Rob Darby, Lavriko and myself had a lovely conversation via Skype last at the end of May. Stevie Kuykendall couldn’t make it, because it was the last day of school, and also the last day of his working career (yay, more time for music!) The idea for the conversation was “How can Melody Fusion inspire more music collaboration?”
Rob and I were on Skype first, and we shared a bit more about our personal lives. I learned that Rob is a pastor, which allows him to have a fairly flexible schedule and therefore can work on his music. He has lived and worked in Fresno California for a long time. Rob found it very cool that both he and Stevie Kuykendall are originally from Fresno, but it took Melody Fusion to get connected. He has tried some other music sites, but found that the attitudes and comments on those sites were not friendly and even nasty at times. He is very happy to have found Melody Fusion!
Rob mentioned that one of the challenges is the fact that musicians often used very different systems to create their music. He gave the example of how he and Stevie worked together on their track “Six Degrees of Separation” (http://www.melodyfusion.com/users/656-rob-darby/tracks/1107) Rob uses Cubase software on a Digital Audio Workstation. This records every track separately and generates a BIG .wav file. Stevie on the other hand uses a multi-track digital recorder, not a computer at all. Since most of the sound level of the music that Stevie adds is in mid-range, it is ok to send him a MP3, which Stevie can play back and add on recording using his system. They go back and forth via email, sending each other the files. The final edit gets done by a mutual friend named Don.
Slava Lavrynenko , known on the site as ‘Lavr i ko’, joined in the conversation. He works as a sound technician for one of the largest music recording companies in Europe and loves to make music when he is not working. He is very interested to find other musicians to create new sounds, but that his colleagues don’t want to have anything to do with music after working hours are over. He is looking for and finding like-minded people on Melody Fusion. We got him up to speed on what we had discussed.
I asked if either had heard of or used DropBox.com - or another option is Box.com. Slava had used that already, but Rob had not. Dropbox allows you to share files using the cloud. You can take a fun simple little tour that explains it nice and easy and you can find out how people use Dropbox in all kinds of ways. The files can be bigger than the typical maximum of 10K via email. Dropbox is more aimed at personal use, whereas Box is aimed more at business and corporate sharing. I have used Dropbox for a number of years now, for both personal and business use, and it has been great. I always have access to my files, no matter which computer I work on. I have only once run out of space, which was a blooper because my iCloud pics wanted to automatically synchronize with Dropbox – I put a stop to that one! I currently use 2.8 out of 8 Gigs FREE SPACE.
The other wonderful tool that musicians could use is Skype. Rob Darby had not used Skype before and realized how nice it is to meet face to face and talk with each other half a world away. Skype is free and though the visual connection can sometimes be a challenge, most times sound works really well.
Lavriko mentioned another website that we should check out: unknowngenius is a Russian website [note: needs verifcation - cannot find], which helps connect poets and musicians and he notices how they inspire each other. More poets -> more music. As musician you can pay a very small amount (about 20 or 30 cents) to have their track played on a ‘radio station’ – and you can ‘like’ songs as they are played. He highly suggests that Melody Fusion use that same concept. It would both benefit Melody Fusion as well as the musicians. In addition, Melody Fusion could offer a few free plays to new members, and maybe the musician with the most liked track could get a special deal as well. This would not be difficult to automate.
Rob jumped in and said that makes him think of the ‘eBay feeding frenzy’, where people will bid and sometimes wind up paying more for an item than that it would cost them new. I guess the moral of that story is that we are competitive creatures, eh?
The other idea Lavriko presented, was to start an 'add-on' type track. One musician would add one layer, the next musician another layer, one or more songwriters could add lyrics. Then do a series of these and create a Melody Fusion CD. I pointed out that we are not a publishing house, but that it is a cool idea.
Lastly, Lavriko recommended that if musicians collaborate, they record using a metronome so that the other party can be exact about the speed they record their tracks at.
We plan to continue this conversation at the end of this month of June. We'd love to hear other people's experiences with online music collaboration. Don't hesitate to leave us a comment!