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Author Topic: Microsoft Songsmith  (Read 13243 times)
nontroppo
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« on: January 12, 2009, 04:28:06 PM »

How, but seriously, how on a 1000 earths, does Microsoft come out with the most staggeringly awful, cheesy & cringe-worthy publicity. This must seriously be a clever parody of MS:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3oGFogwcx-E

“Microsoft, huh? So it’s pretty easy to use?”
"And what a happy home we'll have, with every word in rhymeeeeeeeeee......"

Lisa, the annoying little girl, runs Vista on her Macbook Pro (covered in girly stickers so you don't think it's a mac). I normally hate YouTube for the moronic depressingly idiotic comments, but these comments are spot on:

"Be right back...stabbing my eardrums."

"Music is dead."

Yes, it really is real (maybe even fun, if it wasn't for the searing pain in my brain from watching that wretch-inducing advert):

http://research.microsoft...dmond/projects/songsmith/

I'm off to get sink into copious glasses of absinthe; surely it's the only way to erase this pain from my mind...
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urlwolf
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 12:15:45 AM »

It's almost as if Microsoft found a way to reverse-engineering 'cool', then proceeded to make the program that would minimize it.
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Ehtyar
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 12:22:52 AM »

Who the hell is Microsoft's agency? Surely it's done in-house, no agency could weather that kind of international embarrassment. Vile!!

Ehtyar.
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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 12:40:08 AM »

Poor microsoft can't get a break.. Video may be cheesy but the idea is nice.

I don't know the research behind it, and I know this isn't the first such program to do this kind of thing, but it does look like they put a lot of effort into making it easy to use, and i can certainly see this being extremely useful for very low budget amateur song tinkerers.  It seems like it would be especially useful to people making novelty/satire songs for videos on the web.  And it's free.  Very cool.



Songsmith screenshots and free download:
http://research.microsoft...ongsmith/screenshots.html
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vitalyb
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2009, 02:01:12 AM »

Hey, cheesy or not, it got the tool more publicity than most anything.
Anyone actually tried it?
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mediaguycouk
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2009, 02:02:21 AM »

It it just me... or is that a macbook pro in the song?
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Learning C# - Graham Robinson
Josh
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 02:10:21 AM »

I will quote one of the truly great inspirations of our time in regards to this "ad":


Quote from: Cartman
Well guys, I'm going to go kill myself. If this is what's cool now, I no longer have any connection to this world. Good-bye friends

Click spoiler for rest of skit
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Ehtyar
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2009, 02:50:05 AM »

People seem to be mistaking criticism of the advert for criticism of the product...

Ehtyar.
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nontroppo
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2009, 10:36:45 AM »

Poor microsoft can't get a break.. Video may be cheesy but the idea is nice.

Yes, the idea is nice, though the advert does highlight how much painful sonic drivel could be produced with it. tongue Don't want to sound elitist though, everyone should have access to flexible tools.

Hah, just found a more cowbell edition of the advert jingle:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kVUIid2hT74

Songsmith is a real-time audio analyzer. http://www.morecowbell.dj uses an echonest analyze algorithm (similar tech) to add synced cowbell ala the infamous Saturday Night Live sketch. Double audio-analysis lovefest!  Wink
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Deozaan
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2009, 10:44:49 AM »

Quick, somebody get me some crackers to go along with the cheese! cheesy

As for the product itself... well I'm a novice songwriter, and for me, I usually just suddenly get a tune in my head and if I can record it before I forget then maybe I'll expand it out into a song. But a number of my songs have been inspired by other tunes I've heard. I'll hear a couple of notes and the rest of the tune starts coming my way. So this application may be useful for someone like me. smiley
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Deozaan
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2009, 10:48:04 AM »

I just went to download it and found this:

The free trial will work for six hours of actual application use. That’s not six hours from the instant you download it, it’s six hours of you really using Songsmith. If you close Songsmith, minimize Songsmith, or start working in another application, the clock stops. So this is plenty of time to make lots of songs (making songs is quick and easy, we promise!).

and this:

If you've had a great time making music for six hours and want to keep on rocking, you can purchase Songsmith for $29.95 (in the U.S.) or 29 euros (in the EU) at the online Microsoft store. Songsmith is currently only available for purchase in the U.S. and EU, but the free trial version can be downloaded anywhere.
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mouser
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2009, 10:52:19 AM »

Deo, thanks for pointing that out -- i thought it was free.
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justice
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2009, 01:13:08 PM »

just to late for NANY microsoft!
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Curt
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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2009, 01:49:26 PM »

I don't understand why nontroppo wrote what he did. The add is fine,
- considered its an American thing...
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2009, 01:53:28 PM »

I have to say I agree with Curt - I think the ad is truly, cringemakingly, awful in the extreme - but it is still better than some of the stuff put out by MS.

Remember this is a senior exec: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc
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Curt
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« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2009, 01:57:50 PM »

edited

$30

The servers must be heavily burdened, I expect, because right now the download speed is below 20 kbps!

Edit2:
98½ MB; time to complete: 1:27:56 = average download speed: 19.12 KB/s!!!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 05:00:18 PM by Curt » Logged
Curt
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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2009, 06:29:51 PM »

If anyone, other than me, are going to trial this program, it may pay off to first study this Help&HowTo page: http://research.microsoft...jects/songsmith/help.html
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f0dder
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« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2009, 07:42:07 PM »

OK, so the ad is extremely corny and cheesy - that could've been fine, though. But because it doesn't at all show how the stuff works, and the singing is overlaid rather than showing how it sounds/works inside the ad - well, the ad sucks.

The idea is cute though, and if it does something meaningful from your singing, it could be somewhat useful. But I doubt it's going to be used for anything but toying around and making horrible youtube parodies of stuff tongue
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2009, 08:32:40 PM »

Remember "Band in a Box"? This seems similar to that, except this appears to fill in a harmony based on the melody of your voice.
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zridling
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« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2009, 09:20:31 PM »

I feel like killing myself now. Those people have no dignity. Here's how I feel right now after watching that:

Let's see. You sing at Songsmith and it creates horrible muzak to accompany you. I don't care what you say. This is a jump-the-shark moment for Microsoft. I thought the Seinfeld ads were bad, then the 'I'm a PC' ads. But this, this is horrific. The father in the ad is actually one of the developers, Dan Morris. The guy in the coffee shop is another developer, but I don't know his name.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2009, 03:33:53 AM »

Remember "Band in a Box"? This seems similar to that, except this appears to fill in a harmony based on the melody of your voice.

Band in the Box is really quite cool software (and is still being actively developed). It is more like an intelligent loop based based composition system (like Acid) but you don't need to spend a fortune on loops. I bought a copy a while back (and since then there have been 2 new versions with huige numbers of improvements and additions) but only really scratched the surface of what it can do.
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CWuestefeld
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« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2009, 05:35:35 AM »

Band in the Box is really quite cool software (and is still being actively developed). It is more like an intelligent loop based based composition system....
but only really scratched the surface of what it can do.
Yes, I'm fond of it myself.

If you're into this kind of thing and have been around for awhile, you might be familiar with another related piece of software. It was published some 20 years ago for the Atari ST platform. RealTime was revolutionary for its UI on the ST, but it also allowed an easy-to-use method of building music algorithmically in a user-friendly way. I'm proud to say that it was written by my then-roommate Eric, and I had a small hand in writing the copy protection for the product.

I really wish that someone would port RealTime to Windows, or build something similar.
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TheQwerty
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2009, 06:22:39 AM »

I found the "commercial" to be comical and got the feeling that was their intention. 

I think what most people (at least in other parts of the web) don't realize is that this is coming out of Microsoft Research.  It seems clear to me that Songsmith isn't Microsoft's goal, but instead a demo of some underlying technology.  It's almost like someone in R&D made the mistake of showing the tech to someone in marketing who then convinced them to create and sell a more polished version, and the end result is Songsmith.
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CWuestefeld
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« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2009, 09:55:30 AM »

I called that:
Remember "Band in a Box"? This seems similar to that, except this appears to fill in a harmony based on the melody of your voice.

From the web site of PG Software, the folks who make Band in a Box:
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2009, 02:21:58 AM »

Haha, oh come on. It's not bad. Have you guys heard any of the Disney Channel's songs? They're way worse!  tongue

I say give Miley Cyrus SongSmith and I might just tolerate Hannah Montana.
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