Congrats on the 6.5 release. Nice work!
One small shortcoming, however: the SoundCloud integration. At first blush, it seemed like a silly feature; who produces so many tracks they need upload workflow streamlining? But, the idea has really grown on me and I think it’s a genius concept. But, like a beautiful new automobile that’s only missing a few inexpensive, but critical, parts, it’s completely useless:
- it doesn’t allow editing of all the available ID3 tags.
- it artificially limits one of the most important tags, Genre, to a 1997, ID3 v1.0, set of predefined genres. As much as we all appreciate “Tango” and “Christian Gansta Rap,” we need the Genre freeform text of v1 extended and 2+, please.
- it doesn’t allow you to add artwork to the MP3 ID3 tag.
- it doesn’t allow tags for the AIFF format at all.
- it doesn’t allow artwork for AIFFs.
- it doesn’t allow uploading desirable lossless AIFFs to SC.
The capability of adding images to MP3s via the ID3 tag specification has been around for over a decade. The Cubase SC integration not only encourages, but needlessly enforces the sloppy habit of artwork-less releases. All these amazing tracks, many by unsigned artists, but most don’t bother to add artwork. We finally managed, via software like Cubase, the internet, etc., to change the entire paradigm of how music is produced, distributed, and by whom, and now just about the only detail separating a commercial release is the final step of some artwork?! So, close. Such a missed opportunity.
Creative expression aside, from a practical standpoint, many of us add artwork to the offender’s tracks by using their main picture, or whatever, so that our smartphones have something to display. It’s 2012, our devices display images.
Another common and unnecessary complaint with SC is inferior audio quality. Most artists simply upload MP3s, which are then compressed again by SC – just, really bad. SC fully supports the AIFF format. By uploading an uncompressed, 16bit, 44.1 AIFF and having only one lossy conversion (performed on SC’s servers), SC actually sounds pretty decent. So again, Cubase’s SC integration perpetuates this bad habit. Considering one of Cubase’s differentiators is a superior, transparent, audio mixing engine, not taking advantage of lossless AIFF in the final, critical stage, should be unacceptable to Steinberg/Yamaha. “Make a sonically perfect mix and then DESTROY it in the last 10 seconds before world debut / distribution! What a shame.”
And, of course, Cubase would need to allow AIFF tags and artwork to be edited / attached (yes, AIFFs support tags and artwork as does iTunes and iOS devices, Android probably does, too – maybe someone can verify this and post it on this thread).
Until these features are added to the SC integration, it’s useless and isn’t even of the quality standard to have been released by Steinberg.
That said, surely many will be blissfully uploading artwork-less, crappy sounding, double-converted MP3s in the entirely meaningless “Electronic” genre, without a second thought.