Thursday, November 18, 2010

How A Good Drummer Video Could Be Improved

Here's another topic that I feel is important enough to deserve cross-posting with my Music 3.0 blog. Below you'll see a video called "Dublin Grooves - Ricky O'Neill" from drummer Ricky O'Neill, who's playing in front of the landmarks of Dublin.

Ricky plays great and the video is very well made, so what's missing? Let's look at some basic search engine optimization that could've happened very easily which might've made a big difference in the number of views the video eventually gets.

1) There's no contact info anywhere on the video. At the very least, I would've put a screen at the end with a website, email address, Facebook and Twitter info, and another screen for the film maker. Both Ricky and the film maker potentially missed calls for gigs at most, and followers and friends at the least. This was the perfect marketing tool that never really became one and therefore missed a golden opportunity.

2) I never would've known Ricky was playing in front of Dublin landmarks had Ricky not told me via email. This video could've been a lot more interesting with a lower third or info key screen identifying each place, plus that info could've been used in both the description and keywords (see #4 and #5 below).

3) I would've titled this "Ricky O'Neill Dublin Drum Grooves" for the keyword phrase value. "Drum Grooves" has a stronger keyword value than simply "grooves" since it's more focused and precise. "Dublin Drum Grooves" even more so.

4) Take a look at the YouTube page for the video. The description of the video gives you some basic information, but reads more like the back of a DVD rather than a description of what the video is about. A 200 word description (at least) with the phrases "Ricky O'Neill" and "drum grooves" sprinkled in 4 or 5 times (about 2 percent) would've been more search engine friendly.

5) Take a look at the tags. There are too many to begin with, and they're not focused enough. The ones that could've been used are "Ricky O'Niell," "Dublin Drum Grooves" (if the titled were changed), "Curtis Morris" (the film maker), "street drums" (after a quick search with the Google Keyword Tool), and maybe "Irish drummer." Having tags like "jojo" and "excellent" and "drum kit" are a waste of time since they're not descriptive or granular enough to make a difference in search ranking.

Don't get me wrong, I really like this video. It's really well made and Ricky's playing is solid enough that I'm sure he'd get calls for gigs - if someone knew how to find him. Like I said before - opportunity lost.



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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Music And The iPad

Apple's iPad is still relatively new, but already there are a number of great music related apps available as recently outlined in an article on createdigitalmusic.com.

There were so many, in fact, that I would surely overlook a lot of worthy apps if I only posted some of them, so it's best to read the entire article yourself. Here's a summary of the iPad functions from the article.
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Computing is enough a part of our culture and life that it’s bound to be wrapped up in political, ideological, artistic, and economic issues. But let me be clear: many of the dimensions on which one would judge the iPad are as much technical and practical as they are anything else, and that includes what it does right. It’s already apparent from the above round-up what some of those things are that Apple does so well:
  • Apple has exceptional UI tools. That includes the way the UI framework itself works, and how Apple has developers interface with it.
  • Apple gets multitouch. Lawsuits aside, Apple’s technology just seems better implemented. Multi-touch supports five or more touch points, accuracy is extremely good, latency is low, the APIs work well — the whole thing just works, and that makes touch more expressive as input. I’m disheartened by Apple’s legal attack on its competitors, but I’m also frustrated that – for reasons apparently not legal-related – so many would-be competitors have managed to botch multi-touch input so that it isn’t expressive or even (often) functional. That’s a topic for another day, but there are a lot of pieces Apple puts together, from hardware to firmware to software to developer tools.
  • Apple gets sound. I don’t actually think you need Core Audio or AU support or (often) even native code to make sound work. But the simple reality is that a lot of mobile devices can’t output the kind of audio performance that the iPhone platform can.
All platforms involve trade-offs, however, and it’s worth considering the limitations of the iPad, too. After all, $500 (or more) of your money, while not an enormous investment relatively speaking, is still an investment. And some of the restrictiveness of Apple’s platforms impacts music making on their device:
  • Limited expansion and the lack of, say, a real USB port is a big tradeoff. Readers have already complained about the low-level audio output from the iPhone, even in the dock; I expect the same to be true of the iPad. While we’ll no doubt see some hardware specially-designed for iPad, the lack of standard I/O means you can’t, for instance, assume an audio input or MIDI interface will work with your app. That may not matter to the mass market, but it could matter to you, and you’re who matters.
  • The iTunes app lockdown still limits appeal to open source developers, but that’s not the only problem. Even for proprietary apps, that can mean difficulty testing and delayed updates and bug fixes from developers.
  • The hidden file system and iTunes-restricted syncing can make it harder to integrate the iPad with your workflow. Other devices with standard storage make managing your work and sharing it with your computer much easier. iPad apps, like the iPhone apps before them, are likely to have a variety of non-standard ways of exchanging files with your desktop. I’ve already been tipped off by early-adopter developers for iPad that there’s been some confusion about this. We’ll see how the final product works and if this stuff is addressed — it’s an area to watch.
One of the things not covered in the article is the fact that the upcoming (any day now) new operating system upgrade (4.2) also brings built-in MIDI to the iPad, which can only enhance the creative experience. If it's not time to buy one now, it will be soon.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Light Peak - The Interface Of The Future

Transmission speed between devices has always been critical for computer audio and video recording and editing. The faster the communication between the computer, hard drive, and peripheral devices, the more higher resolution tracks can be comfortably worked on. But the number of different interface formats available have made it difficult for the average musician and engineer to keep up. 

In the not too distant past (2000), the finicky SCSI was a professional must, until replaced with Firewire, which was thought to be the answer to the dream of plug and play. But USB, then USB 2.0 was adopted by most of the computer world, even though it wasn't as fast as Firewire in real-world use. Then the double speed Firewire 800 was introduced, which only Apple seemed to offer, then eSATA became the choice of pros. For the last year, USB 3.0 has been touted as the interface format of the future, but it's been slow to be adopted by manufacturers.

That's why when I tell you that there's another interface format sitting behind the scenes, you'll probably wonder why you should care. The reason why you should is that faster is always better when it comes to computers, and every device in our electronic world has one inside it these days trying to talk to the outside world.

Word now comes that a new optical interface format by computer chip maker Intel called Light Peak has been endorsed by both Apple and Sony, which may begin to appear on computers as soon as 2011. Why is that important? Because Light Peak is 25 times faster than both Firewire and USB 2 that we're currently used to, with a speed of over 10 Gigabits per seconds in both directions simultaneously, and potentially as high as 100 Gig! This means that 32 tracks of 196kHz recording would be a breeze, making high-resolution audio recording a daily event, instead of the 48kHz that most of the world lives with. It would mean full backups of terabyte hard drives that would happen in minutes instead of hours. It would bring editing of multiple hi-definition video streams inexpensively to the average home videomaker.

All of this is also being offered by USB 3.0, but it's only 10 times faster than what we're currently using, and acceptance has been slow, mostly because Intel has not included it into their computer chipsets. Now we know why, since Intel stands to benefit from use of Light Peak, which was developed in-house.

So remember that you heard it here first - Light Peak could be coming to a computer near you, and your life will be better for it. For more info, check out the article at CNET.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Van Halen "Runnin' With The Devil" Demo

Here's an interesting little ditty from the 1976 Gene Simmons-produced Van Halen demo tapes. It's "Runnin' With The Devil" and it sounds surprisingly like the finished version that appeared on the band's first Ted Templeman-produced record for Warner Brothers (called appropriately "Van Halen").

Kiss's Gene Simmons saw the band play a gig at the now defunct Starwood club in Hollywood, financed and produced about 15 tracks, and then presented them to Casablanca (their record label at the time) who rejected them. He then had them play a showcase at SIR in New York for Bill Aucoin (Kiss's manager) who also thought they had no potential. Van Halen then came back to Hollywood, played the tapes for Warner Brothers, and the rest is history. The basics on the Simmon's demo were cut at Village Recorder in Los Angeles and the guitar solos and vocals at Electric Ladyland in New York.

Here's the little bit that I heard on the song that's different.
1) The delayed reverb on the guitar that became a Van Halen signature is missing.

2) David Lee Roth's delivery of the vocal doesn't swing as much.

3) The feel of the solo/bridge part is a lot different.

4) There's a hard ending as compared to a fade. (Actually, I got this one wrong.)



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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beatles Bloopers

Even if you're not a Beatles fan, I think you'll like this blooper reel of mistakes from various songs that you've heard thousands of times. It really has a way of humanizing the boys, and anyone who's ever played in a band or tried to make a record can relate. You'll also hear a lot of common mistakes that we've all heard cover bands make, for what it's worth. Good pictures in the video too.



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Follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

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