Musician: ‘GarageBand is snoozeware for the iPod generation’

“Apple Computer’s new music-recording software, GarageBand, is a smash hit, if you listen to its chorus of fans. Launched just over two weeks ago, the software has already spawned a sizable ecosystem of plug-ins, add-ons and websites for sharing tunes. And it has inspired a frenzy of musical creativity,” Leander Kahney reports for Wired. “Dubbed a ‘studio in a box,’ GarageBand is the digital equivalent of a four-track tape recorder, plus all the instruments and musicians a budding Moby might need.”

“As well as live recording, the application includes hundreds of riffs, beats, bleeps and breaks — snippets of music known as loops — that can be mixed and matched in endless combination. The result is hundreds, if not thousands, of amateur tunes available all over the Net. The application is delighting professionals and amateurs, who are cobbling together selections ranging from Punjabi house to Beatles covers,” Kahney reports.

“‘The amount of creative energy that GarageBand is creating is staggering,’ said musician and producer Chris Bell. ‘Apple has created a monster…. As a pro musician/producer, I love this app. It puts the fun back into creating. I’m amazed.’ Musician and writer Kim Cascone said GarageBand is perfectly good for learning how music is put together, but doubted anything very good could be created with it. ‘GarageBand is snoozeware for the iPod generation who think that music comes in a small white-and-chrome can and only need be served lukewarm for public consumption,’ he said,” Kahney reports.

Full article here.


  1. Ah yes, I wondered when the first “musician/songwriter/producer” was going to put in their 2 cents and say, “no one can do anything good with Garage Band. You have to be a professional like myself to make something good.”

    Tell me, Kim Cascone, have you created anything good?

  2. Judging by 99% of the crap in the charts, Garageband is quite capable of modern requirements. Although I think, to put it into perspective, GB is really more of a springboard into the world of music production rather than an end tool.
    Of course, a lot of people in the “establishment” within the music industry may find themselves under pressure to produce a bit more than just a couple of loops slapped together.

    If only it could do chord changes!

  3. Kim, professional musicians use professional tools, which is why Logic exists. Professional video editors use Final Cut Pro (remember Walter Murch edited “Cold Mountain” with FCP), instead of iMovie for the same reason. The iLife apps are geared towards consumers and amateurs, who could then graduate to more sophisticated, feature-rich tools if they so desire.

  4. Look at the software he uses (Max/MSP). No wonder he does not like garage band.


    Born in Albion, Michigan 1955, Kim Cascone received his formal training in electronic music at the Berklee College of Music in the early 1970’s, continuing his studies with Dana McCurdy at the New York City’s New School in 1976.

    In 1980 he moved to San Francisco where he worked with film director David Lynch as Assistant Music Editor on both Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart shows. In 1986 Cascone founded Silent Records, where he released some of his personal projects including Heavenly Music Corporation, PGR, Thessalonians, and Spiced Barons.

    Cascone sold the company 10 years later to start a career as a sound designer, working for Thomas Dolby’s company Headspace as a sound designer and composer. He later began working for Staccato Systems as the Director of Content where he worked in the design of new sounds for games using algorithmic synthesis.

    Cascone is one of the main representative digital artists of the Glitch aesthetic and the use of software like Max/MSP.

  5. I think it’s analogous to putting crap-ass M$ dtp software on everyone’s desktop. Some portion of the user-population just assumes that because they can make it, they should. People with real talent will quickly discover that the limitations are very real and that upgrading to professional-level tools is worth the money-time investment.

    Meanwhile, the large portion of the population already satisfied with mediocrappy will tool happily along, subjecting their family and friends to any number of increasingly bad iMovies, iDVDs, and slideshows with matching home-produced crap-soundtracks. Think, flashing text on websites circa 1997.

    The tools themselves, though, really aren’t to blame for that. And that’s what Kim Cascone gets wrong. Art is very rarely about the quality of the artist’s tools. In fact, there is a lot of good art created by using the weakness of the tool to one’s advantage.

  6. Garage Band allows average people to create poor/average music.
    PageMaker allows average people to create poor/average flyers, forms, etc.
    PowerPoint allows average people to create horrible/poor presentations.
    iMovie allows average people to create poor/average movies.

    At least average people are creating something. Like jfbiii said, people with real talent will use professional level tools or even maximize applications like the ones mentioned above.

  7. ‘GarageBand is snoozeware for the iPod generation who think that music comes in a small white-and-chrome can and only need be served lukewarm for public consumption,’
    I sense bitterness over a “failed” music career. I’m not saying that he has a failed music career, and I’m sure he wouldn’t say it either, but it’s just bubbling up through a statement where a comment about a music creation software turns into a insult to the general music-listening public.

  8. I think Kim is probably a true genius, and is probably right; but his opinion is beside the point. Those with real talent and genius always turn their noses up at the new tools. Real music lovers hated CDs because some of the resolution is lost. You can’t hear the fine nuances. Real computer gurus hated GUIs because its faster to type into a command line. (If you disagree, imagine a program with a thousand menu items. It’s quicker to type your command than to hunt it down.)

    GB is the latest tool for the untalented and the undeveloped talent. Also, a toy for those who aren’t serious. No surprise there. That is it’s intended purpose. Kim is just stating the obvious.

  9. The main issue with statements like this guy’s is that he assumes that people are born with musical abilities!
    Garageband is a great tool for anyone who hasn’t thrust his-/herself into the whole music recording process. Some might discover they actually enjoy being creative with music and be led to better tools. Others may just want something to lay down foundation tracks for musical ideas. Garageband is perfect for these kind of needs, as many won’t be put off by the steep learning curve otherwise involved.
    These arrogant remarks about how nothing good will come of it really do seem to show a sort of insecurity.

    Then again, we’ve heard it all before (GUI anyone?)

  10. Damn Kenny, you beat me to it!

    However, I have 2 points to make.

    1st, the truly great artists aren’t the ones that turn their noses up at new developments. That behaviour is reserved mostly for the “professional establishment”, the ones worried about their own future.

    2nd, I’m a serious musician (well, I try to be), and think GB is great. As a guitarist I never wanted to faff around with complicated processes just to capture an idea or practice. GB fits my bill perfectly. And while I’ve learned to use more professional tools, I’m glad I don’t have to when it’s not necessary!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.