Oscil8 was an audio discovery engine, but went through several pivots since its original inception in late 2011. Here’s an article describing the business model in detail. It was a place where producers could publish new sounds and samples they’re working on. Aspiring musicians could follow their favorite producers to understand how they produce their unique sound and could collaborate with other musicians. For an overview of what Oscil8 was, I’ve described it in this video.

Cloud Based Synthesizers

Musicians would post a sample or sample pack, along with the files used to create the samples. Intelligent algorithms would be able to parse the files and reconstruct the sounds with cloud-based synthesizers. Yes, both software and hardware synthesizers, racked up in the cloud. As a further source of monetization, musicians could rent time on expensive, hard to obtain synths. With enough data, machine learning algorithms would begin to produce sounds or suggest parameter tweaks.

AI Assisted Synthesizers

In future iterations, Oscil8 would have used AI to help artists develop new sounds for both software and hardware instruments. What kind of algorithms am I talking about? I describe them in this video. AFAIK, nothing like “Google Deep Dream for Audio” exists yet. It’s too bad I don’t have the opportunity to pursue this stuff.

Oscil8’s Origins

In late 2011, I originally imagined Oscil8 as a Github for musicians well before others understood the future demand for this. As that market was claimed, I pivoted, but never had the positioning I needed to work on the project for more than a few months. For some reason, I could never find a cofounder who believed in me, but I was a bit too tight lipped on the features, for obvious reasons, which proved to be a fatal mistake. This was simply too good of an idea to let go.

In 2013, Splice.com was developed and became the Github for musicians. Today, I would estimate it’s value at $100 million, at least, given it’s investments from Seed and Series A … $100 million dollars. Tiesto is an investor! The most popular and highest paid DJ in the world is an investor. This is really what I was interested in. It wasn’t the money at all. It was the chance to provide a revolutionary platform that democratized music production.

But do I get any credit for having a good idea? No. Instead, I found myself ignored while I had an opportunity to develop this, then laughed at after the fact for thinking having the idea should matter at all. And I get it, it sounds bad to whine about this stuff. But come on, this was the chance to revolutionize an artform.