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Show HN: Customizable music loops for videos, games, podcasts (awsm.st)
8 points by thngs 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 3 comments





I built this web app that lets you customise background music loops within a set. You can switch different instruments on and off, set volume levels, set the length and download. All the tracks in a set work together but different combinations can change a piece from light and happy to dramatic and angry to wistful and relaxed.

It's primarily for video background music but it also works for games where you need lots of variations of tracks that work together to smoothly change with the game's mood and atmosphere.


There are examples of very different tracks built from the same set in this blog post: https://thingsinjars.com/post/497/harmonious-studio/

This project is super interesting to me for a variety of reasons and I spent a few minutes playing around with it--and have some thoughts, feelings and opinions as a result. :)

Too many to get fully into now but here's a few roughly expressed:

* Do people who want background music want as much control over individual instruments as this provides or is it too overwhelming?

* Do the target audience have the necessary skill/experience/desire to be able to manipulate the music at the level of control provided to get the result they want?

* Do people want higher level less detailed control over the feel of a piece of music? e.g. "more exciting", "more dramatic", "slower", "less repetitive", "less in-your-face"?

* Would people want to chain some mix variations together to provide a single longer, less repetitive sequence?

* Is it more effective for the original artist to provide variations on a piece or selected "mixes" and people choose one of those rather than manipulating individual instruments themselves?

* What if individual instrument volume or selection were chosen randomly after pressing a "give me something different" button?

* What if individual instrument volume or selection were chosen by a method that used some "intelligence" to set values rather than completely random?

* Rather than starting with a silent mix, it felt better to start with a playing mix (from the side bar) that I could then alter. (Similar to a great GDC talk I saw from someone involved in Spore, I think, who said they intentionally didn't present a "blank page" in a design tool, in order to help people get started.)

* After being used to more of a vertical channel mixing desk layout the horizontal/grid volume control layout felt weird to me.

* Design-wise it feels/looks a bit "dated"/busy/cramped to me.

FWIW my most satisfying mix was based on "Organ Or Not". (Also, I think that being able to generate a URL to save mix settings without having to create account/login would be nicer experience--and also would've meant I could've shared the mix with you here. :) )

I have a general interest in music composition, code, user experience and dynamic music which is part of the reason for my interest in your project.

Now, I'm no investor but to me, this project seems like something that seems like it might have a potential market for it because there's already an existing market/demand for pre-composed background music.

My key question though would be "do people want this much control over the mix"?

FWIW my suggestion would be to:

* Get this in front of as many people from your target (end purchaser) audience as possible and find out if it actually serves their need. My gut feeling is that it provides too much control for most people to be comfortable with.

* Investigate other dynamic music products/services to find out what's working and what's not.

* Look at other "consumer" orientated products that enable manipulation of media that previously required a professional. e.g. photo manipulation software, everything from Photoshop's "Variations" tool (see: http://www.graphic-design.com/Photoshop/color_cast/figure_3-... via http://www.graphic-design.com/Photoshop/color_cast/) to "Red Eye" reduction or "Magic" fix options in iPhoto or similar. Essentially how can you help people explore a "solution space" to get the result they want?

It's definitely a cool tool with lots of possibilities technically but even if you got everything about it right as a tool, I can still see a risk that it might not be solving the actual problem people want to (pay to) have solved.

Good luck! :)

Oh! Just thought, also check out DropMix by Harmonix/Hasbro: https://www.geek.com/games/dropmix-is-the-crown-jewel-of-har...

Particularly these reviews/posts from Penny Arcade and note about how it makes the (non-musician) players feel: https://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2017/09/25/men-of-dis... https://www.penny-arcade.com/news/post/2017/10/11/bifurcator




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