How to collaborate
with other musicians
on the Internet
When the Internet opened up the world to
musicians, it didn’t just create new ways
to distribute, promote, and sell music. It
brought entirely new ways to collaborate with
musicians and make music. This has caused an
explosion of new methods to create and remix
music online. If you need a creative jump start
for your music, or just want to try new ways to
collaborate with musicians around the globe,
consider these options.
Virtual Jam Sessions With just a computer,
an Internet connection, and a microphone or
instrument jacked in to your computer, you have
a lot of options for jamming with others online,
in real time. Perhaps the biggest challenge with
this type of collaboration site is Internet delay. If you have a solid broadband Internet connection,
online jamming may be worth exploring. Try out
eJamming (ejamming.com) or the open-source
software programs Ninjam (ninjam.com) or
Track Sharing Sites If you have your own
DAW, you can help build songs with musicians all
over the Internet, one track at a time. Musicians
who would never have set foot in the same studio
can now meet online and create new music. Sites to check out include Kompoz (kompoz.com) and
Indaba Music (indabamusic.com). Take a listen to
the diversity of tracks on the front pages of any of
these sites to hear the incredible things that can
happen with this form of collaboration.
Remixing Sites Want to try your hand at
remixing music? Remixing sites give you access
to the source tracks for songs from musicians
all over the world. Make your own remixes and
share them with other musicians, or upload your own tracks and see what other musicians
can do with them. Some musicians’ music is
so popular to remix, there are entire albums of
remixes of their work done by other musicians.
Doing this can put your music in front of new
fans and generate exposure, as well as give you
new material to work with. Try out sites like
ccmixter (ccmixter.org) which uses the Creative
Virtual Session Players No matter what
kind of instrument you need to add to your song,
there’s someone who’s willing to record it for you.
Whether it’s a tabla, didgeridoo, koto, or samisen,
it’s out there and available for your music through a
virtual session. Some sites will charge a fee, such as
Sessionplayers (sessionplayers.com) or Studio Pros
(studiopros.com). However, if you just want to find
musicians to work with, try sites like Sound Collabs
(soundcollabs.com), or even musician message
boards like Just Plain Folks (jpfolks.com).
Finding Local Musicians Online The
Internet doesn’t just help you collaborate virtually, it also lets you find musicians in your
local area as well. Sites like BandMix (bandmix.com), JamConnect (jamconnect.com), and
Musicians Wanted (musicianswanted.org)
allow you to connect to musicians online so
that you can find people within your town. And
don’t forget craigslist (craigslist.org), which is a
surprisingly effective way to find musicians.
Other Collaborations You can collaborate
online with more than just musicians.
Possibly the most interesting interactions—and chances to collaborate—can be found
on sites that are dedicated to other creative
endeavors. Sites like Creative Cow (creativecow.net) help to match up all types of creative
people—film, music, and more. And sites like
GameDev (gamedev.net) help connect game
developers with all the resources they need—including collaborating with musicians. And
when it comes to music, don’t forget that nearly
every major music DAW, platform, and system
has online forums where users trade ideas,
tips, and music.
One thing to keep in mind is all of these sites
have their own terms and conditions that you
must agree to before using them. Many of these
agreements give these collaboration sites and
their users rights to use your music—without
which, no one would be able to share and
collaborate. Most of these rights are incompatible
with exclusive licensing. Some of the rights they
claim are also perpetual, and nonrevocable. Also
note confusion can arise as to who might own the
sound recording or composition rights to a song
where each musician uploaded a track on their
own. The key thing to do is to make sure you’re
comfortable with the rights you’re granting these
sites before you use them.
Given the explosion of new options to
create and remix music online, it’s amazing to
think what one musician and a laptop can do to
collaborate in entirely new ways with musicians
all over the world.
Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan are
authors of The Indie Band Survival Guide (St.
Martin’s Griffin), now in its second edition.