Let's Debate... The Big Questions

edited March 3 in General

In just a few months BM3 will celebrate its 2-year anniversary, so I thought this might be a good opportunity to (a) reflect on these first 2 years, (b) look ahead to the future, and (c) debate some of the bigger, more philosophical questions about iOS music and the community.

Important note: To be clear, I would like this thread to become a place for well-thought and reasoned debate, so please take time to read and consider the questions and responses before giving your views.


So to kick things off, here are 5 'big' questions I've been thinking about recently, and would like to discuss out in the open ..

1. What is stopping BM3 taking a stronger position in the iOS DAW market?

Is it the name? Marketing? Learning curve? Missing features?

In my opinion, I'm still genuinely surprised it hasn't completely overtaken less fully-featured iOS DAWs and remains somewhat niche. This is why I've been writing a BM3 user guide/book for the last few months (which I hope to publish ASAP).

2. What does the future hold for iOS music, and how does BeatMaker feature as part of it?

Will iOS production continue to grow, stay as it is now, or decline? Will there be more premium plugins ported going forward (eg Fabfilter) or has this ultimately proven not worth the time and effort?

3. How do we build a stronger community of dedicated fans and help on-board new users most effectively

...

4. Is there anything we can do to address the less positive associations BM3 has (eg "it's only good for making hip hop beats')?

...

5. Does a DAW like BM3 need a more robust payment system (eg subscription) in order to support and fund it's ongoing refinement and development?

...

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Comments

  • edited March 6

    1. What is stopping BM3 taking a stronger position in the iOS DAW market?

    A big problem is due to it being misunderstood as a limited 'loop/pattern based' software rather than a full fledged DAW. I'm constantly seeing people in reddit groups or other forums trying to understand/explain BM3 and they are woefully misinformed. And a majority of them seem to be approaching it from a loop based standpoint and are not aware of it working as a non-linear type of environment. I see it time and time again and it's pretty frustrating. This may be a name thing. But clearly it's lack of information ...or misinformation. And perhaps the people who were aware of Beatmaker 2 aren't aware of the complete overhaul it's undergone in it's current iteration. Also, there aren't a lot of tutorials out there to get people started. I mean nothing past a video or two. It'd be nice if there were a multiple-part series showing potential users how to get started. Intua's own YouTube page is disappointing if that's where you were looking to get your information from. Which is a shame. AND..Lately it seems that potential users are reluctant to get involved for fear of it being 'vaporware' or abandoned as far as updates go. A new thread just popped up in the AudioBus forum discussing this and it has a ton of eyes on it. But you don't see much of an official word from anybody. A lot of the independent devs in there get major props for just hopping in the discussion and talking about whats going on instead of leaving it up to rampant speculation.

    2. What does the future hold for iOS music, and how does BeatMaker feature as part of it?

    I think things look really good for the future of ios/mobile music development. And Beatmaker 3 only stands to become an even bigger player in that market as long as it continues to be a solid and stable environment in which to produce music. The platform of mobile music making is slowly getting more exposure and it's only a matter of time before we see it really accepted by big time producers and artists. One thing I hear talked about is the parity of operating systems ...ios and OSX and the like. And the disparity between the pricing structure between desktop plug-ins and ios plug-ins. I could see that changing quite a bit in the next 5-8 years.

    3. How do we build a stronger community of dedicated fans and help on-board new users most effectively

    Continuing to provide more and better information regarding BM3. This forum is a wealth of information and a great group of people who are always eager to help new users so perhaps it just needs more exposure. New users are going to go online to seek information and they are going to start by hitting up the Intua home page and most likely YouTube. It would be nice to see Intua more actively point people in the direction of the forum if they aren't going to produce videos or create huge marketing pushes themselves. I mean there really should be a video done for every update at the very least. That's pretty commonplace with any tech related companies these days.

    **4. Is there anything we can do to address the less positive associations BM3 has (eg "it's only good for making hip hop beats')? **

    Keep an eye on other forums and sub group pages and when you spot misinformation correct it in a post or two, in a polite and productive manner. Also point people to some of the better produced videos about BM3, especially ones that show lesser known features or cool tips and workarounds. @tk32 's book will be a godsend when it's out and we have to make sure it receives heaps of exposure and is readily available.

    5. Does a DAW like BM3 need a more robust payment system (eg subscription) in order to support and fund it's ongoing refinement and development?

    I think subscriptions specifically really turn people away and they are not looked at in high regard with musicians and users. But if the developers made it clear to the community that continuing upkeep and expansion wasn't possible without literal financial support I'd hope that they would find a way to facilitate that and make us aware of it. I'm confident that the vast majority of users would step up to the plate and help out if there were something like a Patreon set up to further development of BM3.

  • Great post.

    Thanks @BitterGums

  • I think what's holding it back for me is some Beat Warping function. That's it for me for the most part. I think if @mathieugarcia could add that then BM3 could compete with the likes of Ableton.

  • I've been pretty much iOS-only for years and BM3 was something I was anxiously awaiting. And for the most part it delivered on everything I hoped it would, and has been worth far more than the few bucks I paid for it. But as time went on, I ended up leaving it because the "minor" issues I had with it started to become major headaches .

    The first of those issues was stability. I'm just unable to put serious time into an app if I can't trust it not to crash without warning resulting in the loss of significant amounts of work. I'm not interested in getting into a discussion about other apps or how to troubleshoot things. I've found an alternative that doesn't randomly crash on me, so that's what I've gone with now.

    The second issue was the midi-control/routing thing. I rely heavily on external midi control when using apps, and BM3's lack of universal midi learn/assign just became too clunky for my workflow. I was able to live with that given the app's strength, but the radical midi routing change in a .x update really gave me pause. A change that radical and with no added benefit (to how routing was supposed to work initially) really made me worry about the app's development path. Since iOS doesn't really let you keep old versions of apps around I need to have an app that I can feel secure about as far as new features breaking old projects or workflows.

    The third has been batted around endlessly, so forgive me for repeating it again: The lack of developer communication about the app's road-map. I'm not one of those folks that expects a developer to respond to users on a regular basis or provide ETA's on updates, and I don't expect updates that haven't been promised. BUT, because of the stability issues and the radical changes in the last update, I need to to know that these issues are going to be addressed if I'm going to keep investing my time in using the app for serious production work. If I had an idea of where the app was going with respect to those things then I would feel much better about rolling with the punches for the time being.

    TLDR: This is a phenomenal app, but I don't feel secure using it. I'd feel secure using it if the developers would let us know what their plans are and acknowledge the few problems I've encountered with it. I don't feel entitled to new features, updates or ETA's. I got my money's worth. But I'm using something else for now. And the longer I'm using something else, the less likely it is I'll come back to BM3 once (if) the issues I have are addressed.

  • edited March 8

    Thanks for sharing these views @legsmechanical

    I think you gave a very fair and even-handed explanation of your feelings.

    Regarding crashes, I have to say it's been incredibly stable for me lately. But note, I am using a iPad pro (gen2), and I only use AUv3 plugins in my projects.

    Everything else you said, I pretty much agree with - except to say that I've had the chance to speak with Mathieu a few times, and he is a really great guy, but trying to balance all the challenges of life, his career, and all the other struggles normal humans face.

    I know he's working on something though, because he keeps signing off his posts lately with 'stay tuned'.

    Thanks again for taking the time to express your views so maturely (quite a rare thing on the internet!)

  • For what it's worth, I don't think the name/branding is an issue. People who are serious about this stuff will find it, and the market on iOS isn't crowded enough for a major DAW to get lost in the fold.

    And as far as monetization goes, I say charge what it's really worth (well over 50 bucks) and offer a subscription option for the folks who might not know what they're getting into. (There's a music app that does this already, I just can't recall which one). The people who appreciate all this app does will gladly pay what it's actually worth.

    More direct marketing from Intua would probably be helpful as far as making folks aware of all the functionality. And I don't mean a slick commercial with a lot of hip screen shots. I'm thinking a production tutorial series or similar that really shows off the capabilities.

  • @legsmechanical said:

    More direct marketing from Intua would probably be helpful as far as making folks aware of all the functionality. And I don't mean a slick commercial with a lot of hip screen shots. I'm thinking a production tutorial series or similar that really shows off the capabilities.

    YES. this. I talked about this in my response as well. Would love to see this. It's almost an essential part of creating software in this day and age. I've considered doing one but realized that it would greatly benefit from all the information that @tk32 has collected for his book, so looking forward to that.

  • Very interesting read, guys. You know how close we are from our community and how we cherish direct interaction.

    Stay tuned,
    Cheers,
    Mathieu.

  • Thanks for the comment @mathieugarcia

    Consider me well and truly tuned :)

  • 4 and #1 I really have a problem with and want to debate.

    As a guy that’s hip hop heavy with my music, I believe more hip hop producers/beatmakers showcase BM3 than any other genre. Other genres producers/beatmakers need to step up and do more tutorials or more showcasing of the app. I use BM3 to create all types of music and it depends on my mood when I pick up my iPad to make something. Since hip hop is currently the IT genre, of course it makes sense that more people are using any kind of apps, instruments, hardware to create hip hop with so it has nothing to do with the app or name.
    Changing the name at this stage won’t mean anything, people will gravitate to the app based on features and ease of use. A name being a big deal is an old school mentality, Pro tools fell off let’s face it doesn’t matter what it’s associated with and fl studio has been one of the most used DAW in over a decade and continues to be so this changing the name logic is outta here!!! People associate BeatMaker with Hip hop and I don’t know why. Anyone who’s been messing with music for a while knows what’s up and how the meaning changed. A Beat Maker is a person responsible for constructing a beat and melody and that’s for any genre.

  • edited March 8
    1. Beatmaker has a strong position in the IOS DAW market.
    2. IOS is going more and more modular.
    3. You are taking care of that with your book.
    4. Release more music genres.
    5. Subscription and the like is the future for a lot of developers.
  • edited March 8

    1. What is stopping BM3 taking a stronger position in the iOS DAW market?

    Is it the name? Marketing? Learning curve? Missing features?

    I think the mobile market is still mainly geared towards easy/intuitive/simple/'joy me now'. BM3 certainly rewards the time investment of the individual. Perhaps it takes a while for the user to develop their own workflow as BM3 does not impose one (which for me is it's strength in a lot of ways).

    2. What does the future hold for iOS music, and how does BeatMaker feature as part of it?

    Will iOS production continue to grow, stay as it is now, or decline? Will there be more premium plugins ported going forward (eg Fabfilter) or has this ultimately proven not worth the time and effort?

    Looks like FabFilter will be coming out with more... https://www.fabfilter.com/forum/post/2687 (bottom of thread)

    "We're on it!

    Cheers,

    Frederik (FabFilter) — Feb 14, 2019"

    3. How do we build a stronger community of dedicated fans and help on-board new users most effectively

    Some sort of book may help for the readers ;) . Maybe a sticky thread with the best videos on youtube would help?

    4. Is there anything we can do to address the less positive associations BM3 has (eg "it's only good for making hip hop beats')?

    Spin spin, it is the best for hip hop beats! tahdah!

    5. Does a DAW like BM3 need a more robust payment system (eg subscription) in order to support and fund it's ongoing refinement and development?

    I would have to speak to the Intua accountant (after taking four years of business development courses).

    1. What is stopping BM3 taking a stronger position in the iOS DAW market?
      Is it the name? Marketing? Learning curve? Missing features?

    In my current use...it is unstable and iffy at times. I know some of you find it solid and stable somehow...but comparing it to all other daw apps I use on iOS it crashes many times more. The universal iPhone portion never came out which pissed many users off. The updates are kinda not happening much. Marketing is really nowhere near say the akai MPC ...for instance on Instagram even. Learning curve is definitely an issue for a great deal of people, I see this being stated quite a lot. Make the phone version? Make the desktop counterpart? Stabilize the app? Get with someone who wants to make a tutorial video library...maybe pay a person like tubedigga to do something? This is all my personal opinion, yours may differ.

    1. What does the future hold for iOS music, and how does BeatMaker feature as part of it?

    Once IOS and OS X combine, you may see Logic Pro hit the mobile device...the sampler portion of beatmaker3 will still remain useful and dope even in that environment...but I believe the best move would be to port the beatmaker sampler to an AUv3 on both OS X and in iOS! I think people would be down to use the sampler in other apps more than using it standalone, honestly. For instance bm3 sampler loaded into ns2...how great would that be? Or even loaded into garageband? I also think this would make it easier to update, use, and fix. Just keep the scales and keys and arpeggiators and effects but kill off the daw stuff.

    1. How do we build a stronger community of dedicated fans and help on-board new users most effectively

    Be nicer to people when they post a different opinion than your own. I find this to be a forum problem in general though, so it’s not a jab at anyone here at all.

    1. Is there anything we can do to address the less positive associations BM3 has (eg "it's only good for making hip hop beats')?
      Get it in the hands of artists that aren’t associated with one genre and let them make videos promoting it? Who knows honestly? I don’t.

    2. Does a DAW like BM3 need a more robust payment system (eg subscription) in order to support and fund it's ongoing refinement and development?

    I hate the subscription model...as if everyone adopted this..I can only afford so many 9.99 per month things before I am priced outta music altogether. For instance is LPX was 9.99 per month, and so was every plug i used...i’d Be paying well over a grand a month without even touching my iPad...i’ve Been buying hardware just anticipating this trend already. I like to own what I use.

  • Thanks for a very honest and interesting post @MicGee$

  • i myself am against the subscription model mainly because I have bought every pack and paid full price l. I think I have invested well into the future of bm3 and paying upfront also means I own my app and it can’t be taken away from me if I stop the subscription. Raise the price or do a go fund me I’m sure the money will be raised.

    The only thing separating bm3 from other daws is the sampler and library. And truly bm3 is a sampler and I can see a future of the sampler being an au for other daws.

    iOS music is here to stay. That means developers have to be in top of there game or get left behind I believe. As the iPad grows faster and stronger so do the app writers and designers. I believe Intua is leading the way but but everyone is catching up.

  • edited March 10

    The beatmaker3 sampler as an audiounit would be a hit! Im sure of it! I bet you could ask most users and they would be giddy to have that happen! Keep all the good stuff cut the fat, let people use it in their daw of choice! It would also have good potential in the computer realm the same way, id love to have beatmaker3 as a sampler in logic pro or reason! :)

    Id buy it day 1!

  • 1. What is stopping BM3 taking a stronger position in the iOS DAW market?
    Nothing, we're early in the game here. The biggest thing BM3 has to do right now is survive and slowly improve. But to lead the field? Well you would have to look at why people still choose other DAWs I guess: Auria Pro for its mixing console and Fab Filter/PSP tie ins; Cubasis for ease of use and straight forward mobile design; Audio Evolution Mobile for being, well, truly mobile, Toneboosters tie in, regular updates; NS2 for its stability, MIDI editing, UI, built in synth; AUM for ease of use, being modular, floating AUs, loop generation, stability, integration with Audioshare; Stagelight for being cross platform, etc.

    2. What does the future hold for iOS music, and how does BeatMaker feature as part of it?
    I think 5pin is right. It is going more and more modular. MIDI AU space is especially creative right now. There might be some truth in the success of an AU BM3 sampler to help fund the development of the bigger BM3 DAW. BM3 is bigger than iOS though (seriously!). There are too many people saying it nails the MPC pad style on desktop as well as iOS. Lots of potential here. Maybe some more innovation in touch will really step it ahead. Just in time for PC/MAC touchscreens taking over.

    3. How do we build a stronger community of dedicated fans and help on-board new users most effectively?
    Intua need to play a bigger role. Regular emails, new IAP packs, showcases, incremental updates, help promote the beat battles, share a bank type things, sample of the week, spotlight on a new user, collaborations, etc. Get a global angle going, producers in different countries. Do a podcast, Vlog, etc. Get it out there. It would make a huge difference. TK32s book is going to be a major boost as well. Big shout to 5pin as well for all the advice, testing, sharing and being a top community bod in general.

    **4. Is there anything we can do to address the less positive associations BM3 has (eg "it's only good for making hip hop beats')? **
    That will happen with time. Being aligned with hophop is not a bad place to sit to be honest. Easy to branch out from. BM3 is very well placed IMO.

    5. Does a DAW like BM3 need a more robust payment system (eg subscription) in order to support and fund it's ongoing refinement and development?
    Not sure about subscription. It would need more polish and promotion. More regular updates. I think it just needs to stay in the game, keep improving, go cross platform, and it will be a market leader in a potentially major pool.

  • You know what, though? BM3 is already a major achievement so respect to @mathieugarcia and whoever else is involved with Intua for bringing it this far!

  • edited March 10

    Thanks @GusGranite - great post!

    ...and you're absolutely right... the only reason we're even having this debate is because of how much we already cherish and adore BM3.

    If development stopped right now, I'd still be using it for years to come — that's how far ahead I feel it is over the other iOS DAWs. I just want to make sure it can maintain that edge for many more years to come.

    Happy BeatMaking everyone!

  • edited March 11

    At this point given the who knows what/when situation I am just hoping for eventual AU stability and automation improvements

    I get so few crashes using BM3 without AUs but that bloody ‘standard’ seems a mess. Not sure if it is devs not in line or poor apple documentation or flakey OS or , actually don’t give a damn (just want it to work ;) ) but it seems pretty clear that AUs are still a mess in general. It seems like NS2 got around this by forcing macro assignments and disabling AUfx automation? Sigh, not the best solution if that is what it was but heh, I get it, if that was the case.

    Anyway, I spent a good 2.5 months in NS2 and fell in love with it but missed my BM3 tracks + got a 10.5 which allows me to now go through my old BM3 tracks and now mix them with lots of (crashy) AUfx gravy and (buggy) automation, yum yum, reload, yum yum. I figure by the time I am done putting the bow on my BM3 experience and finishing off these tracks, that NS2 will have its audio tracks and AUfx editing and BM3 will be... well who knows, but I do hope for the best and am optimistic. Anyway, feels like the dust could settle over the next year or two on iOS and I may actually seriously evangelize iOS / BM3 / NS2 / AUs as a platform to the desk jockeys that I know but thar be growin’pains yet/yarr.

  • @mathieugarcia Please introduce some sort of beat warping function ala Ableton. Ability to do real time pitch / time stretching to the parts of a sample rather the whole thing would be most excellent. I like BM3 but for the moment I just can't make any jungle on it really. All the best. :smile:

  • @The_Bro - almost all 'Jungle' music predates warping. In fact, there are many great videos on YouTube explaining why warping can do serious transient damage to your breakbeats.

    You really don't need warp to make Jungle/D&B, buddy - just slice and dice.

  • Well to be honest I just find it hard because the beats aren't bang on. I'm use to using Ableton to make jungle. Yes you can adjust the tempo in BM3 but warp markers are way more accurate. :smile:

  • edited March 11

    This is a topic for elsewhere, but warp markers are definitely not required to make 'bang on' beats - just good old-fashioned slicing, finger drumming and midi editing.

    Here's a video (which I posted in a separate thread about warping) that explains why it can be dangerous to apply on drumloops: https://intua.net/forums/index.php?p=/discussion/comment/38565/#Comment_38565

  • Well how about we meet up sometime so you can show me your skills for cutting up breaks in BM3!!!

  • edited March 11

    Yeah @tk32 meet up with the guy and show him. Slice and dice

  • Maybe once the book is ready. All my free time is taken up at the moment ;)

  • Enough is enough, heres a bit of news for you, first jungle beats are always sped up, not timestretched, second you chop jungle beats, you do not warp them, if you are following the excrutiating multitude of clueless Ableton Live tutorials for Jungle, then dont, they are BS.

    If you want me to make you a video for Jungle beats in B3 ask, it really isnt rocket science.

    Also this whole "I cant stretch my beats" BS is really starting to annoy a lot of people, post the video you said ypu would post, or simply put, stop saying it, heres another hint for you, Ableton Live DOES NOT STRETCH OR WARP PARTS OF A SAMPLE, Ableton Live has a UI that "Pretends" to stretch or warp parts of a sample by hiding the slices at each new warp marker.

    Also if you are using warp markers in a beat loop and are claiming they are more accurate than slicing...WTF, WTF pt2, WTF pt3.

    Heres a big question for everybody...
    Why when somebody has a gap in their skillset do they blame their tools rather than learn a way to fill the gap.
    WE ALL want warp markers, that is a given, but it is nit a one feature fix all proposition.

  • And I apologise for having to revert to 5pin 2017, but sometimes stuff has to be straightened out ;)

  • edited March 11

    Waaahh! But I still want to slice and merge clips with automation! :( (Or get a better completely different paradigm that is endorsed by 5pin 2017) ;)

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