Synthesia Music Store

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

Post by Nicholas »

revilo2 wrote:It would be cool if there was a pdf file of the song included.
For most of the songs (anything modern or popular) the licensing I'm using doesn't permit sheet music, unfortunately. For anything classical / public domain, I'm hoping to deliver the file in MusicXML format. That is sort of "better" than PDF because it's still in a source format that you can open and mess with in any number of sheet music editors while still maintaining perfect quality.
kiwi wrote:Does it be possible to coloring the markers with many colors?
When I do a proper pass on the bookmark system, there will be some more colors to choose from. It will also separate MIDI Markers, Synthesia Bookmarks, and Metadata Sections. You'll be able to toggle the visibility of each independently. Bookmark import into the metadata editor, too (given the answer to the following question is "No").

This is the wrong place to ask the question but: is there significant value in allowing bookmarks to fall outside of measure boundaries? Every use I've heard about has them right on a measure. It would simplify some assumptions if I could move them all to fall on a measure.
kiwi
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Post by kiwi »

I don't know :) But i use the one on the time line i don't care so much of them in others places.
Let see what others think...
It'll be good for the upcoming colours it 'll be good to write some words with them (by the way did i must use the metadata éditor for to have the chorus verses etc... dispaying?)
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Yeah, for now the only way to get the falling labels that match up with the bookmarks is to use the latest version of the metadata editor.
kiwi
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Post by kiwi »

Thx for the info.
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Laserbeak43
Posts: 101

Post by Laserbeak43 »

Really generous of you, Nick! Thanks!!
I'm late to the party, and I'm sure these were covered but:

-MIDI preview - I live in a cave and don't listen to modern pop unless my daughter's in the car. I had to search all the songs on youtube to find ones that I liked.

-Sort by Genre(and anything else) - I'm sure you have plans for this and I'm sure everyone's mentioned it. Just saying.... :)

Thanks!!!
kiwi
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1178

Post by kiwi »

That's exactly what i have wrote in pm to Nicholas i don't know the new pop rihanna etc...
I am must on Radiohead, Gypsy jazz, classical or funk or underground styles but not on populars song from TV ^^ and i have schearched on YT too :) and i have found nice stuff from lady gaga who is good in an accoustic mood.So it's good to go on YT for to listen populars tv songs sometimes.
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Laserbeak43
Posts: 101

Post by Laserbeak43 »

Radiohead! why didn't i think about that!!!
kiwi
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1178

Post by kiwi »

Playing Karma police is very great with Synthesia :mrgreen:
I have a question for a native US or UK does the words of the poular songs have sens like a rap song per eg...
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jimhenry
Posts: 1821

Post by jimhenry »

Yes, generally lyrics to popular songs do make sense and tell a story of some sort. Of course, some do more so than others. The lyrics are often heavily into the slang and jargon of whatever group they are directed to, and some artists are better at clearly enunciating their lyrics than others. Sometimes the songs are style leaders in that they introduce or popularize new slang words or idiomatic phrases. Understanding the lyrics to popular songs can be a challenge even for native speakers. I am sure they can be totally unintelligible to non-native speakers. That is why sites with transcriptions of lyrics thrive. But most pop lyrics definitely are not nonsense syllables like scat or doo-wap.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
kiwi
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1178

Post by kiwi »

Thx Jim i was thinking like this but don't ever know how much it can be so hard to decrypt them thx for the very usefull info.
Mos
Posts: 183

Post by Mos »

Back button does not remember sorting :)
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Mos wrote:Back button does not remember sorting :)
Hmm. I've gone back and forth.

The crux of the issue is that the list starts in a configuration that cannot be retrieved by playing with the sorting options. You guys haven't seen it yet, but when a new song is added, it appears at the top of the list with the row highlighted and the word "New!" next to it. None of the sorting options let you guarantee that new songs will appear first in the list. So if your sort is remembered, new songs would end up floating around in the middle of the list and they'd be a lot less easy to discover.

One solution might be a "Date Added [to the store]" column, but I'm trying as hard as I can to keep that list super clean. The last thing I want it to look like is a big spreadsheet with an overwhelming amount of data.

Still, remembering that sort is useful. I wonder if instead of a long-term cookie-type solution, it could be a shorter-term "session" variable. So the next time you visited the site it would reset.
Mos
Posts: 183

Post by Mos »

Idea: how about making accounts refillable with money. This way you can refill let's say 10 or dollars. If the person is using the refillable account instead of direct credit card, you can apply a discount since it will be cheaper for you too because of less processing fees.

Another idea: news feed of new songs in he app main menu. But remember, no link or else apple will hunt you for 30% :D
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Mos wrote:Idea: how about making accounts refillable with money.
Larger transactions is definitely something I want to encourage. I was wondering if I could accomplish something similar with discounted gift cards. A pre-paid code accomplishes the same thing and if you can get say, a $20 code for only $18 or something, that might encourage that kind of behavior. I've certainly been thinking about it. Keeps it simpler too: you don't need any kind of account. Pre-paid codes are still basically anonymous.
Mos wrote:Another idea: news feed of new songs in he app main menu. But remember, no link or else apple will hunt you for 30% :D
The problem you mentioned is a very real one. We're talking specifically about this guideline:
Apple wrote:11.14: Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video and cloud storage) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the App, as long as there is no button or external link in the App to purchase the approved content. Apple will only receive a portion of revenues for content purchased inside the App
To really follow the letter of the law there, it looks like users will have to manually enter the URL into Safari. That's not cool. Oh well. I will definitely be talking about the new weekly song on the title screen in the app. I wonder if a coincidentally-nearby "Visit the Synthesia website" button would be overstepping any boundaries? Hmm.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

An update to the public domain 50's-60's book discussion that started back on page 1: the book arrived. As you'd expect, something like 90% of it was relatively unknown stuff. There were a handful of gems though. I've put my arranger on the task and hopefully I'll have a couple free samples in the store in a couple days.

Again, the goal here is to have some (free) showcase pieces to demonstrate the quality you can expect of the other songs, since we can't have nice things like previews. It's a shame they'll still be a little old-timey, but this is worlds better than something like 20's music.
Mos
Posts: 183

Post by Mos »

Gift card codes would work... As long as we don't have to spend it in one go :) another thing about gift cards, what if you are left with 1 dollars? Do you lose it?

Judging by what happened with Amazon Kindle and others, just putting the website link is an infringement. Putting the general synthesia website without pointing to it as a store in the app could be ok though.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Mos wrote:Gift card codes would work... As long as we don't have to spend it in one go :) another thing about gift cards, what if you are left with 1 dollars? Do you lose it?
Pre-paid codes maintain a balance, so you can use them more than once. And if there is only $1 left, you can fund the remainder with the usual payment methods. So hopefully it behaves in all the usual, intuitive ways.

Some discount on pre-paid codes would be a good incentive. And then since all that other stuff operates the way you'd hope, there aren't many disincentives. The only limitation I can think of off the top of my head is that you can only use one promo code per order right now. So if some holiday prompts a store-wide percentage-off sale promo, you wouldn't be able to use a gift card on the same purchase. That is certainly a deficiency. One code seemed like enough when I was first designing the system, but now gift cards feel like they should be treated more like a funding instrument than a promotion.
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jimhenry
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Post by jimhenry »

You probably should add "Why aren't there previews of the songs?" in your "FAQs" at the bottom of the page. You could point out the availability of the free songs to judge the quality of the offerings as part of the answer.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
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jimhenry
Posts: 1821

Post by jimhenry »

Apple wrote:11.14: Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video and cloud storage) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the App, as long as there is no button or external link in the App to purchase the approved content. Apple will only receive a portion of revenues for content purchased inside the App
It seems to me that there is a bit of ambiguity here. If you have a web-based (non-App) store and an in-App store that provide two alternate purchasing paths, the first sentence seems to say that the app can play the outside purchase if there is no in-App store. However, the second sentence seems to say that Apple gets a cut only from in-App purchases. The second sentence seems unnecessary if there is no possibility of both in-App and not in-App purchases.

This is not a far fetched scenario. Presumably someone who is a desktop user will be able to use their not in-App purchases on the iPad if they later purchase the iPad version. Surely Apple doesn't want to force you to not have in-App purchases just to allow use of content not purchased in the app.

It might be worthwhile trying to get clarification that you can sell the same content in-App and not in-App, play all purchases, and only pay Apple a commission on the in-App purchase. I think what they were trying to say is you can play external purchases as long as there are no links for making those external purchases in the app.

This is all a lead up to saying I think you ought to consider selling content with in-App purchases even if you have to pay Apple a 30% cut. If you sell 50% more content that way, which seems likely to me, I think you'll be money ahead. Selling $150 in-App nets $105 which is more than selling $100 outside. Besides, is there anything that says you can't charge more for content sold in-App?
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

jimhenry wrote:You probably should add "Why aren't there previews of the songs?" in your "FAQs" at the bottom of the page. You could point out the availability of the free songs to judge the quality of the offerings as part of the answer.
There are enough quirks (and even more to communicate) that I might introduce a separate Store FAQ. Those other links are kind of hidden at the bottom of the store page, so those might move up to a new position near the top.

Maybe something like this would bring the other options to the fore and help make the store FAQ discoverable. (It will help that the top-most menu will be undergoing significant change when the music store launches. In particular, the words "FAQ" won't appear twice in such close proximity to each other.)
submenu.png
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jimhenry wrote:... the first sentence seems to say that the app can play the outside purchase if there is no in-App store.
My reading of it is a little different. I'm seeing something along the lines of "Your app can use whatever content it likes so long as you don't advertise outside-of-app purchases." From that perspective, the second sentence becomes justification: "We only receive a cut from in-app purchases [so it's in our best interests to discourage out-of-app purchases]."
jimhenry wrote:I think what they were trying to say is you can play external purchases as long as there are no links for making those external purchases in the app.
Yeah, that is my understanding too and congruent with my reading of the guideline above.
jimhenry wrote:This is all a lead up to saying I think you ought to consider selling content with in-App purchases even if you have to pay Apple a 30% cut...
I wish I could. I would easily pay the "Apple tax" if it were allowed.

The day after I received my first set of licenses back from RightsFlow, I also received an email from one of the publishers of one of the songs I just licensed. It was along these lines: "Thank you for the [notice of intent] to use 'Song X' in the Synthesia program. We feel however that the interactive nature of the use keeps it from being covered by a compulsory license..."

They had assumed the "to use [...] in the Synthesia program" on their own and I promptly corrected that they were plain MIDI tracks sold on a website with no interactive features (e.g., previews) whatsoever. Still, it brought up the issue of selling the MIDI files inside the app and how it might be increasingly challenging to convince a court that including any sort of store/purchase functionality inside Synthesia wouldn't constitute an interactive use.

In terms of confidence, I am much more sure I'll be able to follow Apple's guideline (despite an external-only store) than I would be able to satisfactorily convince every copyright holder that an inside-Synthesia music store didn't constitute an interactive use of their content. Worse yet, if I were to try by putting up all sorts of notices like "This is just a MIDI file! You can use it however you like, not just with this app!" I'd inadvertently be violating another of Apple's guidelines. Namely:
Apple wrote:11.3 Apps using IAP to purchase physical goods or goods and services used outside of the App will be rejected
I would describe MIDI files you can use with any program anywhere as a "good[...] used outside of the App".

That is:
To keep Apple happy an in-app purchased song can only be used inside the app.
To keep publishers happy, the same song must be completely divorced from the app (and then the type of use is still fuzzy at best).

If I was only allowed a single word to describe the situation, it would be "frustrating". ;)
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