As smartphones and tablets continues to revolutionize the music industry when it comes to ‘create, share and consume’ we are now standing on the brink of the second wave of innovation in music creation. IoT or Internet of Things may well be the next big thing that will push the enevelope in music creation and how we interact with the audience during live performances going forward. IoT is the scenario of everyday objects and devices being connected to the Internet, sharing and receiving data. These ‘things’ are items that you traditionally wouldn’t expect to have an Internet connection—your washing machine, your car, or the street light outside your house. These devices could share data about their surroundings via sensors, or they could be remotely controlled by their users via smartphone apps. Already a couple of years ago when working with introducing the Animoog on a new smartphone platform many intriguing discussions were taking place on how to utilize mobile gadgets both in the creative phase, but also live on stage. Now with things like the Raspberry Pi becoming a broadly used platform alongside Arduino, and new creative tools like the Pocketoperators from Teenage Engineering we can really start to see a shift in music making.
An intriguing example of IoT entering the music space is Prizm. Prizm is the connected device that’s capable of choosing the perfect music to play. As if you are meeting a partner, while interacting with Prizm, it starts learning and remembering your habits, what music you like, when and in which context. In addition, it is capable to recognize who is in the room and also sense the mood in there, to adapt the music according to any situation.
Another good example would be Aumeo. Aumeo has made what may have seemed impossible as it provides a personalized audio experience with its custom-fitted product. Aumeo is a pocket-size device that corrects sound to your personal hearing sensitivity in the audio signal path from your music player (for example, your iPhone) to your ears. As it describes what it does, it “unlocks your best hearing potential so you can hear your favorite tunes the way they were meant to be heard — in all their fullness and richness.”
The latest addition and a major eye-opener in this space is the newly released Connection Kit from Ableton. Connection Kit is a free toolkit for music makers who want to explore the possibilities for interaction between Live and the world around it. If you’ve been looking to use Live with technologies such as Arduino, Lego Mindstorms EV3 and OSC, this set of Max for Live devices provides exactly what you need.
The Pack consists of 11 Max for Live devices: a toolkit for exploration, or to open up in Max and adapt to your own needs. Some devices demonstrate how you can use each protocol to capture different types of data. How about using your webcam to control a synthesizer or perhaps creating a soundscape using weather data from the web or stock market fluctuations, or even turning musical elements into physical actions through motors and servos.
IoT will make a difference going forward and Ableton’s Connection Kit is a strong step in the right direction. Looking at IoT in a broader context several interesting scenarios can be outlined. IoT could be applied by attaching sensors to the backing bands instruments to record performance data (e.g., the strike of drums, the presses of piano keys), which is then streamed over the Internet to the stage of the main performer to control the playing of the same type of instruments. This is very similar to Google’s Universal Orchestra.
IoT could take remote recording a step further. Imagine a particular musical instrument in a specific environment, such as a pipe organ in a famous cathedral, which a producer wants to use in a track. They’re not able to visit the location to record it, however a number of techniques could be applied to allow remote recording to take place. Firstly, MIDI note data could be streamed in real time from the producers’ computer over the Internet to the cathedral to control mechanisms that physically play the organ. The created sound could then be recorded via microphones and streamed back to the producers’ computer.
Pricing and availability
Live 9 Suite and Max for Live users can now download the Connection Kit Pack for free.