The Future is Immobile

In the not-too-distant future, the idea of spinning a piece of plastic around while shining a light on it to play music will seem as ridiculous as the idea of records does to the current generation of youths who, when presented with the idea of how that works, responds with “You did WHAT?” accompanied by a blank stare that indicates a complete lack of comprehension as to why anyone would do something so utterly silly as scratch a piece of plastic with a needle to listen to music.

The technology trend today is toward non-moving parts (which seems to be the case with most of us humans as well.)  Not only music players, but complete hard drives are being made of memory chips instead of spinning discs.  This evolution toward the non-moving is inevitable, of course, as there is less to wear out, no problems with skipping or crashing the reading head into the disk, etc.

Ironically, this immobility has led to increased mobility of devices, as you can now work out on your trampoline while juggling your iDevices, and you won’t have any problems, where in the early days of portable CD players, if you so much as looked at them the wrong way, they would skip to a completely random place on the disc.

In the production music library business, the move is also away from CDs and toward searching and downloading online tracks.  The benefits of this are obvious - being able to search for the track you need and download it immediately is a huge savings in time and energy, for one thing.  No longer do you have to dig through mountains of CDs to find what you're looking for.

To pull this off, though, you need a good search system.  Of course, in order to make this search system effective, you need good metadata.  Metadata is what we call all of the information associated with a track of music: title, composer, description, tempo, keywords, etc. 

Here at Omni, we’ve seen this trend coming for quite some time now, and have spent the last few years completely overhauling our metadata system accordingly.  The more complete (and more relevant) the keywords and descriptions associated with the tracks are, the better your search results will be.

So one somewhat-hidden element to watch out for when choosing a library is how good their metadata is.  Unfortunately, you may not find out until the deadline looms and you just can’t find that track you’re looking for.

Non-moving parts is a great concept for a machine, but a non-moving project is generally frowned upon by those paying for it.

-Dave Hab


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