1. Mobile Recording With iPad and GarageBand

Music creation and production use to be the domain of the recording studio and production companies. And it was an expensive and time consuming process. As a result, the music we got to hear is highly selective and processed, controlled by a fairly small number of people, and focused at specific target groups to maximize shareholder revenue.
Some great music has resulted from this process. But Globalization and the Internet have created some real challenges for the music industry from simple file sharing to loss of control of the creation and production process. As a result, the industry is struggling to come up with new models for how to restore and expand revenue streams.
All this could be a real problem for the music industry, but it could also be a benefit for the rest of us. Have you noticed that local live music isn’t what it use to be? That concerts are now really expensive and less accessible? That the most popular artists are reaching their golden years? All that might have to do with economics, aging baby boomers, iPOD generation, and social change, but it could also reflect a change in our approach to music. Music doesn’t seem to drive our lives the way it once did. I often go to parties or social gatherings of various sorts and there will be live music. But no one seems to be paying much attention anymore. The music just doesn’t seem to be connecting as much as it use to. Maybe that’s because most people listen to music privately with earbuds while doing something else. Music isn’t so much a shared experience anymore.
Any challenge is also an opportunity. In this case, maybe we need to exploit new technologies and mechanisms for creating, producing and distributing music to reconnect people to music. One possible way of doing that is to bring the music back to the people. To get it out of the hands of just the record producers trying to develop markets driven by specific focus groups, and reintroduce chaotic creativity and interaction that can drive innovation and new opportunities.
One way to achieve that is to leverage modern hardware and software platforms to make music creation, production and distribution easy, available to almost anyone, and at low cost. That’s likely to have variable results, but it might help discover things we couldn’t have anticipated – from styles, to new electronic software-based, multi-touch instruments, to hidden creative genius that just wasn’t lucky enough to “make it” in the closed world of the record industry.
This series of blog entries is an attempt to provide some practical approaches to developing mobile music. We’ll be focusing on the iPad and Garageband because these products are particularly effective for mobile music. But we’ll be covering some other things where needed to fill in some gaps and look at alternatives. The series starts with you – the musicians, and will progress through the process of getting your creative inspirations recorded, mixed, mastered, produced and delivered to the community. We’ll be looking at:
  • The musicians: establishing effective collaboration among a group of potentially distributed musicians
  • Preparing for the Session: Getting things setup for the recording session
  • IO Devices: Getting sound into the iPad
  • Creating A Project: Creating projects and project templates to make things go faster and easier
  • Song Arrangement: Using song sections and layout tracks
  • Tracking: Some best practices and resources for producing quality recordings
  • Collaborative Recording: Capturing tracks from people anywhere in the world
  • Correcting Mistakes: Punch and take recording in GarageBand (sort of)
  • Editing: Making changes after the musicians are gone
  • Mixing: Best practices and resources for mixing and effects processing with focus on GarageBand on the iPad
  • Mastering: Putting it all together and dealing with mastering effects
  • Distribution: Getting your music out there through Web distribution
  • Wrap up: What we did and what to do different next time – your chance to contribute
  • Garageband Extensions: Some suggested new features and capabilities
This is a lot to cover, so completing the series might take a while. But it should be fun, and a great way for us to share ideas and experiences. Feel free to comment about things you’ve discovered and I’ll periodically update the content to include other ideas.
So let’s get started! I hope you find this series helpful, and that the end result is we will all have great new music to share in this new open world we find ourselves in. Happy recording!
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