home  previous   next 

The Ninth Annual Interactive Music Conference


by The Fat Man, George A. Sanger

Welcome to the Executive Summary for BBQ 2004, the best, the kindest, the most productive, the most…well, the most recent BBQ ever. And the ninth.

We were blessed with compelling and inspiring talks by Ron Kuper; Cakewalk (“The Blind Man and the Elephant”), Julian Colbeck; Keyfax (“Support=Sales: Support, technical and otherwise, is not a waste of time), Peter Drescher; Danger, Inc. (Sound Design For Really Small Speakers), and Dr. Pat Gleeson; (The Problem With Sampling.)

An interesting and encouraging trend this year was that the groups consistently looked back at past BBQ groups to see if they were working on issues for which groundwork had already been laid. In cases where it had, lessons were noted and built upon, rather than re-worked and re-learned. Perhaps a good way to phrase this is that we've learned to mark the trails that we have taken that have shown promise, and we've learned to mark the trails that appear to be dead ends…and moreover, to read those markings!

This year we again split fairly evenly into four groups:

MIFFED, the “Music Industry Foundation for Industry Development” or “Music is Fun, Fast, Friendly, and Digital” attacked the issue of education, reaching out to the huge potential audience for music creation technology. They established a plan for an advocacy organization to work within existing professional organizations. This advocacy organization will be based on the IA-SIG EDU working group, and will continue that group’s work.

The Strok-O-Phonz came up with some very interesting and well-founded philosophical guidelines for the creation of better digital musical instruments, based on the concept of “Flow” as explained by Mihalyi Cziksentmihalyi in books such as The Evolution of the Self. The dissemination of this very promising philosophy will be explored by a new proposed IA-SIG working group.

The Marklar working group looked at issues of sound quality on computers. This familiar theme has been explored in roughly five past BBQ’s, and the reports from those groups were thoroughly reviewed and built upon. A “Gold/Silver/Bronze” rating system proposed by this group embodies a testing for computer sound systems that takes into account audio quality from “air to air.” In other words, it will no longer be as likely that a computer whose internal sound is good will be mistaken for a good-sounding computer if it only has tiny speakers or a poor microphone. An ad-hoc organization was formed that will promote this testing/rating system to existing organizations such as Microsoft.

The “Color of Suck” group engaged in the exercise of applying to cel phones and other mobile devices the lessons we have learned from the Web and from the gaming industry, in order, again, to avoid problems of the past and cut out unnecessary and painful learning processes. Jim Reekes asked how you catch a monkey. They plan to submit their results to the mobile audio working group of the IA-SIG.

Two rogue groups were formed. One, the Pet Rocks and Game Music Alliance [PRAGMA], explored the commercial space at the very promising intersection at which console gaming meets music creation.

Another rogue group flattered us by looking in dumbfounded amazement at past achievements and results of Project BBQ. They did this as a celebration of our upcoming tenth BBQ conference. Attempting to compile these impressive achievements into a summary also seemed helpful in order to promote the event and to help attendees to blow away any remaining resistance that their employers might harbor towards sending them to an event called “Project BBQ.”

Again I feel lucky and honored to have participated in this, another wonderful, influential and positive event, with some of the most impressive people I have ever met. My heartfelt THANKS to our attendees, speakers, and sponsors!!

With all my Love and Respect, I am…

The Fat Man,
George Alistair Sanger

section 3

next section

select a section:
1. Introduction  2. Speakers  3. Executive Summary  
4. Mobile Phone Audio - Lessons Learned from Games and the Web
5. A Whole-system Testing Framework for PC Audio
6. The Stroke-a-phone: A New Digital Instrument for Troubled Times
7. MIFFED (Music Industry Foundation for Educational Development)
8. PRAGMA (Pet Rocks and Game Music Alliance)
9. Schedule & Sponsors