How will social and online music develop

Making music in times of Corona - the most important online tools

The Corona crisis and the measures taken because of it currently make it impossible for musicians to pursue their main activities - namely playing concerts, making music together face to face or giving lessons. Like everyone else, you are required to maintain social distance. But that doesn't mean that you can't still make music and work on productions together. Rainer Praschak from mica - music austria has listed a few useful services that enable and facilitate collaboration over the Internet.

First something fundamental, namely on the subject of data protection: When using web tools, it is important to remember that services whose operators are located within the EU are subject to stricter data protection regulations than others. Services from providers outside the EU must therefore always be viewed with greater caution, as their business model, especially in the free-use area, usually results in the collection and indexing of all types of user data in connection with the monetization of the same.

The jam session together

Due to the measures to contain Covid-19, in addition to the canceled events, the possibilities for making music together, for rehearsals or just for sessions are very limited. Here it is advisable to observe the current developments - especially the situation with rehearsal rooms and other places for creative development. No online service can replace the emotions and mood that arise when making music together in a room. There are some services that make it possible to make music together even in times of isolation and to network digitally with other musicians.

Most of the services that we use for everyday communication are unsuitable because of excessive latency (delay time in data exchange). The prerequisites for the joint jam session on the Internet are good quality and sufficient speed of the data connection to actually be able to make music with each other in real time. A fast, stable internet connection, ideally a dedicated line (LAN), the appropriate program and instruments connected to the computer are necessary to get started.

The most famous platforms are Jam Kazam, Sofasession and Jammr. Jammr really only offers the bare essentials, but it works very well. Sofasession is operated directly from the browser and the range of functions is much greater than with Jammr. There is an active community and through social functions it is possible that you suddenly find yourself in a session with other musicians from different countries.

Jam Kazam offers similar functions and possibilities. The other musicians are not only heard via video streams, but also seen. Most platforms offer that the music - also as individual tracks - can be saved and then processed further together. For music teachers, JamKazam also offers its own online platform called »Jam Class« especially for online lessons. Doozzoo is also a specialized solution for online music lessons.

Those who are not afraid of greater effort and are tech-savvy can host virtual sessions themselves with the help of open source software. The results with open source programs such as Jamulus or Jamtaba are often more satisfactory than with Jam Kazam and the other apps or services. Instructions and information are easy to find on the web.

Live streaming

Live streams from the apartment or the empty location are currently one of the few ways to reach a far larger audience than family members or roommates. Services such as Caffeine, Crowdcast, Moment House, StageIt or Streamlabs offer features with which tickets or subscriptions for live streams can be sold. With broadcasting programs such as Restream or OBS Studio, live streams can be broadcast simultaneously on different platforms such as Twitch, Facebook, Youtube or Mixer.

Collaborative software for DAW users

Plug-ins such as Steinberg VST Connect for Cubase or Avid Cloud Collaboration for Pro Tools offer the possibility of working online with the usual production software / digital audio workstation (DAW). These tools are ideal for working together on a project at remote locations and also include the option of video chat. Like many other providers, Avid makes its offers available at reduced prices or free of charge for a certain period in the current situation.

Collaborative platforms and apps for making music

The number of apps that can be used to collaborate on projects is growing all the time. One easy-to-use collaborative platform is Soundtrap (owned by Spotify), a robust, modern DAW that runs entirely online. Originally intended for creating podcasts, this subscription-based service is an easy way to record music and produce beats. Soundtrap is browser-based with an easy-to-understand user interface, making it a good start for beginners and occasional users.

Another online DAW with several million users is BandLab. It is advertised to be able to offer musicians a completely free all-round carefree package for laptops, tablets and smartphones. Trackd is another free social music app (for iOS users) with an affiliated community that enables "fast, easy and highly collaborative" music-making in real time. With Soundstorming, also an app, you can't make music together in real time, but a global community of musicians can get involved, brainstorm and work on the uploaded songs. Kompoz, on the other hand, is an online social network designed for music creators to create songs with other musicians from around the world. For more than a decade, this network has been discussing works, collecting feedback and working on joint projects.

File sharing services

File sharing services such as Dropbox, Wetransfer and Google Drive are used by many music creators and producers and are ideal for sharing projects. Bounce Boss makes it easy to share audio files with others over the Internet. Real-time collaboration is not possible with this, but you can leave criticism and feedback to the virtual counterpart. You can also store different versions of a track in order to compare them.

Pibox Music and Splice go a bit further. Splice Sounds is perhaps the largest collection of user-generated samples and loops on the internet. You can save your DAW projects using Splice's studio feature. In the community you can work together with other users and exchange projects. There is also the option to take part in remix competitions on the platform.

Pibox Music, on the other hand, was specially developed for collaboration with other musicians. Live chat, screen sharing, timestamped comments and the history of the mix versions are just a few examples of the possibilities the service offers. The platform is also a suitable place to network with musicians from other parts of the world and from other genres.

Musicians search

These platforms are interesting for everyone who is looking for professional musicians, sound engineers for mixing and mastering or other music professionals in order to win them over to participate in their own project. Soundbetter is a marketplace for providing services such as B. Mixing or Mastering - to be acquired by established professionals. Tunedly is a network of songwriters, singers and other musicians with session musicians. Similar offers can also be found on the Air Gigs, Studio Pros, Audiu or Melboss platforms.

This article is part of a content partnership with mica - music austria. The Austrian Music Information Center is your professional partner for everything that has to do with making music in Austria. Here you will find free advice and tips from experts who will help you find your way around in the music business.

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