Microsoft trademarks “Songsmith” for MySong automatic vocal accompaniment software

This might just be the quickest research project to commercial application transition from Microsoft Research yet.

In late February earlier this year I wrote about a cool Microsoft Research project called “MySong” made in collaboration with the University of Washington full of gifted computer science students. Now seven months later, Microsoft has just filed a trademark application for “Songsmith” for “computer programs for generating background music to accompany singers” – exactly what MySong did.

[flv:MySongCHI2008.flv 630 420]

For those who have forgotten what MySong was about, it was a software application where it autonomously generates a dynamic background melody to accompany any vocal singing you throw at it. Whilst it was still not as dynamic as a real accompanist, but still a good mile ahead of other commercial alternatives on the market today. Oh and it saves you the embarrassment for any real musicians to have to accompany you and your attempt at “SexyBack”.

So far there’s no other evidence as to how Microsoft intends to market “Songsmith”, whether as a freebie MSR download or a cheap casual music program which I’m sure will be quite popular with teenagers either way. Even now I can already imagine the many screeching YouTube videos.

12 insightful thoughts

  1. Songsmith? Come on, seriously? Couldn’t they come up with a better name?
    Other than that, it has no use to me; I can’t sing 😛

  2. This is an example of a research project that needs to be productized. Maybe it will make it into Windows Live Movie Maker?

  3. I think it’s pretty ridiculous. The background music was basically the same in all songs. How pathetic!

  4. Just imagine if they took this, ramped up the quality of the piano played and maybe even added some more instruments to it, and maybe some percussion, then – and here is the big thing – put it into Lips for the xbox 360. I can imagine crazy evenings of fun making music. Wii music and singstar can’t hold a candle to how popular that would be. So now Microsoft…make it happen! (ok, I understand Lips will be released pretty soon, so it is too late, but how about adding it later as a DLC you pay for. And then make it standard in Lips 2).

  5. I wish it could play more than one chord style. Can’t there be a check box for like broken chords or whatever? And how about more than one instrument?

    It would be cool if properly developed…

  6. @mathews: what are you talking about? MS has TONS of (good) free stuff for anyone to download! Just look at what they did with WorldWide Telescope or PhotoSynth…

    @jj: this IS being developed!

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