Editor's Note: Are You in the Cloud?

May 1, 2011 2:58 PM, By Tom Kenny, Editorial Director


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

You can’t avoid “The Cloud” these days. The phrase is everywhere, from billboards advertising online banking to Amazon’s recently announced and highly publicized music locker. It’s become one of those terms that is in danger of being genericized, like organic, and enters the vernacular with a meaning that strays from the reality. As Wikipedia makes clear, if you are using your local Outlook email, you’re not in the cloud; you’re sending email over the Internet. If you are accessing your Gmail or Yahoo account, you’re in the cloud. Or to paraphrase Larry Ellison of Oracle from a few years ago, the cloud is what they do, but they used to call it the Internet. Maybe they should just change some words in their ads.

The term “Cloud Computing” actually owes its lineage to the telephony industry and the conversion from point-to-point data circuits to VPN services. The concept has been around since the 1960s, and it’s been talked about in academic circles since the mid-’90s. But it’s steamrolling through the consumer entertainment space, and its tentacles have reached into professional audio.

When we started researching The Cloud for our annual May special issue, we found that most of what’s going on is more accurately labeled cloud-based file exchange and storage. There are musician-based sites that include rudimentary mixers and effects in their browser-based apps, allowing artists to collaborate in something approaching real time, but on the professional recording end, we’re still some bandwidth-increases away from true cloud-based recording.

But it is definitely coming. It’s not hard to imagine in the not-too-distant future that a software company, large or small, makes its application available with the download of a track-in-progress, without requiring the app be resident on each host machine. When I walked the NAB floor a few weeks ago and talked up this notion with a few manufacturers, I got the sense from more than one that they, too, have been thinking about it. But their lips were sealed. It will require more bandwidth, and it will require new business models. But it will soon be a viable option.You can count on it.

In the meantime, we found a number of producers and engineers who are using cloud-based services like Dropbox, YouSendIt and Mozy to streamline their workflow and change the way they interact around the world. It’s gone beyond simply leaving a hard drive at home or loading a mix for client approval, and you can read about some of the more compelling services out there in Mike Levine’s feature. And be sure to check out Nashville producer Robert Venable’s approach to songwriting in Google Docs and updating files in Dropbox. It’s inventive, and it’s in the here and now.

And as we consider this an ongoing and ever-improving new means of production, we’re always interested in hearing how you incorporate cloud-based services into your own productions. We will definitely be listening and looking for the next big steps. Email us your cloud-computing techniques at mixeditorial@nbmedia.com.

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95



Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.