Well, COVID-19 has arrived and the “stay at home” precautions are in full effect. But that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to be productive, proactive, and advance your music career from the comfort and safety of the place you call home.
Lucky for us musicians, there are more options than ever for using technology to create and collaborate. Here are my ten favorite platforms and applications for musicians looking to incorporate coworking, cowriting, or coproducing into their self-quarantine workflow right now.
Perfect for your video-chatting and musical collaboration needs, Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications. You can use Zoom for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, and telephones.
The platform also boasts “Zoom Rooms” which is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board meetings, conferences, and seminars, as well as executive offices and classrooms. But musicians, songwriters, and producers alike can use this feature to work together on different projects.
2. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is similar to Zoom, providing communication in the form of text conversations and group voice or video calls. You can share multimedia content, and chat with no time limit.
You can download the app on iOS or Android, or just use it over the web without having to download anything at all. Plus if you’re already a Google user, it seamlessly integrates with your Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc. This makes sending music, concepts, strategizing, developing ideas, and co-writing clean and simple.
BandLab is a free social music platform that enables creators to make music and share the creative process with both other musicians and fans. With this global community, BandLab combines music making and collaboration tools like the world’s first cross-platform DAW, and social features like video sharing, messaging, and discovery.
JamKazam has made it easier than ever for musicians to play live with each other from homes across the internet as if you were sitting in the same room. You can record your performances at the track level, share your recordings, and even broadcast your live sessions to your fans.
Teach lessons on the side or looking to start? Here’s a great way to connect and create valuable content too! Want to keep your skills sharp or just need to rehearse with your remote bandmates? Then you should definitely check out JamKazam.
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Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into clean and tidy pinboards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.
Imagine a white board, filled with lists of sticky notes, with each note as a task for you and your team. Now imagine that each of those sticky notes has photos and attachments from other data sources with your music clips, documents, and a place to comment and collaborate with others. Plus you can take that whiteboard anywhere you go on your smartphone, and can access it from any computer through the web.
I personally love Trello because it helps keep me organized, on top of my (often self-imposed) deadlines, and prioritizing what I need to get done, while easily involving my other musical cohorts to do the same.
Sessionwire is a live music communication platform that lets you interact with and remotely record other musicians into Protools, Ableton, Logic, FL Studio, and other Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs).
It’s like if Skype had support for studio-quality audio and could connect and record into the DAW you’re working in live! Using SessionWire, you can video chat and record vocals from someone else anywhere in the world, and see/hear it all in real-time as if they were right there in the room with you.
No more wasting time sending files back and forth. Give and get immediate feedback, record multiple takes, punch-ins, and even enjoy the features supporting texting back and forth and file sharing when needed.
Houseparty describes itself as a “face-to-face social network.” This is the more informal counterpart option to Zoom and Google Hangouts. Think of it like a modern, live video chat room. But instead of hitting the call button to connect with people on your list, you can drop into a “room” when you see your friends are online, and come and go into different chats as you please.
It’s a good way to keep in touch with your network, as you would over coffee or a happy hour to catch up and chat about what you’ve been up to, the music you’ve been working on lately, etc. Plus Houseparty is available on Android, iOS, and macOS, and there is also a Chrome version, so everyone’s covered.
Another notable Google product, Jamboard allows you to visualize your ideas in a new and collaborative way. You can sketch ideas whiteboard-style while benefiting from the access and connectivity of an interactive canvas. Drop images, add notes, and pull assets directly from the web while collaborating with team members from anywhere.
Want to brainstorm your artist website rebrand? Mock-up some business cards? Create promo materials for upcoming shows or music releases? Jamboard is a great way to collaborate with your team remotely.
Splice is a cloud-based music creation and collaboration platform that integrates with key digital audio workstations to offer automated online backups with version control, online and offline collaboration, as well as visualization of the creative process. This is a one-stop-shop for creators to make and share new music together.
Everyone’s always got a bunch of different friends that have their preferred method of communication. It’s hard to juggle so many different logins and platforms these days! Franz is a messaging app that efficiently combines chat and messaging services into one application.
Franz currently supports Slack, WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Google Hangouts, GroupMe, Skype, and many more—solving the all-too-familiar, modern day challenge of having too many apps—filtered seamlessly into a single, organized platform.
Christine Elise Occhino is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for the music business. In addition to being a vocalist herself, she is the Founder & CEO of Lock City Music Group, and the Founder & Executive Director of Hope in Harmony, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that uses music to help and heal those in need. Christine holds a BM in Music Business & Management from Berklee College of Music, and is a member of the Grammy Recording Academy, ASCAP, and Berklee College of Music Alumni Association. She also currently hosts the music-based web series & podcast, Soundbytez.
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