PREDICTION 3: The Digital Orchestra Revolution
As we enter a new decade, I thought it would be fun to write a series of 5 posts predicting the changes in the music industry for the next 10 years, based on my observations of the world I can see around me. If any of you have a good memory, please submit your score card to me in 2030. I don’t have a crystal ball, but many of my last decade predictions (certainly not all of them) have come true. So here goes.
As the The Digital Orchestra Revolution gets properly underway, you’ll be able to buy a software package of any major symphony orchestra and have it under your fingertips through your cheap digital keyboard, and most people won’t notice the difference
Over the last decade home producers and composers have started becoming interested in classical orchestral music. Technology has given them a huge leap as sound designers and software engineers have collaborated with cross disciplinary geeks and managed to create such high quality synthesized samples of orchestral music. Much of it has gone unnoticed by the public, but this is a quiet revolution moving at an alarming pace.
Much of the orchestral music you now hear on TV soundtracks are actually not real orchestras but software simulations from a digital keyboard, which means Bruce or Jenny in their bedroom has a live symphony orchestra under their fingertips, sure it’s not the Vienna Philharmonic, but Bruce or Jenny don’t have 30,000 Euros to pay the Vienna Philharmonic nor does the documentary producer.
In the last decade Orchestras have probably resented this, but now that is about to change. The first domino to capitalize on this new demand in such high definition sound quality being turned into Orchestra software is none other than the BBC Symphony orchestra. Their new software in collaboration with Spitfire audio is so realistic from ever member of the orchestra through to the bassoon, french horns and the many techniques that string, brass and wind instruments use. You can buy this amazing software for a just a few pennies less than £1000, giving composer access to a real sounding orchestra on their digital keyboard as the orchestra benefits from an income stream from software sales.
This is London tech innovation culture at it’s finest, does a symphony orchestra doesn’t really want to be hired to record a few dramatic horn busts and tremolos for Kitchen Nightmares! I bet that came up in the conversation over a few pints in Islington.
So now it’s only just begun, all other major orchestras are going to follow suite, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony, you name it, they will be competing with each other and collaborating with the very best tech heads to make simulations of their powerful sounds for producers to exploit. Orchestral players will be spending their working hours not just touring and rehearsing but recording the infinite samples that can be captured on their instrument, so I can trigger those sounds on my digital keyboard. It will be a very exciting time to be a composer as this will give even amateur producers simple revolutionary tools that were previously completely unavailable. Logic Pro is owned by Apple, which major orchestra are they going to partner with? Or will it be the traditional audio brands? This is yet to be seen but my prediction is that soon all of the major world Orchestral will be available as a software package for under £1000 in the next decade, the average retail price, let’s say £575 when the dust settles.
Though I have some good news for all of your purists out there, this will contribute to a resurgence of orchestral music across all genres, people will want to see Mahler symphonies played live as Hans Zimmer belts out amazing orchestral sounds on his computer. Songwriters and pop musicians will want realistic orchestral sounds laced all over their songs, some of them may even hire the real thing for their gigs. This software will be a fast track education in Orchestral music, making a whole generation of producers, orchestra buffs.
This prediction is linked to prediction no.2, where I discussed earlier that traditional music colleges will struggle to enter the mid 21st Century. They are going to need these software tech heads in their composition departments preparing the next generations to stay relevant, otherwise, the kids will just teach themselves and save themselves the Uni fees.
Prediction no.4 is for you purists, despite the digital orchestral revolution, we are going to see a revenge in acoustic pianos, just to add to the confusion! The world is not a simple place hey. Stay tuned!
For more PREDICTIONS, read the other posts in the series:
PREDICTION NO.1 – FACEBOOK WILL ENTER THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.
PREDICTION NO.2 – CAN YOU AFFORD A MUSIC DEGREE LEADING TO AN UNPAID CAREER?
PREDICTION NO.3 – THE DIGITAL ORCHESTRA REVOLUTION
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