Apple Demos GarageBand To SXSW Attendees

Appleis Production Line Manager of Consumer Audio Apps, Xander Soren, helmed a panel at last weekendis SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas. South By Southwest is an annual conference and festival for Web, Music and Film Industries, and has grown among the ranks as a premiere industry event. Mr. Soren was on location demonstrating GarageBand, Appleis new consumer-oriented recording solution, to festival attendees.

Attendance at the 12:30 PM panel was half the capacity of the room, with some 40 or so badge-wearing industry types and independent musicians coming to see what Apple was offering. An additional 10 or so that filtered into the panel for the Q&A section of the panel.

Though GagrageBand itself is aimed at musicians who are doing their own home recording, much of the audience in attendance came from the professional recording market. A mixture of musicians and engineers, the former were there to see what GarageBand could do for them, while the latter were there to see if GarageBand was a new tool for their studios.

The first part of the demonstration focused on the basic usage of GarageBand as a live recording application. Rachel Sage of Empress Records manned a MIDI keyboard, and created music using a variety of organic and synth instruments found in the GarageBand library. Mr. Soren walked attendees step-by-step through the creation of a new project, using various functions throughout, including MIDI note altering, and the various filters offered in the GarageBand template.


The Q&A session was the most enlightening portion of the demonstration as it offered a view as to what types of people were in attendance, and what interested them in Appleis latest foray into the professional music market.

The majority of questions focused on industry-specific topics such as looping in different measures to modifying keys/chord changes within the pre-made Apple loops. Another angle of interest came from the professional audio technician side of the room as they asked specifics on compatibility issues with other established audio tools such as ProTools Box support, and more importantly to them, 24-bit exporting, which GarageBand currently doesnit support.

Impressed, more or less

On the whole the attendees to the demonstration seemed impressed with the ease of use and GarageBandis hefty feature set including the variety of synth instruments available to users.

One engineer was impressed that the loops are all royalty free, as music copyright is a hot topic in the music industry at this time. When asked whether he would buy GarageBand, or a Mac for that matter, one musician said he thought it was a great application, but it currently didnit warrant him purchasing a new laptop. Being a musician for some time, his setup for sound recording had been put together piece-meal long ago, and currently satisfied his needs.

The same musician did state that GarageBand and the demonstration would be an important influence in his next computer purchase when it would be necessary to upgrade past his basic 8-track/Moog set-up.

If you are interested in GarageBand, we encourage you to check out the GarageBand Garage, TMOis forum for GarageBand users.