new_garageband

It seems Apple Music isn’t just about consumption. Not surprisingly, Apple’s own GarageBand/Logic family appear to figure into the company’s plans. Accordingly, GarageBand will get an update on June 30, the same day Apple Music (and Apple Music Connect) are scheduled for launch.

And for anyone who says the company is “abandoning” pros, here’s the less evidence that – at least from Apple’s perspective – the company sees the production and Mac markets as integral to their global consumer domination.

First, we now have a pretty clear image of where Camel Audio and its Alchemy synth have wound up. As expected, it’s resurfacing as an Apple instrument. Apple themselves have revealed that on the refreshed GarageBand page. Updates there are minor, but there’s a clear view of the UI from Alchemy, reimagined as Apple’s Smart Controls layout. Apple Insider breaks that news (oddly beating us in the music tech realm).

Apple isn’t shy about the markets they’re going after, with several mentions of “EDM‑ and Hip Hop‑inspired synth sounds.” Yep, that’ll be the two fast-growing (especially American) markets. (“Hey, I hear you kids love your E.D.M. and The Hip Hops, so here you go! Do you want a nice cold lemonade?”) It’s yet another tragic example of Cupertino failing to heed CDM’s long-standing advice that I.D.M. will be the next big thing – did you catch that Aphex Twin? Or Richard Devine’s Instagram following? But I digress.

If this instrument is in GarageBand, it’s a safe bet it’ll show up in Logic, too, presumably with more controls. And an iOS app could be possible, too, especially as Camel had one under development. While Emagic, and by extension Apple, once reportedly boasted the largest stable of music developers anywhere, my guess is it was easier with Apple’s cash supplies to simply buy the talent and product they needed wholesale, augmenting the team already working on the apps.

So, where does this fit into Connect? Well, it at least shows where Apple’s priorities lie. Apple went out of its way to show artists in its WWDC presentation on Apple Music, though. And in contrast to Tidal’s presentation (Daft Punk is starting a revolution in music so Daft Punk gets paid), they also made the image of those artists the bedroom producer. In fact, they showed bedroom producers and not labels. That message ought to be clear.

Writer Kirk McElhearn suggests Apple Music Connect integration may come with that June 30 update. (Sounds a safe bet, unless it’s just a matter of the GarageBand and Apple Music teams holding a joint BBQ/picnic on that date.)

That’s in keeping with Apple past strategy. When the company was pushing podcasts, they made GarageBand the app anyone could use to contribute content. So now, GarageBand could be the creation tool to populate music on Connect. Export to Connect, for Apple Music songs or exclusives for your social network — maybe both? Seems a no-brainer, actually. For now, the GarageBand page shows only SoundCloud export, but, sorry SoundCloud, Apple may be coming for you.

Now, this would normally be where I’d possibly pull back and issue some dire warnings about lock-in or walled gardens or the Apple ecosystem. But frankly, Apple may need to be this aggressive to make any in-roads at all. Like it or not, “EDM” right now often means tools like Ableton Live, and “Hip-Hop” things like Native Instruments Maschine. Apple will need a diverse variety of artists using a variety of tools, as it always had. And I don’t expect Apple Music will overtake Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, and all the rest of the places artists need to share content.

No, I think it’ll take everything Apple’s got to attract artists alongside these other tools, to make a play for the growing population of people making music worldwide. And so these moves make sense.

But I think it’s important to note just how deeply in the DNA of the modern Apple is this notion that the company wants to be involved in how you make and listen to music. We’ve seen occasional, fleeting glimpses of efforts to do that from the likes of Sony and Microsoft, but Apple is the company that consistently pulls it off. You don’t have to love that – indeed, it might well be worth criticizing. But you do have to consider it as a major element of the music technology landscape today.

For more,
Apple Music Connect

see the GarageBand product page.

Also, “Epic Hook Synth” puts me in the Pirates of the Caribbean.

  • vroom lao phen

    Production… yes. But what Apple is also really good about is microtransactions. They brought us the app store which monetized (I hate that word) every day objects such as cell phones. I think the goal here is to further monetize music by emphasizing “active” or “creative” processes that will have to be paid for. I’m putting that in quotation marks because creativity that is mapped out for you is, of course, limited. It’s quick and easy to come up with a “song” in Logic or Garageband. (Only true with quotation marks. It’s not easy to come up with something original. But a “song”… yes.) It’s even nicer if you pay for additional apps… plug-ins (that are now teased on your phone)…, and the finishing touch is uploading your content back to Apple.

    I think true creativity will occur more outside of this ecosystem.

    I’m not saying Apple products are evil, but I think pretty soon, the kids will be tired of this circuit and will be excited/provoked/inspired by those who use tools in a way that they weren’t supposed to be used. Which, by the way, used to be one of Trent Reznor’s talents, but I digress.

    • Yes, interesting question. Of course, third parties may also be part of those micro-transactions.

      There’s a big question here, which is whether producers really care so much about these export feature. It’s not at all clear to me that they do. Anyway, here, we have to see what Apple’s actually done implementation-wise. I think strategically the picture is coming together but it’s very *unclear* how Connect will work (even from some of the existing materials), let alone when integrated with apps.

      • gunboat_d

        the idea of uploading right from your DAW just seems odd. particularly if you’re uploading to a storefront like iTunes. it probably sounds snotty, but people mixing and “mastering” their own music right from the same session in GB or Logic and then chucking it up there for sale gives me the willies.
        and I guess I’m still fuzzy on how Apple Music works since they were talking about requirements on catalog size and sales.

        • That’s not news, though. Mastered for iTunes already relies on Logic. So it seems here they’re extending the concept.

          As for whether people think that’s a substitute for proper mastering — well, anyone who thinks that I doubt understood the need for mastering in the first place.

          • gunboat_d

            I guess I don’t understand how Mastered for iTunes is applied. I see it on even new albums from major labels that should already be mastered. I can’t imagine they are just squashing it.

    • Jonathan

      I first bought Logic back when it was still made by Emagic, still developed for Windows, and the Platinum suite (circa $799) did not include instruments sold separately like EXS24, EVB3, EVD6, ES2, EVP88, etc. You could spend nearly $2000 purchasing all the instruments that now come bundled with the program for only $199, along with more that didn’t even exist back then. Meanwhile, the formerly-sold-separately Apple Loop Packs for Garageband and Logic are now a *free* in-app purchase (i.e. “it’s free but we don’t force you to download all this data if you don’t want it”) on both OSX and iOS. Seen in that context, Apple’s history with Logic looks like the exact opposite of microtransactional monetization.

      There’s a good argument you could be making here about the role of packaged loops in production, and about the dominance of specific mainstream modes of production (the left-to-right linear DAW as one example) that may be constraining potential alternative avenues of creativity, but you’re tilting at the wrong windmill here. Third party apps (e.g. Retronyms Tabletop, WaveMachine Auria) are the ones practicing the microtransactional approach, not Apple.

      • vroom lao phen

        Hmmm… I see your point. You are right, Apple has actually made Logic more affordable.

        Honestly, I don’t think I quite got my point across with the post above. What irks me the most, I guess – and this may be a purely emotional response – is this. I once read an interview with some guy from Evernote. He said something like, “We’re selling people the feeling of being productive. You don’t even have to be productive, and most of our customers probably don’t need a super-efficient note machine, but our product is more the feeling of being a part of the efficient, clean, IT world than the actual software.” That’s at least what I took from it. And I get the feeling that that’s what Apple is after when they show the bedroom producers. They are selling the feeling of being a musician. What used to be a privilege you had to work for is now instantly achievable.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all study classical music for 10 years and read score fluently in three languages before being “a real” musician, whatever that is. I’m just feeling uneasy about it. As I’m writing this, I’m pretty sure that this comment section may not be the right place for it. I am aware that this is how it works, that most of Under Armor’s customers are not professional athletes, either, etc.

        Anyway, thanks for your reply that helped me think about it more.

        • Jonathan

          And thanks for your reply, because I think this is an interesting angle to discuss. At first I wasn’t sure I’d agree with “What used to be a privilege you had to work for is now instantly achievable” – something I imagine the guys from Yes might have said about the Sex Pistols – inasmuch as it could be taken to represent a sort of technical prowess elitism. But given your subsequent comment about classical music it’s clear that’s not what you mean.

          I know that for me, the real satisfaction in creating comes in expanding myself, in reaching beyond my own boundaries. Even if it’s just a 3-chord punk song, what matters is not how hard I appear to be working to someone else, but how much I have learned and explored at the frontiers of my own comfortable core capacities.

          In other words, being a musician doesn’t really feel truly *good* unless it also beckons you into the places that feel uncertain, risky, or even just plain bad. You have to go into the jungle if you want to come out feeling like Indiana Jones.

          So, taking this all back to Apple, and to creative production software in general, it has certainly become common for even the most complex creative tools to offer what I would call a “comfortable space”. Apple, Live, even Max/MSP are increasingly offering a “Just plug in and go, you can be making a song in 10 minutes or less” mode of some kind in their software. Does that run the risk of encouraging musicians who might be capable of greater things to wallow in mere mediocrity? Possibly. But I’d argue there are also a whole crew of potential musicians for whom the notion of even creating a song is a risky proposition fraught with fear. For them, the “easy mode” is their invitation into the jungle.

          I also find it encouraging that a lot of the things that used to provide just the feeling of making music (Guitar Hero, portable rhythm games) are evolving in a more musically useful direction (Rocksmith, Teenage Engineering PO-12). Access to the means of creation matters, and earning the “privilege” of being a musician starts for everyone with two things: having something to make music with, and responding to the urge to do so. I think that what comes next is for companies like Apple and Ableton to lead people deeper into the jungle from that point, to not merely make more risky decisions available, but *encourage* taking risks.

  • vroom lao phen

    Production… yes. But what Apple is also really good about is microtransactions. They brought us the app store which monetized (I hate that word) every day objects such as cell phones. I think the goal here is to further monetize music by emphasizing “active” or “creative” processes that will have to be paid for. I’m putting that in quotation marks because creativity that is mapped out for you is, of course, limited. It’s quick and easy to come up with a “song” in Logic or Garageband. (Only true with quotation marks. It’s not easy to come up with something original. But a “song”… yes.) It’s even nicer if you pay for additional apps… plug-ins (that are now teased on your phone)…, and the finishing touch is uploading your content back to Apple.

    I think true creativity will occur more outside of this ecosystem.

    I’m not saying Apple products are evil, but I think pretty soon, the kids will be tired of this circuit and will be excited/provoked/inspired by those who use tools in a way that they weren’t supposed to be used. Which, by the way, used to be one of Trent Reznor’s talents, but I digress.

    • Yes, interesting question. Of course, third parties may also be part of those micro-transactions.

      There’s a big question here, which is whether producers really care so much about these export feature. It’s not at all clear to me that they do. Anyway, here, we have to see what Apple’s actually done implementation-wise. I think strategically the picture is coming together but it’s very *unclear* how Connect will work (even from some of the existing materials), let alone when integrated with apps.

      • gunboat_d

        the idea of uploading right from your DAW just seems odd. particularly if you’re uploading to a storefront like iTunes. it probably sounds snotty, but people mixing and “mastering” their own music right from the same session in GB or Logic and then chucking it up there for sale gives me the willies.
        and I guess I’m still fuzzy on how Apple Music works since they were talking about requirements on catalog size and sales.

        • That’s not news, though. Mastered for iTunes already relies on Logic. So it seems here they’re extending the concept.

          As for whether people think that’s a substitute for proper mastering — well, anyone who thinks that I doubt understood the need for mastering in the first place.

          • gunboat_d

            I guess I don’t understand how Mastered for iTunes is applied. I see it on even new albums from major labels that should already be mastered. I can’t imagine they are just squashing it.

    • Jonathan

      I first bought Logic back when it was still made by Emagic, still developed for Windows, and the Platinum suite (circa $799) did not include instruments sold separately like EXS24, EVB3, EVD6, ES2, EVP88, etc. You could spend nearly $2000 purchasing all the instruments that now come bundled with the program for only $199, along with more that didn’t even exist back then. Meanwhile, the formerly-sold-separately Apple Loop Packs for Garageband and Logic are now a *free* in-app purchase (i.e. “it’s free but we don’t force you to download all this data if you don’t want it”) on both OSX and iOS. Seen in that context, Apple’s history with Logic looks like the exact opposite of microtransactional monetization.

      There’s a good argument you could be making here about the role of packaged loops in production, and about the dominance of specific mainstream modes of production (the left-to-right linear DAW as one example) that may be constraining potential alternative avenues of creativity, but you’re tilting at the wrong windmill here. Third party apps (e.g. Retronyms Tabletop, WaveMachine Auria) are the ones practicing the microtransactional approach, not Apple.

      • vroom lao phen

        Hmmm… I see your point. You are right, Apple has actually made Logic more affordable.

        Honestly, I don’t think I quite got my point across with the post above. What irks me the most, I guess – and this may be a purely emotional response – is this. I once read an interview with some guy from Evernote. He said something like, “We’re selling people the feeling of being productive. You don’t even have to be productive, and most of our customers probably don’t need a super-efficient note machine, but our product is more the feeling of being a part of the efficient, clean, IT world than the actual software.” That’s at least what I took from it. And I get the feeling that that’s what Apple is after when they show the bedroom producers. They are selling the feeling of being a musician. What used to be a privilege you had to work for is now instantly achievable.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all study classical music for 10 years and read score fluently in three languages before being “a real” musician, whatever that is. I’m just feeling uneasy about it. As I’m writing this, I’m pretty sure that this comment section may not be the right place for it. I am aware that this is how it works, that most of Under Armor’s customers are not professional athletes, either, etc.

        Anyway, thanks for your reply that helped me think about it more.

        • Jonathan

          And thanks for your reply, because I think this is an interesting angle to discuss. At first I wasn’t sure I’d agree with “What used to be a privilege you had to work for is now instantly achievable” – something I imagine the guys from Yes might have said about the Sex Pistols – inasmuch as it could be taken to represent a sort of technical prowess elitism. But given your subsequent comment about classical music it’s clear that’s not what you mean.

          I know that for me, the real satisfaction in creating comes in expanding myself, in reaching beyond my own boundaries. Even if it’s just a 3-chord punk song, what matters is not how hard I appear to be working to someone else, but how much I have learned and explored at the frontiers of my own comfortable core capacities.

          In other words, being a musician doesn’t really feel truly *good* unless it also beckons you into the places that feel uncertain, risky, or even just plain bad. You have to go into the jungle if you want to come out feeling like Indiana Jones.

          So, taking this all back to Apple, and to creative production software in general, it has certainly become common for even the most complex creative tools to offer what I would call a “comfortable space”. Apple, Live, even Max/MSP are increasingly offering a “Just plug in and go, you can be making a song in 10 minutes or less” mode of some kind in their software. Does that run the risk of encouraging musicians who might be capable of greater things to wallow in mere mediocrity? Possibly. But I’d argue there are also a whole crew of potential musicians for whom the notion of even creating a song is a risky proposition fraught with fear. For them, the “easy mode” is their invitation into the jungle.

          I also find it encouraging that a lot of the things that used to provide just the feeling of making music (Guitar Hero, portable rhythm games) are evolving in a more musically useful direction (Rocksmith, Teenage Engineering PO-12). Access to the means of creation matters, and earning the “privilege” of being a musician starts for everyone with two things: having something to make music with, and responding to the urge to do so. I think that what comes next is for companies like Apple and Ableton to lead people deeper into the jungle from that point, to not merely make more risky decisions available, but *encourage* taking risks.

  • vroom lao phen

    Production… yes. But what Apple is also really good about is microtransactions. They brought us the app store which monetized (I hate that word) every day objects such as cell phones. I think the goal here is to further monetize music by emphasizing “active” or “creative” processes that will have to be paid for. I’m putting that in quotation marks because creativity that is mapped out for you is, of course, limited. It’s quick and easy to come up with a “song” in Logic or Garageband. (Only true with quotation marks. It’s not easy to come up with something original. But a “song”… yes.) It’s even nicer if you pay for additional apps… plug-ins (that are now teased on your phone)…, and the finishing touch is uploading your content back to Apple.

    I think true creativity will occur more outside of this ecosystem.

    I’m not saying Apple products are evil, but I think pretty soon, the kids will be tired of this circuit and will be excited/provoked/inspired by those who use tools in a way that they weren’t supposed to be used. Which, by the way, used to be one of Trent Reznor’s talents, but I digress.

    • Yes, interesting question. Of course, third parties may also be part of those micro-transactions.

      There’s a big question here, which is whether producers really care so much about these export feature. It’s not at all clear to me that they do. Anyway, here, we have to see what Apple’s actually done implementation-wise. I think strategically the picture is coming together but it’s very *unclear* how Connect will work (even from some of the existing materials), let alone when integrated with apps.

      • gunboat_d

        the idea of uploading right from your DAW just seems odd. particularly if you’re uploading to a storefront like iTunes. it probably sounds snotty, but people mixing and “mastering” their own music right from the same session in GB or Logic and then chucking it up there for sale gives me the willies.
        and I guess I’m still fuzzy on how Apple Music works since they were talking about requirements on catalog size and sales.

        • That’s not news, though. Mastered for iTunes already relies on Logic. So it seems here they’re extending the concept.

          As for whether people think that’s a substitute for proper mastering — well, anyone who thinks that I doubt understood the need for mastering in the first place.

          • gunboat_d

            I guess I don’t understand how Mastered for iTunes is applied. I see it on even new albums from major labels that should already be mastered. I can’t imagine they are just squashing it.

    • Jonathan

      I first bought Logic back when it was still made by Emagic, still developed for Windows, and the Platinum suite (circa $799) did not include instruments sold separately like EXS24, EVB3, EVD6, ES2, EVP88, etc. You could spend nearly $2000 purchasing all the instruments that now come bundled with the program for only $199, along with more that didn’t even exist back then. Meanwhile, the formerly-sold-separately Apple Loop Packs for Garageband and Logic are now a *free* in-app purchase (i.e. “it’s free but we don’t force you to download all this data if you don’t want it”) on both OSX and iOS. Seen in that context, Apple’s history with Logic looks like the exact opposite of microtransactional monetization.

      There’s a good argument you could be making here about the role of packaged loops in production, and about the dominance of specific mainstream modes of production (the left-to-right linear DAW as one example) that may be constraining potential alternative avenues of creativity, but you’re tilting at the wrong windmill here. Third party apps (e.g. Retronyms Tabletop, WaveMachine Auria) are the ones practicing the microtransactional approach, not Apple.

      • vroom lao phen

        Hmmm… I see your point. You are right, Apple has actually made Logic more affordable.

        Honestly, I don’t think I quite got my point across with the post above. What irks me the most, I guess – and this may be a purely emotional response – is this. I once read an interview with some guy from Evernote. He said something like, “We’re selling people the feeling of being productive. You don’t even have to be productive, and most of our customers probably don’t need a super-efficient note machine, but our product is more the feeling of being a part of the efficient, clean, IT world than the actual software.” That’s at least what I took from it. And I get the feeling that that’s what Apple is after when they show the bedroom producers. They are selling the feeling of being a musician. What used to be a privilege you had to work for is now instantly achievable.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all study classical music for 10 years and read score fluently in three languages before being “a real” musician, whatever that is. I’m just feeling uneasy about it. As I’m writing this, I’m pretty sure that this comment section may not be the right place for it. I am aware that this is how it works, that most of Under Armor’s customers are not professional athletes, either, etc.

        Anyway, thanks for your reply that helped me think about it more.

        • Jonathan

          And thanks for your reply, because I think this is an interesting angle to discuss. At first I wasn’t sure I’d agree with “What used to be a privilege you had to work for is now instantly achievable” – something I imagine the guys from Yes might have said about the Sex Pistols – inasmuch as it could be taken to represent a sort of technical prowess elitism. But given your subsequent comment about classical music it’s clear that’s not what you mean.

          I know that for me, the real satisfaction in creating comes in expanding myself, in reaching beyond my own boundaries. Even if it’s just a 3-chord punk song, what matters is not how hard I appear to be working to someone else, but how much I have learned and explored at the frontiers of my own comfortable core capacities.

          In other words, being a musician doesn’t really feel truly *good* unless it also beckons you into the places that feel uncertain, risky, or even just plain bad. You have to go into the jungle if you want to come out feeling like Indiana Jones.

          So, taking this all back to Apple, and to creative production software in general, it has certainly become common for even the most complex creative tools to offer what I would call a “comfortable space”. Apple, Live, even Max/MSP are increasingly offering a “Just plug in and go, you can be making a song in 10 minutes or less” mode of some kind in their software. Does that run the risk of encouraging musicians who might be capable of greater things to wallow in mere mediocrity? Possibly. But I’d argue there are also a whole crew of potential musicians for whom the notion of even creating a song is a risky proposition fraught with fear. For them, the “easy mode” is their invitation into the jungle.

          I also find it encouraging that a lot of the things that used to provide just the feeling of making music (Guitar Hero, portable rhythm games) are evolving in a more musically useful direction (Rocksmith, Teenage Engineering PO-12). Access to the means of creation matters, and earning the “privilege” of being a musician starts for everyone with two things: having something to make music with, and responding to the urge to do so. I think that what comes next is for companies like Apple and Ableton to lead people deeper into the jungle from that point, to not merely make more risky decisions available, but *encourage* taking risks.

  • Pete Giovagnoli

    For me the best part of a chunk of the Alchemy UI resurfacing in GarageBand is the idea that the guts are going elsewhere – probably into the much-desired EXS-64 or whatever they’ll call it. I’d long fantasized about Apple buying the E-Mu/Ensoniq assets off Creative just to get Emulator X (sounded fantastic, was pretty much the definition of masochism to use) but Camel was in retrospect a much better choice. EXS-24, while still capable, is pretty clearly in need of replacement – it hasn’t changed much since you could run it as a VST!

  • Pete Giovagnoli

    For me the best part of a chunk of the Alchemy UI resurfacing in GarageBand is the idea that the guts are going elsewhere – probably into the much-desired EXS-64 or whatever they’ll call it. I’d long fantasized about Apple buying the E-Mu/Ensoniq assets off Creative just to get Emulator X (sounded fantastic, was pretty much the definition of masochism to use) but Camel was in retrospect a much better choice. EXS-24, while still capable, is pretty clearly in need of replacement – it hasn’t changed much since you could run it as a VST!

  • Pete Giovagnoli

    For me the best part of a chunk of the Alchemy UI resurfacing in GarageBand is the idea that the guts are going elsewhere – probably into the much-desired EXS-64 or whatever they’ll call it. I’d long fantasized about Apple buying the E-Mu/Ensoniq assets off Creative just to get Emulator X (sounded fantastic, was pretty much the definition of masochism to use) but Camel was in retrospect a much better choice. EXS-24, while still capable, is pretty clearly in need of replacement – it hasn’t changed much since you could run it as a VST!

  • whiteblob

    id like to thank apple for driving me to Ableton live after the release of logic X. at the time I was foolishly using 2 DAWs under the auspicious believe that logic was better for mixing. The whole revamp, 64bit prejudice, and over 20 years of been an apple customer who had seen it go from “think different” to “think how you want but as long your work flow is how we say” attitude pissed me right off. unfortunately their computers are still to be coveted in comparison to the competition

  • whiteblob

    id like to thank apple for driving me to Ableton live after the release of logic X. at the time I was foolishly using 2 DAWs under the auspicious believe that logic was better for mixing. The whole revamp, 64bit prejudice, and over 20 years of been an apple customer who had seen it go from “think different” to “think how you want but as long your work flow is how we say” attitude pissed me right off. unfortunately their computers are still to be coveted in comparison to the competition

  • whiteblob

    id like to thank apple for driving me to Ableton live after the release of logic X. at the time I was foolishly using 2 DAWs under the auspicious believe that logic was better for mixing. The whole revamp, 64bit prejudice, and over 20 years of been an apple customer who had seen it go from “think different” to “think how you want but as long your work flow is how we say” attitude pissed me right off. unfortunately their computers are still to be coveted in comparison to the competition