Tuesday, January 5, 2010

RZA: New iPhone App iDrum

via the Wall Street Journal

RZA has brought his beats to the iPhone App Store. The famed hip-hop producer and rapper from the Wu-Tang Clan has released a branded edition of iZotope’s popular iDrum application.

The iDrum app is a consumer version iZotope’s professional grade software. The application allows users to combine pre-recorded beats and loops to compose original music with much more control than was possible in previous music making programs. For CEO Mark Ethier, the iPhone edition of the software is meant to fill a niche between games like Guitar Hero and high-end audio-engineering programs, like ProTools.

Previous versions of the app allowed users to produce music in genres like rock or club music. iZotope also began partnering with established musicians, such as Depeche Mode and Ministry of Sound to use elements from their music. The RZA edition includes a mix of 17 new and classic beats that users can use as a foundation for their own creations.

For artists, the chance to release elements of music through iDrum presents an opportunity to promote their music in a new format and to increase sales at a time music business is struggling. Depeche Mode took advantage of the opportunity by releasing their version of iDrum along with their latest album.

RZA says that the benefits of releasing original loops to the public doesn’t have any obvious economic benefit for him, besides the contract he has with iZotope. He doesn’t have a new album out and isn’t putting together a concert tour. But he thinks that, “eventually it will all come back around” by introducing new people to his back catalog. RZA said that it took him and his engineer eight days to dig through old digital audio tapes and floppy disks and to create new sounds in his studio.

The app, which costs $4.99, was released in late November. Though iZotope wouldn’t say how many times it has been downloaded, the company says the RZA edition is its popular iDrum yet and is planning to partner with more artists in the future.

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