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Remembering Rocket Network

Submitted by on 10/04/2011 – 10:38

Логотип Rocket NetworkRocket Network was the world’s first platform for online music collaboration available for everyone. It supported audio and MIDI data exchange over Internet and allowed partners to work on a music project together, no matter how far from each other they lived.

Rocket Network/ResRocket Server was launched in the first half of 2000. Steinberg Cubase VST users were the first who had got a chance to connect to its studio net. Later Rocket Network functionality was also integrated into other popular audio + MIDI sequencers, such as Logic (then owned by Emagic) and Digidesign Pro Tools LE.

Registered users connected to public or private virtual recording studios where they could participate in music projects. Users could chat, discuss each other’s tracks, add new audio and/or MIDI files to the project. Once any track was modified (by adding a new file or by modifying the fader’s position or effects settings), the session was automatically updated on each member’s computer. Virtual studio owners could publish ‘vacancies’ advertising their projects and describing what musicians were needed for a particular project.

Even on a slow connection (dial-up modem) file exchange with a virtual studio was a considerably fast process because the developers implemented the radical data compression algorithm for audio.

At the time Rocket Network was the only available ‘budget’ solution for musicians who wanted to find partners online and work together on the song using Internet. The system requirements were quite simple: a Mac or a PC, an Internet access, a web browser and an audio + MIDI sequencer compatible with Rocket Network technology. Additional setup fees included a small fee payable to Rocket Network for data transfer (about 10 dollars per month).

By 2002 Rocket Network technology was integrated into all popular audio + MIDI sequencers such as Cubase, Logic and Pro Tools LE. To start working online the user had to connect to the corresponding server. For example, Cubase users needed to connect to Cubase InWire server. A special version of Logic, called Logic Rocket, was released for Logic users, and the corresponding server was set up. Pro Tools users connected to DigiProNet. Those servers, or ‘Studio Centers’, were basically a catalogue for virtual recording studios, online projects and Rocket Network users.

A Rocket Network dialogue in Cubase VST

Virtual studios list at Cubase InWire Studio Center

In March 2002 the RocketControl 2.5.1 plugin was released. It supported lossless audio data compression.

In March 2003 the Rocket Network was acquired and subsequently closed by Avid. Avid and its subsidiary, Digidesign, were going to release Digidelivery, their own high-quality audio data exchange solution through Internet. This hardware was addressed to high-budget Pro Tools systems’ owners (and therefore to world class studios). Rocket Network probably was considered as a competing product by Avid. DigiProNet studio center and www.digipronet.com were closed. The same happened to other studio centers oriented at Steinberg Cubase and Emagic Logic users.

The last virtual session took place at Rocket Network studio from March 31 to April 3, 2003. It was called “Goodbye and Thank You For The Fish”.

More info (in English):

http://www.jamwith.us/about_us/rocket_history.shtml

Author: Elena Stepanova for www.1000tracks.ru

 

The original article was published in: Russian.

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