Online musical collaboration with strangers?
December 31, 2017 4:28 PM   Subscribe

I know there are sites and apps where strangers upload half-finished tracks and other people can add instruments and vocals. This sounds like fun. Have you used one and which would you recommend?

I visualize either uploading my tracks or adding guitar and harmonica parts to others' compositions. The genres I dabble in are rock, country, folk, post-rock, etc. I mostly use Logic and Live for production. I have an old iPad but I don't think an iOS based platform would be ideal, would prefer using my laptop, as I have a pretty good interface for it. My focus is hobby / entertainment, nothing professional.
posted by signal to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but Playing for Change?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:50 PM on December 31, 2017

Response by poster: Not really, I'm looking to collaborate with other people I don't know online. Your link send to be some kind of NGO. Thanks anyway.
posted by signal at 5:59 PM on December 31, 2017

I've done this for MeFi Music projects (and other projects) -- I know other folks have different ways of doing it, but generally what I've done most recently is use Audacity because it's cross-platform. It's pretty simple to share Audacity project folders/files, but the final mix isn't automatic and that would need additional work beyond just uploading tracks, to get things to sound right. So that's an option, or if you can find someone who uses the same software you do, that might also be an option.

Here's generally how my projects have gone:

- Someone records a rhythm guide track. Could be a click track + instrumentation or a separate click track + guide track, but it finalizes the tempo, chord changes, and the duration of the song (e.g. number of verses / choruses). This is usually mp3, best if it's wav or aiff.

- Everybody uses this guide track when creating additional tracks. e.g. Another person imports the guide track into their software (e.g. Audacity) and adds more tracks to build on the guide track. Or, if they don't have software to sync a track, they'll just listen to the guide track and play along to it. Then send the additional track(s) to the first person (or whoever is mixing) to sync up the tracks.

- If there are vocals, usually one of the first tracks added is a lead vocal track. Could be a guide or rough vocal track, so that we can get a sense of how the vocals will sound and hear all of the lyrics, and anyone singing backup or accompanying can start practicing or experimenting with ideas.

- Meanwhile the first person can also create new tracks against the guide track(s) concurrently.

- The guide track(s) -- click track, rhythm track and/or rough vocal -- can eventually be deleted or replaced with final tracks that covers the guide parts.

- If both people use Audacity, it can be as simple as sharing the Audacity project files back and forth (such as uploading/sharing them on Dropbox or Slack), and giving clear labels to each track. Or sometimes it's just easier to send the track's wav or aiff files back and forth.

- There's discussion of how the tracks should be mixed (such as effects, panning or levels), and that might go through a few cycles back and forth. Someone might do some post-processing to edit some tracks.

- Or, someone just handles the mixing, sends out test mixes until everyone is OK with the final result, and mixes down to stereo wav or aiff file and then converts that to mp3 for sharing with other folks.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:00 PM on December 31, 2017

Also if you're okay with lo-fi recording and are interested in collaborating (I of course would be using Audacity), send me MeFiMail (and/or make a new MeFiMusic Talk thread asking for collaborators)!
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:12 PM on December 31, 2017

Check out Splice, it's like a GitHub for music.
posted by rhizome at 10:57 PM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

BandLab touts itself as "the easy-to-use, all-in-one, social music creation platform."
posted by Fuzzypumper at 1:28 AM on January 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all!
posted by signal at 4:26 PM on January 1, 2018

Response by poster: I've been messing with bandlab, looks like what I was looking for from a technical point of view, still don't know what the community is like.
posted by signal at 6:01 PM on January 1, 2018

Whoops, it seems I misinterpreted what you were looking for - sorry about that. Some other candidates:
- Soundtrap (which FWIW was recently acquired by Spotify)
- Blend
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:07 AM on January 2, 2018

« Older Quarter-life crisis - Who am I?   |   Recurrent ear infections in newborns? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.