I came across this pretty inspiring speech by Ronald Reagan the other day in an ebook some parts of which struck me as highly relevant even today though the speech was delivered way back in 1988 around the time preceding the fall of the Iron Curtain. The full speech can be accessed here - http://millercenter.org/president/speeches/detail/3416. In his address to the students at Moscow State University, then American President Ronald Reagan spoke of computers, “Linked by a network of satellites and fiber-optic cables, one individual with a desktop computer and a telephone commands resources unavailable to the largest governments just a few years ago.”
I could rephrase that, "Powered by an array of cheap and powerful processors, music production softwares and hardwares, an average individual today with a desktop computer, an external hard drive and a midi controller commands resources that were unavailable to AR Rahman when he arranged the music of Roja!
Information Wants to Be Free
After all, the caveman had the same natural resources at their disposal as we have today, and the difference between their standard of living and ours is a difference between the knowledge they could bring to bear on those resources and the knowledge used today - —Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions, 1996Pretty deep truth that but it's true. Data and information is available by the planeloads to any aspiring music producer in the country today. Tons of cheap DAW's to choose from (free if you are pirating it!), megatons of high quality loops, samples, instrument plugin softwares and vst's (again free if you are copying it from a friend's hard drive), a range of hardware that gets cheaper and cheaper by the day. A 3 TB hard drive costs less than Rs. 9,000 as of today! It is an unthinkable amount of storage capacity and the price+capacity equation would have boggled the mind 5 years ago! Yet I find myself running out of space as easily today as I did 5 years ago and as I will 5 years from now! I have three 2 TB Seagate external hard drives full of HD movies and a 2 TB hard drive full of music, vst's and loops. Remind me to go out and buy a couple of more 2 TB's!
The need to store mountains of data and information is now an epidemic of sorts. For example I may never use even one fifth of the all the vst instruments that I have loaded on my 2 TB hard drive but it comforts me to know that I have everything I need and when I want to, I can reach out for it. A friend of mine who downloads full HD movies from some private server in Russia (I still havent figured that one out. I am imagining a pirate cult of web fanatics complete with a webcam blood initiation routine!) on a superspeed internet connection, the other day offered to transfer his entire 4 TB movie collection to me for an undisclosed price 😉 Let me say that compared to what I am getting - around 1,000 Full HD Popular and Cult Movies, the price that he nervously quoted me seemed like a joke! Again the offer of more data seems too juicy to resist. Even though I may have DVD rips of half his collection, the thought of pristine true HD versions sounds like a good deal and I may just yet fall for his offer! Allow me to boast here a bit - Full HD just looks stunning on my Samsung 46" Series 8 Smart TV! The picture quality on this slim panel is just unbelievably good compared to the janta LED TV's which may cost 3 times less but are 5 times worse in picture and sound quality than this baby! There is just no comparison here. My 2 TB Hard Drives directly connect to the any of the 6 usb ports on the side of TV Panel and I just have to open the folder of the movie through the remote and just start watching. Ah the orgasmic wonders of technology!
The Scarcest Resource Of All
In the late 1960s, journalist, publisher, and cultural entrepreneur Stewart Brand founded the countercultural Whole Earth Catalog. The central idea contained in the Catalog was that technology could be liberating rather than oppressive, as many had imagined thanks to George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 . Brand uttered a statement that made its way into the age of the Internet, assuring us “Information wants to be free.” In this world of abundant information guess what is getting scarcer and scarcer - KNOWLEDGE!
In reality, specific knowledge is rare, despite all of the glib generalities of knowledge being everywhere. Data and information are certainly everywhere, especially since the introduction of the Internet, but information is not knowledge. The cost of reproducing information has dropped significantly, while the cost of replicating knowledge is a far more expensive process.
Let us differentiate between Data, Information and Knowledge:
Factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation. There is no judgment, interpretation, context, or basis for action. It knows nothing of its own importance or irrelevance.
Root in Latin is formare, meaning “to shape.” Peter Drucker said information is “data endowed with relevance and purpose.” It has to have a sender and a receiver, and it is the receiver, not the sender, who decides if the message is information or not. “We add value to information in various ways: Contextualized; Categorized; Calculated; Corrected; Condensed” (Davenport and Prusak 1998: 3–4).
The fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association. To turn information into knowledge we need: “Comparison; Consequences; Connections; Conversation”
Alvin and Heidi Toffler also define the characteristics of knowledge in their book Revolutionary Wealth:
"Knowledge by itself is static, but knowing is dynamic. Knowledge enables us to act, which is its ultimate purpose. Knowledge requires us to use theory, since without theory there is no way to filter all of the information that is required to take effective action." Knowledge by itself is not the goal, as Peter Drucker wrote: “Executives are not paid for knowing, but for getting the right things done”
The qualities of Knowledge:
1. Knowledge is inherently non-rival
2. Knowledge is intangible
3. Knowledge is non-linear
4. Knowledge is relational
5. Knowledge mates with other knowledge
6. Knowledge is more portable than any other product
7. Knowledge can be compressed into symbols or abstractions
8. Knowledge can be stored in smaller and smaller spaces
9. Knowledge can be explicit or implicit, expressed or not expressed, shared or tacit
10. Knowledge is hard to bottle up. It spreads
Knowledge is like the dark matter of the cosmos—we know it is out there, but we cannot see, touch, or measure it!
Why We Want to Spread the Knowledge of Music Production
Because we realise that even though there is a surfeit of data and information be it softwares or hardwares, knowledge on how to use it is what really matters. There is no point of having the best music softwares and hardwares at your disposal if you are not armed with the knowledge of how to put that information together to create a new song. And there is no getting your way around that. If you want to become a music producer you must learn the techniques of music production from a knowledgeable person who will teach you the techniques and give you useful tips to make your songs sound better and more professional. It is only then that the softwares and the hardwares at your disposal will come alive and you will be able to truly benefit from the enormous gift that technology has bestowed upon us.
Specific Knowledge is Rare
Which brings me back to something I quoted earlier. Specific knowledge is indeed rare. Because Music Production is a highly specialised knowledge and requires a great deal of time, effort and dedication to master, there are very few competent music programmers in the country. The few who have stuck to it and have become good are raking in the moolah by working with music directors and artists. These guys do not have the time nor the inclination to teach. So going to any of the many music institutes that have mushroomed in the city would be futile because I can assure you that you will learn nothing! Leveljam - my music production training program is not a commercial venture. It is made up of a belief that good teachers must be available to those eager to learn with the sole objective of spreading knowledge and not making money! SD Sharma our inhouse music programming trainer is every bit as good as any of the pros out there and with him you are guaranteed a fine instructor, mentor and friend.
The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius!And guess what is the most amazing thing? Once you learn this new skill, you have added one more explosive and much-in-demand skill to your life that will set you apart and set you on the road to the exciting world of music, music artists, live shows, recording studios, the works! The wheels have been given to you. Its time to build the carriage above the wheels that will take you places! And with this thought I will leave you with a latin phrase SAPERE AUDE! which means - DARE TO KNOW!