At a press conference in New York Ciy, rapper and actor LL Cool J joined Sony in rolling out My Connect Studio, a new software package -- initially bundled exclusively with Sony's Vaio E 14P laptop -- aimed at letting musicians overcome geographic limits to make and record virtual jam sessions over the Internet.
The Web-enabled software is designed to let someone in New York collaborate in realtime with someone in Los Angeles, for instance, without any latency, or audio delays, LL Cool J said, speaking at the event at the Sony Club.
Far from a mere celebrity figurehead on the project, LL Cool J actually came up with the idea for the software, forming a company called Boomdizzle which met with teams of engineers from various companies in efforts to get the concept off the ground.
"Sony got it from the beginning," said the hiphop artist, who first rose to commercial and critical success during the 1980s with an album named Radio.
"We're embracing this technology, and it's hot," contended Dave McFarland, product manager at Sony for Viao PCs, also at the press rollout.
LL Cool J has also acted in movies like In Too Deep and Last Holiday. He currently plays the role of NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna on the CBS TV show NCIS: Los Angeles.
"Nothing will replace the traditional [music] studio," he admitted at the press launch. Yet on the other hand, My Connect will let music pros collaborate from on the road, he suggested, and it will introduce budding artists to other players with similar interests who might be located anywhere in the world.
The My Connect Studio software offers strong encryption as an option, so musicians can choose to make a session either closed or "open to the public."
At first, the software will support collaboration between only two simultaneous users in a session, but eventually, support will be "unlimited, within reason," according to the rapper.
Right now, musicians using the Microsoft Windows-based software will need to run it on a specially rigged Vaio E 14P notebook PC. Otherwise, the music will sound "tinny," McFarland acknowledged later, in an interview with NotebookReview.
That's because the software is tooled to work with other components in the Future Sounds My Connect Studio Package bundle, including Dolby Home Theatre v4 Audio Technology and Sony's MDR-V55/BR DJ-style headphones. The package also includes a one-year subscription to the My Connect Studio service, with 10 hours/month session time; 25 exclusive music tracks, and "additional channels and filters."
MSRP is $899.99 for the E Series E14P Future Sounds My Connect Studio Package, whereas pricing for other laptops in the Vaio E series ranges from only $449.99 to $699.99.
Ultimately, though, My Connect Studio will also run on non-PC devices such as smartphones, according to LL Cool J.
The rapper also said that he'll use My Connect Studio for recording at least one song on his next album, which is now in progress.
Music on the album will be great for listening to in the car or while cleaning the house, for instance, as opposed to the many tunes these days that are geared mainly to "earbuds," LL Cool J elaborated.