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Music Production Podcast: Tim Webb creator of discchord.com

AfroDJMac and I had one of the most interesting conversations I've ever had. Fortunately he was recording it! Now you can listen to our pearls of wisdom! The two of us have been doing YouTube for a very long time, and we've exchanged a few emails over the years, but this was our first time talking face-to-face over Skype.

This is quite long at an hour and a half, but there is a lot of great info in here for anyone aspiring to be more productive, and more comfortable with your own music making. I discuss stuff I haven't talked about anywhere else before, so even if you've already heard me talk quite a lot, this will all seem new.

Video Description:

Full post with show notes: https://www.afrodjmac.com/podcast/68-...

Tim Webb has gone to great lengths to bring us the latest and greatest in iOS music making news. His site Discchord.com covers all the latest releases, updates, and relevant YouTube walkthroughs, jams, and reviews of music making software for iPhone and iPad. In a refreshing blast of honesty, Tim is not afraid to tell you what apps suck and are not worth your time. He has been a faithful supporter of developers and app users worldwide for the better part of the last decade.

Tim was kind enough to sit down with me for a in-depth discussion about his work, developing apps, and creating and maintaining a one person business. He offers important lessons on discipline and sincerity that are applicable to all kinds of pursuits. Tim has been extremely supportive of my own work and the work of many creatives who put themselves and their art on the web. It was a pleasure to finally speak with him and learn some important lessons and viewpoints on running a successful music-based business.

Visit my site for more stuff like this, including Live Instrument downloads, tutorials and music! http://www.afrodjmac.com

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Reader Comments 5

This was a great listen!
July 10, 2018  | person Bob
It was great talking to you Tim! Let’s do it again some time!
July 10, 2018  | person_outline AfroDJMac
On July 10, 2018 - @AfroDJMac said:
It was great talking to you Tim! Let’s do it again some time!
Definitely! This was so much fun!
What a great & lovely interview. I felt like I got to know Tim and AfroDJMac a little bit. It covered lots of important topics about iOS, music, and life generally.

It was super satisfying to hear the criticisms of Apple, from their almost ritualistic amputation of connectivity options, to the restrictive nature of their hardware & OS, etc., but at the end of the day, Apple does provide the most relevant option for mobile music making. I've always appreciated your non-kool-aid-drinking perspectives on all things Apple, Tim.

The segment where you talked about your work ethic was inspiring and useful. Throughout the interview you touched on the importance of working hard, and learning new stuff. You have a growth mind-set and it shows in your work.

Regarding many users unrealistic expectations about app pricing, support, etc. People tend to think of software, media, etc. differently than physical goods-- the production costs are not in physical raw materials, or shipment; i.e., we don't perceive the "value" in the same way. There are also these wrong assumptions about scale. We assume desktop VST/AUs are sold to smaller markets, and iOS apps are sold to some ambiguously large number of users.

With the example of the 8-bit conservatory thing, there is the potential that a well-made musical game that builds relevant skills and knowledge would be widely purchased through school programs that have iPads. A successful music learning/game app would need to be impeccably designed and brilliantly executed. I think it would also need to have a clear path forward wrt development and updates. Not sure 8-Bit Conservatory is on that path, but something like it could be widely purchased if done well.

@AfroDJMac your comment about "digital cobwebs" was spot on! I'm in my 50's now, and I continually fight my obsessive urge to gather tools. But despite my efforts to resist, I still have teetering heaps of apps I rarely or never use, there are many more apps that I've forgotten than ones that I use.

In the Tim's comments about some artists being motivated by "showing off their knowledge of theory", I was thinking about how some artists might actually do that, and consciously acknowledge it to themselves and others. Other artists have just done a fair amount of learning, and then do the same kind of "exploration", "discovery" and "noodling"(with mixed degrees of artistic results) that is informed by that learning. There are yet other artists who struggle for an artistically "pure" motivation that is not driven by understanding or experience or pre-conceived notion. Realistically, most of us are striking a balance between pulling from our knowledge of theory (whether we admit it or not), our personal musical experiences, trial-and-error (i.e., noodling/improv), allowing inspiration, welcoming happy accidents, and non-realtime sculpting of raw/rough content, etc. If we just follow our noses, we might end up producing that which as been produced a million times by others (the low-hanging fruit of simple triads, and 4/4 time). If we strive to scratch a hard-to-reach itch, we may need to use some knowledge of theory to point us in a direction, but also to help us know what to avoid.

I think some artists are just better at composing something creative and musically well-crafted than others. It's obviously a matter of opinion and taste, but artists like Imogen Heap, RadioHead and Bjork seem so good at finding some unusual yet gorgeous sound and impeccable content (melody, chords, rhythm).

OTOH, an artist like Jacob Collier has achieved the highest level of musical knowledge and skill; yet his music somehow lacks an important raw quality. I listen to him, and enjoy his work, but it's hard to describe how this goliath doesn't quite touch the spot for me.

As you said, though, if fun is the goal, you end up satisfying your creative aspirations anyway, because it is a fun thing to do.

Thanks again for sharing that interview. It was time well spent.
On July 12, 2018 - @stub said:
If we just follow our noses, we might end up producing that which as been produced a million times by others (the low-hanging fruit of simple triads, and 4/4 time). If we strive to scratch a hard-to-reach itch, we may need to use some knowledge of theory to point us in a direction, but also to help us know what to avoid.
This is an excellent point I need to better internalize. Especially when blabbing on a soap box! I don't want to be completely dismissive of music theory, because it is absolutely useful. This probably deserve a much longer reply, but I'm spent after working on the morning's articles and need lunch!
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