Beyond the Barline
A Musician’s Life on the Web
The Story So Far
A friend of mine (fellow musician and doctoral student) was talking to a professor about the Web. This was 1996, by the way, when having a Web page was still something of a novelty. He wanted to convey the vast quantity of information available, and meant to call the Web a “great repository of information.” Instead, he mis-spoke ever so slightly, but in doing so made a Freudian slip that revealed the truth. He called it “a great suppository of information.” So now, three years later, how does one musician wade through it all? How do you find what you need? More importantly, how do you get other people to find you?
The first step in searching is a search engine. But which one? I developed certain favorites, depending on the type of search I was conducting, but checking multiple sites for the same criteria took too much time. That’s why Sherlock is the best auxiliary to the Mac OS since QuickTime. Oh if the Windows users of the world knew what they were missing. The best thing about Sherlock, though, is how easy it is (given a little programming background) to create new plug-ins. I will admit that I haven’t tried it yet, but, not considering myself a programmer by any means, I could still see myself accomplishing this task. In the meantime, I’ve collected a number of music specific plug-ins. Most are available at Apple Donuts, but some I’ve found elsewhere.
If you’ve upgraded to OS 9 (see below), you’ll quickly appreciate Sherlock 2’s division of plug-ins into categories. If not, there are several applications that allow you to set categories for the original Sherlock. I used Casady and Greene’s Baker Street Assistant until I upgraded to OS 9 at the end of October.
This is the harder task, and I have no easy answers. First, I suggest setting up a Web page that people will bookmark and return to. Then, submit to every search engine you can find. Also, meta tags are critical. They allow you to place all relevant criteria in the head of the HTML document, which is where a search engine looks first. Also, look into related pages that might offer reciprocal links. If you’re a member of an organization that has a Web site (don’t they all by now?) you should look into getting a link as a member. For example, my page is linked from ATPM (as a staff member), ICMA, SEAMUS, and Future Music Oregon (where I work and teach), as well as other pages at the University of Oregon. I’ve also set up a page at MP3.com. The site is really crowded, but if someone is looking for music in a very specific genre (in my case classical/electronic), he might stumble across your work. It only took a few days to get my first response, and several people have downloaded the sample MP3 file since. Of course, you need a recorded song or instrumental composition to promote first, as well as an MP3 encoder like AudioCatalyst (which I use) or Casady and Greene’s SoundJam MP.
OS 9: Is Your “Co-Pilot” Compatible?
Well, the upgrade went surprisingly well. Though I’m not in the position to enjoy all the benefits of Mac’s latest OS (Multiple Users and Internet File Sharing for example), it seems more stable as a whole. Some caveats, though. First, it’s a RAM hog. With virtual memory off, it takes up between 48 and 52 MBs! Secondly, two very important applications are not yet compatible (I hope this changes by the time you read this): Adaptec’s Toast and Bias Peak. Since I do my CD mastering at another studio, I don’t own these applications yet. However, if they are important to you, I recommend waiting to upgrade. In addition, if you are using any Opcode software you need to download the newest version of Pace Anti-Piracy. Even software with challenge-response authorization (i.e. Vision DSP) won’t run without this upgrade. (I’d like to thank Cycling ’74 for posting this information immediately after the release of OS 9, as well as prominently at the top of its page.)
You can also find the upgrade listed on several OS 9 upgrade pages. The information has since appeared on Opcode’s site, and I received an e-mail covering this topic as well as others I’ve listed below. (I’d also like to thank David Ziccarelli—founder and president of Cycling ’74—for responding quickly and personally to a tech support question of mine.)
Are the rumors of its death greatly exaggerated? I hope so. Tech support was unavailable for a while, and I feared the worst, but tentative signs of life are re-emerging in Mountain View. Here’s a summary of an e-mail I received on November 11. Downloads of Studio Vision 4.5.1 upgrade ($99.95), Vision DSP 4.5.1 ($59.95), and Fermata ($59.95) are still available through the Web site. Studio Vision is an upgrade only. As far as I can tell, new purchases aren’t possible through the Web site at this time. Response codes are still available. It will take five to seven days to process any orders. Tech support is back on a new toll-free hotline. Call (800) 557-2633 between 10 AM and 3 PM PST (1 PM to 6 PM EST). Opcode seems to be doing its best to meet customer demands under the circumstances. We can only hope this effort continues.
All I Want for Christmas
Time for my wish list. First, OS 9 compatibility for Toast and Peak. Second, that the distribution of MAX shifts to Cycling ’74 as soon as possible. Third, that Studio Vision and Vision DSP remain available in some form even if Opcode ceases to be. These are great applications that deserve continued support. Fourth, that OMS remains the standard Mac to MIDI protocol. Some have speculated that Apple will incorporate it into OS X. That would make me very happy. Fifth, continued growth and success for ATPM. Happy holidays to my fellow staff members, and to you.
Doug Wyatt (the original designer of OMS) has posted a petition asking Gibson to release the source code. To support his effort go to this page.
Next Month: A review of Finale 2000. Also another Opcode update, and whatever else I think of by then.
Also in This Series
- Ready or Not! · November 2002
- The Other Petition · August 2002
- The Samples Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent · May 2002
- Record Execs Ate My Hard Drive! · April 2002
- And the Award Goes to… · March 2002
- Expos, From a Distance · February 2002
- My Resolution · January 2002
- Too Much Hype · November 2001
- And They’re Off! · September 2001
- Complete Archive