Music technology blogger Will Kuhn posted an interesting take on the state of mobile making today, arguing that making music on iOS is ‘a bag of hurt’.
To explain why, he compares making music with a DAW to making music on an iPad:
- Writing music on a “real” computer (circa 2012)
- Fire up [DAW of choice]
- Lots of instruments are available
- Load “plugins” (little programs within a program) to compensate for shortcomings of DAW software.
- Write your parts
- Mix in context – correct mistakes as you go
- Upload to SoundCloud
- Go on with life (e.g. create dummy SoundCloud accounts and give yourself positive comments, etc.)
- Writing music on an iPad
- Fire up GarageBand (or a different DAW, but probably not)
- Think of an idea for a part; realize the GB instruments don’t do all the tricks you need
- Fire up $5.99 synth app; learn how to use it
- Maybe it works. Maybe fire up another $5.99 synth app; learn how to use it
- Switch back to GarageBand and check what tempo your song is
- Switch back to Synth app – switch that tempo to the right one
- Record an out-of-context loop, but try to envision the drum part
- Audio copy the loop
- Switch back to GarageBand
- Audio paste
- Whoops, wrong Audio paste method – use the other one (repeat last 3 steps)
- OK great synth part! That sounds so warm.
- Next idea…
Kuhn’s comparison might be a little harsh, but is basically accurate. If you want a mobile workstation DAW, you’re better off taking your laptop.
But musicians that only compare iOS as a music platform against powerful desktop computers are missing the big picture: a few years ago, your phone could do squat and tablet computers were bulky, niche products. How much music making can you do on anything else that you carry around all the time?
What do you think about the state of iOS music making? Is it ‘a bag of hurt’ – or is it time for mobile musicians to put up or shut up?