Microsoft gets you singing with Songsmith (first video demo)

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Microsoft released a very cool app tonight called Songsmith. You sing to it. It builds music. I could write a lot more in text and you’d never get it, so instead, let’s discover it together in this first video demo, done in a hotel room at CES with the Songsmith team just a few minutes ago.

The video is two parts:

1. Introduction and discussion of what Songsmith does.
2. Demonstration of Songsmith. (Embedded here)

42 thoughts on “Microsoft gets you singing with Songsmith (first video demo)

  1. I think this is GREAT. Microsoft should let these guys (the two in this video) do more. You can tell they are the guys who actually develop software, not managers or marketing people. They should make an iPhone version ($5) and drop the desktop app price to $20. If MS did this they would have a killer app. I can see middle managers creating jingles for powerpoints. I’ve seen some mean comments about this software, but I think MS has a hit, if they only market it correctly and let these guys (the developers) “run the ship,” when it comes to Songsmith. These guys are what Bill Gates used to be in 1977. Can you imagine what they could do with songsmith in the future.

  2. I think this is GREAT. Microsoft should let these guys (the two in this video) do more. You can tell they are the guys who actually develop software, not managers or marketing people. They should make an iPhone version ($5) and drop the desktop app price to $20. If MS did this they would have a killer app. I can see middle managers creating jingles for powerpoints. I’ve seen some mean comments about this software, but I think MS has a hit, if they only market it correctly and let these guys (the developers) “run the ship,” when it comes to Songsmith. These guys are what Bill Gates used to be in 1977. Can you imagine what they could do with songsmith in the future.

  3. Some points come to mind after reading these comments…

    - This is a bit different than Garage Band. Songsmith figures out what chord(s) you’re singing in, and makes up some background music to go along. Garage Band requires you to build up a song by recording tracks using real instruments or by using pre-made audio loops, which makes it very flexible and powerful. But you can’t beat simply singing into a microphone (ala Songsmith) for simplicity.

    - From what I understand, this is also quite different from Band in a Box (though I haven’t actually used that software). From their web site: “Just type in the chords for any song using standard chord symbols (like C, Fm7, or C13b9), choose the style you’d like, and Band-in-a-Box does the rest…”
    Entering in a bunch of chord progressions is a bit different than just singing into a microphone.

    You probably won’t be able to get a record deal using Songsmith, but it’s hard to argue with the coolness of being able to make up a little ditty and hear a decent sounding background track, in the right keys, with the right tempo, almost immediately!

    And I totally agree this would make for an awesome iPhone app.

  4. Some points come to mind after reading these comments…

    - This is a bit different than Garage Band. Songsmith figures out what chord(s) you’re singing in, and makes up some background music to go along. Garage Band requires you to build up a song by recording tracks using real instruments or by using pre-made audio loops, which makes it very flexible and powerful. But you can’t beat simply singing into a microphone (ala Songsmith) for simplicity.

    - From what I understand, this is also quite different from Band in a Box (though I haven’t actually used that software). From their web site: “Just type in the chords for any song using standard chord symbols (like C, Fm7, or C13b9), choose the style you’d like, and Band-in-a-Box does the rest…”
    Entering in a bunch of chord progressions is a bit different than just singing into a microphone.

    You probably won’t be able to get a record deal using Songsmith, but it’s hard to argue with the coolness of being able to make up a little ditty and hear a decent sounding background track, in the right keys, with the right tempo, almost immediately!

    And I totally agree this would make for an awesome iPhone app.

  5. This is actually pretty cool. I’d like to see it bundled with Windows like Apple bundles GarageBand with OS X though. It looks easier for the average user to use than GarageBand too.

    I agree with JD that this would be a killer iPhone app!

  6. This is actually pretty cool. I’d like to see it bundled with Windows like Apple bundles GarageBand with OS X though. It looks easier for the average user to use than GarageBand too.

    I agree with JD that this would be a killer iPhone app!

  7. It’s been on their site for a few days — their video is pretty bad. Love how it’s in QuickTime format and they messed up the embed. I guess they’re not allowed to use YouTube?

    Love the “beta” tag and that it’s available for sale, immediately. Signs up life up there. Anyway here’s the MS link:

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/songsmith/index.html

    It’s based on Band in a Box, software by PG Music that’s been around for 15 years.

    http://www.pgmusic.com/

  8. It’s been on their site for a few days — their video is pretty bad. Love how it’s in QuickTime format and they messed up the embed. I guess they’re not allowed to use YouTube?

    Love the “beta” tag and that it’s available for sale, immediately. Signs up life up there. Anyway here’s the MS link:

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/songsmith/index.html

    It’s based on Band in a Box, software by PG Music that’s been around for 15 years.

    http://www.pgmusic.com/

  9. I had the chance to play with a Songsmith demo last week, and it marked the first time a Microsoft product demo has made me burst out giggling. So incredibly much fun.

  10. I had the chance to play with a Songsmith demo last week, and it marked the first time a Microsoft product demo has made me burst out giggling. So incredibly much fun.

  11. This reflects so much about today’s so called with it crowd.

    This is nothing more than a glitzy front end to Band in a Box, which in a nutshell, grinds out a limited repitoire of melodies and combines that with a bunch of cookie cutter styles.

    After about 10 minutes it starts to repeat it self.

    These guys are either seriously un-informed or pathetically willing to do anything to sell product.

  12. This reflects so much about today’s so called with it crowd.

    This is nothing more than a glitzy front end to Band in a Box, which in a nutshell, grinds out a limited repitoire of melodies and combines that with a bunch of cookie cutter styles.

    After about 10 minutes it starts to repeat it self.

    These guys are either seriously un-informed or pathetically willing to do anything to sell product.

  13. You know what says a LOT about the market today?

    This would be a cool iPhone app that people try out for free, or maybe even a decent niche for $1.99.

    It is just a lame demo that no one will use and almost no one will buy at $19.99 on a Microsoft download site.

    Microsoft SERIOUSLY needs to get out of its funk and make desktop apps less lame and more carefree. And they need to do this by getting a real delivery system. Net WPF apps are hideous to deploy – CLickOnce yadda yadda – we’re talking about huge downloads of runtimes in order to get small cool apps that could and should be safely sandboxed.

    On the iPhone, people just install apps like crazy because there is no real downside. There is in reality, but Apple streamlined it a LOT so that most people can’t see it. Download and install 20 WIndows shareware apps, or 20 Windows Mobile apps, and you are in a world of hurt. Downlaod 20 iPhone apps, you are no worse for the wear and maybe found a couple you like!

    THis is the heart of Microsoft’s failure to deliver on its ISV vision. I blame Ballmer.

  14. You know what says a LOT about the market today?

    This would be a cool iPhone app that people try out for free, or maybe even a decent niche for $1.99.

    It is just a lame demo that no one will use and almost no one will buy at $19.99 on a Microsoft download site.

    Microsoft SERIOUSLY needs to get out of its funk and make desktop apps less lame and more carefree. And they need to do this by getting a real delivery system. Net WPF apps are hideous to deploy – CLickOnce yadda yadda – we’re talking about huge downloads of runtimes in order to get small cool apps that could and should be safely sandboxed.

    On the iPhone, people just install apps like crazy because there is no real downside. There is in reality, but Apple streamlined it a LOT so that most people can’t see it. Download and install 20 WIndows shareware apps, or 20 Windows Mobile apps, and you are in a world of hurt. Downlaod 20 iPhone apps, you are no worse for the wear and maybe found a couple you like!

    THis is the heart of Microsoft’s failure to deliver on its ISV vision. I blame Ballmer.

  15. Congratulations! Now when will you have applications available?
    Can you also think about an educational version for kids of different ages, using styles, etc. appropriate for kids’ and a kid friendly interface?

    We have a music education catalog and website for all ages, and would be interested in making this avail. So let me know your plans.

  16. Congratulations! Now when will you have applications available?
    Can you also think about an educational version for kids of different ages, using styles, etc. appropriate for kids’ and a kid friendly interface?

    We have a music education catalog and website for all ages, and would be interested in making this avail. So let me know your plans.

  17. Pretty cool. Is this a kind of dumbed-down verison of Apple’s Garage Band, then? The critical question is: does it have Auto-Tune?

    It’ll be interested to see how it gets productized.

  18. Pretty cool. Is this a kind of dumbed-down verison of Apple’s Garage Band, then? The critical question is: does it have Auto-Tune?

    It’ll be interested to see how it gets productized.

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