Indaba Music: A Cloud Based Music Network
In my last article, I discussed the remarkable benefits of using Dropbox to produce, record, and share musical ideas. As if that all wasn’t revolutionary enough, Indaba Music has developed a platform, much like that advanced by SoundCloud, that allows for real-time partnership between musicians from anywhere in the world. Uploading, comments, and collaboration all occur within a shared window and are viewable to the public (only if made public, of course). Most commonly used for remixes and interactive direct-to-consumer projects and competitions by major artists and production companies (Linkin Park, Snoop Dogg, Disney, and Universal, to name a few), any producer or musician can also use Indaba to share, swap and collaborate on musical ideas.
Indaba was established in 2007 with the mission to make it as easy as possible for musicians to network and make music together. A Zulu word, indaba “refers to gathering in order to share ideas, do business, and discuss important matters.” This sense of community is “central to the mission of Indaba Music.” I attended the Indaba launch party at CMJ in 2007, and that feeling of togetherness and resource sharing has truly been the crux of the company’s goals from day one.
During the five years since then, however, Indaba has become a place that is far more than a social network of musicians noodling with creative ideas. It has evolved into a breeding ground for careers. Artists now have the tools to learn from their peers, promote and distribute their material, and even license work to outside media such as commercials and TV. Partnerships can be forged between technology experts, artists, producers, and others to make the most out of the ever-changing modern web-based music industry.
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of Indaba’s platform is the potential for collaboration between major artists and virtually unknown hobbyists. For one of Indaba’s current contests, for example, The Darkness offers the opportunity for fans and collaborators to attempt an “epic guitar solo” over a section of their new single. The winner gets $750, a signed Epiphone guitar, and a veritable grab bag of goodies. Last year my band, Freelance Whales, partnered with Indaba to offer remixers of our single a chance to win a trip to Coachella 2011, as well as $500. Beyond offering artists at home the chance to work together, Indaba offers artists a chance for authentic and productive musical interactions with fans. That ability, previously reserved for open jams, has now – like most things – made its way to our fingertips.
By Jacob Hyman