How The Cloud Is Making Music Production Easy For All

Tracks, instruments, samples... the cloud is turning scarcity to abundance for DJs and producers. And that, we say, can only be a good thing...  https://dribbble.com/mhirst

Tracks, instruments, samples... the cloud is turning scarcity to abundance for DJs and producers. And that, we say, can only be a good thing... Pic: M Hirst

It was, probably, inevitable. I mean, streaming music is now the norm for consumers, and increasingly so for DJs, as Pulselocker and similar services bring the idea of storing and accessing your DJ tracks from the cloud to the mainstream. And now it's happening in music production, too...

Back at the NAMM Show in January, Roland was excitedly talking up the Roland Cloud, a place where you can subscribe to all kinds of virtual instruments for a fixed monthly fee, to use in your DAW of choice. The company was claiming that as most producers can't afford the high prices of the best synths, this was a great way to offer everyone the very best instruments.

loopcloud

Loopcloud is promising to let DJ/producers choose, audition and keymatch samples for their productions in the cloud, much as it is becoming possible to do the same with music tracks.

Also back in January, sample pack leader Loopmasters announced Loopcloud, a way to keep your local sample library in the cloud, access samples you've bought from Loopmasters from the same place, and also - eventually - seamlessly audition samples right in your production software. Basically, the company is hoping Loopcloud will become a kind-of "endless-samples-to-choose-from" service to help producers come up with bags of ideas easily.

And just last week, Pioneer DJ announced a related type of idea for its Toraiz SP-16 hardware sample player. In conjunction with Splice, the online sample service that lets you choose individual sounds from sample packs and audition them on the web, Pioneer DJ now lets you download these directly to the SP-16, for seamless cloud-to-local music performance.

The opportunity for producers, especially new ones...

We think that for producers and wannabe producers, the idea of samples being accessible from, stored in and auditioned via the cloud is particularly exciting. After all, samples are the currency of dance music production, and having pre-licensed, high quality samples, already tempo, genre and key-matched, that you can access in near-infinite numbers as you're planning your productions, is something truly exciting, which can only help to open up production to more and more people, particualrly those who aren't able to play instruments or don't have formal musical training.

SP-16

The Pioneer DJ Toraiz SP-16 is a simple to use, self-contained sample player for DJs, and is now cloud enabled. Making music is getting easier and easier, and we think that's great.

This kind of thing is partly the reason why we're launching our Dance Music Formula free production training in a couple of days: To help show complete beginners who nonetheless have great ideas that they, too, can make music - and quickly and successfully at that! Online services like these can only help to further bring down the barriers to entry, which is to us a great thing. Remember when sample CDs used to cost £50 each? How much easier, cheaper and more fun "cloud composing" may turn out to be.

And while all of these technologies are in their infancy, is it really going to be too long before the whole idea of purchasing, downloading, and storing sounds (or DJ tracks, of course) locally appears archaic? Probably not...

• Ever wanted to make a track, but not known where to start? Grab your free place now on our Dance Music Formula video training course, coming in a couple of days...

What do you think about music production companies beginning to offer services from the cloud? Is it a good thing that the financial and technological barriers to entry are reducing for new producers? Or is there more value in the old ways of doing things? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...

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Comments

  1. Would just like to point out something out about this whole "Cloud movement".

    That being anything that is uploaded and stored in the cloud is no longer yours according to most TOS. Google showed the scary part of becoming Cloud reliant by blocking a small batch of customers who unknowingly bought Blacklisted Pixel phones from a retailer and found themselves locked out of services like GDrive and Youtube. Some were restored, others were not.

    So word to the wise, the cloud is great and can offer wonderful services like Roland is doing. Just be aware that should you think the cloud is the end all be all, you might find yourself in for a rude awakening.

    Me personally, I'll always prefer local data and local connections to avoid these issues. To each their own though.

  2. Lorie Johnson says:

    My biggest concern with cloud-sourced music is quality and availability. I've already discovered that the audio quality of some tracks that reside on the cloud is not the best. This becomes clearly obvious when you slot in a low-quality sample in a high quality mix.

    And there's the danger of vanishing tracks, books, etc. I've had this happen with me on Kindle, iTunes and other cloud-based venues when they've decided that you can't have whatever they let you use any more. I learned the hard way to back up any unique remixes of tracks I have,because iTunes managed to lose them when they scanned my library.

    I like the idea of the cloud as a means to browse for ideas, or get items in a pinch, but I will always have my own offline library to use. And a backup of that library- just to be sure.

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