Been quite a while since the last AM update, and also since the "roadmap" was updated, any news Ross? ;)
Thanks for the poke Babaluma :)
> Been quite a while since the last AM update, and also since the "roadmap" was updated, any news Ross? ;)
A 2.2.4 bugfix update is waiting in the wings. It should be released shortly after the 19th of June.
The priorities for 2.3.0 remain as previously stated in the "What's Coming" page. Development is in progress. I have updated the page. I'm not sure whether "soon" is the right word for when 2.3.0 will be finished, but I'm about to start a big development push -- that will give me more clarity about the time line.
Can I give you a bit more backround?
The roadmap had previously been updated when 2.2.0 was released in July last year (2012). For a variety of reasons (some under my control, some outside my control) it took until the end of 2012 to stabilise AudioMulch 2.2. Naturally I'm not happy about this. The point being, it wasn't until January this year that I could start to think about 2.3 development.
But the big "news" of last year was that the sales response to 2.2.0 was not good. "Not good" to the point where I had to lay off staff and take on other development work (you may have noticed sponsored updates to my OSCpack framework, and Nodal.app is due for an update shortly.) Most importantly, the situation lead to some serious re-thinking about what's next. The conclusions are:
I apologise for the lack of announcements. It has been a time of change and my approach has been to focus on development over communications.
I hope this goes some way to explaining the situation. If you have any questions just ask. You can post questions below or email me. I always respond to email from users (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org). If you want keep in touch or follow my general thoughts and research musings I'm @RossBencina on Twitter.
Thanks for the in depth response Ross, and updating the "What's Coming?" page. It's very much appreciated by me, and I'm sure by many other devoted Mulchers!
Looking foward to the bugfix release of 2.2.4, and 2.3, and 3.0 (whenever it's ready)!
Very sorry to hear sales weren't that great last year. Would definitely encourage all happy users to actively promote AM on forums and social networks etc., if they have the time, and haven't done so already.
Guess that part of the sales problem is that many potential users who in the past where downloading "programs" (hey - I'm an old guy) to their PC/MACs now are "fingerpainting" on tablets. That's where the big growth is and IMHO that is where efforts will be going I think (I bet Ross is already moving in that direction).
Case in point are they nice guys from Intermorphic (SSEO/KOAN, now Noatikl, Mixtikl, etc)... they too are a niche player with a "pre-tablet" history. They chose to move developement to the tablet/handheld environment and now they're still here with us.
Other case was the UISOFTWARE team (Videodelic, Metasynth)... they didn't port to the handheld environment and now are struggling just to be visible. Shame, as both Metasynth and Videodelic where great.
@Ross B. : what a bout a round of crowdfunding in Kickstarter? It would allow you to get some fresh $$ to pay for further developemente AND it would raise visibility as well.....
@Uncle GroOve I have a similar feeling to you: a lot of users have moved to the mobile/tablet platforms. Especially people at the cutting edge of technology experimentation. iOS music making seems to be where PC music making was in the late 90s.
I have looked in to developing for tablets (iOS, Android). I researched making an Android version a couple of years ago, back then it was technically infeasible. Even now the Android audio situation is not really acceptable. To put any speculation to rest: the R&D I mentioned above is strictly related to current desktop AudioMulch, not to a new product.
I've considered a Kickstarter, but right now I think slow and steady is the order of the day.
@Ross B.: thank you for your reply (& your efforts). Rest assured that I was in no way trying to assume that your efforts are going towards some "other" project (which I appreciate). Ditto for the Kickstarter campaign... Mine was just a consideration in reference to your earlier post, where you referred to the layoffs and contraction in sales. Obviously I do appreciate the fact that you're taking a one step approach to business developement... I've seen just too many Kickstarter campaigns that failed to deliver the goods ;-)
I agree with the assessment that mobile is where the excitement is right now. Personally most of my productive work is still on my macbook pro. However, all the new ideas are happening on ios/android. I actually wish some of the ideas would get translated back over to PC.
I'll throw this out there - if there was a kickstarter for a mobile audiomulch on android or ios, I'd be more than happy to pitch in.
Particularly android ... latency is still hell, but if the UI for automation sequencing was fluid enough it would be pretty cool. caustic, nanoloop, and sunvox have made it work in their own ways. Another thing is that sonoma is working on a low latency audio interface to fill in the gap (okay... chasm) : http://www.sonomawireworks.com/pr/android-low-latency-audio-solution.php
Sorry to hear about the financial issues. I love modular environments, but it seems like the trend has kindof gone backward to where people are moving towards high quality sounds with stripped down options. I wonder if targeted marketing at places like KVR would be useful? I've never seen any ads for audiomulch ever and I have a feeling the current number of audiomulch users is not quite enough for a self propagating word of mouth campaign. Other ideas - maybe something to get the userbase more active - like a music contest or something. The other thing might be reaching out to high profile bloggers like CDM (or palm sounds if the mobile thing ever gets considered)? audiomulch is along the lines of the kind of stuff he likes to promote (epsecially if it's paired with an interesting tactile interface).
Apologies if this comes off as patronizing, I realize developers usually think these things over about 100x more than the users have...
btw, this was pretty pathetic:
So many moments of "this is what it's come to?" Google's team working on this consists of one guy trying to find audio gaps by eye in audacity and another guy trying to write a dx7 app in his spare time...
As far as mobile devices, I'm sticking with apple so far. Much better apps than Android. However if Windows based tablet like surface pro gets supported by audio devs, I'll pick one up. I would love to see AM with multi-touch capabilites on a surface tablet. That would be awesome.
I am truly sorry to hear about the drop off in sales. (I can't see how a new version of the product would hurt demand; I suppose it was just a coincidence, yes?) I have been thinking about this, wondering if there are some things we all could do to help with marketing this great piece of software. My take is that it really is a marketing issue, not a technical one -- people just aren't aware of what AM is capable of, in the studio and on the stage, I bet.
So, put more videos up on YouTube, showing how to use the program and what's possible with it? More social media? A contest of some sort? More testimonials? I think much of this could be crowdsourced, so to speak, so Ross wouldn't have to foot the bill.
I know it can be difficult to explain AM, as it really is a different beast than the more mainstream music-making programs. I have tried with some people who are self-described Abletonians, for instance, and it takes some doing.
Clearly, the few videos showing the Girl Talk guy (sorry, I have forgetten his real name!) work with AM have enjoyed a good deal of traction, and "more like that" might help -- not necessarily making music like his but more videos showing someone explaining how they have achieved a particular effect or sound, or how they use AM as part of their process, with or without other tools involved. In short, more showing off AM's features and virtues. (Indeed, what program does one use to record screen activity?)
It might be particularly useful to show AM at work with other tools -- perhaps showing how one would prepare some loops in AM for use elsewhere, or vice-versa. There may be a bunch of people familiar and working with those other programs who would be intrigued to see how AM could add to their arsenal.
One thing that might help, and it would take some work, I know, is to offer more tutorial material on the AM website. I know there are a few contraptions that pretty much stump me - LiveLooper, for instance - and some kind of explanation and demo of how to use them effectively would likely be an attraction, showing AM at its best and most innovative. I really appreciate the sharing of patches, too, and there, too, I bet, is potential marketing material.
Anyway, those are some thoughts. I would be glad to help out any way I can.
I agree that the issue is more likely to be a marketing one, or perhaps better, a "user-marketing" one. By that I mean that the increase in helpful materials from Ross and the AM team (tutorials, improved forum, patch library, etc.) has been pretty good over the last couple of years. And the Greg Gillis/Girl Talk buzz also helped raise the profile. But truth is, AM isn't perhaps quite as readily comprehensible for making more mainstream music as some other software (I imagine Live to be in the latter camp, although I've never used it myself), even though it's a hell of a lot more immediate than environments like PureData and SuperCollider.
AM's strengths, as I see it, are (i) it's graphical nature (it really is plug and play), and (ii) it's robustness (hard to crash no matter what inputs you connect to what outputs). On the other hand, its apparent weakness is that it takes a bit of work to coordinate the timeline, automation, metasurface, etc. in a way that leads to predictable outcomes (i.e., those that result from using linear DAWs). I say apparent because, of course, this is actually one of AM's strengths compositionally. But it does require a different way of working, I think (which I'm still trying to fathom, after a couple of years, on and off).
So the immediacy of the interface is offset by the sometimes "peculiarity" of the output, which is great if, like me, you're looking for an environment to mangle your music-making approach. I love that about AM, but do find that I need other tools (Renoise, right now), to do more grid-locked, beat-oriented stuff. Of course, that may just be because my AM skills are not that good. But I think that goes to my point, which is that AM has all these fantastic capabilities, but it's not always that clear how to harness them.
More tutorials would probably be good, and live-patching ones would be particularly suited to youtube, etc. But text-based tutorials could be good too, for those of us who like to refer in a non-linear way to such material. I'd like to be able to contribute, but I feel my understanding of AM is pretty shallow really. (Which of course doesn't impinge at all upon my joy in using AM, and stumbling onto all sorts of unexpected sonic wonder!) What I'd be really interested in reading is accounts of how AMers came up with their patches. But at the same time, I imagine that most of us use AM because it allows us to wander down a bunch of unsuspected paths. Documenting such journeys is a quite different matter, and not something everyone finds easy to do. (I certainly don't.)
Anyway, I don't think I'm adding much here, but would be open to being challenged about how to contribute to AM user-marketing.
I demo'd AudioMulch several times over the years before I finally got it (both in terms of understanding it, and buying it). It took time for me to realize how appropriate its name is: it focuses on creating audio files in real time that you can then re-process on the fly. I find the absence of a waveform display very liberating, inspiring me to listen with my ears, not my eyes.
IMO AM is one of the best-sounding production environments I've used; the contraptions sound fantastic, and I've never heard such musical feedback in the digital realm. Bidule is more versatile (working as both a host and a plugin) but I don't find its generators/effects have nearly the same quality/character of sound.
I don't mean to be harsh but the fact that AudioMulch is 32 bit, doesn't have ReWire, MIDI sequencing/piano roll, or a way to play Arpeggiator/Drum/Bass contraptions with controllers limits its appeal to people accustomed to typical DAWs/instruments.
IOS/Android apps are compelling (especially for control) but I see them augmenting, not totally replacing desktop apps in the forseeable future.
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