Hey everyone! Sorry for the delay on blog posts recently. Don’t worry, everything in my life is pretty much, well, as good as it can be right now. I lost a few opportunities because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m still healthy and have a good relationship with my family which is, frankly, a lot to be thankful for. I’m also using the pandemic unemployment as the government arts grant I always deserved.

I want to thank you for reading. You’re part of 1,000 regular visitors moving about 4.5 GB of bandwidth every month. For non-technical people, bandwidth is basically how much data a website moves. Text websites like my blog and other ones tend to move very little, if at all, data. The fact we’re moving so much data is amazing.

Anyways, I ran into an odd issue with Pro Tools and updating my computer’s BIOS fixed it. I wanted to share my solution with you in case, like me, you tried and tried to fix something without getting anywhere.

After a period of extreme burnout, I’m back to writing again. I’ll try to publish every week this time. Next week’s post is a dialogue I wrote about music genres. Don’t worry, if you’re not a musician you’ll get a lot out of it. I don’t spend too much time on the details. Instead, I use two unnamed characters to explain the musical mindset I have. Besides, details are for nerds to feel smart. Beleive it or not, it’s much harder to discuss overall abstract structures and approaches then spend time working out the details of what compressoror chord to use.

Now, back to the post. Here we go:

The Issue

I had an issue with Pro Tools on Windows 10 where it always generated an error “Pro Tools ran out of CPU power. Try de-activating or removing Native plug-ins. (AAE -9173)” even if I played a blank project. I have good hardware (Fireface UCX and Ryzen 5 2600 32 GB low latency RAM) and the rest of my machine appeared to work perfectly. My Cubase and Ableton sessions still worked just fine. I tried re-installing Pro Tools, the PACE drivers, my graphics driver, network driver, and nothing worked. I ran Windows Update, and went through Device Manager to ensure everything is working. I updated my audio drivers and re-installed all the Avid drivers. I even ran the Emsisoft Emergency Kit to scan for malware Kaspersky may have missed. Nothing worked.

I referred to the Pro Tools documentation and went through the optimization guide. I went through all the steps, even though some of them will hamper your overall computing experience. On a side note, UAC is a critical security measure in Windows and I don’t see how disabling it would help Pro Tools. I don’t work for their engineering team, though, so what do I know. Anyway, the steps Avid recommended didn’t fix anything. I contacted their support and haven’t heard back.

The Fix

I updated the BIOS on my motherboard for unrelated reasons. I do this about once a year as part of the maintenance I do on my machine to keep things working. After updating the BIOS, Pro Tools works again. I hope this helps someone, and maybe if it helps enough people, Avid might consider adding it to the troubleshooting guide.

If you found this post through a search, I really hope this helps you solve your problem. Take care, keep calm, and always remember you have the power to fix your computer!

Covid-19 simply will not have any long-term effects on society. Disease is not an agent of social change. Instead, technology drives more changes in society than disease does.

1) Disease Does Not Cause Social Change

Disease simply is not an agent for social change. Gay and bisexual men continue to have unprotected sex despite the presence of HIV. In Colorado, a third of men who have sex with men have HIV and this number will increase over time despite advances in treatment and prevention. HIV’s terrible legacy, the countless lives lost who we only remember through passing thoughts among loved ones and those who succumb to the disease currently, are clearly not enough to encourage condom use or larger social changes among men who have sex with men.

The 1911 Spanish Flu and Polio did not last too long in the memories of those who went through it. Even though a vaccine cured polio, that information was not enough for people to continue to use vaccines in this century. Today, most people do not get flu vaccines. China recently allowed the sale of exotic animals again, even though SARS-COV1 (SARS) and SARS-COV2 (COVID-19) spread faster through these markets. Nor was SARS enough for China to make sweeping public health reforms, such as wrapping foods in supermarkets or enforcing cleanliness standards.

In the United States, the presence of COVID-19 is not enough for the government to reform our healthcare system. The ideological commitment to a free market in all areas of life trumps anything else in today’s America.

The tangible presence of diseases simply fails to change how we navigate our world. By extension, I don’t see any long-term impacts on art, how it’s produced, or how it’s consumed directly caused by the disease.

2) Tech, not disease, changes lives

Changes in technology that increasingly automated the production and distribution of art happened before COVID-19, and they will not stop regardless of the disease. It might sound strange to think of content delivery as an automated process now, but robots and algorithms power the websites you use to consume media. Art replication is automated, and in music, the performances are largely automated through software.

Technology is the largest driver of social change, as new tools allow us to navigate the world faster, better, or worse. This operates independently of disease. Certain pastimes that were impossible before, such as video games, are now commonplace. Methods of production and consumption of music, and to a greater extent all products, are fueled by technological developments that adapt over time to our needs in a feedback-loop mechanism where the technology changes us, and in turn we change the technology to suit the new society.

The boundaries between man and machine now are porous at best. Academics typically refer to online spaces as if they are some novel idea, like a foreigner speaking about seeing palm trees for the first time. However, online platforms existed since 1990—thirty years ago. These changes are brought on so quickly that, academia being about 100 years in the past, simply fails to see them yet.

Our legacies exist in online spaces, as do the ideas we interact with and enjoy. Our work, through the proliferation of cloud storage, exists almost entirely online now. When we take an idea we read online, and apply it to our life offline, the online idea influences how we act offline. So, even if a computer is off, the ideas remain in our heads and continue to shape the ways in which we construct our reality.

Consequently, we ought to be more concerned with how the technology we use shapes our beliefs and worldviews, and the exchanges in power that occur when we use online platforms. Algorithms that control what you see and when you see it can adversely affect the worldview of individuals, and people allow themselves to develop tunnel vision.

Online platforms are inherently restrictive spaces, for they control exactly what you may or may not do within the platform. There is nothing wrong with restriction, for we face regulations on life every day through laws and social customs. However, when a platform is too restricted, it enforces its own fascistic tendencies beyond that which is reasonable, at the expense of the free exchanges of ideas and overall intellectual growth of its participants.

While I focused on the digital realm, I’d also like to bring up a larger history of colonization that was only possible through the advances in shipping. The Dutch empire, for instance, was only able to sail across the ocean when her ships were strong and powerful enough. The intersection of the civilized European world, and the sophisticated empires American Indians, such as the Aztecs, Utes, and Hopi, eventually led to the utter destruction and castration of the rival empires—destruction partly possible due to ships.

The existence of the English and Spanish languages in the United States is the tangible proof of the success over the European colonial powers over the colonial powers that previously existed in America. It is naïf and childish, while also disrespectful, to assume that the Aztecs and other populations were not interested in power and domination. Where their power fell depends on the tribe and circumstance. Spanish colonists were able to convince tribes the Aztecs took over to fight the Aztecs in exchange for freedom. What the colonists did not specify was that the natives fought for freedom from their own culture and way of life.

Cultural destruction is the largest and most concrete example of social change possible through technology. Entire societies and empires with beautiful beliefs and ways of life foreign and incomprehensible to the Europe and her powers and most contemporary Americans. These beliefs currently exist as decayed leaves blowing in the fall wind, hopefully attached to a soul who may experience them in a future life and keep them alive, albeit in a distorted form.

COVID-19 simply cannot, and will not, have as much change on the world as what I brought up previously. Do not buy into fearmongering.

Starting a hobby or career in music production is very simple even if you never played an instrument before. I’ll tell you what you need to know to get started from an honest perspective. We’ll discuss it in more detail, but in order to get started all you need is the right attitude, some time, a decent computer, and the right software.

Yes, it’s that easy to get started. No, there aren’t some super-secret barriers I’m hiding. If you can point and click, and can navigate your computer’s filesystem, you already won half the battle.

Don’t feel intimidated if it’s something you always wanted to try. Are you waiting for a sign to start? Well, this is it. Let’s talk about what I mean in some more detail.

1) Have the Right Attitude

Focus on the big ideas, not the details. I guarantee that 99.99% of what people discuss in forums is pointless. Internet strangers are sneaky devils. While most intend well, they also don’t know what they’re doing, they aren’t accountable for wasting your time, and they won’t give your time back to you after they took it.

Internet strangers focus too much on the details. You didn’t get into production to debate compressor circuit types with people who never worked in studios. Audiences don’t care whether the new version of Ableton is better than the old one. You don’t now, and you shouldn’t down the road. Focus on the music. Focus on the magic a beautiful piece of music brings to your life.

Think about these questions instead. What made you want to make music? Are you inspired by an artist? Do you want to see how the magic is made in the studio? Do you have a passion for technology? Do you have a passion for doing something new?

Or are you inspired by life itself? Do you have experiences that you want to channel into the music you made? Do you want to transport people to another place, or do you want to make the present moment better?

What is the role of music in your life?

What specific moments in a piece of music you like make you feel a certain way? Why?

How is music made? Is music a reflection of the artist? Or, does the artist channel music from somewhere else? How do you know? Are there any people who wrote about this?

There aren’t answers to these questions. But, keep these ideas in mind. My answers change, but the questions stay the same. Maybe the question has more truth than the answer. Anyways, let’s go on to tame everyone’s biggest enemy: time.

2) Have some time

One of the biggest myths about being a musician is that you have to be a loser to do it. You don’t have to make sacrifices to produce music. It turns out you can still see your friends, game, or whatever else and still have time to make music. It’s really easy to find time to produce.

I’ll show you just how easy it is to find time to produce. Are you into gaming four hours a night? Start an hour later after you produced for an hour. Your friends won’t mind. Go to the gym three times a week? Great, produce on a night you set aside rest. Have a fling you want to keep around on Fridays and Saturdays? There’s always Sunday afternoon.

You could even produce just once a week for an hour or two. That’s better than nothing. Two hours every Saturday adds up to eight hours in a month—eight hours you didn’t spend before! That’s more time than most people ever spend in their lives making music.

Don’t let yourself get seduced by a Faustian bargain. Yes, people who only make music are losers. If you only spend your life doing one thing, that’s a horrible life to live. The art you make will suffer because it’s not informed by the richness that other disciplines, and life, provide. Musicians without other interests make boring music.

While we’re on the subject of time, give yourself a while to refine your skills. It’s ok to take a while to make your first complete track, even if it’s thirty seconds. Take some time to study music itself with guitar or piano lessons so you know how to write chords. Even if it takes you a year to make your first track, at least that’s one more track than you had before.

Don’t be hard on yourself. Your first tracks will be very bad and that’s ok. Keep in mind that someone with at least ten years of experience probably made the tracks you like, even if they’re young. Some guys start at 10; when they hit 20 they’re incredible musicians.

Don’t worry about it. If you were a writer, you wouldn’t publish your first-grade report on “How I spEnt summr.” Why would you publish the first track you made?

3) Get a decent computer

Chances are your computer is already good enough to run production software. If you have at least four cores, 8 GB of RAM, and 70 GB or so of free space you’re good to go.

Make sure you have a Mac or a Windows machine. Chromebooks and Linux won’t ever make the cut.

You’ll probably need a machine produced within the last three years. Don’t break the bank getting a new computer. You can always upgrade down the road.

4) The Right Software

Software is one of those details that people love to talk about which doesn’t matter as much as people pretend it does. What matters the most is that is you use something you like. People make all kinds of subjective judgements on music software they trick you with. Use whatever you want.

There aren’t many options for production software right now. Ableton, FL Studio, Cubase, Logic Pro, Studio One, Sony Acid Pro, and Pro Tools all will give you the result you need.

What do I use? Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter for you. Go and find something you like to use by downloading trials and following along with the tutorials the developers included for you. That’s the only way you’ll learn.

Go get started!

I’m so excited to announce that “Fire Inside (feat. Kay-Kay)” is now live everywhere you can buy music.

Buy on Bandcamp Here

Sream on Spotify Here

Stream/Buy on Apple Music Here

Stream/Buy on Google Play Here

Linear Notes

I don’t like writing about my own music. Everything I have to say in the track is in the track.

“Fire Inside (feat. Kay-Kay)” was inspired by a trip to NYC last summer. I stayed with my best friends, and we constantly went out to enjoy the finest music and art in the world.

Like the rest of my trips, I spent a great deal of time alone while my friends worked. When I’m alone, I avoid listening to music.

I don’t know where these tracks come from, but I was alone in Central Park towards the evening, and I heard the piano and bass out of the blue, and when I returned, started writing it a few months later.

I incorporated some ambient sounds of NYC in the background, with the voices of some old spirits of house music to create something that I want hot guys to dance to in the club.

I’m not qualified to talk about diseases or make health recommendations. Instead, I’ll observe the effects of COVID-19 at the social level. COVID-19 causes panic prophesy, depraved journalism, and armchair expertise.

1) Panic Prophesy

Right now, there’s a feedback loop happening between the media and citizens. The media creates negative, sensationalized reports about the potential negative impacts of COVID-19. Fictional, speculative reporting triggers panic buying and other irrational behavior that causes real damage to supply chains, the environment, and psychology.

Suddenly, mere conjecture becomes a frightening reality. People feel like their panic is validated, and panic more, causing more damage that gives the media more to report on, which in turn causes more panic.

This is primarily a psychological phenomenon, but that doesn’t make it any less tangible or real. We must believe in a system for it to keep working. Doubt leads to more issues.

2) Depraved Journalism

Not all journalists are depraved, but today most of them choose to abandon their ethics in favor appalling reporting that generates clicks instead of facts. How did they do it?

If you follow Reddit, you can be ahead of the news by a few days, because journalists are now using Reddit as a trusted source. Reddit doesn’t take steps to verify content it receives, and it is also clear that journalists aren’t using their training and ethics to stop falsehoods from reaching the country.

The issue is that Reddit users on subreddits related to COVID-19 tend to be doomsday people, spreading the same vitriol and conspiracy theories over and over again until they become verified at the popular, community level and find their way into mainstream news sources.

Journalists need to uphold ethical standards because their reporting informs and directs the general public. Most will not travel to the affected areas and get the truth as it is on the ground, and rely on heavily colored testimony from Reddit users, who may be CCP operatives, anti-CCP operatives, conspiracy theorists, people who are there and honest, or people writing fiction. Most of this content simply isn’t possible to verify at face value.

Journalists simply aren’t doing the extra work to verify content before reporting it, and it causes panic prophesy.

3) Armchair Experts

I didn’t know that most of my friends on social media had medical training until COVID-19. Nor did I notice that most of them have access to the same journals and databases that universities and labs use, despite never going to college or graduating a few years ago. I also didn’t know that so many people understood diseases to the point where they feel like they can make recommendations.

Suddenly, everyone feels like they understand disease because they watched a few YouTube videos about viruses. People fight with each other about recommendations to stay home or go out, how serious the COVID-19 is, or whether China or the WHO lied about the numbers. It’s a waste of time.

Not only is it frivolous to debate without expertise, it is also frightening how little we truly know about the world around us.

One thing that caught me off guard in music is the sheer amount of music I’m expected to learn in a short amount of time. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a day to look at the music before I must play it. On good days I’ll have some time that day to look at it. Usually, people plop a score down, count it off, and that’s that.

So how does one learn a lot of music in little time? First, you limit the scope of the work. Second, you work efficiently within the limits you set.

Since these limits are set by context, I won’t provide any catch-all strategies. What I have here instead is a framework that I use time and time again, that you could try out too.

A lot of people give blanket strategies. “Just make charts.” “Work on your sight-reading.” “Listen to more music on your free time.” But generic advice never helps.

What if takes a longer time to make a chart than it does to learn the piece? Or, you already have a chart, wouldn’t it be faster just to correct a few typos?

How useful is sight-reading? Sure, I can read almost anything these days. But I don’t have a large working memory of songs like a lot of my peers do. Sight-reading and learning are different processes, and we need to distinguish when reading is useful and when learning is useful, since reading takes less time and not all gigs require that you learn the songs on a deep level. (If you balk at this, then I’m sincerely jealous of how much free time you have to learn thousands of songs in all twelve keys and their histories and intricacies between different recordings)

And who isn’t constantly listening to music? I’m no exception. That doesn’t mean I know how to learn songs quickly!

Anyways, here are some strategies I use to limit my work and work efficiently. I also have some bonus tips on learning music fast at the end.

1) Setting Limitations

Generally, I try to work as little as possible on any given piece of music. This isn’t out of laziness, but rather volume and time constraints. There is a large amount of music to learn, and almost no time to learn it.

When I set limitations on what I do, ask the following types of questions:

  • What is the classification of work?
  • Will I be able to read music on the job?
  • How many rehearsals will we have?
  • How is the music delivered?

Here are how I answer them.

What is the classification of work?

Piano work generally comes in these types:

  • Recordings
  • Rehearsals for some type of ensemble (orchestra, choir, musicals, chamber ensemble, jazz band, etc.)
  • Performances

These are not exclusive categories, and often overlap. But they help in setting limitations on how much time spend with the music.

Recordings

For instance, recordings will require a lot of time practicing, since there is little room for error during the recording process. Unless I’m making rehearsal recordings at home, then I will simply record everything at 50 BPM and speed it up in the DAW later, so that no one project takes more than an hour of time.

Rehearsals

Most of what I do currently is as some type of rehearsal pianist. In these situations, I spend more time learning the vocal parts, since the singers need accurate parts, and singers hate hearing pianists figure things out. I spend little, if any, time learning accompaniment parts in these situations. I usually play pop patterns to make the accompaniment parts better. Consequently, I don’t practice the chart as much as those patterns I constantly revise, and I spend time refining chord voicings over time.

Performances

If we’re performing, the time spent with the music depends on the nature of the performance. If we already had a lot of rehearsals, I don’t have to spend time on the music outside of rehearsal. If I get to read the music, I don’t have to memorize it. If the performance is background music, it’s ultimately not important to learn thoroughly, since the audience isn’t listening (don’t kid yourself). If it is a recital or competition, then that requires a great deal of preparation.

Will I be able to read music on the job?

When music is provided and read during the performance, that saves learning time, since memorization is no longer necessary.

How many rehearsals will we have?

Frequent rehearsals mean that it is not necessary to work on the music, other than a superficial level to get the notes correct. Even that might be a waste of time if the director chooses new keys or interprets rhythms differently than what is notated in some sections.

How is the music delivered?

Music is delivered as a score or audio file.

When the music is a score, it might not be readable at first, so there could be some additional preparation to make it readable for rehearsal, such as indicating page marks, or re-beaming incorrectly beamed rhythms. Otherwise, additional preparation is unnecessary and should be avoided.

Audio files may require some type of transcription. Audio files always take the most amount of time to learn, but in these situations, it’s best to listen to the music on a loop repeatedly until it sinks in. Usually, this music has the most improvisation, so it’s not necessary to learn specific melodies as much as how long each section is.

2) Efficiency vs. Laziness

Some people might think I’m lazy for learning music like this, or “cheating” by recording parts in this way.

The difference between laziness and efficiency is that laziness doesn’t care about quality and speed, while efficiency is ensuring that products are delivered quickly without losing quality. I’d rather spend 6 hours recording six separate pieces for six separate clients, rather than 2 hours working for one client.

Since I work efficiently, I can offer more revisions, since the revisions don’t take any time to complete. This means clients get more value for my rates than what other musicians provide.

Bonus tips:

  • When sight reading, read for the chord and pattern, not the specific notes (I’ll write more about this later)
  • Music is all “lego music.” That is, you can learn a set of building blocks (“legos”) and use your discretion and refinement to pick the correct musical phrase at the correct time. Yes, this applies to classical music, too.
    • This isn’t to trivialize what we do as musicians. It’s just how I’ve always viewed music. Remember: just because you have all the ideas in front of you, doesn’t mean you’ll know what do with them!
  • Most charts are great time savers, but they don’t have a lot of useful accompaniment parts. Play something that sounds better than the chart. Left hand octave doubling, avoid doubling the melody with the vocalists (if requested), using 10ths in the left-hand, and using your own voicings are ways to get you started making something sound better.
  • When reading a Piano-Vocal sheet with chords, just ignore the piano part.
  • In piano music, chords are outlined in the left-hand part in octaves, so you can usually tell what chord you’re playing just by reading the left hand and the key
  • There’s a big difference between reading on your own and reading in front of people. Have some friends over, have some wine, open a music book, and read it in front of them to get used to the pressure.
  • Most musicians in a certain specialization work with the same repertoire over and over again, so learning the canon in each specialty is useful
  • Work on your abilities to focus and sustain attention over long periods of time without spending too much mental energy.
  • If the band uses drugs in rehearsals, make sure everyone is at the same high. Otherwise, members will not be able to properly connect at the same wavelength. This is hard to do. For this reason, it is usually best to avoid drug abuse at rehearsals.

  1. Hey everyone! Thanks for showing up to the gig I organized.
  2. Boy, I could learn a thing or two about musicianship from the vocalists I work with!
  3. Oh, I was rushing? Sorry! I’ll be sure to work with a metronome before the next rehearsal. Gosh, you know what? I should work with a metronome more in general. I could really improve my internal clock. Most of the band has better much time than I do. Thanks for reminding me!
  4. I will make time to learn the music before rehearsal, so I don’t have to worry about sight-reading at practice. Lord knows I’m not the best reader in the world.
  5. Wow, these other players in the band are way better musicians than I am!
  6. I could really improve my music theory knowledge.
  7. I am completely prepared for all the accompanying gigs I have this week. Heck, what am I saying? I meant this season!
  8. I’m not hungover.
  9. I could play fewer chord extensions next time.
  10. I actually read the accompaniment part note for note last run!

I don’t typically write about this sort of thing, but a lot of people kept asking me about it, so I figured it would make a good blog post.

I used Apple computers my whole career up until about two years ago. Then I did the unthinkable and moved to Windows. How come? And how bad is it–are the rumors true? Is it better?

Since people, especially audio people, like talking about gear, I’ll write a bit about my own experience. I’m not going to make any recommendations because your situation is different than mine, and I’m not the type of fanboy anymore that recommends what I have out of some misplaced loyalty.

My History

One of my earliest memories was watching my dad send an email to his friend Caroline in France. My dad told me Caroline would call us when she got the email, and she called us about five seconds later. At that point, I had already been to France, and I wondered how she could get an email instantly, but we had to take a plane and go through a whole ordeal to talk to her.

Ever since that moment, I’ve always had a fascination with computers. I used to break them constantly and played with the settings in the Mac just to see what could happen. In middle school, I took a Python class from my friend’s uncle, and ran a laptop with Linux on it.

Neither the class nor the laptop worked out. I realized I prefer making music to making software because music is much more abstract and more interesting to me. Linux is great for people who want to customize their computer endlessly and don’t need commercial software. While I love changing settings, I do need Adobe and Cubase to work, otherwise I won’t have a job. So much for Linux.

I switched back to Apple computers for a bit. And then I ran a Hackintosh, but that was horrible. Anyone who tells you their Hackintosh works is a liar. That computer ended up dying during a severe power surge and I ended up building my own PC and running Windows for the past two years.

Why did I switch?

It was purely a cost-saving measure for my business. In other words, I didn’t have the cash for a new Mac. I also refuse to go into debt for equipment, so I had to find something cheap and powerful.

I built my system for $600 and recycled a bunch of old parts from the Hackintosh. I ended up with a Ryzen 5 2600, 4 TB total of storage, 256 GB PcIE drive, a Radeon RX 560 with 4 GB of VRAM, and 16 GB of RAM. I later upgraded to a 1TB PcIE drive, 32 GB of RAM, and a new CPU cooler and case for a total of $200. You just can’t find a modern Mac with those specifications at that price.

How bad is it?

Two things suck about Windows: drivers and aesthetics.

GPU drivers are a pain to update and I have to think about doing that every so often. I could get them from Windows Update, but then I wouldn’t have the AMD super resolution features I like so I can get some more mileage out of my 2013 display.

Drivers also cause problems on lots of other machines. I personally didn’t have many issues, but lots of people complain about them online.

You just don’t deal with drivers on Macs. This is a really huge benefit that gets underplayed, honestly.

Windows is ugly in my opinion. They recycled a bunch of icons from Windows 95 and recycled them into this mish-mash 70s office aesthetics meets bargain basement Apple design in this retro future 90s crap they call Windows 10.

Other people without taste think Windows looks fine, but I’ll leave that to you. Anyways, taste is too subjective to have any real discussions about it.

Also, getting used to using the control key for everything instead of the command key was a bit of a struggle at first.

Are the rumors true?

I was a die-hard Apple fanboy and heard all sorts of rumors that kept me on the platform out of fear. The truth is that none of them are true.

I never:

  • Noticed my computer getting slower over time
  • Had disruptive updates that made me miss a deadline or deleted files
  • Had any issues with software stability
  • Had my audio equipment perform worse (it performs better now)
  • Had malware
  • Had demanding programs run slowly or crash frequently costing money in missed deadlines and time

Is it better?

Yes.

Windows is the largest desktop operating system in the world by several orders of magnitude. Consequently, it has a significant objective advantage over every other platform: software support.

I’m not just talking about the number of programs you can run. That doesn’t really matter, since most of us use the same sets of software across Windows and Mac. Software support refers to how much attention the engineers give their products. It makes sense for businesses to spend the most time developing and optimizing for the largest platform. Business always do, and Mac users unfortunately get left in the dust.

Software for Windows is far better optimized and often performs better than its Mac versions. For instance, Adobe Media Encoder typically encodes video faster on Windows than the Mac. My computer renders 4k video from Premiere in real time. I created complicated, old school iTunes style visualizers in After Effects that took one hour to render for every minute of 4k video. Macs still can’t do that. Especially not $600 Macs.

Also, Windows software gets updates and new features before its Mac version. Most of my plugins got 64-bit support in the Windows versions before the Mac versions.

Updates on Windows are not disruptive compared to Mac. Updating to Catalina is still problematic for some software. I’m not restricted to old versions without security updates at this time on Windows like Mac users are.

Should I switch?

I don’t know, honestly. It…depends. Everyone has different needs, and you should use what fits you, your budget, and your business. Obviously, if you’re using one of the few programs that only runs on a Mac, you should stay on the platform. And, generally, if your computer does what you want in a reasonable amount of time, there’s just not a good reason to get a new one.

The only position I feel comfortable giving advice is if I know you as a friend, or we speak for a few hours and I get a good idea of what your situation is like.

So, I’m not going to make blanket statements on what’s better or worse for you here. I did speak about benefits of the Windows platform, but those are objective benefits, and it may not make a difference to you if you use Apple-only software or you’re happy with your computer. All that really matters is that your equipment works for you.

It didn’t make sense for me to remain on the Apple platform, so I moved. That’s just me, though.

I’m not too loyal to any one platform these days. If Apple makes cost-effective products that offer better performance, I will switch back when my computer eventually fails or can’t keep up with modern software.

I never got any benefit from being loyal to a brand. Apple never allowed discounts, and Microsoft won’t give me any money at this point.

Be loyal to your family, friends, and your art instead of your gear.

Success only happens when luck, talent, and hard work combine.

Luck

Luck is not about having good odds in roulette or hitting all green lights on the way to work.

There are a lot of factors of success that are not up to an individual. Luck is about not getting cancer that gets in the way of your career and kills you at 25.

Luck is being born in a country where it’s possible to be happy. Someone who stays healthy enough to work is lucky. Someone who doesn’t get blown up on the way to work is even luckier.

Talent

Talent exists. Some people are better at learning than other people.

I remember practicing about 2-4 hours a day from when I was 10 to about 21. I went to a music camp with people who practiced as much as I did, but knew more repertoire and played it far better than I could.

I also know a producer who, after four years, got around 1.4 million monthly listeners on Spotify and offers to play EDC. It took me a year to make a track.

It also took me four years to learn how to read sheet music. Now, I sight read professionally, but those were a tough four years.

People with talent will get farther than other people. And, they can do it with less work, but only if they commit to it.

Those pianists at the music camp aren’t getting paid as much as I am, and the producer who got to play EDC isn’t making music these days. So, like the other aspects, talent isn’t everything. It’s absurd to say talent doesn’t exit, though.

Hard Work

Finally, there’s hard work. Obvious, right? But what I’m about to say isn’t as trite as the millions of writers out there lauding hard work.

There’s a hard work fetish in this country. We believe we can accomplish anything with enough time. We believe talent doesn’t exist, and only losers in casinos pray to lady luck.

It’s just not the case. Hard work is necessary, but it won’t get anywhere without luck or talent.

You need luck to get in front of the right people at the right time. You need talent to go farther than people who work harder than you. And, you need hard work to persevere through the slow periods.

Failure

I haven’t encountered many failures in my career. I usually meet people who hit a hard wall and simply can’t grow anymore. Maybe it’s up to them. Usually, they’re missing some talent, hard work, or luck.

You simply have to have all three.