When I was a teenager my ambition was to be a songwriter and a recording artist. I had great ideas but I couldn’t make them a reality. My ambition was there but my knowledge was lacking. I needed to level up.
I studied music in college, joined indie bands, started my own indie bands, released self-recorded EPs, and promoted myself. I still regularly collaborate with super-talented EDM producers from around the world and release singles on small labels. I push forward, I do what I need to do. If anyone knows the challenges of being a music artist today it’s me, and that’s why I was drawn to MixGenius.
I joined MixGenius as marketing director because I was excited to participate in an emerging technology that could have a major impact on the process of making music. Finally, I could contribute to something that really meant something to me, a struggle I was very familiar with.
MixGenius makes intelligent music mixing technology and recently launched a product called LANDR, an instant automated mastering tool.
In the past couple of weeks, since LANDR started gaining some buzz, we’ve received an incredible amount of support as well as backlash from the music community. Some say a smart machine can’t make art, some say it shouldn’t, and some say let’s embrace the future and see what happens.
We knew LANDR was going to be controversial, but what we’re seeing is the deep rumblings of something even greater.
We’ve received a flood of comments ranging from:
Your service is a godsend. This became truly something special. Thank you for helping me to realize it.
to more negative comments like this:
There’s no such thing as drag and drop mastering. This will never replace years of experienced ears. What a joke.
and my personal favourite:
My three legged cat would do a better job than you!!! You can call me anything you want but at the end of the challenge you will be calling me Sir and your service will be rendered useless.
Every high profile business will have supporters and detractors, but our detractors seem particularly determined to discredit us. A fascinating narrative is revealing itself here, and we’re smack dab in the middle of it. Like two lightsabers clashing, this narrative has two protagonists: one is intelligent technology and the other is the Music Industry.
Intelligent technology enters our lives and changes them. What role should it play, where are the boundaries, who is it going to benefit, and who is going to lose out? Will it work to further consolidate power in society, or will it empower the masses? LANDR just automates music mastering — harmless in the grand scheme of things — but the outrageous reaction belies a deeper anxiety about where this trend is going.
The second protagonist is the music industry. The industry is an environment that has a strong identity, culture and vision and that is married to tradition. Most musicians adhere to certain rules but, today it’s tougher than ever for an independent artist to make a sustainable living out of music. I can attest to the fact that it’s nearly impossible. The music creation and consumption cycle is frenetic — consumers are voracious. Singles and bands come and go like fast food meals; single after single, track after track. Things may be changing but the industry is not adapting fast enough.
These two protagonists clash and come to a nexus with LANDR. The sparks are flying. There are those who fear LANDR and there are those who praise it. In order for big and small artists to be competitive, they have to crank out music like never before. They need the intelligent technology that provides a 3rd option between DIY and pro mastering engineers. Our technology is for the consumer, the bedroom artists, the frustrated producer the overworked EDM musicians.
If 1% of artists make 77% of the money from recorded music in the industry, how many songs get recorded in the world that earn more than what they cost to produce? My guess: something like 5%. What about the 95%-99% of artists who don’t earn more than they spend on recording, but who are still driven to create amazing music for the rest of us to enjoy? The ones with few resources who want to be competitive enough to build their talent and career? With so many companies gouging independent artists, who’s fighting in their corner?
Intelligent technology like LANDR is on their side. We’re trying to level the playing field, to democratize sound quality so that the talent of the indie songwriters and performers get a chance to shine through. We’re helping musicians keep up with consumption and the need to always be producing more content. The focus is on the future of the music creation, not on the safeguarding of jobs.
We need this clash, so let the sparks fly. We’re creating technology that makes a mysterious, complex and expensive technical process accessible to all musicians in every corner of the planet. Time and money have been determining factors in the past but good mastering isn’t just for the 1% elites any more. Technology is leading the way to a better future for musicians. And everyone else? The doubters, the haters, the ones who think they stand to lose? Get used to us, intelligent audio technology is here to stay.