The 2019 NAMM show got me very excited about new beatmaking hardware, but innovation isn’t just about gear. We also met music industry professionals who play a huge role in developing products behind the scenes and got a glimpse of the technology that is shifting how we create, discover, and listen to music.
I enjoyed spending time with the Art+Logic team learning about how their company builds the software that powers pro audio brands. One of their current projects has the potential to change everything: they are one of the participating companies doing prototyping related to the new MIDI 2.0 standard.
The Elk MusicOS from MIND Music Labs is another innovator in the B2B space. Elk grew out of MIND’s project to create a truly smart guitar—a real instrument that is also a portable DAW and an IoT device. The Elk OS has many possible applications, and its ultra low latency makes for a crisp feeling instrument, as the MIND team demonstrated on synths made with a raspberry pi microcomputer and a small touch screen. I was really impressed, and I’m looking forward to see what they do with Elk next.
Making Music in the Cloud
Look out for new innovations in music creation as more music tech becomes cloud based. The companies staking out this territory include Amped Studio, an online DAW that integrates with web-based audio plugins and HumBeatz, a mobile app by the Amped Studio developers that turns your beatboxing—or any sound you can make with your mouth—into MIDI files.
Sessionwire is a cloud solution that makes long distance jamming and collaboration possible. This will only get better as we work toward 5G and a fully connected world, and I can hardly wait to see what happens.
Metadata and Discovery
TuneRegistry is a music rights administration platform that is getting metadata delivery right. I know metadata doesn’t sound sexy, but with the growth of voice search it’s more important than ever. Faulty or incomplete metadata affects discoverability, and in this environment, if it’s not discoverable it doesn’t exist.
VEVA sound is attacking the metadata problem in a different way. Their SCP plug-in works inside any DAW to encourage data capture at the point of creation: the recording studio. VEVA has been setting the standards for preserving and monetizing sound recordings for years, working with labels and partner institutions like The Recording Academy and the Library of Congress.
Music streaming often leads to a trade-off of sound quality for convenience. Audible Reality is looking to bring high-quality tailor-made sound environments to music streaming. Their plan to integrate with streaming platforms will allow artists to create custom filters for more immersive audio experiences. The AI behind their 3D audio technology can also optimize the mix on any track and place the sound into “hyper stereo.”
Someone needs to create an unofficial guide to the most innovative music tech companies at NAMM and what they’re up to. Maybe that someone should be us!