Archive for the ‘Music Software’ Category

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Review Sony Acid Pro 7 Digital Audio Workstation

May 13, 2009

Acid debuted over a decade ago and really defined the way so-called “loop music” is produced. From its rather humble beginnings as a simple remixing tool, Acid Pro has matured into a full-blown audio workstation featuring multitrack recording with video sync, a robust MIDI sequencing suite with virtual instrument support, mixdown automation and myriad other production tricks. With all that fully integrated alongside the legendary looping functionality that first made Acid famous, the application is still a staple with DJs, remixers and game-music/video/film post-production houses.

But Acid has had some stiff competition along the way. Programs that once specialized strictly in audio recording, editing, sequencing and mixing stepped into Acid’s kitchen of time stretching, pitch shifting and other loop-music features. In a marketplace where being everything to everybody often makes the difference between a sale and no sale, even the classics have to reinvent themselves to remain relevant.

Acid Pro 7’s look and feel hasn’t changed much, except that the redesigned, dedicated mixer window is sizable, scalable and customizable, offering a view of all tracks and busses not previously possible. Also note the new track switches.

Your New Creative Partner

ACID Pro 7 software is a DAW powerhouse that combines full multitrack recording and mixing, MIDI sequencing, and legendary ACID looping functionality for a seamless music-creation and post-production environment. More creative partner than production tool, ACID Pro 7 software inspires you like nothing else. With its Transparent Technology™ design, ACID Pro 7 software removes typical barriers to the creative workflow so you can effortlessly transform ideas into real results.

Acid Pro 7 - digital audio workstation, multitrack recorders, dj mixing software, music mixing softare, midi software

Professional Multitrack Recording

For uncompromising 24-bit, 192 kHz sound quality production live or in studio, ACID Pro 7 software has an expanded set of features for maximum audio performance. Whether you’re recording your band or creating MIDI-based studio sequences, ACID Pro 7 software is the optimal platform for reliable multitrack recording and production: on-the-fly punch in/out, unlimited tracks for audio and MIDI, control surface support, powerful plug-in processing, and 5.1 surround mixing.

Innovative Loop-Based Music Creation

ACID Pro software has been the leader in loop-based music creation for nearly ten years. Version 7 has all of the core ACID Pro features: automatic pitch and tempo matching, real-time loop previewing, unlimited tracks, and our signature pick/paint/play interface. ACID Pro 7 software also includes over 3,000 Sony Sound Series loops and 1,000 MIDI files so you can start creating music right out of the box. Fundamentals

Comprehensive MIDI Support

Experience unparalleled MIDI sequencing in ACID Pro 7 software, with real time MIDI processing and precise control over MIDI events. All note and controller data can be recorded and edited on the timeline as easily as audio tracks. Use track envelopes to automate and modify modulation, expression, or other types of MIDI controller data over time. Other features let you record multiple tracks of MIDI, apply real time MIDI quantization, perform filtering and processing, create and edit drum patterns, and step record. ACID Pro 7 also includes over 1,000 free MIDI files for music creation. MIDI

Superior Mixing and Editing

ACID Pro 7 software has a dedicated mixing console for a flexible and efficient recording environment. Specify routing, assign audio effects, and use external effects processors with tracks and busses. ACID Pro 7 software also supports control surface automation and channel tracking for devices such as the Mackie Control and Frontier Design TranzPort. Its unique Beatmapper tool makes remixing easy, and the Chopper tool helps you create impressive drum fills, stutters, and DJ-style effects. Mixing and Editing

Professional Effects and Soft Synth Support

Expand your sound palette with native support for VST instruments, as well as VST and DirectX audio plug-ins. Create resonant sweeps, dramatic fades, EQ changes and add effects with parameter automation. ReWire and ASIO support help you smoothly integrate ACID Pro 7 software with your existing studio. Audio Control

Exclusive Quantization Tools

Transform loops and MIDI tracks into fresh, new sounds with our exclusive Groove Mapping and Groove Cloning quantization tools. Change the groove of a track, apply different grooves to the same track, extract a groove from one file and apply it to another, or even create custom grooves. Quantization Tools

Professional Workflow Features

Maximize efficiency with folder tracks and cluster editing to drag, pitch-shift, cut, copy, and paste sections of loops. Use the Clip Pool to choose and arrange events to use in your compositions. Create dramatic or subtle tempo changes using new tempo curves. Deliver projects in nearly any format without leaving the ACID Pro 7 environment. Import and Export Support

Interactive Tutorials New!

ACID Pro 7 software now includes built-in interactive tutorials for step-by-step help. Work along with the tutorials from within your project so you can learn and create at the same time.

Included with ACID Pro 7 software New!

ACID Pro 7 includes software for professional music production and editing, including ACID Pro Effects Rack, powered by iZotope, Garritan Aria for ACID Pro Player, Submersible Music KitCore, and Native Instruments Guitar Combos. Included with ACID Pro 7

Free Loops and Samples

Add to your content library with ACIDplanet.com 8packs. Available as a free download each week, an 8pack is eight loops arranged into a song. ACID Pro registered users can also download free exclusive content using Get Media. Click Get Media on the ACID Pro 7 toolbar for instant access to folders full of royalty-free loops. Get Media
Read a great review at  Remixmag.com
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Propellerheads New Record Software was designed for musicians – not audio engineers.

May 12, 2009

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Propellerhead have a very good standing reputation, and it safe to say their flagship program Reason opened up a lot of doors, for a lot of musicians. Its huge sound bank was, and is something every good musician need in their toolbox. Its layout reasonably (ahem) simple.

It just didn’t record audio! One minor flaw, but quite a big one if your looking for that all-in-one piece of software to ‘record’ you band for instance.

That’s where record steps in. Propellerhead Software’s brand new recording software. Record gives you unlimited audio tracks, world class effects and mixing gear, and a whole new take on music recording. With an intuitive, straightforward interface and a hands-on approach to capturing performances, Record was designed for musicians – not audio engineers. This is recording done right.

Record now – not later.

Recording music is all about seizing the moment. Capturing a perfect performance – or even nailing that idea before it goes away – requires tools that are ready when you are. Record is always ready. Created with musicians in mind, Record lets you create record ready channels in an instant, minimizing the steps between idea and actual recording. The result equals more music – and less dialog boxes. Simply plug in, breathe out and you’re ready to go.

Line 6 in the mix

For guitar and bass players, Record comes installed with separate guitar and bass POD® units from amp and cab simulation experts Line 6 Inc. With bass and guitar amplifiers available for every single track in your Record project, you are never short of interesting tones and timbres. As the Line 6 amplifiers are insert effects and don’t affect the original instrument signal, you are free to change your amplifier and cabinet settings at any point in time – even after laying down your track.

The Record rack

All the instruments, processors and effect units used in a song are housed inside Record’s customizable rack. Any device created is automatically and logically patched into the rack, but if you’re feeling adventurous or need to do some routing of your own, just flip your entire Record rack over and all the cables are all yours!

The Record Effects

Your Record rack can be stacked with an infinite number of reverbs, distortion units, delays, dynamic processors, mastering EQs – everything you need to shape and color your sounds. Click and drag effects straight to the rack, or load any of the expertly crafted patches.

EQ Section

The mixing console features a warm sounding EQ section with high and low pass filters, high and low shelving filters as well as parametric midrange filters. This is where you can add some extra polish to your recordings, and the sound is just fabulous.

Channel Dynamics

Every channel has its own fully featured dynamics section with compressor, gate and expander functions.

Effect Sends

The console has eight dedicated effect sends and each channel’s sends can be set to work pre or post fader. Adding a send effect to the mixer is a two mouseclick affair. Simply right-click in the mixer’s master section and select what effect you want to use. Simple!

Insert effects

Record’s mixer features a clever way to handle insert effects. As explained on the Record page, each track in Record is made up of three components: a sequencer track, an rack device (audio track or mix device) and a mixer channel. In the rack device, you can put all the insert effects you want on your sound, and you can also map controls on the insert effects to the insert section in the mixer. These setups can then be saved as patches for instant recall. Record ships with a large library of ready-made insert patches for a wide array of applications. Reason users will recognize this method from Reason’s combinator, so in essence this is like having a dedicated combinator per mixer channel.

Fader Section

Here’s the control you will find yourself using more than anything else in the mixer. As the name and the picture implies, this is where the faders are and this is also where you set the pan, handle solo and mute. Stereo channels also have a stereo width control.

Master Compressor

The Master compressor is what gives your music that final touch. The legendary dynamics processor it was modeled after is in use in studios all over the world.

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An in depth look an Ableton 8

May 5, 2009

New groove engine

Groove patterns dynamically influence the timing and velocity/volume of audio and MIDI material. This can add life and swing to straight patterns, give a track more drive, or lend a piece an easy, laid-back feeling.

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Live 8 enhances Live’s existing groove power with some important new features:

  • Apply groove patterns to any audio or MIDI clips in real time. Change the feel of the whole piece or just selected clips.
  • Choose from an extensive library of groove patterns, captured from songs played by some of music’s most original, expressive and soulful drummers.
  • Extract groove patterns from any audio or MIDI source to build your own groove library from your favorite tracks.
  • Quantize audio and MIDI in real time: non-destructive velocity and timing adjustments for rhythmic correction.
  • Randomize audio and MIDI timing for a more human feel

New warping engine

Live 8 is the next logical step in warping evolution with a new, more intuitive warping paradigm and some important Warp Mode enhancements.

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  • New, intuitive warping allows you to adjust events on the timeline instead of stretching and squeezing the timeline around the events.
  • Transient handles: Live analyzes and assigns handles to the transients in audio files automatically.
  • Slice by transient: slice audio to MIDI based on Live 8’s new transient analysis.
  • Enhanced Beats Warp Mode for improved warping of percussive material and new control options.
  • Improved Complex Warp Mode using élastique Pro for warping complex, polyphonic material with fewer artifacts.

Looper

Looper brings the creative power of classic sound-on-sound looping to Live, without the limitations of a hardware device. Inspired by some of our favorite sample/delay devices plus a good deal of Ableton wizardry, Looper provides plenty of scope in a super-simple interface.

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  • One-touch operation: Looper is set up for remote operation, so you can record, overdub, undo and more using a single footswitch (not included) and without touching the computer.
  • Endless overdubs, tape-loop style for infinite improv jams.
  • First loop sync: Live reads the tempo from the length of the first loop you record and automatically syncs up. This eliminates timing issues and lets you record without the click.
  • Simple loop management: drag and drop a loop from Looper into a clip slot to make a clip; drag a clip back again to reload it into Looper.
  • Multiple Looper sync lets you run as many Loopers as you want without any synchronization headaches.

New effects

Live 8 includes five powerful new effects, each with a strong personality and serious “classic” potential. These effects add a special Ableton shine to the well-known aspects of these devices, giving you effects that are not only practical and easy to use but also inspiring.

Vocoder: the famous “singing robot” effect. Vocoder is classic vocoding plus advanced, intricate control for flexibility and rich sound design.

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Multiband Dynamics: effective processing plus a refreshing approach to visualizing the dynamics involved lets you really see and hear what’s going on.

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Overdrive: models the circuits found in legendary stompboxes and forms a perfect complement to Saturator and Dynamic Tube.

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Limiter: an effective brick-wall limiter that will keep your peaks in check.

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Frequency Shifter: frequency shifting and ring modulation for flange effects, atonal harmonics and the sound of Fifties science fiction.

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Workflow enhancements

Version 8 makes Live easier with a number of most-wanted enhancements and some deceptively simple detail work.

Crossfades in Arrangement View: This much requested feature gives you real-time, non-destructive crossfades, neatly integrated into Live’s familiar workflow.

crossfades

The enhanced MIDI editor now features step recording, an insert marker and editing improvements.

midi_editor

Group tracks let you group selected tracks (e.g. a group for drum tracks or a group for all backing vocals). Each group works like a separate mix buss with its own effects and routing settings. You can also collapse grouped tracks to preserve screen real estate.

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Multi-parameter manipulation: want to lower the volume of six different tracks? No need any more to adjust six different faders; just select all six tracks and adjust one volume control.

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Magnify the user interface for optimal visibility on dark stages or hi-res screens. Zoom out for the big picture.

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Browser waveform display: Audio and MIDI browser preview now with waveform display and scrubbing for more informed browsing and file selection.

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Plug-in parameters: Improved configuration and control for plug-ins with numerous parameters.

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And many more workflow improvements: Yes, that feature request you sent may well be in there somewhere…

New in Ableton Suite 8

Ableton Suite 8 is a package which gives you a rich world of sound, perfectly complementing the tools and features in Live 8. Suite 8 provides all the instruments a musician could hope for, including a wide range of synths, a powerful sampler, electric and acoustic drums, mallets, numerous sampled instruments: 10 instruments in all. Here’s what’s new in Suite 8.

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The Top 6 New Features of Cubase 5

April 23, 2009

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The new version of Cubase has landed with some pretty impressive new features that will be interesting to both new and seasoned users alike. Let’s take a look at a few ground-breaking features the new version has to offer and see if these latest additions keep Cubase up there with the other big guns.

Step 1 – Loopmash

There are three new rhythm based devices included with Cubase 5 which hugely expand the application’s potential when it comes to constructing your own beats. Two of these instruments are drum programming tools and another is a loop manipulation plug-in.

First we’ll look at ‘Loopmash’ which is obviously the loop based instrument out of the three. Steinberg claim this is a ‘first of its kind, interactive loop synthesizer’. A quick glance at the interface will certainly confirm that Steinberg are trying to introduce a new element into Cubase.

The GUI style is similar to some of the newer instruments and plug-ins we saw introduced in Cubase 4. On loading Loopmash you are presented with eight ‘tracks’, the slots within these tracks are designed to represent slices of loops you load into them.

Loopmash

You can load loops into Loopmash in a few different ways. The instrument supports drag and drop, so samples can simply be dropped onto its interface from either the media bay, the project window or from your system’s desktop or finder. This appears to work very well and load times are quick.

Once multiple loops are loaded, Loopmash will give you an alternative take on your audio by switching different slices from various parts of each loop. Loopmash looks for slices with similar dynamic signatures and plays them in place of others. The result is a brand new groove with endless variation.

The whole thing syncs with Cubase’s master clock, so everything you do here will be locked with your project. There are a good number of presets, with audio loops included to get you started or you can use your own material if you prefer. This certainly looks promising — but is it a useful addition to Cubase or just a loop toy? You decide.

Step 2 – Groove Agent ONE

Moving on we come to ‘Groove Agent ONE’, a bit more of a traditional instrument that looks to be Steinberg’s answer to Logic’s Ultrabeat or possibly a virtual MPC. This is a drum machine with some nice editing features that loads AIF, WAV and MPC formats. Each sound loaded can be edited independently, using the device’s internal filters and other sound processing tools.

Groove Agent has a couple of really nice little tricks up its sleeve, including the ability to span samples across its pads by simply dropping grooves onto its interface. MIDI can be generated the other way too and dropped onto midi tracks in the project window.

Groove Agent ONE

Step 3 – Beat Designer

Working in conjunction with Groove Agent ONE, the new ‘Beat Designer’ is an advanced step sequencing system, allowing you to program beats in true drum machine style.

It’s pretty straightforward and transparent but definitely adds a new slant to programming your beats in Cubase. It comes with loads of preset patterns and the ability to switch between patterns easily using keys on your MIDI keyboard.

Beat Designer

Step 4 – New pitch correction and vocal tools

Most DAWs only provide pretty basic pitch correction tools as standard, if any at all. Steinberg are set to up the ante here with a couple of really tasty pitch based tools. For many this will be one of the most important updates of the lot.

One of the two pitch based updates is called ‘VariAudio’ and is going to prove extremely useful to Cubase users who work with vocals a lot. It is built right into the sample editor and allows the user to edit monophonic audio performances in a very similar way to MIDI.

Steinberg’s new VariAudio

Timing pitch and length can be easily edited by moving colored blocks. The pitch and timing of each section can be quantized as can the pitch of an entire part. Other elements such as vibrato and glide can also be transformed with a few clicks. And all this takes place with next to no artifacts, so your original audio should be left pretty much intact.

Honestly, the whole thing looks amazingly similar to the successful Melodyne products, so this may not be as ground breaking as you may think — but the fact it is built right into the audio editor is the impressive part, and this could become an essential tool for a lot of users. Now all we need is for the other DAW manufacturers to follow suit.

The second pitch based update is a new VST3 plug-in called ‘PitchCorrect’. This is not miles away from pitch correction plug-ins in other DAWs or some third party products you may already own. Saying that, it is a nice processor with a slick interface and an impressive sound. The algorithm is based on Yamaha’s ‘Pitchfix’ technology.

The new PitchCorrect plug-in

Step 5 – New Reverb Plug-in

Although the algorithm based ‘Roomworks’ plug-in was a breath of fresh air to many users, a lot of people have been in need of a high quality convolution reverb for some time. REVerence could very well be the answer to your prayers if this was on your wish-list.

REVerence boasts 70 fresh convolution impulses and realistic natural space simulation from small rooms to huge outdoor environments. This can all be done in stereo or full surround flavors. As you can see the interface is really impressive and shows a picture of the location the impulse was recorded and also gives you a read out of the waveform data.

The newly added REVerence convolution reverb

Step 6 – Automation handling and enhanced media bay

The way Cubase 5 handles automation has been updated with a new automation control panel. This allows intricate control over every aspect of your automation recordings and allows the user to lock certain parameters from being changed. This should prove to be very useful when dealing with high track counts.

The new automation panel makes it easy to home in specific automated parameters

The MediaBay section of Cubase also gets a boost with improvements to its search filter, write protection system and the way search results are displayed.

These are just some of the key elements that have been updated and there are a huge number of other improvements in Cubase 5. Some other interesting things to mention are the upcoming 64 bit version of the application for OS X, and support for Vista’s new WASAPI super low-latency audio driver technology. All of these things should certainly make Cubase 5 a contender for one of the best DAWs of 2009.

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Cubase 5 Features Workshop with Steinberg Part 1

April 8, 2009
Visual Cubase 5

Cubase 5 – Advanced Music Production System

Dolphin Music recently had the opportunity of hosting the Cubase 5 tour. This evening offered  a one off workshop demonstrating the new advanced features of Cubase. Held in the sumptuous surroundings of the Leaf Cafe, Liverpool, we were one of the first to hear of all the exciting new additions to the worlds already most renowned sequencer.

tilttube

Cubase 5 comes with fully integrated new tools for working with loops, beats and vocals, such as LoopMash and VariAudio, combining with new composition features and the first VST3 convolution reverb to take musical creativity to new heights. With stunning innovations and additional enhancements that boost productivity and performance, Cubase 5 represents the absolute cutting edge in digital audio workstations.

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New Features in Cubase 5

Cubase 5 adds even more creative possibilities and new technologies to the world’s premier music production software developed by Steinberg — providing the finest tools to producers, composers and musicians in any musical genre. VariAudio and PitchCorrect provide integrated intonation editing for monophonic vocal recordings. Groove Agent ONE and Beat Designer change the game for beat creation, while the revolutionary LoopMash seamlessly blends loops, creating unimaginable variations. VST Expression tools for composers combine with the first VST3 convolution reverb and improved automation for more dynamic mixes. And an array of additional enhancements and 64-bit technologies boost performance — all designed to inspire further musical creativity and productivity.

Beat Creation and Loop Mangling

Cubase 5 features outstanding new tools for creating beats, generating exciting new rhythms and working with loops.

Vocal Editing and Pitch Correction

Cubase 5 comes with an amazing new toolset for perhaps the most important element in any song: the vocals.

New Dimensions for Your Mix

Cubase 5 has numerous new features that will help you bring new depth to your mix — in more ways than one.

Express Creative Visions

With Cubase 5, Steinberg has innovated even further to offer even more creative compositional tools.

Next-Generation Performance and Faster Workflow

Cubase 5 also includes an array of additional new ways of working faster, with added performance that takes advantage of new technologies.

Further Improvements and Added Value

Cubase 5 comes with redesigned and enhanced features plus many new handy tools and functions, making Cubase even more intuitive to use than ever before.

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Dolphin Music Studio Spotlight: Whitewood Studios

March 25, 2009

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Located in Liverpool’s Elevator buliding (also home to to Dolphin Music) is Whitewood Recordings Studios.

Found located  in one of the cities most vibrant new areas, the Building itself  boasts The Leaf Cafe, numerous  big name artists and musicians alongside the most talked about young acts, graphic designers, software developers and dancers even grace a floor!

All this activity seems to be leading to a valuable asset to Liverpool whilst offering facilites to the artss across a whole spectrum.

Dolphin Music took a snoop around Whitewood Recording Studios and spoke to the two main chaps Robert Whitley and Danny Woodward. We talked pre-amps , the need for outboard equipment and what it takes to make a session smoothly. The live room is spacious and well stocked and their patter is relaxed and welcoming.

http://www.whitewoodrecordingstudio.com

Get in touch if your studio wishes to be inclued in this series of videos media@dolphinmusic.co.uk

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How to run your band..Online!

March 24, 2009
Bandize_sxsw

Think it’s hard writing the perfect pop song? Try keeping track of the number of T-shirts buried in the back of your band’s van.

Bandize, a new web service for musicians that’s currently in closed alpha, gives bands a suite of online tools to manage everything from tour bookings and social networking to mundane tasks like accounting and monitoring merchandise levels.

The five musician/web developers behind Bandize say they are trying to cover all the bases in an attempt to make musicians’ lives easier.

“The main thing we’re doing is all of it,” said Beamer Wilkins at the South by Southwest Music festival trade show last week. Wilkins, 25, and his team have been working on the service for just over a year. In fact, their first focus group to discuss Bandize was held at last year’s SXSW festival.

The overlap between music and technology has never been greater. Virtually every band rocks the internet to promote itself these days, using MySpace, Twitter and other popular services to attract new listeners and keep current fans loyal. A wave of iPhone apps like Gigotron, a winner at this year’s SXSW Interactive Web Awards, make it easier for music lovers to find shows they want to see.

Soon, Bandize will deliver business and communication tools that let bands collaborate more easily as they work to take their careers to the next level. Bandize will go to public beta within six months, according to its founders, and will cost no more than $10 per month per band. (Want to try Bandize now? The first 50 Wired.com readers that use Twitter to request a free trial will be whisked into Bandize’s closed alpha.

Bandize lets bands keep track of tour dates, venues and hotel accommodations, and print out tour itineraries. The inventory-management tool keeps track of every T-shirt or CD that is sold or given away, registering the cost of the swag or the profit from the sale. Bandize lets bands sync their social networking info on MySpace and Pure Volume (Bandize is also working with Facebook), and assign tasks to each other and track productivity.

Every band member gets their own Bandize login, making it easier for anybody to update the data at any time, and accounting data can be exported to popular bookkeeping software.

Scott Hansen, a San Francisco-based electronic musician who records and performs as Tycho, has been using Bandize during the closed alpha. He said it “absolutely” simplifies the music biz.

“My manager works with it handling a lot of the day-to-day, and it’s nice to be able to collaborate in a single space instead of requesting e-mails from him,” Hansen said in an e-mail interview. “Feels more like we’re working on things together now.”

Hansen said he finds Bandize’s novel inventory management system especially useful.

“I sell a lot of T-shirts, so it’s cool to see how much I made on merch at each show I played,” he said.

Other web services, like ReverbNation, help bands make the most of their online marketing and distribution efforts, but don’t offer merch-management tools, even though that’s where some bands make a healthy chunk of their earnings. Meanwhile, software solutions like Indie Band Manager offer powerful tools but don’t offer the easy access, flexibility and collaboration possibilities of an online service.

With offices in Austin and in San Jose, California, Bandize developers are working on an open API to allow for more Web 2.0 functionality, and they’re developing an iPhone app so the bass player, for instance, could update publicity info while riding in the van (if he’s within range of AT&T’s mobile network and not strung out).

Bandize’s Andy Miles says he tracked tour information for his now-defunct band Exit the King using an elaborate system of bookmarks in Safari, but the undertaking required lots of maintenance. He tested Bandize on the road and found it helpful, he said.

“I would like to think it’s kind of the tour-booking hoss,” Miles said.

The musicians who created Bandize seem to have thought of almost everything (although Wired.com has not had a chance to test the service extensively yet). Bandize even has a feature for keeping track of your group’s assets, like guitars, amps and other valuables. Entering the data once means it will be easily accessible online if you need to file a police report if your trailer gets stolen while you’re on the road.

“Can you tell me the serial number on your guitar?” asked Miles. “No.”

The service also lets band members assign tasks to their bandmates. While there’s no guaranteeing the bass player will actually put up the fliers when he’s told to, at least “everybody knows now,” said Bandize’s Ajit D’Sa. “There’s no excuse.”

Possibly the best part of a service aimed at notoriously short-lived bands: Musicians can take all their personal data with them when they join another group, and bands can cut off a crazy lead singer  when they kick him out for sleeping with the drummer’s girlfriend.

“When one guy quits the band, you can shut him out” from your group’s account, Wilkins said.

Source: wired