Services: Indaba Online Music Collaboration (pt. 1)

image from creativecommons.org

Hypebot recently sat down with Indaba Music for an interview. This collaboration service now has over 500,000 users ranging from the inexperienced beginner to grammy award-winning established artists. I have checked out the service and it looks pretty useful, but I have yet to try. Maybe that is because I prefer to collaborate in person, or at least meet someone before I work with them. But the idea of being able to collaborate with a like-minded artist on another continent is appealing to me. And I feel that hip hop artists stand to benefit the most from a collaboration service like this since so much of hip hop depends upon rappers collaborating with the right producers.

Full Interview: Hypebot’s interview with Indaba Music (pt. 1)

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Key Takeaways:

3 Major Innovations That Made Large-Scale Music Collaboration Possible Online

According tech-evangelist Clay Shirky, there’s now a cognitive surplus, an excess of free time and talents of the developed world. When considered as a whole, this amounts to well over a trillion hours a year. Part of the reason that it hadn’t been experienced as a surplus up until now mainly because there was no possible way to pool it together in aggregate and there was no way to introduce people with disparate, yet complementary skills or interests. With the rise of the Internet, what we got was a network that was natively good at supporting social communication and participation. Thus, not only do we have copious amounts of musicians and singers, but we also have a surplus of free time, combined with a public media that enables them to pursue activities that they like and care about.

What are the steps that you’ve taken to recognize the potential of this massive cultural resource and how have you tried to understand what we can make of it? What opportunities do you foresee in harnessing it?

Dan Zaccagnino: As the Indaba Music website has evolved we have taken many steps to understand not just what musicians want to do online, but howthey want to do it. We’ve re-conceptualized the process of online collaboration several times to reflect what naturally evolved as people began seriously collaborating online more and more. In 2007 we imagined what a typical collaboration would look like and designed the Session (the central tool for exchanging ideas, tracks, and discussion) to reflect that “typical” process.

Now, in 2010, with the launch of our new platform, we addressed a number of services across the value chain that musicians have been asking for – from creative tools, like a library of over 10,000 royalty-free clips to more career-oriented ones, like iTunes distribution and royalty allocation.

Really, with a platform that spans each area of an artists evolution – education, networking, production/collaboration, distribution, promotion – the possibilities for harnessing the creative power of a community such as Indaba’s, is remarkable. By continuing to offer additional tools that make musicians’ lives easier, we can continue to foster the incredible artistic output of our community by enabling musicians to focus on making music instead of trying to remember all the passwords to the different fragmented services they use.

What developments had to occur in order for massive collaborative projects to be facilitated on a global scale and what tools for social production are needed to be created to enable these efforts?

Chris Danzig: In my mind there were three major innovations that set the foundation for large-scale online collaboration (or collaboration on any scale for that matter).

  1. The falling price of digital audio production equipment. The commoditization of digital circuitry during the eighties and nineties brought the price point for professional quality production equipment within reach of the average consumer. For the first time, independent artists and amateur musicians had the production resources necessary to produce music in the same fidelity as the major studios.
  2. The falling price of bandwidth. Throughout the nineties advances in delivery and compression mechanisms in the telecommunications sector made bandwidth increasingly inexpensive. The result is a world where media is more easily, and in turn more readily shared. The drawback of this accessibility is of course piracy- the advantage is the early simmering of collaboration through bulletin boards and FTP.
  3. The birth of the social web. The birth of the social network acclimated the public to bringing previously off-line social behavior online. For examples see dating, professional networking and gaming (among many others). Music is no exception to this rule. As an alternative (and in some cases a replacement) for the offline music experience more and more musicians are turning to the internet to fulfill their music needs which is (of course) largely of not entirely a social experience.

Dan Zaccagnino – Co-founder, Co-CEO
Chris Danzig – Co-founder, EVP Product
Matt Siegel – Co-founder, Co-CEO

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