When writing backing tracks for my duo I prefer MIDI. Why? The ability to edit them and eventually record the output in an acoustically non-friendly environment.
When writing styles for Band-in-a-Box http://www.nortonmusic.com
(my other gig) I prefer MIDI because in the end they are more versatile and of course can be extensively edited.
When PG Music introduced Real Tracks (audio style parts) to Band-in-a-Box, I thought my little cottage industry writing aftermarket styles was nearing the end of a great, long ride. To my surprise, the RTs haven't affected me at all. There are plenty of musicians who appreciate the versatility of MIDI and I seem to have that corner of the market mostly to myself now.
MIDI is by no means dying, it's just been abandoned by the plug-and-play people, mostly non-musicans and amateurs I would guess.
Back to my duo, my primary gig. Competitors often buy karaoke tracks for backing tracks. They come with backing vocals, pre-recorded solos,record length, and they are mixed for pre-recorded listening, not live performance.
I can use synth sounds for the backing vocals, play my own solos on sax, guitar, or wind synth, lengthen the song for dancing, and mix it for live performances.
What's a live performance mix? When you go to the club, what is prominent? Bass and snare. You can make that out in the parking lot. Of course it's not only bass and snare, but I could go on and on about what else, and it varies from song to song, but it's the most important start.
I can also exaggerate the grove, change the key if needed, adjust the tempo either whole song or parts of the song, add audible cues to help me come back to earth if distracted during the song by a requester or anything else, and the result is a very un-karaoke performance that sounds much more like a live band should sound.
Oh and mp3 isn't dead either. After I create the tracks, I rip them to a 192 mp3 and bring the mp3 track to the gig. I used to haul a 10 space rack with all my sound modules in it and play MIDI files directly, but I got tired of the extra schlepping.
And we've been working as a duo http://www.s-cats.com
since 1985 steadily. Other duos have come and gone since then, but the fact that we are still gigging, and over 97% of our work is repeat business says we are doing something right.
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