Back in the day, people had to create music ideas with nothing more than a pen and a piece of paper. Fast forward a few years and phone answering machines soon became ubiquitous, allowing for quick way to instantly record musical ideas. Just call your home phone and leave yourself a message. Easy as that.
Enter the 80's and 90's where cassette recorders were starting to gain popularity and portability. You could take one with you anywhere, record anything. If people thought that was cool, just wait until 2015........
And then there was Apple Inc.
Apple took their place in music history after releasing the iPod and distributing music through iTunes. Their devices are ubiquitous in our daily lives. Right now, I have an iMac, Macbook, iPhone, and iPad all interconnected and supplementing each other in my business and personal life. Everyone has the ability to record audio memos on these devices and have instant access, but until now, it was only that, a voice memo of just you.
It WAS a struggle to share a vision for a song with friends. If you wanted to see how a full band recording would sound, you needed to run to your closest studio, grab a drummer friend and jam out. That was time consuming, and required commitment to a version of the song you were working on. Apple took voice memos one step further and introduced Music Memos.
Studio Musicians - In your pocket
To quote Victor Wooten, "You can't hold no groove, if you ain't got no pocket." Well now you can hold a groove and a whole band in your pocket.
Music Memos is a fantastic app that every single musician or songwriter should have on their iPhone. If you want to run a quick take of your song in your bedroom with an acoustic guitar and voice, all you have to do is open the app and press one button. After recording, you can add in your choice of two different drum kits, vary the styles of playing between fills, and even add a upright or electric bass.
Borrowing tech from their entry level recording software Garageband, they crammed this all into the iPhone allowing for a nearly full band performance right from your mobile device. The real genius behind the app, is that you don't need to stay on the same tempo or chord changes. The app detects the BPM of your song, continually adjusts the drum beat to match, and will have the bass player match riffs or notes alongside your basic pattern.
Seriously, just go download it now and check it out. It's worth it.
I don't think it is too much to say that Apple will eventually introduce something that does this in real time. It would take an insane amount of computing power to analyze this in real time and play back samples, but who knows, drummers and bass players could soon be replaced by artificial intelligence. Ok, maybe not. But this a really cool avenue of technology that has room to grow and develop into a standard tool for the everyday working musician.