MATRIXSYNTH: NAMM 2019: Arturia MicroFreak & Mutable Instruments Plaits

Thursday, January 24, 2019

NAMM 2019: Arturia MicroFreak & Mutable Instruments Plaits


Published on Jan 24, 2019 sonicstate

Update2:

via Émilie aka pichenettes (Owner, software/hardware engineer, order fulfilment, customer service and janitor Mutable Instruments) on the Mutable Instruments forum:

"Hello peeps!

There is a lot of noise on the internet regarding the Arturia Microfreak.

Let me clarify a couple of things.

First of all, Plaits’ code is open-source, which means that anybody is free to use it, as long as they credit me somewhere (it can be in a product description page, or a footnote in a downloadable manual, or an “about” dialog). This is why you can find Mutable Instruments’ DSP code in the Korg Prologue, the Axoloti, the Organelle, VCV Rack, and plenty of other bits of software or hardware. This is not stealing. Plaits’ code is a summary of everything I’ve learnt about making rich and balanced sound sources controlled by a few parameters, it’s for everyone to enjoy.

Now, regarding the Microfreak.

Arturia had been in the process of developing a hybrid synth for a while, and contacted me about using of Plaits’ code inside. I had no objection to that.

In May, they invited me to their headquarters for a product development meeting where they showed me mockups of the Microfreak. It was fairly clear at this point that it was their product. The feature set, UX, sound engine were all already decided. The product obviously followed Arturia’s graphic language and branding. My expected contribution to the project was none: Arturia’s engineers would do their own thing with my code, the tone character and sound design was their responsibility. It was pointless for me to suggest features and ideas, or spill the beans about ideas I wanted to keep for upcoming Mutable Instruments products, and this awkward event felt more like a focus group.

Arturia offered to mention something like “Oscillator code from Mutable Instruments” in the product description, which is my preferred form of citation. No monetary compensation has ever been discussed – which is fair, because I provided exactly 0 hour of work and 0 original line of code. No contract has been drafted or signed.

Arturia contacted me back last week with a photo of the finished product. I never had the opportunity to playtest it. I have not been asked to approve or veto any promotional material.

As you can see, my involvement was fairly limited.

I don’t feel wronged. It’s their product.

However, I feel uneasy when people got excited, seeing it described as a collaboration between Mutable Instruments and Arturia, because none of the technical and design choices involved in this product originate from me. I have been quite disconcerted by the private messages congratulating me for this release and achievement. I know some people have been waiting for a Mutable Instruments keyboard synth, or at least non-modular product, for a while. Well, this is not it. That’s what I wanted to say to the world. I don’t want people to associate any negative experience they could have with this product with Mutable Instruments. I don’t want people to think that I endorsed or at least authorized some aesthetic decisions regarding this product or the communication surrounding it.

With its focus on local production, open-source, deliberate lack of marketing and advertising, Mutable Instruments is an unusual company. It’s stimulating and fun, but somewhat dangerous too. Turning Arturia into an enemy – those talks of boycotts and those tweets demanding justice – is only adding fuel to the fire and increasing the risks of getting me attacked in ways I don’t expect and I am not protected against.

If you care about me, move on! I need a lot of strength and energy at the moment, and it should all be focused on finishing new products.

So please let Arturia enjoy their release party, it’s hard work to ship a product. Buy their product if you think you’ll have fun and make good music with it, don’t buy otherwise. Buy Mutable Instruments products (or the Softube clones) if you want to fund me, or build your own and give the money to charities.

Love,
Émilie"

Update1: some info on the relationship with Mutable Instruments via reddit (text below):






Text:

2 hours ago
To use the Mutable Instruments trademark wouldn’t they have needed your permission?
Does that mean that they never told you they would put ‘with our partners at Mutable Instruments’ on their product/ad?
pichenettes
mutable instruments
3 points
·
2 hours ago
They told me they would put the logo on the box and mention the use of Mutable Instruments' oscillator code on the product description.
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AlpacaAlpacaBuffalo
4 points
·
1 hour ago
Not sure what you are so upset about then. They used code you freely gave out, invited you to give input on their product, and gave you credit (which they didn’t have to do). If you don’t like others commercializing your work don’t license it as such.
see more
pichenettes
mutable instruments
4 points
·
1 hour ago
The remix analogy someone posted is actually good.
I post stems and tell people they are free to use them. Someone makes a remix in a completely different style and advertises the track as some work we did together. This is not work we did together, my creative input was limited to the original stem I've published.
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qype_dikir
Octatrack / Eurorack / MS 20 mini / Axoloti
4 points
·
5 hours ago
Wow, how does that feel?
pichenettes
mutable instruments
51 points
·
5 hours ago
What pisses me off the most is that people can watch this ad or see these graphics above the keyboard, and genuinely think it's something I've been involved in.
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Etherism
1 point
·
3 hours ago
Please keep us in the loop as to how they compensate or promote MI beyond a few shout outs on launch materials. That $ could support new tech and exciting new ideas that could lead to more collabs.
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pichenettes
mutable instruments
28 points
·
3 hours ago
I don't want $, I want good taste :)
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jottwehh
3 points
·
4 hours ago
pichene
did you know about this product will have mutable instruments code before it was released?
pichenettes
mutable instruments
32 points
·
4 hours ago
Yes, I was aware they were working on this. I've been invited to a focus-groupish meeting at Arturia, at that point the hardware was more or less frozen and it was pointless to make suggestions. Never had an opportunity to listen to the actual thing and give feedback about the way the code could be used (eg remapping parameters or tuning things differently given their filter).
They did not do anything stealth or sneaky, but I had nothing to say about the product. #notacollab for me.
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Crocusfan999
18 points
·
7 hours ago
Since mutable is open source I wonder how much it was collaboration vs using what mutable has released
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pichenettes
mutable instruments
71 points
·
6 hours ago
using what mutable has released
Your answer there.
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Cosmic_Ostrich
Eurorack, but when it's just a Neutron
16 points
·
5 hours ago
Wait, they didn't ask for your permission or include you in the design at all?
pichenettes
mutable instruments
54 points
·
5 hours ago
They put Plaits' code in a design about which I had nothing to said. Paid in PR.
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