Podcast Transcript: Mosen At large 125, record remote interviews from your iPhone with Backpack Live
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Jonathan Mosen: I’m Jonathan Mosen and this is Mosen At Large, the show that’s got the blind community talking. You can produce podcasts and radio shows from the palm of your hand with the Backpack Studio app and your iPhone. Now, Backpack Live takes remote interviewing to the next level.
In January 2020, I put together a comprehensive demonstration of Backpack Studio, an app for iOS demonstrating how you could use it to host a music-based radio show while streaming to a Shoutcast or Icecast server, pretty kind of a niche use case there but it is surprisingly common in the blind community. Many people also use Backpack Studio for podcast production and version 2.0 of the app is now in beta. A significant new feature of Backpack Studio 2.0 is something called Backpack Live. It’s the ability to bring guests into your recordings or even live broadcasts. It’s pretty cool that so much power exists in a device you can hold in your hand. Of course, it’s on iPad as well. Now, the creator of Backpack Studio is Ed Filowat and he joins me now. I should say that we are recording this using Backpack Live in Backpack Studio on my iPhone 12 Pro Max. I have my mixer connected to my iPhone thanks to the iRig 2 Multimedia guitar interface for iPhone and iPad discussed extensively in Mosen At Large 109. It’s great to talk to the man behind the magic at last. Welcome to the podcast.
Ed Filowat: Hey, thanks for having me.
Jonathan: You’re doing a fantastic job with this. This is just an audio geek’s dream, this app. What got you interested in developing this quite niche audio creation app?
Ed: To go back to the very beginning, I was the first employee at Libsyn which is like the biggest podcast hosting company. I’ve been making podcasting stuff for 15 years now. The various projects that I’ve worked on, I’ve morphed into Backpack Studio which is simply a way to live mix podcasts and radio shows in real-time without using GarageBand. It basically is a time-saving tool that automatically mixes your audio in real-time.
Jonathan: You’re a podcaster yourself, obviously, with all that association with Libsyn and podcasting, it’s a medium you’re interested in.
Ed: Yes, I’m a wannabe podcaster, and sometimes, I do it but I’m not as good at it as you. I never really published anything but I’m a guest a lot.
Jonathan: That’s all right. Every podcast needs a guest or at least those doing interviews. You started with Bossjock Studio and then that app metamorphosized into Backpack Studio. I guess there was a little bit of angst in the community about why are we paying twice? Why did you have to start over there?
Ed: It was a business situation that needed to be rectified. The app was basically out of my control and it was a poor arrangement where I basically had to start over and Apple agreed. I was able to rebuild the app a couple of years ago with tons of new features and work on it as much as I want and have it more driven by the user base and just everything I really wanted. It was hard moving all the users into the new app but it worked out for the best.
Jonathan: It certainly did. This is such a cool app but for those people who haven’t used it before, can you give me a bit of an elevator pitch? If somebody said to you, what does Backpack Studio do, who is it for, how would you describe this app?
Ed: It’s basically a real-time broadcasting and mixing. If you’re a podcaster or if you’re doing live radio such as yourself, it has a giant soundboard with unlimited sound pads. You can load in all your bumpers, all your commercials. There’s a large microphone at the bottom. When you turn the microphone on, it affects the sound pads. Everything mixes together. There’s a EQ and compression on the mic. Basically, it mixes your show in real-time. If you want, you could do it radio style in one take without having the labor of editing on a PC and putting all your audio into GarageBand or a multi-track and ducking all the audio levels. It’s a pretty big time-saver for people. Not that there’s anything wrong with editing and post-production but this app tends to be for people that don’t have time for that and want to get the show out as quickly as possible.
Jonathan: You’ve taken a lot of care to ensure that your app is exemplary really in terms of voiceover accessibility. Were you aware of voiceover when you began developing these sorts of apps or is this all a result of users coming to you and saying, “Hey we’re out there.”?
Ed: At the very beginning, I guess in 2012 there was, I didn’t know much about it. I had done some accessibility programming on the web but I was unaware of how powerful Apple’s voiceover system was. It was the AppleVis users on the message board and on Twitter started getting in touch and it was just amazing. They tested it and gave me tips and worked through it with me. We have the whole thing completely 100% voiceover compatible.
Jonathan: You’ve added some very nice features in that regard. Even recently, one of the big ones has been keyboard support for all of the carts, so If you’re in a high-pressure situation and you have a board full of different sounds and jingles and music and stingers and everything and you’re a blind person trying to find the right one and you’re talking, then obviously voiceover is chatting in your ear as you flip through the items but now you can use keyboard commands to get the one you want.
Ed: Yes. You could completely customize every single button in the app to any key on the keyboard pretty much. I’m glad that part’s working.
Jonathan: That was a bit of a struggle for you? That was a major feature to implement.
Ed: I guess last year– Well, Icecast was two years ago. I tried to do a big feature every six months or so. Last year, everything got really crazy with the pandemic but I think middle of summer, I released Siri support and keyboard support and a lot of like dotting i’s and crossing t’s and a lot of little requests and nothing like the huge thing that I’m launching right now with the guest recording
Jonathan: It’s been a really significant development project obviously. We’ll come to that in a sec. I’m curious, Apple’s notorious for its control freakery. Well, perhaps that’s a bit of a loaded term, They have a sandbox approach and it makes it difficult for one app to talk to another app unless Apple has opened up an API. Are there things that you want to be able to do with Backpack Studio that Apple is preventing you from doing because an API doesn’t exist for you to do it?
Ed: That’s a great question. Let’s see. I guess the number one thing that I would- it’s not really an Apple restriction but it would be really great, you probably know more about this than me but a more fluid way to get copyrighted music into podcast streams whether it’s Spotify or YouTube or it would be nice to see that facilitated somehow. That’s one thing off the end. Ironically, I just started developing the Backpack Live Android app for the guests because I don’t want Backpack Studio users to only be able to interview their friends with iPhones, of course. I just started that the other night and it’s going extremely well. Being a Android developer is way more similar to being an Apple developer than I thought. They have a great studio and they have slightly less restrictions as far as getting the test version of the app out to people, it’s a little more streamlined but it’s actually very similar. I think it’s going to work out great having iPhones and Androids do interviews together.
Jonathan: A few years ago, I was talking to a pretty famous developer and he said that he rues the day that he got involved in Android because Android is so fragmented with so many devices out there. When you’re digging way down into the audio subsystems as you will be, I wonder whether it might be quite difficult where you find compatibility issues with specific models as you go forward.
Ed: What I did was I looked at the features that I need like the ability to resume the recording after audio interruptions. I knew pretty much exactly what I was building because I’m cloning. Then I looked at Android’s API and I said, you need to have at least, I guess Raspberry, you need at least this or Android API level 26. I’m going to draw the line in the sand there so that I’m supporting most the Android devices but I’m not supporting like a 10-year-old toaster oven that’s running Android or something crazy. I think it’s going to be okay.
Jonathan: That would be cool to have a guest coming in from their toaster oven whether it’s 10 years old or not. Let’s talk about the Backpack Live feature then, which is the really big thing. We’re using it now. This must’ve been quite a complex thing to create. It’s a major new platform for you.
Ed: Yes. I’m holding my breath right now. No, it’s stable. I wouldn’t give it to you if it wasn’t stable. We should trust it but it was a tremendous amount of work. I actually started it two summers ago and I went through a bunch of different video servers and I even tried with some other developers and I was staying down in Florida this past November to be somewhere warmer to get out of the Northeast. I said, what am I going to do? Am I going to go for it and do it? Then I just put my head down over Christmas and I designed it to be super robust. What that means is if you’re talking to a guest and the battery dies on your phone, if you get an interruptive phone call from a telemarketer, if you lose your Wi-Fi, all the audio in high quality 4.41 192 is actually going up to the server. If anything bad happens, the audio is safe. I’m trying to drive that home to people so that they trust it.
Jonathan: Well, that’s the big challenge, isn’t it? What codec is being used for this conversation that we’re having?
Ed: We are doing, well, depending on your settings, you’re either doing compressed AAC whatever you have the bit rate, probably 160. I think we’re both set at 160 by default, and it’s the AAC codec. I’m also experimenting with the Opus codec, but I think I’m going to go with AAC.
Jonathan: That’s really interesting. I make extensive use of a product called Cleanfeed which you may or may not have heard of. It’s a great tool, and a lot of broadcasters in the UK, in particular, were using it during the pandemic because they could do really high-quality, low latency stereo streams and send them back to the studio, and essentially keep their shows going from home. It’s designed for the professional broadcast market, and they’re using Opus there, and I must say it’s quite impressive.
Ed: Is it in the browser, or is it built into the app?
Jonathan: Yes, it’s in the browser. It’s not an app as such. They have participation possible via the iPhone but not creation, so you can bring a guest in via iOS. All of the actual creation tools are done on a PC or a Mac and browser.
Ed: Does the iOS user have to be in the browser on Safari?
Jonathan: Yes, they do.
Ed: I actually did a ton of experimenting with that. It’s usually a WebRTC when it’s built into the browser like that, and it’s using the Opus codec. The thing that I ran into was the bit rate would suffer based on the connection speed. Was that something you had to deal with?
Jonathan: Yes. I really discourage people from coming into Cleanfeed on an iPhone if they possibly can manage something else, a desktop platform, it definitely sounds better. I guess, what I concluded there is there’s something about the implementation of either the protocol or the codec in Safari that makes it an inferior experience to [crosstalk] on a PC.
Ed: The web is nowhere near caught up to actual iPhone and the Android device. That’s why there are so many products right now that are really popular that are web-based. There’s at least three or four of them like Riverside.
Ed: They’re all built into the browser, and I found some limitations with that audio. It’s getting better and better, but right now, this is exciting because I’m completely controlling the same audio drivers that are in Backpack Studio, and it’s not contingent upon the signal or a web browser. I have a lot of control over it to get the same sound that we’re used to in Backpack Studio.
Jonathan: What are you talking to me on?
Ed: I am on my iPhone X. I have a pair of old analog headphones in, so it’s using the built-in mic. Hopefully, it sounds pretty good.
Jonathan: Yes, it does, and I would just encourage any podcast guests to get the AirPods out of their ears and use the built-in mic. We were having a chat about this before we started recording. This is going to be your biggest challenge, isn’t it? Telling people to stop with the AirPods already.
Ed: Yes. Do you have Best Buy or like Walmart where you live? When you go in an electronics store, every pair of headphones and headset has a mic built-in which isn’t good. I want people to use the built-in mic.
Jonathan: We have an equivalent of those stores here. I know what you’re saying.
Ed: If they have 50 pairs of cheap headphones, 49 of them have a bad mic, not a bad mic but have a mic built-in. It would be ideal if people use the mic that’s built into the phone. I’m going to encourage people to get the oldest cheapest analog headphones they can find and just one of that little lightning to analog adapters that are $5.
Jonathan: I get quite firm with guests now who insist on using the iPhone to come in and I say, “Look, please, don’t use any Bluetooth earbuds including AirPods. They may sound good to you in your ear, but they sound decidedly inferior to listeners with the microphones they have.”
Ed: I agree.
Jonathan: Let’s talk about the workflow involved. If I’m a Backpack Studio user, how do I create one of these conversations such as what we’re having now?
Ed: I’ve tried to streamline it as much as possible. Down at the bottom by the microphone, there’s a new icon that is a little guy interviewing another guy and it says, “Remote interview with the voiceover.” You open that, and you schedule an interview. You can pick any time you want. You click create interview, and you get a link, and you’re done. Then what you do is you take that link, text it, email it, any way you like to share stuff, tweet it. That person clicks on the link. They are taken to the App Store to get a brand new app called Backpack Live that I’m using right now to talk to you.
Backpack Live is just a simple telephone, basically, with an on-air light. It basically has my audiometer and your audiometer right now and an on-air light. When you hit record, the on-air light lights up. If you’re using voiceover, it announces. It’s a completely simple app that just requires one click, one download from the App Store and you’re live on the
air with your host. From the guest’s standpoint, I tried to make it completely seamless.
Jonathan: If I’m a Backpack Studio user already, I will still need Backpack Live to come in as a guest?
Ed: No. Every interview has one host that’s in Backpack Studio controlling the recording and the mic. You can have as many guests as you want. I’ll probably limit it at some point. The guests are all in Backpack Live which is the free app because if you have four guests, you don’t want to make them all buy Backpack Studio when they don’t need a podcast production suite at their fingertips.
Jonathan: Even though I have Backpack Studio on my system and I paid for it and you say invite me to be on your podcast, I can’t come in with my Backpack Studio app. I have to come in with Backpack Live because I’m a guest, is that correct?
Ed: Actually, that would be doable. I guess that would be easier, huh.
Jonathan: Well, one less app to download, I suppose.
Ed: Yes. I figured everybody that was a guest would just want to be a guest. I didn’t really think of the host being the guest. Now that you mentioned that, I guess, it could open up the room in Backpack Studio without any strife.
Jonathan: Right, because I often appear on other people’s podcasts as well as host my own. If they were doing a Backpack Studio interview like we are, it’d be nice to just come in with the app I already have as a guest rather than download a second one.
Ed: I’m going to add that to the to-do list.
Jonathan: There we go. That’s quick work.
Jonathan: I suppose what you could also do, thinking about this is, once you have that link, you could also send it as a calendar invitation and put the link in the location field.
Ed: Yes, absolutely. Surprisingly, I don’t use the iPhone calendar, but if you know any apps that make use of that, let me know because I think that’s something I could add.
Jonathan: I play with a lot of these tools because I guess I need a life. I’ve been playing with this thing called Remotely.fm. This is another of these in-browser solutions, but this one records locally at everybody’s end and then uploads the audio. One of the things I like about it is the onboarding. if you will. It will automatically generate a calendar invitation if you give the email address of your guests when you’re setting up with Remotely. Then when you go in, it does some mic tests before they let the guests into the room to make sure their audio is working.
The calendar invitation is really sweet because I’m in New Zealand, you’re in the United States. We’ve got time zone differences and sometimes, every so often, interviews don’t happen because there was time zone confusion. The calendar sorts all that out.
Ed: I’m using Apple’s built-in date picker. I do believe it’s making adjustments. When you sent me the invitation, I think it said eastern time. Hopefully, you put it in eastern time.
Jonathan: Oh, that’s pretty cool.
Ed: iOS has some sense of where you are and what time zone you’re in.
Jonathan: Awesome. When we’re recording, all the Backpack Studio options are available to me, so I can play sound files down the call to you and all those good things.
Ed: Yes, so your soundboard is completely there. Right now, it’s behind our chat but if you notice towards the upper left of our chat, there’s a button that says, “Shrink.” What that does is that removes the chat view away from the soundpad, so you should be able to access all your soundpads behind it.
Jonathan: One thing we haven’t covered yet is not only can we record this like we’re doing for this show, but you can go live as well. Can you tell me more about that?
Ed: Absolutely. As you know, we launched the Icecast streaming capability two summers ago, it’s been fairly popular. There aren’t as many Icecast radio streams as there are podcasters in the world. It was probably my number two feature request after these guests. What I found was people that were just beginning streaming or didn’t have an Icecast server wanted one.
That was something that I thought about for a while. I said, “I should basically just offer a real simple no-frills, single-click Icecast server for people that don’t have them.” I had that on the back burner. Then when I started doing the remote guest feature, I didn’t know what to call it, and I said Backpack Guest, Backpack Chat, Backpack Interview. Then I saw a lot of those names were taken for other things and then I said, “Okay, well, Backpack Live would be good because that sounds good.” Then if you’re recording live interviews and it doesn’t live stream, so then I decided to just pull that all in together as one 2.0 release. Over on the left, you have your new live interviews button. Over on the right, you have your new live streaming button. I think those go together in a nice package.
Jonathan: How does that work? How do you create a stream using your technology?
Ed: It does it all for you. You just click the new streaming button. Actually, it’s the old streaming button. If you don’t have any of your own servers put in, it slides up a panel with one preconfigured and a button that says go live. You click go live and you get a link to a player. Actually, I was just working on the player this morning. I added voiceover support and linked to the raw feed. What do you call that? The actual link that’s not on a player, the URL. You get all that. You click live, and then the interface immediately gives you a link you could share on Twitter, Facebook to try to figure listeners to come listen. It’s basically a one-click radio station.
Jonathan: Wow. It’s Icecast under the hood.
Ed: It’s Icecast under the hood so you could put it on your own web player. You could do whatever you want with it, basically. It’s not like an anchor situation where it’s like a walled garden where you have to listen in Backpack. It’s actually just an Icecast stream that you could whatever you want with.
Jonathan: Once you’ve done that the first time, does your stream URL stay the same, or do you generate a brand new one every time you do this?
Ed: I’m keeping it the same for now because that seems like the best way to do it. That way, if you were putting it in a player or embedding it on your website. I couldn’t really come up for a use case where you would need to keep changing it.
Jonathan: No. That’s really cool. I guess that explains why I haven’t seen a difference because I’ve got several streaming servers already configured.
Ed: You will notice that the interface is a little smoother now. You actually can start and stop the stream with a little more feedback now. It slides a panel up from the bottom where you have the choice of going live and stopping the stream. It’s just a little less vague than before where you had to go into the settings and it’s a little more simplified.
Jonathan: Putting it all together, this is quite remarkable. In the case of Mushroom FM, of course, which has pretty good Icecast infrastructure, it would mean that if the timing was right, if I brought you live on to Mosen at Large, I can simply hit the button, connect to the Mushroom FM Icecast server, we could have this conversation with nothing but the iPhone. That is a pretty trippy business. It’s amazing.
Ed: Yes. I would love to do that. You actually have been doing that, right? You did that last year as an experiment.
Ed: We could do it with a whole bunch of guests.
Jonathan: Let’s talk about the limitations. How many guests can I have with this?
Ed: Right now, it’s in beta, and I did not put a limit on it. I just want to see how many guests. I haven’t seen anybody use more than three. I found, during the pandemic, when you’re talking to friends in video chat rooms, everything starts to fall apart after three or four people. I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty where– What’s the most people you’ve ever had on air at once in your studio?
Jonathan: Probably four, I think, might be the maximum I’ve ever done because people get a bit confused with voices after you get past that.
Ed: Yes. Everybody starts talking over each other and it becomes mayhem.
Jonathan: You’d want to have some limitation there.
Ed: I’m probably going to cap it at four.
Jonathan: Another use case for this would be if you want to have a conversation and you just want people to listen in a bit like the now-defunct Periscope, you could set this up and then just send a link to Twitter to the Icecast stream, and people can just go ahead and log in and listen.
Ed: Absolutely, yes. What’s the new app that’s really popular that you have to get invited to?
Ed: Clubhouse, yes. Very similar to Clubhouse where you just talk and people listen, except the sound’s way better.
Jonathan: This was next on my list. Do you think that there’s any way that this could be integrated with those existing solutions, particularly blind people who care about their audio? For that matter, some of the content creators, too, who have been going to some lengths to get really good quality audio into Clubhouse. That’s actually why I bought this iRig 2 Multimedia interface that’s allowing me to talk to you through my mixer at the moment, specifically because of Clubhouse, now Twitter Spaces has come along. I guess you’ve got Anchor. I suppose, to some extent, Anchor may be a competitor of yours, at least in some spaces.
Ed: Yes, there’s definitely a David-Goliath kind of relationship because they’re huge and I’m an indie developer, similar product.
Jonathan: Yes. Do you see the possibility of some sort of arrangement that might allow people–? If you could come into Clubhouse through Backpack Studio and have all these features like the compression, the EQ, the soundboard, all of that going into Clubhouse, that would be huge.
Ed: Yes. Clubhouse, if you’re listening, hit me up.
Ed: backpackstudioapp@gmail. I want an invitation, too, because I still can’t get into it.
Jonathan: I’ll invite you to Clubhouse.
Ed: [laughs] All right, thanks.
Jonathan: Yes. I’ll send you a–
Ed: From what I’ve seen, it’s really cool. It’s a whole bunch of people listening to a couple more established people.
Jonathan: Yes. I think the nice thing about Clubhouse is that you can listen. It’s like listening to Talk Radio in some ways, but then when you want to, you can go up on the stage. It’s like deciding to call the Talk Radio Station. Then, the host takes you on to the stage and invites you to speak. It’s a pretty cool platform.
Ed: How many people can be on-stage at once on that?
Jonathan: There’s no limit in Clubhouse. There’s a 10-person limit on Twitter Spaces but there’s no limit in Clubhouse.
Ed: Okay. Twitter Spaces, it’s like Twitter’s answer to Clubhouse?
Ed: Is it all audio?
Jonathan: Yes, all audio. No video on Spaces either.
Ed: I’ll have to check that out.
Jonathan: Yes. There’s a lot going on in the space. That’s why I think there might be some room for partnerships potentially with what you’ve created here, which is stunning. We haven’t had a single glitch while we’ve been recording this.
Ed: Thank you. [laughs]
Jonathan: Yes. What about the ability to separate the speakers into separate files so that if you want to do post-production on this, you can take it into a multitrack editor and EQ and level every individual speaker? Would that be possible?
Ed: Absolutely. After you’re finished recording this, after you’ve saved the file, the screen that shows the recording, there’s a new button in the upper right that says download file. That will give you the separate tracks if you want to mix them yourself in a multitracker.
Ed: That’s never been the Backpack Studio way, but I’m going in that direction now that I have this capability. The sky’s the limit.
Jonathan: That’s really significant that you’ve already done that. We’ve been talking a lot on this show recently about the Zoom PodTrak P4, which is a piece of hardware. It’s quite accessible from a blindness point of view. They do have a menu that you have to navigate with physical buttons and you can’t get any speech feedback. There’s no TTS in there, but it’s doable. What you’ve done really with Backpack Studio is the P4 in software and on steroids. It’s a really significant thing. Will you be charging any additional purchase once this goes live for the Backpack Live feature?
Ed: Yes, because of the server costs, it really has to be a very low-cost monthly service. I haven’t decided on a price yet. I’m not funded and I don’t want to do advertising. I’m not part of Spotify or Anchor. I’m thinking it’ll be best as a low-cost monthly service.
Jonathan: A monthly subscription model.
Ed: Yes. That’ll cover the hosting and the bandwidth and storing your audio files. It’ll really be a cloud service. The reliability of having your audio recordings all backed up in one place, some cloud features for the sound pads, anything people need with a really- backed by a really reliable cloud.
Jonathan: You’ve got a reliable host supporting this, I take it.
Ed: Yes. It’s actually backed by the Google Cloud, which I tried Google and Amazon, and what’s the other one, Microsoft. Google actually had the best infrastructure for me to work on with mobile APIs for the iPhone and Android. Google Cloud seemed like the most reliable place to put it. A lot of developers like to use S3, but I decided to go with Google after spending a whole month trying out the different clouds that you could store files on. That’s definitely not something you want to do yourself as a company, let alone an indie developer. Everything puts their back end generally on Google or Amazon.
Jonathan: What kind of equalization, compression, et cetera is applied at both ends? In the case of Backpack Studio, I have a preset setup and there’s a bit of dynamic audio compression going on. Does that also get applied to the guests?
Ed: That is a great question. I still haven’t answered that question. Right now, the guest is dry, getting mixed in dry, but I think I’m going to give them– I don’t want to give the host too much work to do. I don’t want to make the host come up with separate EQs for each guest. I’m wondering if I should just do a catch-all where everybody gets the guest EQ or everybody should get the compression and a little bit of EQ and a little bit of– That’s a great question. What do you think?
Jonathan: It’s a really tricky one. That’s why you’re the developer and I’m asking the questions. I think one of the dilemmas is what you want will vary depending on what microphone your guest is using, right?
Jonathan: That has an influence.
Ed: It’s also a psychological question. Do we trust guests to pick their own EQ curve and what sounds good? What if they make themselves sound really bad and then there’s nothing we could do about it? I’m leaning towards having all of that controlled by the host, the EQ and the compressor and some strong default settings that they could go under the hood and tweak for each guest if they want to, like a good catch all- like I do now, but it’s all under the host control. I really want to keep it dead simple for the guests where it’s just like a telephone. They open up Backpack Live and they start to talk. You sent me the link, I click on it because I just think if you give guests the settings, they’re going to be lost.
Jonathan: Yes. I think that’s right. It will be intimidating. People who really care about this stuff are probably still going to take the files and put them into REAPER or whatever they’re using and do post-production on them anyway. Then they can apply whatever EQ or compression seems appropriate then.
Jonathan: You said to me when we were setting this up, you still intend to add some features before release. Do you want to tell me any more about that?
Ed: Everything’s pretty much there. What I’m dealing with right now is getting as much feedback as I can from people, dotting the i’s crossing the t’s. I think there’s still a lot of debate on Twitter. If you follow Backpack Studio on Twitter, whether how much control the host should have over the interview basically. One thing we’ve seen over the past week was a lot of hosts do not want their guests talking to you over the sound pad. The guest’s microphone should probably control the host microphone. When the host is playing sound pads and his audio dips down behind the sound versus the guest, a lot more of that should be automated.
There’s also been suggestions that when the host mic is off and the guest’s mic is off, can they still talk about like, when you’re in the studio with somebody and you go to play a song, you guys can talk to each other off the air. That might be something that’s doable too that I’ve been like, how useful do you think that would be?
Jonathan: I wonder if there might be a button that’s separate. You’ve got it– I don’t want to complicate the UI, but then when the microphone is off, if you can tap a separate button that says audition or something.
Ed: Audition, yes. What would it be called? It would almost be called monitor local talk.
Jonathan: Or Intercom or something.
Ed: That’s a good idea.
Jonathan: Something that indicates that there’s a conversation going on behind the scenes. I remember when I used to be involved in Talk Radio, if I wanted to talk to my producer in the control room, there was just a little push to talk thing that you would use, so it could be like that.
Ed: Yes. Something like that. Like an in-studio, monitor, intercom kind of thing. I don’t think that would be very hard to do. I think it would be really cool as long as the users know what’s happening. In Backpack Live, it just says, host is on air. It would say, on-air host has muted mic. I’d programmed that too with VoiceOver announcements just so people feel like they’re in a studio and they know what’s going on.
Jonathan: It would be quite amazing for doing shows, music shows as well on an Icecast server.
Ed: Absolutely. Deciding what song to queue up next.
Jonathan: Yes. What’s involved or is it even possible to bring in, in that streaming scenario of live shows a third-party streaming music service that has the massive catalogs like Spotify or Apple Music?
Ed: That’s the million-dollar question right there. I would love to do that. Spotify has an API, but you need to have a Spotify account and you’re not allowed to record. There are some radio station apps that are completely powered by Spotify and the listeners have to have Spotify and you have to listen in the client. That whole situation is very messy with the royalties and the streaming as you know. Even YouTube, everybody listens to so much music on YouTube. If YouTube had a music API where they run the ads or something like whatever YouTube does to make money, if they offered a music API that could hook into this, that would be great.
Jonathan: Yes. I know that Algoriddim’s Djay app recently pulled Spotify. It sounds like it might’ve been because you can record their sessions or whatever.
Ed: Maybe people were recording them and they got in trouble.
Jonathan: Possibly. That’s a shame.
Ed: It’s very messy. I hope they figure it out because with all the– That was always the promise of cryptocurrency, this idea that you would be able to very easily pay people for things like music streams very simply and quickly. Every time somebody gets paid, have it automatically pay the person and just have that all kind of flow. I’d like to see that worked out because the soundboard is a huge part of this. Right now, the majority of people, they copy their tracks to MP3s, Google Drive, Dropbox, and they import them like that. Something on-demand like YouTube or Spotify would be perfect in Backpack Studio.
Jonathan: Yes it would. Can anyone test this at the moment through test flight? Is it an open program?
Ed: Yes. I’m going to be running the beta for probably a few more weeks, at least. If you go to bpack.live, that’s a new domain, just B-P-A-C-K.live, I have the links for Backpack Studio 2.0 and Backpack Live 1.0. Right now, the more, the merrier. I want to give it a good stress.
Jonathan: Thank you so much for coming on, but also thank you for all you’ve done for the voiceover using community. The attention to detail that you’ve paid to making sure that everything is accessible, and not just accessible, but usable and friendly. It’s just amazing what you’ve done. You must have put hours and hours specifically into voiceover.
Ed: The voiceover users are so passionate about it and they walk me through everything that needs fixed and there’s three or four guys that message me every night what I got wrong with voiceover.
Jonathan: Oh dear. [laughs]
Ed: No, I love it. I love it.
Jonathan: I really appreciate it. Good luck with the future of Backpack Studio.
Ed: Okay. Thank you, Jonathan.
Jonathan: To contribute to Mosen At Large, you can email Jonathan, that’s J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N@mushroomfm.com by writing something down or attaching an audio file, or you can call our listener line, it’s a US number (864) 60MOSEN. That’s (864) 606-6736.
[00:36:22] [END OF AUDIO]