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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Oct-18 > MUSIC PRODUCTION THE NEXT GENERATION


Over the last couple of years, online music production has finally become big business. Cloud-based music making, remixing and collaboration is here and, with it, you can access complete virtual studios for your music production and create tunes in online DAWs. So is this the future of music production? And should you be a part of it? MusicTech to the skies to investigate…



There’s a new generation of music makers who don’t own Cubase or Pro Tools. They are not au fait with Ableton, or even bothering to learn Logic. And they don’t really understand, nor care, what a plug-in instrument is. As for owning a piece of synth hardware? Forget it. They have all the tools they need up in the ‘Cloud’ and they have their own DAWs to create music up there too, and it all works seamlessly within their browsers.

Nothing has to be installed on their computers, so no hard drive space is used, and for a low monthly cost (or, indeed, no cost in some cases) they can produce music, remix and collaborate with anyone else in the world!

The Cloud music production revolution has exploded over the last few years and there are now a lot of companies involved like Soundtrap, Audiotool, BandLab and Looplabs. That’s not to say the old guard haven’t been plugging away at it too.

Avid and Roland have their own Clouds, but it’s the new young upstart companies that seem to offer everything in a very refreshing way and - with a strong social element - are starting to appeal to a younger generation of music makers who are used to communicating and sharing via platforms like these. And the other major attraction is cost. There’s no expensive outlay for a DAW or plug-ins. Instead there is often a subscription model which usually includes a free option, but then the more you pay, the more samples, instruments, loops, storage space and sharing options you get. Either way, you soon realise that what these companies and platforms are offering is the complete music production experience, as not only are these sites providing you with the tools to produce and collaborate, they are also providing you with the audience, and in some cases even a record company to sign you!

So what does all this mean for more traditional producers and the music production industry? Is this truly the next generation of music-making and will it make our current methods – and the companies involved – redundant? In this feature we’ll look at some of the biggest new platforms and explore exactly what they are offering users. We’ll also look closely at tools like Loopcloud which link the worlds of online and offline together, and we’ll also examine how some of the more established companies are reacting to these new startups. So strap yourselves in, it’s time to launch into the Cloud…


It’s certainly an exciting time to be a music producer. As technology and processing power has increased in recent years, we probably should have predicted the Cloud revolution for music-making – look at what technology has done for music listening, after all. Streaming services are now commonplace for music consumers, and musicians are making (a small amount of) money from many online platforms. Music production in the Cloud was perhaps inevitable, then, but it’s not a new idea…

Anyone old enough to remember Res Rocket Surfer? Set up at the dawn of the internet by successful singer-songwriter Willy Henshall and engineer Tim Bran, it became the first online music collaboration platform. It started out with around 600 members in the mid 90s, all communicating and sharing files via mailing lists and FTP sites. The technology of the time allowed members to jam via MIDI but, as it evolved, it became more advanced and far more widely used. At the end of the century the new Rocket Power application was used to record a single for the War Child charity with musicians including Sinéad O’Connor and Thomas Dolby adding their parts from various locations around the world. The likes of Steinberg and Emagic even got in on the action, adding support for Rocket Power within their respective Cubase and Logic applications, allowing users to collaborate and produce music online.

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About MusicTech

Over the past 20 years the internet has transformed the world of music-making. Sharing our works-in-progress or collaborating with people around the globe is but a click away. But what if you've never done this before? Assembling the correct tools to begin doing this easily is the bedrock of this month’s cover feature, where we highlight the essential techniques, tips and resources to start composing in the Cloud. Elsewhere this issue, we speak to video game composer Jesper Kyd, whose impressive credits include many key games in the popular Hitman and Assassin’s Creed franchises. Kicking off our review section, we bring you an exclusive look at Yamaha's new MODX 6 – and discover it to be a wonderfully featured instrument that innovates on many levels. We also have our usual plethora of tutorials covering all the major DAWs, an essential guide to mixing that deconstructs that most crucial of processes, helpful gear-guides and more. I hope you enjoy the issue.