Synthesia 9

Archived development update discussion from past versions
Archived development updates.
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Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

I've been pretty quiet on the forums lately, but there has been a tremendous amount of stuff going on behind the scenes. We're really close to a bunch of new stuff with even more on the way after that.

In the very near term I've decided to make another small (mostly) bug-fix release that I'm calling Synthesia 9.

Previews should start going up in the next couple days. There is an ulterior motive: to include one or two tiny features that are pretty vital to making the upcoming song store experience good (vs. really poor). Future updates -- when I get more time -- will bump that experience up to excellent. (It will also be nice to get fixes for a few of the more annoying outstanding bugs in everyone's hands without having to wait for the major Synthesia 10 release.)

Beyond that, the song store is nearly here! I've been commissioning one of my oldest friends to create new (complete!) arrangements of popular music for a full year in preparation now, and the quality of these MIDI files continues to blow me away. I am proud to attach the Synthesia brand to this new content. I'm actually not sure I've seen higher quality anywhere else (at a price that may startle you). I've learned the ins and outs of music licensing and I'm finally ready -- legally and infrastructurally -- to provide a store that follows all the rules.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention -- and this is kind of uncool, but -- the "legally" part is tricky and means that at launch (and for the foreseeable future) the songs can only be sold in the United States. It's a shame when the project is popular in so many countries, but music licensing is totally ridiculous and navigating that Byzantine maze for even a single country is challenge enough for now.

The Internet makes "only in country X" tricky too. For enforcement, I didn't like the idea of the false positives you can get with IP location databases, so I decided to keep it simple: there is a check box where you'll have to state "I live in the United States" before the store lets you finish placing your order. The limitation is a shame but my goal is to do things absolutely by the book.
Once 9 goes out the door, I'll be soft launching the store as a sort of beta test. There will be an opportunity for forum users that have contributed a lot over the years to help test the store (and songs) free of charge. Details forthcoming. ;)

The moment that goes live, it's time to jump back in to Synthesia 10 development where all of the project's most exciting things in 2014 will happen.
kiwi
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1178

Post by kiwi »

Awaesome Nicholas !
Like i said synthesia alone is just a useless software but with a good midi it become magic!
I hope there's good midi like u describe :)
TonE
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1180

Post by TonE »

I wish you all the best with this new store. Somehow, it seems my mind is connected with Synthesia, for a long time I did not look here into the forum, somehow 5 minutes ago, I thought let me check what is going on in Synthesia forum and saw your post about 9. I would call this 'connected minds'. :)
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jimhenry
Posts: 1821

Post by jimhenry »

The forthcoming music store sounds great! I hope it will the next big step forward for Synthesia.

Perhaps you should try to find an author of a piano method that is willing to produce an edition of their method that uses Synthesia as part of the method. Mark Harrison might be a possibility as he is very prolific and he does a number of things on his own in addition to having things published by Hal Leonard. I think of him in particular because he has already released MIDI files for some of his books, so he already understands what it means to produce MIDI files for a book. "The Pop Piano Book" might be a good choice as he already makes MIDI files available for that. Maybe it is already a suitable offering for use with Synthesia. However, I think "All About Piano" might be better as a "just starting out" beginner's method. http://www.harrisonmusic.com/
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
maccer
Posts: 222

Post by maccer »

A song store with high-quality songs would make finding good songs that much easier!

When you buy a song: can it be used in all versions of Synthesia (Mac, PC, Ipad)?
Songs learned using Synthesia:
CT: Wind Scene, The Trial | FF7: Prelude | SMB: Overworld, Underwater | Tetris: Theme A | Zelda: Lost Woods | Other: Für Elise
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Laserbeak43
Posts: 101

Post by Laserbeak43 »

Thanks Nicholas!
I could see lots of activity on the user scoreboard with a song store. (View scale-only mode yet? :) )
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I was actually a little worried about this announcement. While I'm excited and have been working very hard toward the store for a while, I could see users arguing that effort could have been better spent on long awaited features. So it makes me happy to see sentiments like Kiwi's.

That said, I noticed that 3 out of the first 4 replies were from non-US Synthesia users. That reminded me that I'd forgotten to mention one pretty severe limitation. I UPDATED the top post to include that the store has to be US-only at launch given the licensing services that I'll be using. That all of your feedback was so positive makes me feel even worse that I forgot to include that pretty unfortunate detail.
jimhenry wrote:Perhaps you should try to find an author of a piano method that is willing to produce an edition of their method that uses Synthesia as part of the method.
I really like this idea. The store has basically turned into the "right" long-term answer that I've been searching for since closing the "Song Requests" forum and opening the "MIDI Club" forum. It will finally be a regulated, curated environment with all the infrastructure to count downloads and keep track of licenses. I'm even setting it up from the outset for third-party content. E.g., the sales report admin pages only show data for the logged-in content originator.

(To really drive the point home, I even filed for another LLC about a year ago now. So, even at launch Synthesia LLC will be acting as a publisher/licensor of MIDI recordings owned by Synthesia Music LLC. It's kind of silly but I'll actually be making payments from myself to myself. :lol: )

Including third-party content will be a great opportunity to bring the pretty sizable Synthesia user base quality content while also giving the content creators more exposure. Kind of a win-win. Eventually these interfaces will be tied right into the program (things like one-tap purchases on the iPad with iCloud backup) so it should become very convenient. My goal is something like the Rock Band store.
maccer wrote:When you buy a song: can it be used in all versions of Synthesia (Mac, PC, Ipad)?
Yes (well, assuming you lived in the US :( ). The model I liked the most was "permanent digital download" mechanical licensing. Streaming/subscription licensing is harder to pull off, especially when in combination with Synthesia the result is considered an "audiovisual" work instead of just a plain MIDI file "phonorecord". Audiovisual works require a "sync" licence that you have to negotiate with each rights holder individually with no set pricing where a lot of the time the answer is just "No" from the publisher.

So yeah, the store basically offers correctly-licensed MIDI files. Just plain MIDI files. No DRM or anything like that. You can use them on whichever devices or computers you like to listen, edit, or use with software like Synthesia. The licenses cover anything inside of "personal, private use".
Laserbeak43 wrote:I could see lots of activity on the user scoreboard with a song store.
Yeah, the plan is to have all the songs enabled in a new category on the online scoreboard at launch.
Laserbeak43 wrote:View scale-only mode yet? :)
What does this mean? hehe.
davel
Posts: 19

Post by davel »

Nicholas

Great to hear progress is being made on the midi store! I was beginning to scan music sheets and making my own. But my time is limited and I would prefer learning and playing songs. I have been using Hd piano recently but even though their presentations are good I need the midi files to to perfect the songs.

Dave
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Laserbeak43
Posts: 101

Post by Laserbeak43 »

Nicholas wrote:
Laserbeak43 wrote:View scale-only mode yet? :)
What does this mean? hehe.
I mean the piano notes on the score-sheet only and not the falling notes :)
TonE
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1180

Post by TonE »

Ah, sheet only mode.
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Laserbeak43
Posts: 101

Post by Laserbeak43 »

TonE wrote:Ah, sheet only mode.
Yeap! that would be lovely!
kiwi
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1178

Post by kiwi »

U.S only? i'm from France :( paypal 'll do the job no? or is it legacy problems sorry i don't understand very well Nicholas.
Do i 'll be able to buy the songs if i live outside of the US ?
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Yeah, sorry for the bad news!

If it were up to me, there wouldn't be any limitations at all. But to do things legally, I have to get "mechanical licenses" for the songs. Because every country has their own laws for music licensing, you have to get mechanical licenses from each country you want to sell songs in. The service I'll be using (Limelight) only issues licenses for the United States.

If I wanted to add more countries, I'd have to find a different service for each country. Depending on the how this initial roll-out of the store goes, I might pursue that, but for the launch it's going to be limited to US customers only.
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jimhenry
Posts: 1821

Post by jimhenry »

It looks like there is a mechanism for a pan-European mechanical license so that might be something to look into once things settle down with regard to the U.S.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
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