Along with the question of collecting music in 2013, we’ve been a little obsessed with another digital music theme — namely, whether so-called “average” people will ever make their own music, the way they make their own photographs and videos, which are both recent developments, historically speaking.
As we put it earlier, making a song is more complicated than pointing a camera at a cat. For that matter, cats can even make their own horrible little movies now. Keyboard Cat aside, though, most cats don’t make their own music, and neither can most people.
Technology, of course, has an answer for this: music creation tools that are so simple, yet so powerful, that truly anyone who can click a web page or tap a smartphone can make their own music, and then share it with their friends or the world. We recently looked at Yello-fier and Smule’s new social music creation network; another approach to mainstream music creation is MashupDJ, a new, free web app that makes mashing up two songs as simple as possible.
We counted three clicks involved in creating a mash-up. First, you choose a song from the website’s relatively small catalog (I chose The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated”). Helpfully, MashupDJ then offers a list of suggestions for songs that would go well with the one you chose. Click one, then click the big button, and bam, you have a somewhat original creation ready to be shared to your Facebook account.
It will look something like this:
If you’re the musical type, you can then shift the loops around to create something a bit more intentional. Even then, it’s way, way easier than tracking down the stems, loading them into a DAW, and doing this all manually.
We found that MashupDJ is approximately as simple as pointing a camera at a cat. So then, the question is: Does the “average” person really want to make music? Or will the average person of the future (even, say, 1-10 years) want to do so on a regular basis?
It’s possible, but one issue is the catalog. The licensing involved in securing the rights to make and distribute what lawyers call “derivative works” is complicated, which is why a mash-up app will almost certainly never have the catalog of something like Spotify.