Like a Blacksmith, But For Songs


Microsoft spent hundreds of millions of dollars last year to try and undo the damage Apple’s “I’m a Mac/I’m A PC” ad campaign had done to their image. Judging from the infomercial they produced for Microsoft Songsmith (a software that lets you… well, read panel one in the comic) it only took about $500 to negate all of their damage control efforts and solidify their image as the ultimate “we still don’t get it” company.

By “it” I am referring to “cool” not quality. Microsoft products may fit your needs perfectly and that’s just fine. I used them for over a decade before switching to a Mac and the biggest complaint I had was Windows XP Networking and file sharing NEVER working the same way from day to day or machine to machine. Other than that I was able to compute to my hearts desire. To each his own. So, while I am not suggesting that their product is actually inferior to their competition’s, I am asserting that their marketing department is a butthole chewing dumbass factory (literally a factory that manufactures dumbasses that chew on their own buttholes for sustenance). Did you watch the infomercial? Watch it! Seriously. It’s like an exercise in lack of self awareness. Blade Runners actually administer that video as part of the Voight-Kampff test to identify potential replicants. If the subject doesnโ€™t laugh at first, then slowly start to stare in shivering disbelief, they know itโ€™s a synthetic and โ€œretireโ€ it on the spot.

Now, I said MS’s products weren’t ALL inherently inferior… Songsmith certainly is the exception. It is a product that fills no need. I have been to the internet and I promise you there weren’t any kids there clammering for a software that adds 1990’s-esque midi jams to their bittersweet lyrics about ponies and ninjas and such. It’s supply on one side and an absolute vacuum of demand on the other.

Luckily the internet occasionally giveth more than it taketh away. And it hath giveth a plentiful bounty, ten fold… a bunch of mash ups of modern song lyrics backed by Songsmith’s instrumental stylings. They are truly horrifying to behold. UPDATE: Turns out the Songsmith Classics were created by HE reader azz100c. There are more horrors on her blog

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    • As I recall, "STranger Danger!" is Ralph Wiggum's policy on immigration.
      Looks like Chris and Peter Griffin aren't the only older-than-6-ers who "need an adult!"

  1. They polled people who saw the Mac ads, and they all said the ad made them hate the Mac guy more. Even Mac users hated Justin Long and thought pre-fame Hodgman was cute and rotund.

    The Microsoft "Im A PC" ads were pretty decent. They had philosophers and stuff. I still think they were going places with the Seinfeld ads.

  2. Am I suppose to want to sing the title of the strip to the tune of "Like a Virgin"? That infomercial was… I have no words.

  3. I think Songsmith is a tech demo or proof of concept for something a lot bigger coming down the line. Most of what I've seen on YouTube is awful, but there were some pretty cool ones using the vocal tracks from big songs where the software *almost* got it right and came up with some pretty good covers.

    Balmer is a c*nt though. At least Bill was a greasy geek who made billions by duping IBM, Balmer is a techno-facist. Anybody who describes Linux and the open-source movement as a "cancer of the software world" needs raping with a large explosive.

    And the way he prances around the stage like an alcoholic uncle at a wedding is just embarrassing.

  4. I heard on This Week in Tech that the infomercial thing was made and paid for by the dev team for Songsmith because Microsoft didn't want to market it (because it is phenomenally silly).

    I feel a little bad for those guys. They want to go and make a fun product that'll let people be a little bit creative and are so enthusiastic about it they go and hire a production company to make a commercial for them, and then half the internet goes and tears them a new one.

    You've got to admit the Roxanne Songsmith is god damned hilarious.

    • See I sympathize. They obviously worked hard on something, but the final product was laughable. Why not make an easy to use synth with drag and drop beats and market it to kids. The whole "you sing and we take care of the rest" is pointless as far as Im concerned.

  5. Hah! I just noticed the fresh-squozen Ballmer juice on his shirt, nice. The background choice worked really well with the colors of B-man and Goblin.

  6. OH MY CHRIST that is the funniest thing I've seen this century! Poor Microsoft—I think they need to give up trying to "be cool" and accept that they're good a "being business". But who, who allowed that ad on teh Intarwebs?! Someone in Microsoft's marketing department needs to be shot (for this and for the Seinfeld weirdness).

    And thank you, Arcys, for the idea to look up White Wedding, I nearly peed myself.

    • thats sort of my point. There's "useful" and then theres "cool." They arent the same thing and thats not necessarily a problem. The first Android phone is MORE useful than the iPhone but it isnt half as cool (yet). Stick to your strengths. Apple purposefully sacrifices common features you would expect with a smart phone just to keep the user experiences flowing the way they want it to. Its annoying but its what you get with apple. Open source phones are going to have infinitely more functionality but they arent going to be as slick.

  7. I like how the end of the commercial makes it seem like Songsmith saved their troubled marriage. "Finally, we can narrate our sex life and put it to shitty midi tunes!" This thing is amazing in the most terrible sense of the word.

  8. I got my flatmates to crowd round to see this as we love microsoft ads and well, those were four minuets of possible the most horrified, stunned silence I have ever experienced. We all just sat down and couldn't speak from thirty seconds afterward.

    That was just…wow. In completely the wrong sense of the word.

  9. Funny as hell! I love the way Balmer looks so angry chanting his mantra at the end there!
    Another splendiferous comic strip!

    For some reason I really want a glow-in-the-dark towel…

    • No joke, I used to watch this late at night all the time. It made me want a Performa SO FREAKING BAD! I had no idea they were like 4 g's at the time.

      Also this was made when Steve was away. The Dark Times.

      • Yep. I thought it was funny how they hinted the PC was pretty expensive, but never revealed the Performa price. Also, after watching it again, I got the impression that the Grandpa dude was some kind of perv.

        And to be fair, the Newton was engineered during The Dark Times. Otherwise, it was a very bad time for Apple.

  10. …And yet if it had been released by UnknownSoftwareCompany, which is actually three roommates at MIT, as an app for iPhone, the world would be raving about how amazing it is.

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