It’s been over a decade since the first ever online musical collaboration took place, pioneering an entirely new way for musicians to create and share their work. Since then numerous companies have started offering services that allow artists from all over the world to collaborate with each other without having to physically share the same recording space. Sites like Tune Rooms, MixMatchMusic, Kompoz, Virtual Recording Studio and Indaba Music have enabled musicians to record and upload their own tracks, share them with other musicians, and mix entire songs together online. With over 60 000 unique monthly visitors, and endorsements by high profile musicians including Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, Indaba Music has emerged as the dominant player in this market by a large margin. So what makes Indaba Music different? Let’s take a look at 4 major reasons why Indaba Music is shredding the competition.
1. They have great designers
Indaba’s design is aesthetically pleasing, clear and easy to use. It’s far from perfect, but light years ahead of its competitors. Great design gives Indaba Music’s brand immediate credibility. Right off the bat you can login with your Myspace ID, a feature many musicians will find convenient. It would have been nice to see an option to connect through Facebook as well (Kompoz offers Facebook Connect). Creating a session is straightforward, and within minutes I was able to record a track, mix it down to WAV and upload it to my project. Finding people to collaborate with was a breeze. Combined with a modern web design and slick AJAX-driven interface elements, Indaba is well ahead of the competition.
2. They are passionate about their work – and show it
Indaba Music’s company blog has reviews of audio hardware, music news and interesting stories from the community. The employees themselves are active members of the community, regularly collaborating and creating music with other members. It’s clear that they love what they do. This helps generate excitement about their platform, and creates empathy between the company and its users leading to a more meaningful shared experience for everyone.
3. They collaborate with well known artists
Holding frequent contests where their users are able to remix songs by John Legend, Weezer, Mariah Carey, Third Eye Blind and even Yo-Yo Ma without having to pay for licensing has led to a string of high profile press for Indaba Music. Endorsements from Rivers Cuomo to Matisyahu have given Indaba a serious boost. Everybody wins.
4. They aren’t afraid to innovate
Here is where Indaba really shines. Last year they released “Mantis”, a Java-based multi-track recorder developed in-house for Indaba Music users. For those who don’t have their own recording software, or would like to record a new track while they’re away from home, Mantis allows any Indaba user to sign in to their account from any computer, plug in a mic, and record a track – no recording software needed. . “It’s like a simplified version of any of these complex professional recording programs that no one like me knows how to use,” said Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, “It’s going to open the door for a giant population of musicians out there”.
Whether it’s teaming up with Wired to crowdsource a song using tracks recorded by the founders of the company themselves, or pioneering the way people record and share music with “Mantis”, Indaba are constantly pushing the envelope with their platform. This desire to innovate is fundamental to Indaba’s success at the frontier of online music collaboration.
Of course, simply because I enjoy the Indaba platform doesn’t mean you will. I encourage everyone to try out all the different services out there and find what works best for you. Tune Rooms, MixMatchMusic, Kompoz and Virtual Recording Studio all offer comparable functionality, and best all – they’re all free.
With such a wide variety of services available for musicians to collaborate from anywhere in the world, the future is bright for creating and sharing music. Now, who wants to jam?