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Making Music

Last weekend I finally upgraded my iMac to Mac OS X 10.3, or Panther . After using it for a few days, I’d say it’s well worth the price. The changes I’ve noticed aren’t as significant as Steve would like you to believe, but combined they improve on what was already an enjoyable user experience. But that’s not what I want to write about.

I also picked up iLife ’04 at the same time. Ever since I played with Sonic Foundry’s (nay, Sony Media Software’s ) ACID when it was first released, I’ve been entranced by loop-based music creation. Reading about GarageBand , I was once again swept away by the delusion of making my own music. I had to have it.

GarageBand is indeed cool. While I haven’t written my magnum opus yet, I’ve been very impressed by it’s clean, intuitive interface and real time music processing. But I have another idea. I was reading Lessig the other day, and he mentions GarageBand , and the fact that it’s currently CC-less. So I was thinking: how would you add CC licensing to GarageBand? I don’t have an answer to that yet (Apple, are you listening?), but the train of thought led me to an idea I think would be cool. Let me share the process with you, though.

So I was thinking about adding CC license generation to GarageBand, and starting poking around looking for Export hooks, etc. And then I started thinking about consuming CC material into GarageBand. I found Apple’s Loop SDK , and began wondering if I could use that to make CC loops/samples available to GarageBand. Feed it CC content instead of making it produce CC content. I haven’t looked at the SDK yet, but I did remember Lucas Gonze’s work on specifying CC metadata in SMIL . And an open source SMIL authoring tool .

And then I thought: what about an application for remixing content using SMIL? It could consume samples (or entire songs) and use SMIL to specify the remix. With repositories of CC licensed music like OpSound and MagnaTune available, it even seems possible to incorporate sample retrieval and search into the application. And of course, everything it produced could be CC licensed.

I call it Remix.