Dreaming of a future in which music, instead of just being rendered audio files, arrives in fully generative, interactive form? Albums might “listen” to the world around you, and listeners could record their own alternate versions of music and share with others.

RjDj, the generative mobile music platform for Apple devices, realizes that future right now, instead of at some nebulous time in the future. In addition to the iPhone, you can make use of a second-generation iPod to use it. (You’ll need a headset with a mic; I have one by Griffin I’m testing.) And the RjDj folks have a whole bevy of significant updates to share:

  • Free downloads (limited time): All three RjDj releases are available now for free. That includes the RjDj app itself (from which you can now grab and share releases), as well as RjDj Album (with a selection of generative/interactive/reactive releases) and the new RjDj shake.
  • Download “scenes”: From the beginning, we knew that RjDj was imagined as a platform for other people to release interactive music. Now you can download scenes for free or fee. (Paid scenes currently redirect to the browser, but with iPhone SDK 3.0, you’ll be able to buy right from the app.)
  • Share recordings: Because RjDj-generated music is controlled by the user and often records from the environment, the music may sound different each time. You can now share recordings with others from the device and the new social site.
  • RjDj.me community: The RjDj folks have built a little community where you can share your favorite scenes and upload recordings, and keep track of scenes coming out from other artists.

By the way, with all of these releases, I know there’s some confusion. RjDj is the main app — the platform from which you’ll be able to grab scenes in the future. RjDj Album is a collection of “player”-style RjDj scenes — ones we have seen released previously. RjDj Shake is a newer, accelerometer-powered set of scenes. It comes with the amusing admonition that you should “PLEASE TAKE CARE, DON’T HURT ANYONE AND DON’T SMASH YOUR DEVICE.” If you missed Shake before, it now also has the recording sharing features. But the main RjDj app is the big release going forward.

We’re also awaiting news on more “sprints,” community-driven development efforts for making new scenes. And if you’re a fan of this sort of thing, RjDj isn’t the only game in town. RjDj itself is powered on Pure Data, the open source patching cousin of Max/MSP. Pd is making its way to other mobile devices; I even have it working on the BUG Labs gadget. At the same time, I’m curious to see if the RjDj gang can succeed in building a platform for lots of people doing this sort of work.

Regardless of how you look at it, more mobile generative / responsive music is most definitely in your future. Stay tuned.

Elsewhere:
Free trip into the rainbow vein: reality-enhancing iPhone app RjDj free with social update [Boing Boing Offworld]

RjDj.me community site
RjDj 0.7 out now [RjDj News]

RjDj [iTunes]
RjDj Album [iTunes]
RjDj Shake [iTunes]

Be sure to see our previous interview with the creators:
Exclusive RjDj Interview: Interactive Music Listening, Everywhere You Go

Also, expect more iPod/iPhone news and hands-on’s soon — I’m way behind, but let’s assume that means the best stuff will rise to the top.

  • http://jordanbalagot.com Jordan314

    Cool, thanks for the update on RjDj shake.

    Don't get me wrong, I think RjDj is phenomenal. But I bought RjDj album months ago and was kind of hoping for some more scenes by now.

    I signed up for the RjDj me service, added a scene to my profile (GhostWave, which is free), and it says "You own this scene. Download it with the RjDj app."
    http://www.rjdj.me/music/Chris%20McCormick/GhostW
    But when I launch RjDj Album or RjDj Shake and login, I don't see any option to download the new scene. Anyone know what I'm missing? I'm using OS 3.0 beta BTW so it could be that.

  • http://rjdj.me Frank

    Jordan, to download scenes you have to use the main RjDj App, not one of the Albums – the Albums cannot do downloads. The backgrounnd is, that downloads work through Safari on your iPod/iPhone. Whenever Safari finds a downloadable scene on the rjdj.me site, it starts the RjDj app to handle installation. There can only be one App registered in Safari like that – the RjDj albums are not registered.

  • KimH

    I'm happy that they're moving this forward, but geez- why do we need THREE apps to make all this happen?

  • http://dancerobotdance.com Brian

    Yeah, confusing is a pretty good word here. I've had RJDJ "Album" since November, but I thought that what I had was RJDJ. I'm downloading the others now, and I guess I can't wait to see what the app does that the album doesn't. I sure can't find any actual info on the RJDJ website.

    Anyone know what's the difference between a "scene" and an "album?" And anyone know what happens when one signs in and shares scenes? It seems I can "rock a scene" but who knows what that is.

    RJDJ is pretty neat, but I find myself getting pretty bored after two or three minutes of listening to any of the albums. It's all pretty repetitive whether I'm at a playground or in a coffee shop.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    The basic answer is, the main RjDj app is the one that grabs new stuff. That's where you'll go to find new apps.

  • http://jordanbalagot.com Jordan314

    Oh ok. Thanks all. Yeah with the previous RjDj Album and RjDj Lite, that's 5 RjDj apps. 'Twas a bit confusing.

  • http://rjdj.me Frank

    Brian: An "Album" is a collection of "Scenes" in our terminology. You can think of Scenes like tracks on a traditional CD or in a MP3 album. We don't like the term Track for RjDj music though, as that's not describing the dynamic nature of RjDj scenes.

    But apart from that it's pretty traditional music biz: Albums may be a collection of scenes by one artists or by several artists under a common theme (like the "Shake" album is).

    You can now also get the scenes from both albums through our website, but the albums are a bit cheaper than buying all scenes separately – especially at the moment, where both albums are free for a limited time.

  • Waffle

    I have an iPod touch 2G and I've been meaning to try RJDJ for a while. I haven't been able to find any microphone accessories that allow me to use my existing headphones at the same time. Does anyone know of any?

  • autoy

    @Waffle the new Apple buds with mic will work, as well as the new in-ears. As for third party adapters, they're coming soon I've heard.

  • KimH

    Frank said: "An “Album” is a collection of “Scenes” in our terminology. You can think of Scenes like tracks on a traditional CD or in a MP3 album … it’s pretty traditional music biz: Albums may be a collection of scenes by one artists or by several artists under a common theme (like the “Shake” album is).

    "You can now also get the scenes from both albums through our website, but the albums are a bit cheaper than buying all scenes separately – especially at the moment, where both albums are free for a limited time."

    =======

    Frank, I assume you work with the RjDj group. I have to say, the whole thing is very confusing, and I would have had no chance of understanding if it weren't for these comments. I had no idea why my RjDj app suddenly swapped its icon with a different app, also called RjDj. There's probably quite few more people out there who have no idea what's going on.

    RjDj is avery cool app, but I think you're diminishing its potential with these multiplying versions. You don't even explain it clearly on your web site.

    I'm sure that I don't want three RjDj slots occupied on my iPhone. Two of these will go away soon. I shouldn't have to pay again for the scenes I got with the original RjDj album.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @KimH / @Frank –

    Some of the confusion is because of the way Apple handles uploads, correct? That is, it isn't really possible to *replace* the one app with the others?

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  • KimH

    @Peter- that's not how it need work, as I understand it. The existing, paid-for RjDj Album app could have been replaced with an RjDj app that included existing scenes, while allowing for DLing new ones. The existing free app could have been replaced by an app that allowed DLing new scenes.

    Whatever the case may be, they should at least explain what's going on….

  • http://rjdj.me Frank

    Hey KimH,

    yep, I work for RjDj – you maybe have heard some of my scenes like Gridwalker or Moogarina.

    With the new version we wanted to give everyone access to the download-enabled version of RjDj, for free, because we also want to let composers decide if they want their scenes to be free or paid for. In the end, our code base (Pd) comes from a free software background, and some of us, me included, compose on Linux etc. We like free stuff. :)

    OTOH Reality Jockey is a company. The only way to sell scenes (which is partly funding our development efforts) was by bundling them with an RjDj player in the AppStore before we had the new website. And as I wrote, there are technical hurdles that make it hard or in fact impossible to use more than one app for scene downloading, at least now.

    If we would be producing and selling MP3s, everything would be fine and dandy: We could have sold them through the AppStore, collect them in albums or sell them separately, they would show up in iTunes (and only there). Nobody would have been disappointed because iTunes updates don't include new tracks for their collection.

    But as it is iTunes cannot play RjDj scenes – so we have to go a more complicated route. I agree that we probably should communicate this better than we are already trying to do.

    I guess, the main misconception we are dealing with is that people think, RjDj would be an iPhone software. RjDj is not a software – RjDj is a platform for music as software.

    All the best

    Frank

  • KimH

    Thanks for the info, Frank. I'm on the road and haven't been able to spend much time online. I don't understand why it's "hard or in fact impossible to use more than one app for scene downloading," but that makes this a little more comprehensible.

    You definitely need to communicate the situation better, if you're interested in taking care of your existing customers. It's about as clear as mud from the outside at this point.

    I can also tell you that I don't have lots of app slots to spare on my iPhone, and even if I did, it's unlikely I would dedicate THREE app slots to one application. I don't think I'm alone there, either. It would be good to solve this- I only have room for one RjDj…

    Thanks again…

  • pretzel

    @Waffle

    Shure makes a Music phone adapter, it works great and works with any headphones (especially Shure's because of cord length but will work with any).

    It's basically the apple buds without the headphone, just the mic and you could use them with any headphones

  • Alex

    great idea, botched execution. You need to really rethink the way you are deploying this app platform to consumers, it's awful and it's going to upset people and make them not want to use RJDJ. Other than that, you had me….