Fruity Gone Batty

For the most part, a programmer who is good at algorithmic back-ends can’t be trusted with user interface. There are fantastic examples of exceptions, where there is an overall aesthetic that permeates the programmer’s approach to both coding and interface.

Unfortunately, FL Studio is not one of those exceptions. The back end stuff is as good as it gets: hosting all plugins, overall stability and clean mixer output. This, plus an unbeatable pricing model (lifetime upgrades for free) made it somewhat more palatable to overlook the painful, unusable, un-standard, ever-changing-without-a-direction user interface. Of course, this will incur the wrath of the cult-like following the overtly arrogant makers of FL have gathered over the years. (I finally had enough and dropped using FL completely after the rewrite of the Ableton rendering engine in version 7.)

I’m not generally bothered by a little arrogance. If the folks at Image-Line didn’t have at least a little arrogance they never would have conceived of Fruity Loops or continued it’s growth over the years; in a crowed field such as music software, you have to think you have a better way of doing it than everybody else. But theirs is a somewhat special brand that always struck me as an object lesson in humility that went something like “just because you had 3 good ideas in a row, doesn’t mean you’re next 7 won’t suck.”

It started when Deadmau5, a “big” recording artist I guess, noticed that someone else had released a song on iTunes, for sale, that sounded almost exactly like some tracks he had licensed to Image-Line to include in FL Studio. The tracks were marked as ‘demo’ but, you know, it shipped with FL Studio so, you know, you can use ’em.

Or not.

Turns out that was never part of the deal according to Deadmau5 and he’s holding Image-Line responsible and everybody’s pissing over themselves and copyright and looping and sampling and ain’t life grand.

As Peter over at CDM is reporting the Image-Line folks are now saying “We’ll remove all melodic loops from FL Studio to avoid this kind of stuff in the future…”

To say that none of this was thought through with a modicum of intelligence is an insult to modicums. According to this logic there are two paths: Including all rights reserved samples in FL studio OR remove all “melodic loops” all together.

I can’t begin to parse the lameness running throughout this. I’m pretty immersed in copyright/copyfight stuff and there’s a world of esoteric stuff that makes my eyes glaze over when serious CC or GPL people start yammering away. But how ignorant of artists’ rights issues do you have to be to come to any of these conclusions. And how arrogant do you have to be to flaunt it.

Any wonder I’m on Ableton.

2 thoughts on “Fruity Gone Batty

  1. teru

    Hello, devil’s advocate here.

    Doesn’t the bulk of the blame fall on whoever thought of selling a track commercially based on the FL “demo” without expecting consequences?

    Is it too much to ask to expect some common sense from people? Seriously just because it doesn’t say “this beverage is hot” on the cup doesn’t mean I can go and spill coffee all over myself.

    This just in, Starbucks will now only sell cold coffee which you have to heat yourself.

    /devil’s advocate

    If we were smart we’d ask to submit some CC samples to Image Line. If anyone from Image Line is reading, I still think you’re cool. : )

    Oh and CDM not CMD.

  2. gurdonark

    The world has changed so much on these issues in the past few years, but some companies and in particular some of their in-house counsel have not yet changed. Lately I think about how good it is to use freeware when possible, and CC samples–and what a dinosaur’s boneyard it was before open source and
    ample CC came into being.

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