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Hip Hop Artists Developing Open Source Beat Making Software

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the drumsticks-are-free dept.

Music 192

First time accepted submitter caseyb89 writes "Beat making software is incredibly expensive, and the high price limits usage to those who can afford it. Two professors at UNC have a dream of allowing all artists access to beat making software, regardless of income level. They are rallying the community on a project to create open source beat making software. The two professors double as DJs and hip hop artists, and they recently spoke at Rio+Social."

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192 comments

Nice Idea (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40452697)

But Hip Hop artists just pirate whatever software they need. The only real expense are decent microphones, mixers, preamps and speakers.

full disclosure: I am a sound engineer living in NC who works with hiphop artists.

Re:Nice Idea (1, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40452751)

But Hip Hop artists just pirate whatever software they need. The only real expense are decent microphones, mixers, preamps and speakers.

full disclosure: I am a sound engineer living in NC who works with hiphop artists.

This.

Though their producers at least make some effort now to reduce their legal exposure by seeking the rights to the sample or knowing just how much they can get away with, rather than blatantly ripping off an drum track from another artist -- lest they end up in court coughing up all of their profits.

Re:Nice Idea (1, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40454705)

I guess actually learning to PLAY the drums and other instruments is totally out of the question, eh?

How in the world did we ever get musical beats....before computer software?

Hmm........

Re:Nice Idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40452755)

I thought hip hop artists just ripped off other peoples beats?

Re:Nice Idea (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40453007)

I thought hip hop artists just ripped off other peoples beats?

Honestly, they're the people, on the receiving end who most embody Marx's "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need", as they need beats, bass tracks, synth riffs, etc. But try to get them to pay for, or even credit the original artist, ah, that's where they become capitalists.

Re:Nice Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40454407)

What's mine is mine. What's yours... We share.

Re:Nice Idea (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about 2 years ago | (#40453523)

I think this is probably true of the entire target market of "beat making" software. Although the markets other than hip-hop won't necessarily bother with decent mics, because you don't need human vocals for techno/house/dubstep/whatever. Or any vocals at all, for that matter. People don't have to go out and record their own samples any more either since there's so many collections out there now.

Please Define (3, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40452787)

"Beat making software."

FWIW, Hydrogen [hydrogen-music.org] is free.

Re:Please Define (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40452819)

Hydrogen is not a pro level piece of software. We tried it, and ended up hiring a drummer instead.

The results are far superior, at least for our style of music.

Re:Please Define (0)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 2 years ago | (#40453117)

In my opinion, a live musician is always preferable to a robot. Rhythm software/drum machines have been around since the 60's at least. Human is better.

Re:Please Define (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453389)

A drum machine can simulate a human by introducing timing errors. Machines excel at this kind of task, and never get tired.

Re:Please Define (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453553)

"Hydrogen is not a pro level piece of software. We tried it, and ended up hiring a drummer instead."

Drummers are dangerous, especially if your amp goes to 11.

Re:Please Define (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40454543)

The results are far superior, at least for our style of music.

A human is alwasy far superior, for any style of music (except maybe techno).

Re:Please Define (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40452837)

Also, LMMS [sourceforge.net].

Re:Please Define (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40452845)

tracker.

what I assume is that they're after is a tracker/voice generator coded by them that they somehow get paid to produce.

anyhow, if you can afford a fucking nintendo ds you can afford a beat making thingy.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjUy8C4iqPM [youtube.com]

but really wtf, they should import some demoscene over there, they got booty & drugs - shouldn't be too hard to coerce people to visit.

Re:Please Define (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40452981)

Fruity Loops.

I'm not even kidding either. It started out as a toy and has evolved into a multi-featured medium-end DAW and is popular among the hip hop community. It's easier to figure out than real products like Cubase or Ableton, which helps it appeal to the hip hop crowd where the most intelligent songs sound like "I'm a big n*gg*r and I like to fuck bitches".

Re:Please Define (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453095)

You are so damned ignorant and racist, it's ridiculous.

Re:Please Define (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453189)

Have you ever listened to 50 Cent? I think that explains it all.

Re:Please Define (1)

amliebsch (724858) | about 2 years ago | (#40453131)

It's FL Studio now, but yeah, it's amazing how powerful it's become. Oh and by the way, free updates for life! Though they do sell harder/better/faster/stronger plugins as well.

Re:Please Define (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about 2 years ago | (#40453471)

FL Studio for iPad requires an expensive gizmo, but it's pretty full-featured for a tablet app.

Re:Please Define (-1, Troll)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#40453191)

"Beat making software."

This just confirms my theory that "Hip Hop" is not a real form of music. No talent is required in it's creation. Soon enough I'll be able to write a script that combine sound samples and replace all human Hip Hop "artists" (depressingly enough I'll probably do this before I master playing the electric guitar).

You can add Electronica, House, Rap and Dubstep to the things that can be automated (probably will in a few years).

Re:Please Define (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453325)

You're missing the important element for selling hip hop - the arrogant thug-life frontman. Without that attitude, you aint gonna sell shit.

Re:Please Define (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#40453469)

You're missing the important element for selling hip hop - the arrogant thug-life frontman. Without that attitude, you aint gonna sell shit.

Arrogant and Thuggish enough for you? [stripes.com]. Just got to program it to say "bitch" instead of "sir" when a person walks by.

Seriously though, we are going to see the emergence of "virtual pop stars" designed by committee to be appeal to as many people as possible appear in the next few years. Electronically produced music makes this goal a hell of a lot easier (a robotic arm that can play the guitar or piano as well as a human is probably a long way off).

Re:Please Define (2)

Stickerboy (61554) | about 2 years ago | (#40454005)

Seriously though, we are going to see the emergence of "virtual pop stars" designed by committee to be appeal to as many people as possible appear in the next few years. Electronically produced music makes this goal a hell of a lot easier (a robotic arm that can play the guitar or piano as well as a human is probably a long way off).

We already have them. Every single aspect of Justin Bieber / Britney Spears / Beyonce's projection in public life has been fabricated, test marketed, and refined down to the microscopic level. Every non-controversy, image makeover, life-changing interview and comeback has been preprogrammed to push the maximum number of buttons to gather the most attention and make the most profit for the entertainment industry celebrity complex. Why develop a computer program to be a virtual pop star when you have living breathing human beings that are more than willing to sell every aspect of themselves already to be one?

Re:Please Define (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about 2 years ago | (#40453591)

There's already software out there to automatically generate beats, or entire songs for that matter if you so desire. I've listened to the output, and it's crap. I love most of the genres you listed (not so into hip-hop though) but I'm not even all that picky about tracks, but the auto-generated stuff I've heard is worthless. But, don't let that discourage you from improving upon it! I imagine it won't get you as many girls as learning the guitar, though.

Re:Please Define (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453675)

When you consider autotune, there's already a lot of automation ;)

Re:Please Define (2)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40453729)

The difference between good hip-hop or electronic music and the bad stuff, is how much care and skill went into it's creation.

You can tell when something was made without any effort, or was automated. Unfortunately stupid teenagers seem to be deaf to the difference.

Re:Please Define (4, Informative)

djlemma (1053860) | about 2 years ago | (#40453717)

They are mostly talking about Reason. [line6.com] It's a software simulator for a bunch of real-life studio hardware that musicians used to have to purchase and hook up and find places to put. So, instead of having to spend $50,000 to outfit a studio with keyboards, synths, patch bays, mixers, effects, compressors, cables, etc., you can simulate it all with Reason for something like $450. But to the people in TFS, this is too much money still, and they would like to make a free equivalent. It's noble, but as others have mentioned there are other options that do not have nearly so polished and authentic sounds and interfaces, but are much cheaper or free.

HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40452797)

It's like disco all over again !! Only by people who can't play, can't keep a tune, and make farm -animal noises !! It truly SUX !!

Re:HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40452903)

Those three impediments alone do not preclude enjoyable music [youtube.com] (which is not meant to imply hip hop is actual music).

Re:HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (1)

seven of five (578993) | about 2 years ago | (#40453113)

Oh, come on, dude! What the world needs now is MORE BEATS! MORE!!!

Re:HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#40453287)

Oh, come on, dude! What the world needs now is MORE BEATS! MORE!!!

Actually it needs more cowbell.

Re:HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (1)

uncanny (954868) | about 2 years ago | (#40453479)

OH, or a program that simulates a cowbell sound!!!

un-tsss-un-tsss-CLANG-un-tsss-un-tsss-CLANG

Re:HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453777)

That would be a really odd meter.

I think you meant something along the lines:
un-tsss-CLANG-tsss-un-tsss-CLANG-tsss

Full disclosure: i'm an amateur producer.

Re:HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 2 years ago | (#40453187)

Every genre has it's good and bad. Listen to modern country music and tell me you don't find it just as shit-tier as hip-hop and I'm calling you a liar. She think's my tractor's sexy! [youtube.com] Yee-fucking-HAW!!!!

Then of course there's The Bieb and Lady Gaga's garbage. And Guns 'n' Roses' and Van Halen's new garbage. And Metallica's garbage. And Skrillex's garbage...

It goes on and on. Hip-hop doesn't have a monopoly on shitty music at all...

Re:HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453537)

I used to laugh at a guy who listened to Conway Twitty (yeah Scott Neilson, you). Older Family Guy cut-aways have brought my laughter to a halt. Good stuff.

Re:HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40453235)

It's like disco all over again !! Only by people who can't play, can't keep a tune, and make farm -animal noises !! It truly SUX !!

It's also for people who are extremely bad at poetry, but want to express themselves and get $$$ anyway.

Re:HIP-HOP ?? SUX !! (1)

chispito (1870390) | about 2 years ago | (#40454439)

>It's also for people who are extremely bad at poetry, but want to express themselves and get $$$ anyway.

There are people who are well paid for good poetry?

LMMS (4, Interesting)

MrSome (2587847) | about 2 years ago | (#40452859)

Is LMMS [sourceforge.net] not good enough?

IMO, that type of music is so generic anymore, I'm surprised some mathematician hasn't created an algorithm to generate hit songs on command.

You know, something like (BPM / Key + Attractiveness of Prospective Performer) = $$$

Re:LMMS (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 years ago | (#40453713)

...IMO, that type of music is so generic anymore, I'm surprised some mathematician hasn't created an algorithm to generate hit songs on command...

I don't need an algorithm to tell me Autotune is the one who should be taking credit for the singing today, not the prepubescent pretty face on stage taking dancing lessons who can't sing for shit.

Re:LMMS (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 2 years ago | (#40454123)

I don't need an algorithm to tell me Autotune is the one who should be taking credit for the singing today, not the prepubescent pretty face on stage taking dancing lessons who can't sing for shit.
I always thought it would be fun to run Autotune in reverse: take a completely synthesized voice (Siri singing Led Zep's greatest hits), let De-Autotune (TM) screw it up, and run the audio equivalent of the Turing Test on the output.

Vocaloid (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40454897)

take a completely synthesized voice (Siri singing Led Zep's greatest hits), let De-Autotune (TM) screw it up, and run the audio equivalent of the Turing Test on the output.

They did that. It was called Vocaloid, and it created a monster [youtube.com].

Re:LMMS (1)

Wandering Voice (2267950) | about 2 years ago | (#40454189)

Ive explored LMMS a little and its a great tool, but it is not very stable on my system. Though, I am happy to see that there are regular updates to the software and it is always improving.

While it unfortunate that like many popular genres of music a lot of crap floats to the surface, but there are always a few gems to be found.

No, it is not. (3, Interesting)

logicassasin (318009) | about 2 years ago | (#40454295)

I've struggled with LMMS for years. I give a try quite often and the end result is torturous. It tries hard to be FL Studio, but "different" but lacks so much that making anything is just entirely too awkward. I've considered contributing to the project but simply don't have the time to invest in it.

I stick with FL Studio and Cubase for my hip hop work (with ProTools M-Powered strictly to send out sessions to studios).

Re:LMMS (1)

wukka (1319367) | about 2 years ago | (#40454333)

LMMS is cool but will blow minds. Maybe a "Music for Dummies" type iPad app, with big fluffy teletubby buttons. Mother Goose can help, when they get stuck with their silly rhymes.

SoundTracker/NoiseTracker (2)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 years ago | (#40452977)

Didn't we make beats in NoiseTracker (remember Mahoney & Kaktus) on the Amiga back in the late 80s? So the sound sucks by today's standards, but the software was simple to use and free. Why would today's "beat making software" be so expensive?

Re:SoundTracker/NoiseTracker (1)

six025 (714064) | about 2 years ago | (#40454233)

Didn't we make beats in NoiseTracker

The source code for NoiseTracker was used as the basis for Renoise [wikipedia.org], which is cross-platform including Linux, but not free. It's a reasonably popular host for composing songs / beats that obviously appeals to a fairly specific group of users due to it's tracker heritage. Most musicians prefer the piano roll for editing MIDI, which is used in most other hosts including Cubase, Ableton Live and Logic (none of which are available for Linux, and Logic is only available on Mac).

As for the cost: Renoise [renoise.com] is around EUR 60.00. Reaper is a similar price for a non-commercial license, but only runs on Linux using Wine. The "high-end" or industry standard hosts cost considerably more. Although the price of Logic was recently reduced to $199 - which is a bargain - Cubase is more expensive, as is Ableton Live which can cost up to $800 depending on how much content is included.

Why aren't there more hosts available for Linux? It's about the plugins - similar to video editing suites, there is an ecosystem of audio plugin instrument and effects developers, and the users who have invested heavily in these plugins. The plugins adhere to specific standards (VST, AU and RTAS mainly) so developing for Linux is just not very cost effective for most of these developers, and users are generally unwilling to change to Linux because the plugins they own are not supported.

Also, the VST [wikipedia.org] SDK (supported by most audio hosts on Mac and Win with a few notable exceptions) needs to be licensed from Steinberg (they also develop the main VST host Cubase). It is possible to use VST plugins on Linux, but it requires a reasonable amount of technical skill to do - and one must download and build the SDK, which is not strictly legal.

Peace,
Andy.

Bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453015)

Beat making software is incredibly expensive? There are plenty of low-cost recording and beat making tools available. Even the pricier ones often have an entry-level version with features pruned.

riaa will try to shut them down better have a big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453023)

riaa will try to shut them down better have a big legal fund

Re:riaa will try to shut them down better have a b (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40453255)

riaa will try to shut them down better have a big legal fund

Why would RIAA do that? They love people creating the stuff, as long as they get a cut of the action.

Why? (3, Interesting)

zmooc (33175) | about 2 years ago | (#40453049)

Why the hell does this make slashdot?! So we have people with a dream and they are calling for others to help them... Why would anybody do that if they could just as easily help the guys behind great stuff like Ardour, LMMS, Rosegarden, Miep, Hydrogen and the many other applications that aim to do somewhat exactly what these people dream of?!

Why don't these dreamy people join any of the existing projects?

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40453845)

Because those programs you mention are tuned towards actual composition, not hip-hop "beats" creation.

(translation: too complicated)

already been done! (1)

uncanny (954868) | about 2 years ago | (#40453059)

It's called a drum. That's what keeps the beat in music. It's open source too, just have to buy a little hardware.

Re:already been done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453217)

This is the greatest post ever. Music is about moving air, and a silicon chip just isn't the same thing.

You should feel what you're playing as a force in the room.

Re:already been done! (1, Insightful)

lisaparratt (752068) | about 2 years ago | (#40453503)

If you think a silicon chip can't do that, you've clearly never been to a techno party.

Re:already been done! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40454591)

I think you're confusing 'the music' doing that with 'the extacsy'.

Re:already been done! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40453277)

It's called a drum. That's what keeps the beat in music. It's open source too, just have to buy a little hardware.

The most original and impressive drum album ever - Drums of Passion [wikipedia.org] Stop playing around with Hip Hop and learn to compose and play like this and you will be legend.

Re:already been done! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#40453813)

A famous guy once said something similar about the paino: "There;s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself."

Open Source == FAIL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453077)

Face it folks "open source" is the BANE OF DEATH for any software project. It only attracts mediocre software developers, idiots who believe in myths like "access to source makes all bugs shallow" or some other pathetic non-sense. Open source is particularly TERRIBLE when it tries to compete directly with closed source. Just look at how terrible Lin-sux is compared to even Windows, let alone OS X, two state of the art CLOSED source operating systems that wipe the floor with Lin-sux across the board, from performance to security and usability, open source is a recipe for failure. Another great example is "the GIMP", the retards who work on it CONSTANTLY harp about how much better than Photoshop it is, and yet not a single person with any skill in graphics manipulation uses it. Another great example of how open source brings nothing but failure. If these people want to be successful the ONLY way to do so in the software world is to use a PROVEN model of software development: closed source commercial software. No doubt there is a reason why beat making software costs so much, with a "free" software you always get EXACTLY what you pay for: UTTER CRAP.

Think different.
Think BETTER.
Think Apple!

Re:Open Source == FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453211)

You've gone so far beyond full-retarded that it would take the light from full-retarded a thousand years to reach you.

Think different.
Think STUPID.
Think A/C!

Re:Open Source == FAIL (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#40453243)

It depends. How about projects like PuTTY, OpenTTD, TrueCrypt, Mozilla Firefox, etc? They are quite polished software. I agree with the quality assurance of Linux desktops being in a bit sad state, but OSS in general is not necessarily the way to doom.

Re:Open Source == FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453399)

What about those projects? They all basically all irrelevant, as they have tiny user bases and almost no one has even heard of them or bother to use them. In the case of Firefox it has millions of users, but the software development is PAID for by Google with advertising. Plus it sucks compared to Safari, Chrome and even IE 10. If you are trying to argue that open source doesn't suck, you have sadly failed, just like open source.

Re:Open Source == FAIL (1)

brainzach (2032950) | about 2 years ago | (#40454143)

Open Source works better for some types of software more than others.

Audio software requires using audio engineers and guys who know a lot if math if you want to produce something that can be used professionally. This isn't the type of tasks that the average programmer can tackle.

Holy crap, you are stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453347)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_(operating_system) [wikipedia.org]

"It is composed of code developed by Apple, as well as code derived from NeXTSTEP, BSD, and other free software projects."

https://developer.apple.com/opensource/index.html [apple.com]

"Apple, the first major computer company to make Open Source development
a key part of its software strategy, continues to use and release significant
quantities of open source software."

Their 'first' statement is questionable, but does nothing for your argument either way pilgrim.

Re:Holy crap, you are stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453905)

As a Mac user, I'm happy that you put that moron in its place. I don't want to be associated with idiots who think OS X is immune to trojans, that closed source is the way to go for everything and that Mac users buy a Mac for some kind of social status symbol.

Re:Open Source == FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40454147)

http://youtu.be/FvcJqcUlYTo

Grumpy old troll, go back under your bridge.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453085)

You can't make decent hip hop without an SP-1200 anyway.

No, this can't be emulated because it has analog SSM filters that have been out of production since the mid 90's.

Not even close to true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453171)

"Beat making software is incredibly expensive, and the high price limits usage to those who can afford it and have no creativity, musical ability, talent or way to research making beats."

OK, so I added the last few words to the quote, but they needed to be said. Anyone who wants to make beats can make them. You don't need Reason 6 to do so. You only need Reason 6 if you want to make a beat of a certain type/quality a certain way entirely on a computer and expend nearly no effort whatsoever on making a (usually trite, overdone and horrible) beat.

"Two professors at UNC have a dream of allowing all artists access to beat making software, regardless of income level"

Everyone has always been able to make beats, regardless of income level. There exists a lot of cheap/free beat making software. Tons of beat making hardware is available cheaply on the used market, too. Artists have recorded beats using all sorts of equipment, devices, software and sometimes using objects that aren't even instruments. It's not difficult. The only thing they want to do is make software with the Reason 6 style interface to create beats. This is not ground breaking or world changing, it's not really helping anyone but those who want Reason 6 but don't want to pay for or pirate it.

Look, I'm all for an open source beat making project. But the way they paint this is just plain insulting and ignorant.

Its a little too broad to say "beat making" soft.. (1)

Romxero (1117329) | about 2 years ago | (#40453231)

These days when people want beat making software, they usually want something that will sequence drums, come with sampled instruments, record tracks and have effects all in one package. Of course regular DAW software like Cubase will do this, but from my observation- DJ's along with novices want something simplistic so they can psuedo-produce pieces in a minute amount of time. So to sum this up ~ Beat making software = easy software for dj's and non professionals. As for making beats with open source software, its awesome. I've personally made some tunes with the linuxsampler that you can check out at: http://www.youtube.com/romxero [youtube.com]

linuxsampler dropped the ball (4, Insightful)

akirapill (1137883) | about 2 years ago | (#40453297)

The centerpiece of any hip hop studio is the sampler. There exists a very high quality open source sampler called linuxsampler [linuxsampler.org] but they are not included in any mainstream linux repos because of their bone-headed, legally invalid licence. So you have to build it from source, a painful process that I've never been able to do in under 2 hours. There is a lot of high quality foss studio software out there, but as long as developers keep dropping the ball like this we're going to see more reinventing of the wheel like this and not a lot of progress. An excellent foss program for beat-making I would recommend is qtractor [sourceforge.net], but it does not come with a sampler.

Stolen code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453313)

I'm sure that they stole--oh, excuse me, "sampled"--the code from somewhere else.

BULLSHIT (0)

jsepeta (412566) | about 2 years ago | (#40453445)

Beat making software is FREE or near-free. Audacity doesn't cost a dime. Paying to clear samples, well that's a topic for another article. As far as making your own sounds, there are tons of free and inexpensive software synths, and free or inexpensive WAV collections (samples or loops). I own a bunch of $2-$5 beat making apps for my iPhone. Native Instruments iMaschine costs $5 and allows you to sample and compose songs using your own recordings/samples. I'm not sure that 'beat making' needs to be much cheaper, although I applaud the effort to design open source solutions.
http://www.native-instruments.com/#/products/producer/imaschine/ [native-instruments.com]

As far as recording songs and producing high-quality finished product, there are of course expensive DAW options (ProTools, Cubase, Logic, Sonar, Digital Performer) and less expensive options (Reaper, Ardour -- hey, time to figure out how it works _is_ money). Free options include Garageband, which is pretty damned good, and the new Presonus Studio One Free, which I have yet to try. Why something special has to be created specifically for hiphop? That doesn't make sense.

Re:BULLSHIT (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about 2 years ago | (#40453999)

As mentioned in TFA, they already use Audacity. I don't know if you've ever tried to make music with just Audacity, but if not let me save you the trouble. It's not the right tool.. it's a waveform editor. Funny enough, of all the studio software you listed, the one they're actually trying to replicate wasn't mentioned- Reason. These people aren't needing strong multitrack recording and mixing ability, they need good software synths tied together into a nice interface.

Of course, they could suck it up and deal with the somewhat less expensive FruityLoops, but still we're talking about hundreds of dollars. Or I guess they could try to mishmash together a bunch of iPhone apps and random software synths, but that's not very cohesive, and would still add up quickly if you were trying to get as much functionality as Reason.

As mentioned by one of the first posters- I think a lot of the actual indy hip-hop artists just pirate the software they want to use, maybe purchase it later if they come onto some cash.. but the people in TFA are academics wanting to use the software in an academic environment, and 20 seats of Reason is like $9000.

Hydrogen Drum Machine (1)

skywatcher2501 (1608209) | about 2 years ago | (#40453457)

And what about the Hydrogen drum machine software, isn't that what they would aim for? So, why reinventing the wheel?

But admittedly I'm not an audio professional so maybe all this free/opensource software is missing key features I don't know about, which only commercial tools are providing so far...

What??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453467)

"incredibly expensive"

WTF??? I mean seriously, what is this shit?

Renoise is 58 euro, Reaper is $60, FL Studio Express is $39 for fuck's sake! All of those are full-featured digital audio workstations.

Its not the beats, Dre... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453481)

Eminem: Cmon dawg im not feelin this
Dr Dre: Im trying em give me a second,
Legendary Bruce Dickenson: You need more cowbell, dammit!!
Eminem: Yeah thats what im talking about Bruce. Give me more of that motha fuckin' cowbell!!

YOU ONLY GET ONE SHOT *ding* DO NOT MISS YOUR CHANCE TO BLOW *ding* THIS OPPORTUNITY COMES ONCE IN A LIFETIME *ding ding ding*

Really? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40453509)

Did they even look? Rosegarden does exactly what they are after... There is even a OSS version of Fruity Loops.

Ridiculously expensive? I think not. (2)

Yoozer (1055188) | about 2 years ago | (#40453653)

Good luck with yet another DAW. Thing is, this is nonsense - making music never has been cheaper, and the price is still dropping.

$60 for Reaper and a slew of free as in beer plugins is not ridiculously expensive, and Reaper's anything but crippled.

Re:Ridiculously expensive? I think not. (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#40454423)

Good luck with yet another DAW

Digital Audio Workstation. Solving the world energy crisis one unnecessary Google search at a time!

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453681)

as some others have pointed out, "Beat making software" is not incredibly expensive.

there is a ton of other free and/or cheap music software out there. even entire linux distros like pure:dyne...i'd go so far as to say that, especially considering how much music software is pirated (which i believe the music software industry tolerates to a greater extent than most, altho no proper evidence for this), making beats is one of the cheapest computer-based creative activities around. you don't need lots of ram or gpu action either.

at least in the uk, loads of classic urban/beat-driven music over the last ten years was made with fruityloops (now fl studio) or even those music games on a playstation. not to mention that pretty much all tracker software is free, or all the "chiptune" software which all runs on old and usually very cheap gear. heck, ppl who were making music in the late 90s might even remember that the early versions of Pro Tools (w/out the hardware) were free!!?!

reading the article, the professors specifically chose to use software that retails for over 400EUR for their "beat making lab" class and this project was born out of frustration with the pricetag. perhaps a reason for the price is that this particular software's interface emulates a rack of 'real' outboard gear, complete with fake patch cords that you drag around the screen? i suppose 400EUR must seem like a good deal compared to buying all those analog synths and compressors...

anyway they are correct that there is no open source software which is an exact 1-to-1 replacement for the software they use for their class, and i say good on them for wanting to code something. but what they're doing seems redundant - they could have used less expensive (and probably more interesting) software to start with. then again i guess they wouldn't have been invited to rio to give their pitch!

As expected... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453811)

TFA mentions they use open-source Audacity along with closed-source/for-profit Reason. Predictably enough they want an open-source alternative to Reason - I figured it would be that, or Pro Tools, or Live, or one of the other standard closed-source music platforms.

That's because a lot of money has gone into making those tools stable, capable, and good-sounding. You can argue any one of those points, and there are lots of legitimate gripes with DRM schemes, but generally the music software that costs something outperforms the stuff that's free.

I've used all three of the apps mentioned but neither purchased nor pirated them, and I haven't spent money on *any* music software in over 5 years. I'm fine with the free stuff personally.

I can understand why you'd want a free alternative especially in a teaching setting, if only to avoid the registration hassles, but I don't think they realize you can't just shout "open source it!" and magically have a free version that's actually comparable.

Professors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453927)

Both these guys have their PhD? What is their area of study?

Two professors at UNC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40453951)

Figures...

UNCe UNCe UNCe UNCe UNCe UNCe UNCe UNCe UNCe UNCe UNCe

They've got a nice beat going already.

Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40454529)

Want to see slashdot at it's most closed minded with one hell of a holier than thou attitude, post about music.

Music software is NOT expensive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40454563)

Fruity Loops and Renoise are incredibly cheap and are also extremely powerful. Look to older tracker software for simple and effective beat loops as well. It's well-covered ground. What the hip-hop industry needs is TALENT and to PUT THE GODDAMN AUTO TUNE AWAY ALREADY. I remember a few years ago everyone was using or biting off of the Neptunes. Seriously, the problem is that the industry is full of people grabbing at cash and very few of them are actually artistically inspired in some unique and original way. And it's not really just the hip-hop industry, it's pretty much across the board.

garageband?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40454785)

LOL what???
GarageBand costs like $40 and comes pre-installed *free* on every single Macintosh.

and yeah you can make hella sick beats using just garageband and some imagination.
damn.

It ain't all bad (2)

Trentus (1017602) | about 2 years ago | (#40454805)

A lot of the comments have been hating on hip-hop, and well, I can't say I blame them. Most of the stuff you hear is just the same old shit. Some boring harmony over a lifeless beat and some lyrics that are so dishonest that it's almost offensive. But then you get some people who take hip-hop and turn it into something wonderful.

There are/were quite a few jazz guys who are taking the chill groove of hip-hop and fusing it with jazz, adding beautiful harmonies and some honest expression. In the 90's there was Branford Marsalis and his group Buckshot LeFonque who mixed jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock and pop. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band fuse the New Orleans brass band sound with just about everything they encounter, including hip-hop (probably best heard on their album What's Going On?). Trumpeter Roy Hargrove has The RH Factor, who deal in a dirty club type of groove.

Then there are guys like Robert Glasper or Jason Lindner who seem to play a more modern jazz with a heavy hip-hop influence. More adventurous harmonic and rhythmic devices, more of an improvised nature, generally smaller groups, but still with that same spacious and cool feel, played in a way that someone could rap over top.

If you think you hate hip-hop but love beautiful, honest music then I implore you to check out some of these groups. They may spark an interest in the genre that will lead you to search for more... of course, when you come across some guy singing about his drugs, money and women, it's perfectly fine to politely tell him to fuck off. Just don't let those arseholes stop you from listening to good music, whatever genre they happen to be polluting.

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