The Null Device

Garageband Nation

Since Apple released Garageband, amateur musicians of various levels of talent have been taking to it like the proverbial waterfowl to its element. Whether this is a good or bad thing, though, depends on whom you ask:
"The amount of creative energy that GarageBand is creating is staggering," said musician and producer Chris Bell. "Apple has created a monster.... As a pro musician/producer, I love this app. It puts the fun back into creating. I'm amazed."
"GarageBand is snoozeware for the iPod generation who think that music comes in a small white-and-chrome can and only need be served lukewarm for public consumption,"

Meanwhile, sites like MacJams and iCompositions, allowing Garageband users to share their masterpieces with each other and/or the general public, have been popping up, whilst others give away free loops in exchange for marketing info.

I think it's, for the most part, a good thing, like any creativity explosion (think the zine explosion that followed the availability of cheap photocopying, for example). True, most Garageband output will be derivative, uninspiring or simply crap (much as, say, most tracks were), but there will be inspired works coming out of it. And for every piece of above-average pop/dance/booty-bass to emerge from the Garageband explosion, there'll probably be one piece of irredemably weird outsider art, or something that takes the pre-packaged cliché elements of popular genres and repurposes them in unusual ways.

There are 3 comments on "Garageband Nation":

Posted by: Ed Mon Feb 9 19:31:42 2004

well, Windows users have had sonicfoundry (now sony) ACID for quite a while (there's even a light version you can download for free), and it's interesting to note how garageband all of a sudden seems like an 'explosion of creative energy'.

another proof the 'creative elite' is mac-centric, while the PC is some sort of blue-collar, lower middle class computer?

Posted by: gjw Tue Feb 10 03:11:02 2004

Exactly, Ed:

Although I'm loath to stamp on any creative musical fashion, I am wondering why an essentially crippled, feature-lacking program can inspire such interest - maybe the strict form it forces you to work within provides a framework for creativity. But, as one commenter on the above link pointed out: "Will drag and drop music made by the musically unskilled with a Mac be any different than drag and drop music made by the musically unskilled with a PC?"

Posted by: Jean Fri Feb 13 02:15:56 2004

Thanks for the link. Even though GB might be "crippled", I am interested in it because it has already proved itself to be a way in for thousands of people who might never have otherwise considered making their own music. When Windows comes bundled with a repackaged version of ACID, instead of just with a prettified jukebox (Windows Media Player), it will inspire an equal amount of interest in me! And I'm a Windows user.