The Sky’s The Limit: Cloud Computing for Multimedia Artists


Cloud computing is a term used to describe data and applications which are stored in a “cloud” of web servers and accessed via the internet rather than being drawn from your desktop computer. The concept is steadily gaining in popularity amongst business professionals seeking to streamline their infrastructures and potentially save some money. Benefits of moving to this type of system include no longer requiring an IT team to maintain proper operation and no longer having to invest in costly hardware and software solutions. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are amongst the many companies planning on delivering information and applications in this manner.

While pondering the ramifications of this paradigm shift for the corporate world, I began to wonder how it might impact the work flows of creative types as well. Could producers of multimedia content hope to harness this potential and reap similar rewards? A quick consulting of my technology trends Magic-8-Ball revealed that we may indeed keep our eyes open for interesting developments on this front. Let us imagine then, a world in which reaching for the sky yields powerful tools of production and collaboration, and productivity rains down upon us!In this hypothetical reality, the power offered by cloud software has actually surpassed that of what is available for traditional local installation. By overseeing the deployment and upkeep of their products, the major multimedia software manufactures have been able to offer three huge advantages.

The first is an increase in capability: the coupling of higher bandwidth speeds for internet subscribers with the strength inherent in hosting the software on large scale servers has resulted in exceptionally powerful systems.

The second aspect is the reliability derived from real time upkeep on the manufacturer’s end; by employing maintenance experts dedicated to identifying and fixing bugs and glitches, the end user is able to enjoy a stable environment to work in each time they log in. The product is thus perpetually being updated, with everyone using the same “version”.

The third incentive is the potential for collaboration. Existing examples of this technology have progressed greatly in the real world and now offer a viable platform for working with others regardless of physical location; embedding them into the flagship host digital audio and video workstations would be a game changing event. So how does this vision of tomorrow compare with the options available today? The type of integration with leading software packages that I imagined may be a ways off, but at least on company is poised to show us how it might be done. Indaba Music, who describe themselves as “an international community of musicians, where artists network and collaborate in online recording sessions”, recently made an announcement detailing the arrival of their browser-based DAW software tentatively called Session Console 2.0.


This multi-platform release will allow users to record high quality audio and access editing, looping, and mixing capabilities. A handful of artists have been working with a beta version which is generating some positive reviews.

“I got different companies contacting me all the time trying to get me excited about their products, and most of the time I just don’t care. But this particular application, the Indaba Music Console caught my fancy,” said Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. “It’s like a simplified version of any of these complex professional recording programs that no one like me knows how to use. It’s going to open the door for a giant population of musicians out there, a giant resource for somebody like me.”


Not everyone is convinced that allowing cloud based applications access to, or even control of, your data is a wise idea. However, purveyors of web based applications seem appropriately aware that the path to their success is based on remaining open and transparent while insuring that customers feel secure (or else these customers will simply leave).While attempts at bringing cloud computing to creative types will certainly not appeal to everyone, the possibilities are more than enough to keep me intrigued. After conducting an informal twitter poll, it seems that the prospect of accessing projects from any computer without jumping through the required hoops of proper session transfers is pretty enticing to a number of folks. Stay tuned to these pages for further developments on this exciting trend…

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