A Beatle Embraces the Cloud—Who Will Follow Suit?
Jun 16, 2011
With the recent iCloud announcement from Apple, cloud computing has again taken its place at the top of technology news feeds. This week came the announcement that Hewlett-Packard will compress more than a million Paul McCartney tracks, photos, etc. so that he may access his personal library from anywhere.
A musician as popular and influential as McCartney could begin a trend among other artists. With a career spanning multiple decades, and so many technological advancements occurring within that time, a good portion of his tracks, video clips and photos exist on tape or some other format that is difficult to access or convert. In a recent interview with Wired, McCartney spoke about these challenges:
“I’ve got all the old tapes, so if I want to mix them again like I’m doing with these remastered reissues, we’ve got to find the tape and actually bake it, because the oxide comes off… It’s a bit like the steam engine, you know. A bit old-fashioned.”
This of course means that the conversion process for HP will be grueling and long, but once all of the materials are in the cloud, the creative possibilities grow, and the process for remastering and collaboration becomes much easier.
What does the cloud mean for creatives?
McCartney has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to experimentation with music production, so it makes sense that he would be one of the first artists to openly embrace the cloud. He is inspired and proud that a younger generation is discovering and remixing his work, and he sees the unique potential of an easily accessible collection. An old music sheet or a shoddy demo recording could be the missing link for a new song that just doesn’t seem to be coming together.
Likewise, a 3D artist or graphic designer could find inspiration in a project from sophomore year’s experimental film class. It often seems as though creative sparks come and go at random times, but they could all come together in a transcendent way due to the organization and self-reflection that cloud computing makes possible.
What does the cloud mean for the older generation?
At 69 years old, McCartney may also inspire older users to embrace the potential of storing music and documents in the cloud, as opposed to letting their once beloved items collect dust in their basement.
I am personally a huge fan of analog and would never want to eliminate it from collections completely, but as my mom has always told me, you forget what you have if it isn’t organized and within plain view. I don’t know how many times I’ve stumbled upon an old CD or book and thought to myself, “Aw, I really loved that and I’m so happy to have it back.”
I imagine McCartney will be saying the same thing when the transition to the cloud is complete.
Read the full Wired interview here.