When will we see some innovation in the music tech industry?

In a 1995 ICMC paper, Todd Winkler wrote:

If Leon Theremin were alive today, he would be amused by the corporate giants racing to discover the “killer app” that will bring interactive electronic images and sound to the masses. He had given musicians a seventy year lead to develop concepts and content exploring motion and sound. Indeed, many of the important discoveries presented at previous ICMC conferences regarding interactive systems, and issues surrounding real-time processing, sensing, and scheduling, seem to have gone largely unnoticed by the corporate world and popular media as they take their first baby steps toward creating intuitive sensors and systems that still await appropriate content. Undoubtedly, composers will have a role to play in developing these new media, and there will be a strong need and increased opportunities to create music in response to human movement.

It is interesting to notice that not much has happened in the twelve years since he wrote this. The large music technology companies continue to release minor updates of their products (mainly keyboard based synthesisers), and there has been no significant change in the product line for decades. Research in music technology has been growing exponentially in recent years, so hopefully some of this will reach the industry at some point.

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.