An mp3 of the Interview is available lower in this text and via ITunes. Full text is below and selected portions are published in Mobile Beat Magazine – to subscribe go to https://members.mobilebeat.com.
Ryan Burger: This is Ryan Burger, the publisher of Mobile Beat Magazine, and we’re here with Jorgen Hedberg. The name might not mean a lot to you unless you’re in the know in the way of MP3 software in the last 10 years or so. But he’s come back with a bunch of people that he’s worked with in the past and they have put together GizmoLabs, and they’ve got some great new software coming out.
Jorgen, introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about how we get up to the current day and the current incarnation of the GizmoLabs crew.
Jorgen Hedberg: Well, I started a little over 10 years ago and we’ve been working with MP3 all that time, actually. And I would say that now for the first time we’ve got our own package together that we’ve really wanted to do from the very beginning and are in control of everything, which feels nice.
What can I say? All the stuff that we’ve learned over the years in terms of what people use, what they want, and what we’ve seen them use and how to use it has gotten to this stage, that I think we’ve got a really good package together.
Ryan Burger: You guys have always been in the background developing products that were then OEM’d out to other companies.
Jorgen Hedberg: Yeah, exactly. We’ve done development for [inaudible], Peavey and [inaudible] Audio and others. So we have of algorithms and DSP and DSP card and in-the-guts kind of thing running in products — thousands of products right now. So our technology and stuff that we’ve developed, it’s in the market. It doesn’t have our name on it because we’ve OEM’d it. So a lot of people are using our stuff without knowing it.
Ryan Burger: Yeah. And the whole key is getting the algorithms correctly, getting the software correct in the front. And the backgrounds — you can put a pretty interface on anything out in front of it, but what actually does the work is all the code in the background. I know that from my little bit of experience in the area.
The old team is all back together; the bank is back together. You’re a smaller group. Tell me about your group.
Jorgen Hedberg: Well, the group we have now is the people from the same group that we started out in ’99, with David and Eric and Chris and Ken. So it’s kind of a déjà vu. It’s really nice. What can I say? It’s people I’ve known a long time and we know what we want. Yeah. It’s great.
Ryan Burger: Who kind of gathered this whole group up of getting you guys back together? Was it something in your mind of just wanting to do what you want to do more, have control over the situation? Or was it David? Who got the group together?
Jorgen Hedberg: Well, when the whole thing started with PCDJ, I wasn’t in that company for very long; about a year and a half or two years, maybe. And I had a vision. When I came to the U.S., I had a little board with some buttons on it and I could hook it up to a computer and I could press a few buttons and play and start. And I told them, “Look, this is what I want to do. I want to hook up to a computer that can play music.” And that was the idea.
And then they started to do a lot of other activities. It was a crazy IT age; the IT bubble with Internet and Napster and banner ads and all that. And they were more interested in that kind of area and I figured, “Well, let’s just do this.”
So what I did, I quit from VisioSonic and started GizmoLabs. And this was in 2001. And at that point I just started that myself. I kind of just stepped out of everything that I was doing and said, “Okay. Let’s start again and see how this goes.”
And after a while, Ken and Chris, they wanted to come along with me. So they quit Visio and they came to me, and then we started working. And we worked together since 2001 until now, and when David and Eric Zhao [ph] came aboard. So it’s been kind of a two-step process in terms of getting the bank back together, if you know what I mean.
Ryan Burger: Okay. Well, let’s get up to current stuff. For those of you that are listening to this later off of the Net, GizmoLabs.net is the Web address. The product is RPM. Tell us a little bit about what RPM is and what short-term plans you have that everybody’s going to be able to see.
Jorgen Hedberg: Well, RPM is all-types DJ application that you can DJ with, and we have a whole suite of products coming out. It’s based on technology that we developed for a long, long time in terms of record case management, DSP algorithms in terms of time stretch, looping, and all that stuff that we perfected during the years. So we have a lot of stuff coming out and this is the first product in that series of products that’s coming out.
Ryan Burger: What’s different that people are going to see about RPM than some of the other products that have been there? I’m looking at the screen a little bit. It seems very detail-oriented. It seems like you’re getting a ton of different streams of audio going at one time. What are you able to do now that you were on your own that other people were limiting you on in the past?
Jorgen Hedberg: Well, first, we can do what we really wanted to do and go in the direction that we wanted to do, which means that we are making DJ software. We’re making things that we want to do that we would buy, if you know what I mean. We’re not trying to chase the dollar in terms — “Oh, that looks profitable so let’s go that direction.” We’re doing stuff, products that we would like to buy, and hopefully that other people would like to buy, too. So money’s kind of a good by-product out of that. That’s the biggest difference.
Also, the whole creative process of going into stuff to do that is really fun developing in terms of, I wonder how you can do this and that, and also for things like — we have a record case that learns how you play. So as you play, the more and more you play, it gives you suggestions of how you can mix. That’s kind of a new way of looking at things. So the tool will learn how the DJ DJs and help him.
Ryan Burger: Some artificial DJ intelligence. I look at this smart view. You’ll be able to make suggestions on what songs go with what you might be currently playing. So it’s keeping track of your old playlists.
Jorgen Hedberg: Exactly. So when you select tracks, it gives you selections of things that — you can mix with this because this you’ve done before. And it also gives you that list in the order of, oh, you’ve done this most. So you get it like in a prioritized order as well.
Ryan Burger: Okay. You guys had mentioned some of the information I received in advance, working with some of the different controller companies; the Denons, the other guys like that. So I’m assuming very compatible through those kinds of connections?
Jorgen Hedberg: Yes. We have an approach of making everything as possible auto-detectable and auto-connectable. So it’s very hard to map out the controller. Even if you have a good mapper, it’s very hard to get the mapping really good. So we’ve done out input plug-ins in a way that they can detect what controllers you plug in. And we worked really hard on making those support really excellent.
And we worked for many years with Denon, for instance, for making the controllers really, really compatible. And we have the best, I think, Denon controller support for the DJ programs, for ins and out, the displays, the platter support, the scratch support, and so on.
Ryan Burger: I see from your site people can download a demo of RPM and play around with it a little bit. What are the limitations of the demo? You’re only talking a $59 product, is what you guys are selling it for. So what kind of limitations are there on the trial that people can play with this a little bit?
Jorgen Hedberg: The demo is not limited. The only thing it’s limited at, it operates only in chunks of 30 minutes at a time. It doesn’t have any limitations in terms of functionality. And the $59 is an introductory price. It’s not the real full price. That price will go up.
Ryan Burger: Understandably, though. Yeah. Obviously you’re not totally in this just for the money, but you’ve got to make a living; got to get something for what you’re worth. Fantastic product.
Anything else you want to tell everybody before we wrap this up?
Jorgen Hedberg: Probably a ton of stuff once we hang up. That’s the way it always is. I can talk for hours as long as I get started. You should see me at the trade shows.
What I can say — try it out and keep working with it for a while and I think you will like it, because it’s in the details that you will find the smoothness and how well it works. It’s all in the details. That’s all I can say.
Ryan Burger: As it says on GizmoLabs.net, “RPM was designed and built to meet the needs of the working DJ.” Check out GizmoLabs.net and download the software; purchase it at that special $59 rate, which probably won’t last real long. Check it out and post on the chat boards what you think of it.
Appreciate you joining me, Jorgen.
Jorgen Hedberg: Thank you.
Filed Under: Issues from 2010, Profiles
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