Ten years ago, Microsoft spent $300m launching Windows 95 (just under $3 per copy sold). A tiny slice of that money went to Brian Eno, who recorded the startup sound on a handful of ageing synths in his studio.
>>There are various different versions of 'The Microsoft Sound'. I'm pretty sure that this is the one (it sounds Eno-ish with delayed pianos). Please tell me if I'm wrong.
>> Brian Eno is proper arty. He once urinated in Marcel Duchamp's 'Fountain'.
>> Brian Eno has produced six U2 albums, which have sold 70 million copies worldwide. Windows 95 sold 110 million copies in just two years.
>> Brian told XFM that he was paid $35,000 for the sound.
>> In 2001, MS-hater post-rock band Trans Am released Let's Take The Fresh Step Together [iTunes Link], which is the Microsoft Sound timestretched to 51 seconds.
>> Brian loves Yamaha FM synths. In 1995 he was using: Three DX7s, one TG77 and a Prophet VS, according to this Future Music interview.
>> The told the whole Windows 95 story in this 1996 interview with Joel Selvin: "The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, 'Here's a specific problem -- solve it.'
>>"The thing from the agency said, 'We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,' this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said 'and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long.'[He doesn't say how he persuaded them to eventually use a piece six seconds long]
>>"I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel.
>>"In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time."
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