Unison MIDI Chord Pack - A Laughable Sales Pitch

Unison MIDI Chord Pack - A Laughable Sales Pitch

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Language: English

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00:02
hello before we get on to our main topic today i want to spend a little moment talking about what it's like to be mistreated as a musician so when i was starting out in classical music i wrote my first ever piano piece and like any beginner i was really really proud of it and wanted more than anything else to hear it performed by a professional player so i did a bit of searching online and after a bit of time found a guy who had some really amazing performance experience who said he'd be willing to try it out so i sent him the sheet music we agreed on a price which wasn't insignificant for me by the way and after a few days waiting around kind
00:32
of nervously i got this email i can get started on this tomorrow can you please send a midi or sibelius file so i can create a guide tempo track now that's quite an unusual request which i've not been asked since by any pns to have worked with because it's kind of embarrassing to ask for a click track to help you perform not to mention the score i gave him was fairly conventional so i was reasonably sure he'd be able to work it out so with all that in mind it was a little difficult to avoid the suspicion that what this guy was thinking of doing was taking my midi file and simply running it through some realistic piano sampler rather than
01:03
bothering to play it hoping i guessed that i'd be so inexperienced i wouldn't know the difference between a computer's performance and a real human one so i asked about the midi sibelius file i'm just making sure that you're not misunderstanding what i'm looking for and planning to put this together in a daw like cubase rather than record an actual acoustic performance the midi track is for creating a click guide for time signature changes i don't use cubase so trusting this guy knew more than me i set aside my concerns paid the money and a few days later got an email with recording that confirmed my worst
01:34
fears yes it was just my midi file played through a bad sampler with a few bogus tempo adjustments thrown in to make it sound like a few human mistakes have been made it wasn't even a good attempt at fakery compare this with an actual performance of the same piece that i recorded later [Music] when i called the performer out on this he insisted it was my ears that were the problem and that i didn't have the required experience to make judgments
02:14
about his performance basically he thought that i was so inexperienced i'd be willing to accept something of incredibly low quality now this is by no means the first time i've been taken for a ride as a musician before i had any classical training i used to play in bands in the underground scene in ireland and during that time i've been sold faulty equipment not been paid for performances i mean that happened constantly i've been given all kinds of bad advice by people who were supposedly more knowledgeable than me go back even further to when i was four i used to have a violin teacher who shrieked at me and called me a fool for getting my scales wrong to the point where i gave
02:44
up the violin now the point of all of this is i remember what it was like to be a beginner constantly ripped off and misinformed and just made to feel small and i say this because i'm about to tear into a service now that's ostensibly for beginners that promises to help you make great music without needing to feel confused that promises to deliver you from all the elitists and gatekeepers who'd flaunt their knowledge and give nothing back this service claims to be the middle finger that you can raise to those who'd lord their knowledge over you and the only problem with that claim is it's complete horseshit
03:15
[Music] the classic playbook for most startups is to identify an enemy which is usually some kind of old or inefficient practice and then position your product as a liberation from that practice when music apps take this approach especially ones aimed at beginners the enemy is all too often some aspect of music education most commonly music theory music teachers notation the fact that learning an instrument isn't easy or some accusation of gatekeeping or elitism for example a few years ago yusician took aim at music teachers and suggested that you shouldn't use them because their
03:53
bouncy ball garbage app was quote the best way to learn guitar now as a musician who's had some really good guitar teachers and also as a designer who's worked on some music practice apps this is a laughable statement however they're not advertising to me they're hoping like the guy who sold me my own midi that beginners won't know any better and with that in mind step forward unison a brand easily remembered because their icon resembles the u-bend of a toilet i mean this obviously isn't their logo i've put a link in the description so you can see the real thing for yourself um okay i should probably explain you see unison have a
04:24
bit of a history of trying to silence their critics by hitting them with dmca takedown notices which cite copyright infringement for example they hid the youtuber av mccree with the takedown after he gave them an unfavorable review like there was nothing in there that had anything to do with use and audio outside of maybe like a logo and when this story was reported by cdm and another blog called discord they were both hit by takedown notices from unison audio 2. what were they striking like what was it you did that they claimed dmca on so they said my website
04:56
itself was including copyrighted infringing material and that copyright infringing material was me posting a video of ave saying that unison audio made a dmca claim against him of course that's ridiculous they both rejected the claims immediately and unison backed down issuing takedowns to shut critical voices up is a well-established tactic and one i'm pretty used to dealing with however in this video i actually feel that this presents a fun creative restriction to work within so i'm not going to be showing anything copyrighted or trademarked by unison audio at all no
05:27
shots of their products or website no clips from their videos not even their logo and as you'll see in a moment this isn't actually too much of a problem because their offerings are almost 90 illusion now if you've somehow not seen one of their ads and you want to get familiar before we continue check out the link i mentioned a moment ago watch that for a few seconds and then come back to me so if you want a quick indication of how unison's customers feel about them a quick visit to trustpilot will reveal the following ratings excellent ten percent great zero percent average zero
05:59
percent poor seven percent and bad 83 unison's flagship product is a thing called the midi chord pack a folder full of midi files containing either individual chords or chord progressions that you can drag and drop into a music app for example here's a folder called c major that contains seven basic root position chords that are all in the key of c major that's right it's literally that basic by the way these are my own midi chords with a slightly different naming convention because it occurred to me that unison might try a copyright claim if i named my c major midi chords
06:30
the way they named theirs no i actually think they'd really try that now apart from basic major chords you also have your relative minor chords along with a few borrowed chords again the organization you see here is a little different but the idea is the same in addition each key comes with a few chord progressions which are nearly always four bars long and occasionally eight bars long in total unison provide just over 1200 midi files sounds like a lot of work until you realize that they only had to create this once for one key with the other 12 keys simply being transposed versions of the same thing for those who don't know what i mean if you want all your chords and chord
07:02
progressions from c major to be in d major there just do that so apart from being easy to make what are the problems with this product well i'm going to break it down into three things and i'll expand upon them all later first at 67 when there's no promotion on it's wildly overpriced and very poor quality even for a midi pack second the product is explicitly sold as something that's going to help you produce polished music promising to leapfrog you to a successful professional status which is nonsense third as with all technologists unison claims to be contributing towards the social good by providing an
07:33
alternative to musical education which it repeatedly casts as a negative thing using the problematic dog whistle term music theory as a catch-all for what's holding musicians back from reaching their potential and i mean i suppose if musical education didn't exist then i guess we wouldn't know there was anything to be learned and then we could all enjoy midi packs forever hold on let me just shove this knife into my brain sup my name is mack from flush valve and i'm proud to announce to you today the one and only flush valve midi cord pack midi call pack cord pack mini pack midi
08:12
basically it's over a thousand chords that will take you to the next level in the music industry like me wait you never heard of me you never heard of mac from flush valve i've got over 12 000 listens on spotify per month and basically if you know mac from flush valve you'll know that i only use pro level chords i'm not talking about novice chords or apprentice chords i'm talking about pro level chords that will blow your family away make your friends think you're a genius and get you that recognition you've always wanted from the music industry now you might be thinking mac from flush valve what the is a pro level chord doesn't make
08:44
any incense well basically when a chord has three notes if you add another note now it's pro level and basically the more pro level chords you have the more music points you gather which takes you up to pro level like me i have over twelve thousand listens a month slayed have seven hundred thousand listens a month rebecca black has four hundred and eighty thousand listens a month the thrills and irish one-hit wonder who disbanded in 2008 have a hundred thousand listens a month so how did i a contemporary artist who brags about a spotify profile on ads that reach millions of people achieve twelve
09:14
thousand listens a month by using pro level chords and the best part is that you can achieve the same pro level without any need for music theory which is mind-numbing and boring music education is no good for you music theory is a waste of time when i was starting out i was really frustrated with my junior to elementary level chords i tried everything to improve i watched every youtube tutorial i bought every sample pack i even spent over twenty seven thousand five hundred and three dollars studying production at the arts institute in vancouver and even after all that i still couldn't figure out the art of pro level chords so
09:45
despite the fact that i've just admitted to not knowing anything i've now got the solution to not knowing anything that's why i can say the flush valve midi core pack is the most pro level chords available in the industry because i don't have the experience to invalidate my own claims i don't think i'm going to be dealing with this noise anymore who the hell would study like music theory music theory is just so boring you don't need to spend ages learning music theory listening to your heart rather than what some old jazz man wanted to teach you you know what i'm going to take this i'm
10:17
just gonna put it in the bin all this my numbing plinky plonky business it's all just pointless learning is stupid and by the way these chords mean you don't have to spend any extra time producing what does that mean it means they're great the moment you drag them into your project your project is pro level there's no need to do any extra production because the moment you drag the chord in stop just stop creating it's done here's a beat i made that's completely pro it's in 4 4 at 120 bpm because i don't know how to change that default in my daw now if i add these chords listen
10:50
to that all right let's see what this baby's got see how it runs ah oh [Music] wait what oh i could never think of a progression like that and that's it there's your song right there it's just the next hit you guys know right all right that is without a doubt pro level harmony right there right in the can just like that next level pro chords if you do this you'll be famous tomorrow it's compatible with all daws because all dos
11:27
have been supporting basic midi for the last 30 years it's compatible with both mac and pc because it's just folders with midi files in it basically all you have to do is spend 67 and you'll automatically be a famous artist like me mac from flush valve now you might say mac from flush valve why do i need your cords when i can just use a free open source pack that has five times as much content as yours does i'll give you my mac from flush valve response do you want to be lame flush valve c major is better than all other c majors because because of the vibe of it and by the way for a limited time only if you buy our
11:58
midi core pack you can also pick up our flush valve vowel pack for free a e i o and u if you want pro words you gotta have pro vowels basically you just open your text editor and copy and paste your vowels for pro words it works with any text editor or browser it works with both mac and pc with pro words you can write novels that will blow away your family and friends and finally get you noticed in the publishing industry and if you act now we'll add over 75 word progressions that you can copy and paste right into your text i like the way the man kicked the ball i think what you
12:30
were doing is great let's go up there why would you think when you can spend money so that you don't have to tank why would you think i didn't think and i have over 12 000 listens a month on spotify education is mind numbing flush valve why would you think [Music] [Applause] so before i go any further on unison audio i want to be sure i'm being clear about midi chord packs themselves there's nothing musically wrong with the idea of dragging a chord into a project especially if you're using it as a jumping off point for experimentation there are actually a few practical
13:16
applications i can think of for advanced users too like it could function as a quick way of trying out polytonal ideas or generating random sequences with scripting etc if you're a beginner getting to grips with the complexities of music technology and recording this might be an okay starting off point however it's my pretty firm opinion that regardless of your chosen style and genre you'll only be capable of reaching a professional level when you move beyond systems like this and develop a more intricate understanding of the music writing techniques that's suitable for your genre this flies in the face of unison's advertising which can be seen by looking at three of their selling
13:47
points go beyond basic chords with advanced chords and progressions so your music can stand out this is a weird promise all their major and minor chords are in root position only and if you don't know what that means well the real point is that chords can be rearranged into multiple different positions depending on the number of notes involved it's a simple skill to learn and crucial to being able to manipulate harmony effectively the idea that unison would use the term pro level chords when they haven't even got a solution for basic positioning really does set my teeth on edge so what about their chord progressions then well there's not very many of them they only provide 12 for
14:19
the major key 12 for the minor key and then another 12 advanced progressions fast also for major and minor for a grand total of 48 progressions of course they counted as 576 progressions because they're using the same 48 progressions in each of the 12 keys again for those who don't know what i mean here's a progression in one key if you move it up like this now it's in a different key they just counted this one thing as 12 things now i did notice one or two deviations in how the notes were ordered in certain keys but the progressions themselves were the same each time and the majority of these progressions are
14:51
so run-of-the-mill they'd be embarrassing to use like listen to this one that sounds like an ad for life insurance and even if you do find one you like everyone else has the same progression so how exactly is this going to make your music stand out by default by being conspicuously generic skyrocket your progress as a producer by finishing more tracks than ever this promise is bizarre the basic chords they provide are just data they don't even have a sound until you pick an instrument to assign them to and even then you're going to need to manipulate the sounds and produce the results they
15:29
can argue that the pack provides the base blocks that help you get started sure but there's nothing here that helps with anything past that point no aspect of production is covered here it doesn't develop your chords into an actual musical idea it doesn't help you choose sounds or apply effects it doesn't help you mix or master the final output i am unconvinced eliminate the need for complex music theory so you can focus on what matters most well what matters most i'm going to guess that for anyone willing to invest the money to better their songwriting what matters most to them is that they're happy with the music they write and that they're able
16:00
to see it resonating with those who listen to it and if i'm right about that then take it for me i didn't study formal music theory until after i'd been in a band for about 10 years and even when i did study theory i found i actually already knew quite a lot of it stuff i just picked up due to being an active songwriter the point is learning is a crucial part of being an effective musician regardless of whether that learning involves music theory and a midi chord pack isn't going to fast track anyone past the need to know their craft and as for music theory you don't need to study theory to feel comfortable as a writer but don't by the line that learning about how others wrote music is
16:31
a waste of time or that it's even really that hard six-year-olds study grade one music theory in the uk and there's a lot of it you can just skip past believe it or not that's actually the more sane stuff now we need to delve into the crazy because with unison there's a lot of crazy prepare for a u-bend in your brain one it's already out there and it's free the most ridiculous thing about unison's offerings is that no matter what way you slice it there's a better option for free so if you use a daw the thing unison cords are meant to be dragged into then the chances are you already
17:01
own a much better alternative in reason for example there's a tool called scales and chords it takes a few minutes to get the hang of but look once you open it you can just press a single note and it will play the appropriate chord depending on your selected key and settings you can choose the number of notes per chord the ordering of the notes you even have this little toggle called color which suggests some slightly jazzier alternatives now if i add an arpeggio tool listen to how you can just fiddle with it in real time [Music]
17:34
in cubase there's the chord assistant with fl studio there's a really nice option integrated right into its piano roll in ableton there's a free plugin called the nordman chord generator among others these are all far more sophisticated usable and well integrated than a list of static files and even if you still for some reason want a midi chord pack because you just really like the look of it and you want to try it out then there's already a larger and better and free open source chord pack available that's right it's called shld and you can get it right now the link is in the description and when speaking to
18:04
the creator of this chord pack i found out something you might be interested in i took two existing python modules which are mingus and gods to midi maybe one hour later my code park was was done you're kidding it took you an hour yes and this leads me to two you could make this midi cord pack in no time one of unison's ads talks about the hundreds of hours and thousands in development costs that went into creating their chord pack which might be true if at every decision
18:36
point in the production process they deliberately chose the most time consuming option available to them as a kind of challenge let's just imagine how he could make this ourselves if it was me i'd use that reason feature i told you about setting the options appropriately for complexity and mode and then just transposing the final settings 12 times to cover each key then i'd do the same for chord progressions chords and chord progressions by themselves can't be copyrighted so i could sell this if i was so inclined three terminology unison have amazing turns of phrase my favorite is obviously pro level chords i just love the idea
19:07
that a single chord could emanate professionalism for those who don't know chords are like words in that they're not just brilliant in isolation you have to put them in sequence and just like you can't walk over to someone and say recalcitrant and expect their minds to be blown a chord isn't just going to top the charts by itself i mean maybe it will one day i don't know another little selling point of theirs is that their pack is royalty free hey guys this is great i can finally use c major royalty free that's like selling someone a dictionary on the basis that it grants them the right to use words another claim i love relates to one of their
19:38
products the midi wizard a tool which automatically generates crap midi chord progressions according to unison the chords it produces actually sound good 93 of the time handily on the same pages this quote can be found a few audio examples which i assume are there to provide proof of this claim so to test this statistic i created a poll on both youtube and twitter and unfortunately the findings i got back were a little different how confusing so with all that said what is it unison are doing that's actually effective that's the scale of their digital advertising they pay for a lot of it so
20:10
if you've searched for something vaguely related to unison once your ip is recognized you can't not see them type ableton into google unison midi chord pack top of the page search fl studio it's the second add down the one under fl studio searching for music production tutorials on youtube unison is everywhere with ads featuring a collection of influencers who seem to have no problem shilling garbage to vulnerable beginners the business logic is clear create a product that doesn't require any maintenance and advertise it at scale it doesn't matter if the product's garbage or if your advertising contradicts
20:41
what's in your product because if you advertise broadly enough some people will pay for it why because they're innocent and excited they're just like me when i was sold my own midi file and that takes me to my last point i don't think that the apparent success of unison who recently bragged that they've made a hundred thousand sales of their midi pack should be seen as an indication of how lazy people are or something like that this whole idea of encouraging laziness and talking about learning your craft as if it's a chore is unison's fiction you shouldn't let it get you down because you feel it's an indication that music is in decline or something like that it's just a bunch of
21:12
jerks masquerading as musical revolutionaries to fool people into parting with their money and if their trust pilot score is anything to go by it looks like they're not going to be able to fool those people a second time that money is only going down the u-bend once then everyone's going to learn and move on and with that in mind unison does actually provide a useful experience that can help you learn as a musician by helping you recognize garbage when you see it [Music] if you like my diatribe subscribe [Music]
21:44
you

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