The DevOps approach to audio production

In composing, arranging, recording, mixing, and mastering music, there are certain processes that repeat ad infinitum in some fairly consistent ways, with clear time-saving potential especially over the timescales (months & years) that it can take to create a long-playing album. Since my first visit to a studio I’ve been obsessed with templating those repeatable parts of the process that, automated, represent an opportunity to save time for creative folks. So that they can spend more attention on the things that matter: making, joining the dots, trying nonsensical experiments that would otherwise be precluded by the limits on studio time (which is often prohibitively expensive).

Sure, there’s value in constraint during the creative process, so it shouldn’t be assumed that all automation is to be welcomed: indeed Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies” (amongst other creativity prompts) frequently cite the deliberate introduction of obstruction, as a valuable source of inspiration to artists for whom creativity comes too easy. Perhaps they have a world-class environment in which to compose on the most beautifully crafted, sublime-sounding instruments; in this case intentional detuning or flipping everything 180° has generated some of the greatest music ever made. However, for the vast majority of time-poor creatives seeking to claw back whatever precious headspace they can, from the mundane, undifferentiated heavy lifting of any of the following manual processes, I contend DevOps has something to offer:

  • File storage
  • File sharing
  • AI drums
  • AI percussion
  • MIDI simultaneous recording
  • Cathedral pedal simultaneous recording
  • Mapping song structures in a shared document

Looking forward to a series of posts diving into each of these in depth.

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Oli Steadman

Bass/BV @StornowayBand. DataCat @AstraZeneca. Consulting via StoneStreetProductions.