The Future of Technology in Collaborative Writing and Music Production

Posted 29 February 2016 in The Mix (comments)

As a community of musicians and also a marketplace for studio time and services Meet & Jam is very much at the forefront of the trends in collaborative music writing and production. We have always aimed to facilitate real world meetings but are essentially a tech company in essence, so just what is the future of how musicians, engineers and producers will interact, write and produce music? And how should we feel about technology invading music even more?

I still remember hearing the story behind the band ‘The Postal Service’ in 2001, their name coming from the fact that their founding members Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) had demanding travelling schedules and so would record onto DATs, which they would send each other via The United States Postal Service. They would layer some parts, send it back to each other and so on. There was a certain romance to this and a surprise element to writing / receiving a constant work in progress that I thought would be an interesting and exciting way to create music. It was clever, it was new, and the music was innovative as a result.

Jump forward 15 years and we have huge file sharing capacities, Logic, Abelton, and Pro Tools (amongst others) recording advances, even Garageband as a staple addition on our iPhones. Digital and electronic music has hugely blurred with pop music in the charts and so electronic sounds are more prevalent than ever and computers are a large source of music creation, distortion, effect and experimentation. We’re all now completely used to it. And of course, we have apps and online tools, electric drums kits and smart guitars to boot! Not to mention social networks.

My view is that anything that helps creation, advances your skills as a musician, gives you quicker access to laying tracks down and your band mates quicker access to hearing your input is a good thing. By offering online mixing and mastering services on Meet Jam, allowing musicians to book studios, home studios and post production services online, we feel we are giving people access to as many options, prices and skills as possible.

To send files and collaborate in this way, no doubt removes borders and restrictions on access to the right people for you. At the same time when I think of ‘technology’ in a creation sense and the ever evolving sounds computers help musicians produce, it seems few would argue we should take away the billions of variations you can create as a composer using computer software. Indeed it’s a given that we accept technology for creating sounds and have done so for decades. We’re just now exploring it in other ways within the writing and creations process. So where is the line? Is there a line?

At Meet & Jam, whilst promoting using technology to allow people to collaborate with finishing off their recordings online; we feel it’s essential that our services also hugely enhance the possibility for new, real world meetings too. In fact, that has always been our dedicated mission. There are a lot of talented people out there, a lot of great home and commercial studios along with fantastic online services each satisfying a different need. Equally there are a lot of musicians, engineers and producers you would never have been able to find to meet up with without content rich, easily accessible online profiles too. It’s all about a balance and using tech to help the process rather than replacing essential age-old creation by a few human beings in the same room.

Meet & Jam was born out of the need for musicians to find musicians. We believe that real world musicians have always been and will always be the bedrock of what it’s all about. We promote people meeting up as much as possible, because the inspiration and learning you get from watching and playing with others is second to none - likewise with production and collaboration in studios, home studios or bedrooms! And, at the same time making use of the technology on hand to get your own practising, playing, skills, recordings and sounds to a new level can only help with what you are creating.

Collaboration and collaborative music production will be further helped in technological advances such as easier file sharing, song editing, and the internet meaning wherever you are, you are never far away. BUT the spontaneous moments of writing, meeting, collaboration and in-person creation will always be at the heart of production. At least we very much hope. We should remember music is about creating something lasting with other people and should let technology aid but not take over this process.

Nick Ford-Young


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