October 11, 2019

Back in an oldschool groove

Chris McCormick @chr15m

For a while now I've been making procedurally generated music as a hobby. In 2009 I was living in London and I met some very nice people there who went on to start a movement called "Algorave" - dance music generated by computer programs - which is now famous enough to have its own Wikipedia page. I wrote a couple of albums using these techniques (search for "squeakyshoecore ep" and "hacksilver album" if you're interested) and over the years I've built up quite a pile of code for generating melodies and beats and samples with algorithms.

For some reason I didn't connect the dots between that music generating code and the Indie Hacker bootstrapping ideas we're all sharing here. Since joining this community I've learned so much about shipping MVPs, launching, marketing, pricing and sales. There is so much great information coming from this community. Founder posts and blogs and tweets and the IH podcast are full of amazing and useful and inspiring info. Because of this community I've shipped an SVG animation utility, a TODO list app (of course), and a couple of office plugins. I've even managed to make some sales - just 8 so far, but I've learned so much getting to this point.

But I've focused on these boring business type of applications because I thought that is what people would want. I didn't think about my work with procedural music as a bootstrapping opportunity until a couple of weeks ago. It dawned on me that the ability to quickly generate the raw ingredients that musicians use to write music - beats, melodies, chord progressions, samples, synthesizers - might just be a valuable service to producers and musicians.

It turns out it is. I turned the first of my music generating algorithms into a web application. It's a melody generator which produces an infinite selection of melodies you can filter through, and then download as a MIDI file. I got the MVP done in 3 days and gave it to a bunch of producer and composer friends of mine. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I had 23 feature requests! I'm excitedly working through those at the moment.

I'm cooking up the first public beta now, so if you're somebody who knows what a MIDI file is or you've tinkered with Abelton or Fruity Loops, keep it locked, you might dig what I'm building. I'll post an update very soon with the first public MVP of the app. Can't wait!

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