No More Jobs For Musicians

On a day when the world learned that one of the truly legendary figures of the digital age has passed on, it seems appropriate to acknowledge the role Steve Jobs played, not only in advancing our experience of computing generally, but also in changing how musicians interact with computers…

An Apple A Day

The second ever post I wrote on this blog (way back in 2006) was on the fiery issue of ‘Mac versus PC‘. Whether you love Apple or hate them, you can’t deny their influence, and Jobs was a driving force behind what his company has become today (amongst other things, an entity that has more cash than the US government).

But for music, Apple products have had a profound influence – from the point of view of consumers, the iPod was a breakthrough design that ultimately revolutionised how we listen to music (though it was far from being the first mp3 player).

For music creators, the Mac has always been a popular choice, particularly for live performance. The fact that Apple took the audio components of their MacBooks seriously was greatly appreciated by musicians; CoreAudio has long been a cut above the integrated audio solutions found on PC laptops.

More recently, the advent of the iPad has brought touchscreen music performance to the mainstream – prior to this, touchscreen DAW control was the preserve of those who could afford to splurge a couple of grand on a Dexter or Lemur, as I covered in this MIDI controller post in 2007.

Now, touchscreen music control (on iPad and iPhone) is available for a fraction of the price for the hardware, and a fraction again for the apps, bringing futuristic and customisable interfaces into every bedroom studio.

Hungry and Foolish

So Jobs and Co. have done a lot for pushing the boundaries of how we interact with, and create, music. Will this change after his departure, or will his ethos endure? I suspect (and hope) it will be the latter…


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