The Future of Music is iPad Apps (apparently)

Seeing the details of this set me thinking, I mean thinking a lot. It is quite amazing to me to think about how far mobile music has come in under 5 years. When I started writing this blog it would have seemed laughable to suggest that the future of any kind of music was to be found in a mobile device. A lot has changed.

The other thing that has changed a great deal is that a much wider range of musicians are interested in mobile. It isn’t any more an area for hobbyists and amateurs as it was, but now lots of pro musicians and music companies are getting in on the mobile scene, and that’s a good thing. In fact, lots of the bigger sites and blogs are now talking about mobile on a regular basis which hardly ever happened before.

When I started the blog mobile music was niche and very much for the amateurs (and I include myself in that description). Now there are lots of great sites and blogs providing information on apps, hardware and more. Mobile music is becoming much more professional and much more mainstream.

All this makes me wonder where we should go next with Palm Sounds, what should it be for? I’d really like to hear your views on this. What do you want from Palm Sounds in the future, what do you think it should be for? Is there still a need for it?

All your views are welcome. Clip to Evernote

29 thoughts on “The Future of Music is iPad Apps (apparently)”

  1. I think iPad apps is only part of the future of music – probably eventually only a very small part.

    All the recent hype is not so much indicative of the future as it is developers and corps just cashing in while iron is still hot.

    Something else will come along. It always does.


  2. I agree with Darksound.

    I was attracted to iPad music apps because I never enjoyed mousing over knobs on virtual instruments (or sitting at a desk on my computer while doing it, for that matter).

    The iPad is super fun for me. It takes the “work” out of “workstation” or “workflow.” Because I (like almost all musicians) simply make music for fun, it makes sense that the tools (i.e. toys) I use to have fun with might be different than the tools people use to “work on” music.




  3. I think this stuff not because it's mobile but because it's *touch* and it's small. People like to touch, especially musicians.


  4. first of all, please excuse my horrid spelling i dont have spell check on my ipod…

    Now, I disagree, music is a hoby that mobility can do loads for… just to mane a few:

    – the ability to capture ideas anywhere in a format that is profehinally used (MIDI)
    – virtualizing insturment like synthesizers making them weightless saves time: you dont have to transport all kinds of gear…
    – you can use iphones/ipads as sound banks to preform and buy them almost anywhere if need be
    – thanks to midi: we can use any controller to controll our virtual insturments So we can use profeshinal controllers, allowing all the apps to work with everyone from beginners to pros…

    ect ect…..

    the point im trying to make is that we souldnt overlook this:
    a fairly lange music organization just devoted an event or its own to the ipad. which shows alot of potential for mobile music!

    right when i heard this, i posted an article on my blog right away that i think basically sums it all up:


  5. I read a book by John Cage a number of years ago. I think it was 'Silence..',. Anyhow, IIRC, he witnessed a demonstration where magnetic tape was being used as a audio recording medium for the first time.

    On his drive home,a colleague sleeping in the passenger seat woke just long enough to say 'Music will never be the same again' or something to that effect, and then fell back to sleep.

    That happened close to 60 years ago.


  6. as a developer of audio apps, it's hard to ignore developing for ios devices. with its touch screen and processing power, there are many things these devices can do/be for musicians. that said, i also have a great interest in other areas of any device development regarding audio applications. i find Palm Sounds posts do a great job of informing me in the area of small audio devices and hope it remains so. for now, there is a focus on ios currently but there has also been a focus on NAMM this week. they are just trends. think what Palm Sounds posts would have been like when the first micro-processor became available.


  7. I'd really like to see iPads become more integrated into the laptop music making experience. I want Logic to know that my iPad is attached and sync ReBirth or iElectribe to my Logic track, for example.


  8. Some people many years ago also said “computers are the future of music”… well you know what? People still make music with analog equipment, most even uses guitars, drums and other antiquated instruments. And some other crazier people still record on tapes!!

    The ipad has put tablets in the public eye, and to that I say : bravo! Before, tablets were considered a niche market and most developers wouldn't consider writing software for them because or that. That has changed.

    But to believe the future of music depends only on the iPad is just crazy and shortsighted (especially when its restricted as it is right now). It doesn't mean its not going to be important, but I don't see Moog, Deopfer or Gibson going out of business anytime soon.

    Trent Reznor used a home made analog synth called the Swarmatron on the Social Network soundtrack, I don't think he would've replaced it for an iPad.

    “Mobile music is becoming much more professional and much more mainstream.”

    What about the people who have been using Ableton Live, ProTools or other “professional” softwares on a laptop or a tablet for years? Why are they never considered when it comes to mobile music?

    People seems to forget, every portable electronic devices are “mobile”, including laptops, UMPC's, ipads, and micro/handheld synths, and much more. Being mobile is not only about having a touchscreen.

    And about the future of Palm Sounds? Keep it up, its fun, but I would like to see less news about ipad stands, drawing apps, and other articles that have no relation with music.


  9. > I think iPad apps is only part of > the future of music – probably
    > eventually only a very small part.

    I'm an iPad, Touch and Mac owner and I agree with the above. While the iPad is turning out to be the star right now, Android and other platforms stand to grow as well and more competition can only be good for us musicians.

    I'd like to see more content on musicians using these tools, what they're doing with them, how they're using them, what limitations they're finding. It's not hard to pipe information about new accessories and app updates and I do find that useful, but the production side of things could use some good exposure and unique value to this blog.


  10. When the photocamera was introduced it also was going to be the future,
    replacing everything like painting, drawing etc.

    No need for artists any more, now everyone would be able to (re)produce images themselfs.


  11. Look let's be fair about this, the iPad/iPhone or mobile music making through the 'app' medium which is what we are really talking about will change the way we think about making music forever… In the same was that electrifying the guitar did.
    That's not to day that the iPad will the the next electric guitar, far from it, like wise as the electric guitar revolutionized music it didn't kill the acoustic. Computing has changed and will continue to change music making, but it won't convince me to sell a ms-20 for the ims-20 they are different instruments.

    The mobile 'app based' music making will change how we work, more importantly perhaps how we create ideas. It will also change those who become musicians, I can't play guitar for long enough to get good, I hate blisters this will stop me and so many others from becoming the next Hendrix but I can program beats on by own on the bus, maybe enough to inspire me to explore a new 'glitch techno hip hop industrial ambient trance' scene… Maybe not but for some, oh yeah for some!

    So, palm sounds, keep it going keep following the weird the wonderful and the essential must have tools, maybe just maybe the future will be in one of these reviews that spotty 13 yr old reads and until that day, this is all exciting anticipation!


  12. I think the medium has enormous potential but at the moment it is more the computing power and portability rather than the musical 'feel' that is the advantage. In other words using the recording studio or amp simulating apps have a more immediate use to musicians rather than the sorts of instrument apps that get most of the attention on this site. That is not to say that the new touch-screen ipad instruments that are coming out will not be useful but as with any instrument it takes time, dedication and most of all practice to become proficient and that entails some degree of security that the instrument will still exist after you have spent whatever length of time learning how to play it. Now I guess ipads will exist in future but the number of changes in both the operating system, hardware/connection ability and updates to the apps themselves do not provide the sort of security that you can get if you start to learn a non virtual instrument (for instance, learning to play keyboards, saxophone, drums or guitar). As an illustration I can only point to that recent video of Jordan Rudess (sp?) where he spent 90% of the time on keyboards rather than on his own ipad app.
    I don't want to throw a downer on things but I think the mobile market will remain a niche one – although hopefully an expanding niche.


  13. lets not get into another boring argument about “i wont replace my ( enter fav vintage beast here ) with some software”!
    i do music since 10 years on laptops & now on the ipad, and i'm very happy with that.
    Do we still need palm sounds is kind of the wrong question, but if you want an answer: no, but its a fun read.


  14. Good discussion. I have entered battle with some alleged music professionals at the SoundOnSound forums.. I have expressed (initially ranted, which hasn't helped!) my frustration with the magazines seeming lack of acknowledgement of developments in the world of mobile music making.. if anyone fancies chiming in then please go ahead! The thread is here:

    (started as a NanoStudio thread but has become more about mobile music making in general)


  15. As for Palm Sounds, it has been an invaluable resource for me personally, largely informing me on iOS developments but also keeping abreast of the bigger picture. It is more relevant and important now than ever, so Ashley.. don't even think about winding it up!

    As a resource for new-comers to mobile music (I suppose I really mean mobile phone as much as anything, although today the iPad landed so that has also become directly relevant) – I think things could do with some kind of consolidation or organisation, exactly how I'm unsure though.

    The blog should remain, perhaps as a front-end to a forum that consolidates the information and discussion.. Somehow 😀


  16. Loada rubbish (“The Future of Music is iPad Apps”) – no-one can accurately predict the future. The iPad is a flexible tool with lots of cool apps and some hardware addons that make it useful for making music in certain ways. If you think of it as a very portable computer with touch screen and great battery life, things make more sense.

    Creativity is the key. You can make great music with a few pots, pans, spoons and your voice. You can make great music with a toy keyboard with crappy sound outputs. The medium is not the message.

    I can't think of an example yet where the iPad (without extra hardware) *performs* better than something it is trying to emulate (guitar, drum pad, turntable etc.) but it is *there*, in your bag, by your bed, on your desk, on your sofa etc. My guitar, turntable, mics, drum kit, music PC and keyboards need an entire room. As is often quoted in response to camera envy, “the best camera is the one you have with you.”

    So my iPad, iPhone and iPod don't really replace anything else I've got, but my goodness I enjoy using them and have created more music with them than with any of my other gear.

    Oh, and Palm Sounds rocks. I come here several times a day for new releases, I post a fair amount and have been fortunate to win a few of the competitions :o)


  17. ähm, when i said there's no need for palmsounds anymore i didn't mean give it up! Love the vibe here and that i dont need to create a fake id to join the conversation.


  18. @robman84 “Creativity is the key.”

    You hit the nail on the head. Creativity is missing from so much of the music scene these days. Maybe that is why there is so much focus on retro. Trying to refind the magic.


  19. Okay, there seems to be a lot of negativity about Palm Sounds…

    I would like to respectfully disagree:

    Palm Sounds is a blog about mobile music, the iPad is a Mobile Device, and (for the 2nd time) a large Computer Music blog (Synthtopia) and a 5 time running large music event (The Future of Music event) have predicted the iPad to be the future of music making, Lets not over analyze this!

    Palm Sounds is Awesome, Keep It up Ashley!


  20. @swalker133

    Synthtopia has only reported the event on their blog. They have nothing to do with the event itself.

    And neither Synthtopia or The Future of Music have predicted the iPad to be the future of music making if you read carefully.

    They are simply doing an event/clinic about “The Craft of iPad music making”, just like there are many events/clinics for guitars, music software, synth building, and more…

    But of course, when its comes to Apple, people are all “oooooh omg!! this is the future!! hmmm so happy to be a part of it!!”…

    That said, It should be a nice event. I wonder how the Horrorist uses his iPad. But you guys really got overexcited about what this event is really about. No one is predicting the iPad to be the future of music making, except bloggers.


  21. @swalker133

    Read it again, #3 is actually : Handheld music making becomes the norm

    “handheld devices are going to be more powerful than your current desktop in three or four years, and these devices will become the norm for making electronic music.”

    It does mention the iPad, but its not about the iPad, its about computers getting smaller and in our pocket, which you don't need to be a genius to figure that out.


  22. @swalker133

    its “you're”

    .. you didn't even read the articles, and you're saying I'm over-analytical? I take that as a compliment.


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