I just posted about this on the quote board, but let me just say that Microsoft Songsmith may well make a ton of money. Ground floor, what.
The concept: start singing a song, and a midi-ish preset detects your key and backs you up. In an age of Guitar Hero and Rock Band and the kid from Rookie of the Year cranking out tracks on his MySpace [I know, right?], it seems like catnip for 'people who sing in the shower', the one thing the ad gets right. I'm a little scared this is going to open the floodgates for people to publish lots of music that should have stayed behind the shower curtain. That said, the program looks better than something this simple has any right to be.
The YouTube videos are not rating too well over at SongsmithVideos' page. They shouldn't be. But with a decent marketing push, I could see this going everywhere.
Lowest common denominator of music production just smells like profit. [People like Garageband. Those types of people will buy this.]
The 'Learn More' page has some meat on it - these folks worked with Garritan and Plogue! - and so I'm thinking it's more than a cool 'no skills required' program - it could actually encourage people to sound good [by moving on to another program, probably.]
At the very least, I'm going to download it to dink around with how well it detects key. The tech for that is pretty cool.
[I'll also try to sing off-key and break it.]