How to attract more people into tracking?

Try to project the following scenario:

In the year 2018, a bunch of guysat Musikmesse or NAMMor some other music production environment try out different DAWs and tools. Renoise 4.0 has just been released and they demo it for the first time. They drag a couple of audio files into it andplace them out in the conventional horizontal arranger. Theydrag and dropa VST instrument and enter some notes for in the conventional piano roll. Everything is so conventional, so familiar, so… fast. Now the presenter of Renoise clicks on an audio file’s visual representation block in the arranger, and switch into tracker precision editing mode. He places out some alpha-numerical values into columns and hits playback. The audiofile is pitched downand hasvibrato. The bunch of guys who’re demoing Renoise are impressed with thisdetailed level of control and editing. Theysee a new tool for music production that doesn’t havea steep learning curve and requiresa completely new and differenthabitualmindset to handle.

A year later, the same guys have experimented with the tracker’s alphanumerical concepts and learned how to enter notes directly in the pattern editor rather than in theold pianoroll. Granted, they still switch to piano roll overview for faster handling of chords and such. But most other stuff is inputted directly in the pattern editor, using tracker notation. In their other DAWs, theyfire up Redux and feel confident about its tracker concepts.

Now isn’t thisexactly what will make Renoise 4.0 both a commercial success andopenup the world oftrackers to many, many more people around the world? Would you agree that pianoroll, audiotracks and linear arranger are the required core features that would introduce thetracker to 1000x more producers simply based on the familiarity factor alone?

Look, I’m a hardcore tracker guy myself who used to piss on conventionalpianorollswhile rationalizing them as symbols of conformity and stupidity.Like many others I’ve used trackers since that late 1980’s, starting out with Noisetracker on the Amigain 1989. But it’s time to understand that most people doesn’t carry around 25+ years of experience with trackers. And if 99.9% of all music producers are familiar with certain DAW concepts that are lacking in Renoise, it means 99.9% of all music producers probably won’t try out Renoise and give it the time required to learn tracking from the ground up (nor Redux, actually). A future Renoise 4.0 with such familiar conventional stuff as linear arranger, audiotracks and pianoroll would build a bridge over to the 99.9% of all music producers and thereby making it possible for so many more people to learn tracking from an instant gratificationist,productive and user-friendly experience.

This is my perspective and my answer to the question:How to attract more people into tracking?

So what’s your perspective and answer to this question?

Also, does anyone know what the developers themselves conclude in regard to these issues? Are we looking at a future for Renoise following the exact same development paceand business model as the last 14 years?

I have a completely different view on this. If the goal is to make more people interested in tracking and increase the Renoise/Redux user base, there is a more realistic alternative to making Renoise a DAW beast (which would take up a lot of resources).

IMO, to acquire mentioned goal, it would be much more effective to make Redux a piano-roll replacement/companion in conventional DAWs - i e a modern reViSiT. Soon enough, producers will discover the speed and control benefits of sometimes bringing up the Redux tracker instead of using the piano roll. Some better MIDI handling (bi-directional) and interface tweaks, and we’d soon be there.

I think that the Renoise community (and devs) would do well to acknowledge that you can love Renoise and not love trackers. I came to Renoise FROM Ableton Live because of the price, the huge feature set, the wide variety of sounds available, and only then came to appreciate the precision and flexibility of the tracker interface.

Still, I feel like the devs expect me to memorize a bunch of effect command codes and remember how to count to 100 in hexadecimal when they could just let me mouse-click in the effects column and select a value somewhere between 00 and FF.

The things I do in Renoise are all still mostly done through the GUI – many of the text-based commands I could enter, I use a button or a visual click instead. There should be multiple paths to getting things done in the app, which would provide a gentler learning curve for noobs.

They seem pretty resistant to adding in Live-style time / pitch stretching, insisting that people should just process their samples as if this were 1999 and we’re using ReBirth or something.

^^ I had little experience from trackers before renoise and liked it for the things you mentioned and more.

As far as memorizing codes go, you can still access the code via pattern fx commands drop down menu and for me this is enough.

Also not being to familiar with hex, a few experiments early on and I found a working balance. Having to work a little harder meant I retained information and despite it being a steeper learning curve, I am glad it works in this manner. Typing in code/text based can be extremely fast once you get the hang of it and there are many ways in which renoise speeds up workflow because of this.

There are a few things I have also learned along the way by asking questions here, there are also many additions to helping with workflow and use-ability by the tools etc that the users have also contributed.

Take these opinions with a grain o salt, as they are just my viewpoint :wink:

Also in regards to attracting new people into renoise, I have had two friends just watch me work on it and they were intrigued enough. I am not sure about what changes would necessarily attract more people into tracking?

I admit to not being too fond of the piano roll idea for renoise,

though maybe if it looked like this…


I think that the Renoise community (and devs) would do well to acknowledge that you can love Renoise and not love trackers. I came to Renoise FROM Ableton Live because of the price, the huge feature set, the wide variety of sounds available, and only then came to appreciate the precision and flexibility of the tracker interface.

Pretty much the same for me. I had some vague idea of “trackers” but could likely not have done a good job explaining them.

For me Renoise was a DAW of some kind, and had its way of doing things, and I learned that way, and life was good. At no point did I decide I wanted to use a tracker. I decided I wanted to use Renoise. I found Renoise no more or less complicated or confusing than Ableton Live. They were each challenging in their on ways.

I don’t see the goal to be getting to use trackers, but getting people to try Renoise.

For people who are new to making music with a DAW, the whole tracker thing is a non-issue; people new to DAWs are not going to know anything else.

People already accustomed to something like Ableton are unlikely to switch unless they have some particular issue (price, usability, etc.).

I’m more interested in the first group.

maybe littlebit off-topic but cause you talk about pianoroll and stuff … For me that you don’t see that much visual representation of sound, you start seeing with your ears —> like what attracts me to Renoise is that you start to hear chords, not distracted that much by visuality. Same thing that sometimes it is good idea to turn of screen to really hear your song.

You know what I mean???

… insisting that people should just process their samples as if this were 1999 …

Still an entirely valid way of producing sounds and music in 2016 as it was in 1999 I think.

^^ and could go further back, a lot of great recordings came from the 70’s that we are still emulating)

I’ve never really thought of “tracking” like you would think of … “swimming” or whatever. I wanted to make some music, wanted fast and easy software and Renoise good for this.

Probably every software company wants to grow, and all think of how they can do so, and since development takes time, Redux is an answer. They decided to go for 2 products, for “exporting” the “tracking” into VST world. And this can already attract people into the tracking.

I think, if Renoise should take a certain direction, then it should support both tracking and pianoroll / linear at the same time, by little improvements. IMO “linear” is more urgent, because there is a structure that is problematic. The Patterns x Channel matrix is a blocky thing which I like very much, but there’s something wrong with it. Once in a while you hit the end of a pattern. Maybe they should make patterns arbitrary sized, a maximum of 512 isn’t so cool for recording. (In case the answer to wishing 99999 tracker rows in a pattern would be memory consumption, maybe the devs can do some trick behind the scenes, creating an array class that pretends to be an array and is in reality a linked list.)

(Along with a few more split/merge patterns functions, the only thing that Renoise would not share with other DAWs would be their visually overlapping “patterns” (clips / objects), which is a thing that you will always recognize when moving stuff around. But I don’t need this for creating music.)

And the piano roll notes, most of it is drawing. Even if the structure isn’t like a piano roll would be designed from scratch, Renoise could just draw a block from note on to note off. Add some mouse handling - like the moving block selections - later. I mean you can move blocks already, so just add some note lengthening/shortening at both ends. Etc.

I don’t think projecting the midi-key onto an axis is that important. For example, Cubase can be used to display “C5” etc, so: if something stands there, I believe it. If the devs would really want to go into this full visual direction, I’d be ok if the notes would at first just could be sorted (see midi recording, I believe it already does some sorting), low midi keys at the left side, higher midi keys at the right side. And then at one point you could just add optional “piano-roll-waste-space-columns” which would give the final (vertical) piano-roll look by occupying the free midi keys with free space.

This is my little evolutionary view regarding the question that was asked. Whatever you do, Renoise devs, I appreciate it, and I think you can’t go wrong at all. All except pianoroll and timestretch is so strong in Renoise, so cool gui style.

IMO the most important property that causes fear to a potential customer are the hexadecimal numbers in the table like display. Hex numbers are nerd’s world. It needs to be replaced with graphics, bars or whatever. Then, from my point of view, Renoise would not differ so much anymore from other daws in the first impression.

I like hex : p

, I think dem try to value realtime playback, it needs some sacrifices, like not that flexible pattern overlapping, dunno ?? , anyways you can script the program further by yourself regarding to pianoroll aspects…

There are sacrifices for tracking, yes, but it’s nothing that can’t be improved. E.g. place a note into the first row of the second pattern, you’ll see the pattern above too, but you can’t drag (nor move by keys?) the note from pattern 2 into pattern 1 (at the end) that you see. It has to be done using the pattern matrix + moving down. IMO someone who expects things to work the linear way won’t be pleased. But it’s just a bunch of these things. And honestly I wouldn’t mind an option that just rotates the whole pattern view by 90 degrees anti-clockwise. I don’t care what direction the view (including text labels) goes, I think there is just missing the option to rotate everything (except the automation, since that was already rotated) and support both groups of users.

(@ scripting: don’t expect anyone “at a hurry” to use it. I’d somehow know how to use it, but I won’t waste my time. There is a critical mass of importance that scripting has to overcome, just like javascript in a browser, then I’d regard it as the right way. Optimized, covering 90% of everything, having its own, broad, inevitable domain of use. IMO it’s a natural reaction not to touch the Renoise scripting at first. I was surprised Bitwig has some controller scripting, it’s good there, Reaper apparently uses some scripting, but I personally just hate scripts until no other option is left.)

I like hex : p

, I think dem try to value realtime playback, it needs some sacrifices, like not that flexible pattern overlapping, dunno ?? , anyways you can script the program further by yourself regarding to pianoroll aspects…

I like hex, too! But not the common audio user, for sure.

I’d like to see more community based events! Demoparties like this (snagged from the ‘tracker music proper’ thread):

Bring back the lost art of LAN parties!

I wonder if it’s taktik’s goal to make with this software succesfull and make a lot money with it?

I wonder if it’s taktik’s goal to make with this software succesfull and make a lot money with it?

You haven’t figured that out by now? :slight_smile:

Anyway, thinking about what features will make it more popular is the wrong approach. Think about what features will help you make better or more interesting music.

You haven’t figured that out by now? :slight_smile:

No. You?

Given the general nature of renoise compared to other music software

there are indeed some hereditary considerations to be taken when

you are going to predict the further course of commercial and/or

distinctive qualities given to this peculiar software product as a “fucked generation tracker”…

so: just nag the devs to implement features that enable you to make better music with it,

please in kind ways, as I really do feel this is a freak project and freaks never gonna turn assimilated,

or do you plan to make substantial investments into the company in expectation of big profits?

Evenif it would be true that taktik & coupheld an ideal to stay away from making $$$ with Renoise and instead choose to explore the “freak project” paths along with a small but devoted userbase (“preaching to the already converted”), it still wouldn’t change thefact thatexposing the product to the world requires some appeal to familiarity andcomfort zone issues.

Now, I think it’s quite safe to assume that the devs are indeed interested in BOTH exposing Renoiseto the world AND making some $$$ as a desired result from such exposition. Why else would they create Redux? Why polish on the marketing stuff on the webpages? Why not just release the product asopen source?

That’s why my OP conclusionshouldoffer a valid point: features such as pianoroll, audiotracks and linear arranger are not simply “optional” but ratherthe required core features that wouldexposeRenoiseto 1000x more producers simply based on the_familiarity factor_ with previous experiences. That’s what creates a real incentive to push further into new terrain: the feeling that you can explore without having to invent the wheel again.

And that’s ultimately what determines the longevity of the tracker features as well:BECAUSE the very expansion of the userbase makes it possible to harvest the resources required to hire more coders and realizing even more freaky features!

So you see,injecting a healthy dose ofconventionalism into Renoise would boost the core tracker stuff, not water it down.

Edit: Removed piano roll comment.