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The Thirteenth Annual Interactive Audio Conference
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Group Report: New Creators and New Creative Tools – Understanding the New Ways to Make Music

Participants: A.K.A "The GHH"

Gary Johnson, independent

Howard Brown, IDT
Hank Coleman, Open Labs  
Other contributors:  
Craig Swann, Crash Media Tom White, Thomas B. White & Assoc.
Todor Fay, NewBlue, Inc. Lucas Gonze, independent

Problem Statement

  • Are the traditional, classical methods of playing music and creating music giving way to music as entertainment?
  • Can music be entertainment and creatively fulfilling?
  • What is the future of music creation and what is its role in society as a whole?
  • What can we do to promote creativity, allow music to be created and enjoyed by a new audience of non-trained musicians?
  • What is the intersection of gaming and music creation?


Social networking broke new ground in the promotion and distribution of music. Anything which promotes creative expression and exchange is conceivably a boon to music and its continuing popularity.

The basic tenets of our rogue group:

  • Generation Y and under
  • Hugely engaged in Facebook and MySpace
  • Constantly connected through their phones
  • Learning to use the phone as a music creation device
  • Learning to use devices like the Wii and Guitar Hero to create music
  • Are not disturbed by “games as music”

Their social networks exist to share and communicate. Other than photo media, the main sharing exists around music. They are “ambiently intimate” in their experience. Music and Creation are key components to the fabric of the social networks. Making tools, sounds, plug-ins, virtual instruments for this audience will spur music creation.

Phones have evolved from simple communication devices to key instruments in the social network fabric. The advent of the iPhone app store has moved the iPhone, and soon phones from other suppliers such as Nokia and RIM, to be tools of music creation.


  • What does “serving” this audience look like from a computing and tools perspective?
  • Additionally, how does that huge audience use current tools and devices as musical creation points? What does the future look like?

A Statement of the Group’s Solutions to these Problems


  • Obviously, there is great innovation just now coming to market and Craig’s input was that more and certainly more powerful innovations are forthcoming.
  • Music over the centuries has not been a “for profit” endeavor. Its purpose was much more important for social connection, fun, and ambience than for professional entertainment.
  • The ability to create music is being simplified by computer technologies.
  • The remaking of the musical performance landscape is in its early stages and will continue to evolve over the coming decades.
  • Other groups are engaged in collateral if not direct conversations which include aspects to this rogue groups efforts.


To put this discussion in perspective, especially for those of us over the age of 40 who can't send a text message, key stats of Generation Y (born after 1980):

  • 97% own a computer
  • 97% have downloaded music and other media using peer-to-peer file sharing
  • 94% own a cell phone
  • 76% use instant messaging and social networking sites
  • 75% of college students have a Facebook profile and most of them check it daily.[17]
  • 60% own some type of portable music and/or video device such as an iPod
  • 49% regularly download music and other media using peer-to-peer file sharing
  • 34% use websites as their primary source of news
  • 28% author a blog and 44% read blogs
  • 15% of IM users are logged on 24 hours a day/7 days a week

(Reynol Junco and Jeanna Mastrodicasa found that in a survey of 7,705 college students in the US)

By the group's observations, casually creative and centers for music content will grow. Individuals involved with Project BBQ appear to be driving applications even further down into the consumer landscape. What makes a person “musical” is changing both in content and in “classical” talent.

  • Reaching out to the “musical gamers” for an understanding of where the marketplace is going. Will it continue to be games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band or will there be, at some future point, a musical teaching component?
  • Embrace and adapt to the new devices which by nature are not “musical instruments” but will help create musical content.
  • Work with Joe 4Track and RunDSP BBQ '08 workgroups on coordinating solutions coming out of both groups and identify participants in Project BBQ who may be entering into this marketplace and may be serving this constituency currently.

Our group spent the first day just attempting to understand this landscape. With the participation of Craig Swann, Tom White, Todor Fay and Lucas Gonze the group expanded the discussion to include the Cloud Computing component.

Where is this music (and games + video) creative audience going?

Some basic precepts were agreed upon:

  • Our group has a broad interest in the Casual Creator Software Group and the Run DSP group.
  • Our mission was to identify the broad range of hardware tools which may not be thought of as “music creation” devices but which our customer base will use in that fashion.
  • Legacy hardware will give way to these new devices.
  • Music collaboration is being done is unique ways in spite of the impediments currently present.
  • Revenue was not a consideration for this group.
  • Target market size was as big as the social networks (+60M) worldwide.
  • Creation may mean many things such as mash ups, splits, loops, beats, sounds, Vst’s as well as completely finished music.

This new generation of artists, for the most part, will not be making music for “profit” and may not develop a revenue stream in the broadest sense of the word. They want to share their creations with their friends. Think family sing alongs, barn raisings, religious music, etc.  Since musical instruments actually predate civilized man and most agree that music might as well be part of our DNA, collaborating and sharing creations is very basic human trait. What's new is the way the youngest generation is doing it.

There has been a drop in traditional musical instrument education for the last few decades, as school, parents and students found other, less demanding, outlets and interests.  Gone are the days where family evenings were without TV and video games.  Gone are the days when the family spent time together learning and playing traditional music with friends.  We are all too busy to master the guitar or banjo or even time for piano lessons.

Music is a naturally collaborative and shared experience. Computing is by its very nature a solitary pursuit.  But smartphones are the merger of the two, breaking us free to work and create in a social, mobile atmosphere.  Now you can carry the power of a desktop PC in your pocket!

Our Findings:

Transition of composing/playing music on instruments to composing/playing music on desktops to composing/playing music on smart phones.

Generation Y is familiar and comfortable with texting on 10 digit cellphone keypads so we should expect them to demand more expressive interfaces on these mobile platforms. The iPhone multi-touch interface is a great example.

These new devices make creating and playing music easier than spending years learning an instrument which means more younger folks will be playing music together with their friends.

section 8

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select a section:
1. Introduction  2. Speakers  3. Executive Summary  
4. Wrap It Up -- Creating a New Middleware Marketplace for Digital Entertainment Platforms
5. The EduMusiTainers™
6. So you want to work in game audio?
7. Smart Ambient Sound Sensor
8. New Creators and New Creative Tools – Understanding the New Ways to Make Music
9. Working as a Creative Professional in a Corporate Environment
10. "PRAGMA" Rebooted (pet rocks and game music alliance) A Project Bar-B-Q 2008 rogue group updating a Project Bar-B-Q 2004 rogue group
11. Schedule & Sponsors