for once the actual nerds got to be in the video instead of slick actors working through a concept created by some guy who's never compiled anything.

  • @notcynical:
    Well, see, this is why we have comment threads: for disagreement. So thanks!

    Just remember, all publicity is good publicity. 😉

    Certainly, we've heard some potential in the software. Demo songs in apps are usually dreadful (for an exception, see Renoise 2.0 today, not coincidentally because that came from the community). So I'm all for people picking this up and using it in unique ways.

  • gwenhwyfaer

    Powerpoint. It's Powerpoint all over again…

    *runs away and hides*

    On the other hand, I guess it's a baseline: Compose song. Arrange song. Sing vocal into Songsmith. If Songsmith's arrangement is better than yours – FAIL

  • makeout club

    Is this actually serious? or is it a joke like the keyboard-less mac ad that's flurry around the internet?
    Yes the technology is some-what "break through" but, I can't see this being nothing more than a adapted version of singstar etc,.
    I know it's aimed at the "less musically knowledgeable" folk, but seriously, if you're a singer or want to sing, and your looking for tools to help write songs, my advice wouldn't be to get this, but to get some musicians.

  • Woody Aki

    Can I sue this blog for extreme distress, just for a laugh?

  • yesnoyesno

    i don't see what all the fuss is about. these songs sounded easily as good as anything on Broadway – just change the music from digital to analog and you're set.

  • m-clis

    I laughed watching ad, and continue laughing reading comments)CDM became a humor portal?
    But it's really a nice tool for some lazy techno freaks – you can use your midi arsenal (some Virus, Monome and all that full-of-technology shit), and finally use your voice as a main instrument – to generate some HARMONY. Cause all that sampled braindance stuff sounds all the same.

    And towels with two vowels make me happy every day… Chachacha!

  • Mnauel

    Microsoft, huh?

  • This is like pouring corn syrup on a twinkie. In Sweden.

  • Oh. My. God.

    I've spent half an hour trying to think of something snarky and funny to say about this, but I'm just going to go cry in the corner instead.

    Realistically, though, does anyone want this? Are there people out there thinking "gosh, I can sing perfectly in neat 4-bar phrases that all stay in the same key, but I just wish I had a way to create music to accompany myself?"

    I would like one of those glow-in-the-dark towels, though.

  • MonksDream

    This ad is a choice cut of roasted lame, served on a bed of lame, drizzled with lame sauce and garnished with sprigs of fresh lame. Proof you should NEVER let software developers have anything to do with your marketing.

    I must shower now. I feel…unclean…

  • Yawnny

    This is just as lame as Guitar Hero, Garage Band and other consumer products.

    If you can still think for yourselves and aren't fully assimilated Apple cult "iLifers", you'll realize that nearly all music software aimed at the masses is lame. I still can't believe Apple won't even let you remove some of the sponsored apps you don't want off your iPod without the use of "illegal" third-party software.

    Microsoft knew Songsmith had major cheese factor, so they flaunted it so that even Mac elistit blogs would post the video for all to see.

    As the saying goes, there's no such thing as "bad" publicity.

  • Yeah, Microsoft knows there's no such thing as bad publicity. That's why they arranged to lose millions of dollars in that huge anti-trust lawsuit. For the publicity.

  • MonksDream

    Sorry Yawnny, I am not a "fully assimilated Apple cult iLifer" (for starters I haven't had the the CyPod implants installed) however I disagree with your statement: "If you can still think for yourselves and aren’t fully assimilated Apple cult “iLifers”, you’ll realize that nearly all music software aimed at the masses is lame."

    I think that statement is as elitist as you claim Macheads to be. The thing that Apple arguably does best is take activities that used to be difficult and/or expensive and make them accessibleto the "masses", what some call "removing the barriers to entry". Garageband is more sequencer for less money than just about anything that came before it. It's easy enough to use that anyone with a Mac and an interest can try their hand at computer based music making, yet it retains enough of the recording paradigm (tracks, regions, plug-ins etc.) that someone can start with it and have a basis for understanding a deeper DAW. To me anything that helps more people try music is a good thing. To some the old Casios were just lame toys. For others they were fun gateways to musician-hood.

    My comments weren't about the software. The music it makes is merely boring to me. It's the AD that I think lamely goes where no lame has gone before.