Ah, the cloud. Right now, over my little corner of the Suffolk countryside, there are huge grey ones emptying their much wanted contents over our currently drought-ridden land. However, there is another cloud. The “computing” cloud. This cloud has been around for some time, in one form or another. We probably use it quite often without even realising. Got a Windows Live SkyDrive? That’s the cloud. Use DropBox? That’s the cloud. Use MobileMe or an Apple iDisk? That’s the cloud. Now Apple have announced their iCloud service and Microsoft are gabbing on about Office 365. It would seem the “cloud” is coming of age with real, tangible benefits.
So, it wouldn’t be long before music making moved into the cloud. Till now, most of us would see the cloud as a useful tool for sharing and storing files and data. Long distance musical collaborations are greatly benefitted by the cloud, sharing files between users. Move your studio around a lot? Shove your data into the cloud and access it anywhere in the world. All very useful stuff.
But how about making music in the cloud? How about your entire studio actually living “up there”?? Seem crazy? Well, apparently not. Naive Solutions have just released the 0.1 Beta of their Online Audio Workstation, Audiosauna. Featuring a sequencer, VA Synth, FM Synth and Sampler, this example of collaborative cloud based music making looks very interesting. It’s early days and whilst the feature set looks very cool, I am waiting to see how it fares amongst the community. My first dabble with it threw up one important issue. I couldn’t play the synths with my controller, having to use the QWERTY keyboard and the latency is going to be a real problem, preventing this from being anything other than a step sequenced package, IMHO.
But don’t get me wrong, this is innovation and I’m all for that. I’m going to be following this one very closely and I reckon many software houses will be too, waiting to see how well it does and how they might benefit from cloud based production.