Tired of feeling like your home studio is more of a bottleneck than a break out? Like it just doesn’t fit into your creative process? Like having one computer in one space puts too much burden on one player while locking others out? Tired of sitting down with a few minutes to yourself and wishing you had your project right there? So are we.
Making collaboration the catalyst for creation.
BandLab is a tool to give musicians access. A straightforward recording system that never asks you to compromise your creativity or stifle your schedule. By supporting BandLab, you’re supporting millions of hardworking musicians around the world with innovative, affordable, cloud-based recording solutions.
Cloud Storage Cloud storage offers users a number of huge advantages over traditional hard drive systems. Disk space is never an issue, and everything you upload is backed up, giving you complete protection from crashes, upgrades, catastrophic system failures, and band drama. Make as many mixes as you want, experiment, and stay organized from anywhere.
Access Anywhere BandLab makes it easy to access your tracks, mix, and listen on any device, no matter where you are or what you’re supposed to be doing. Mixing takes a lot of time, so cloud access from your mobile device will add valuable working hours to your project. One of the most important aspects of recording is listening, so having your tracks available wherever the day takes you is really helpful. And BandLab makes it easy to review all your projects and keep up with all your mixes thanks to instant notifications.
Get Notified The ability to comment and leave feedback in BandLab is absolutely fundamental to its functionality. In-song commenting allows musicians to have a conversation, collaborating in a completely new, and yet wholly familiar, way. Any time the discussion moves forward or someone posts a new mix, users are instantly notified via e-mail, tweet, post, or with a quick glance at the BandLab app. This social style of engagement fosters creativity and has inspirational applications for projects, schools and teachers, making it easy to invite others to listen, and to ask collaborators to try their own mixes.
Mobile Mixing Life has a way of stretching some projects out. It can be a month or more between recording and mixing sessions. When we get back to our studio system, it’s a burden to re-learn how to use the software. BandLab is being built to provide users with an intuitive, attractive, touch-sensitive interface and a number of customization capabilities.
Endless Opportunities Digital Audio Workstations revolutionized the recording process. Studios no longer had to destroy the original file copy (tape) during the editing process, and could make changes quickly and accurately on increasingly powerful computers. BandLab expands on the tradition by letting you build out any mix and collaborate with friends without ever worrying about disc space, data loss, computer upgrades or damage to the original recordings.
“Upload my multi-track files?” Great question, you’ve obviously done this before. If you already have multi-track files that you’d like to work on in BandLab, it’s fairly straightforward to export individual project tracks as .WAVs and lay them in to BandLab, making the system fully compatible with today’s most popular DAWs. As part of our open platform expansion, users will have ready access to macros or apps that will easily move files to and from their DAW and BandLab.
And if I don’t have, or understand, any of that? Use any audio interface, like a JamHub studio or GarageBand or m-box, to record tracks. BandLab will let you layer and build with all the benefits of a traditional DAW. BandLab’s software uses an extremely creative proprietary system to synch your incoming tracks with the music you already have stored on the cloud.
Does it work? Ohhhhh yes it does. Team BandLab has been out on the streets testing this bad boy hard. So far, we’ve recorded, mixed, and messed with each other’s tracks on a plane, a subway train, in bed, in the kitchen, at a coffee shop, a bar, an airport, at home, at a relatives, in the dentist office waiting room, and, yes, even at work.
This is great, so how are you planning to keep it going? When we’re ready to bring this project to the market, BandLab will feature a tiered monthly payment system based on storage. You can choose the right plan for you, and upgrade at any time for more storage and features.
FRIEND - Free - Comment, play, review, and receive notifications. So it’s easy to give your bandmates access even if they don’t want to do the work.
PLAYER - $1.99 - Mix, edit, comment, and upload 5 songs. With 10 mixes of each song, and the ability to clear up space at any time, you can take this account pretty far.
MUSICIAN - $4.99 - Mix, edit, comment, and upload 50 songs. Now you’re really getting into it, with an unlimited number of mixes, you can build a library of material to work from for years to come.
WRITER - $9.99 - Mix, edit, comment, and upload 500 songs! Because you can never make too much music!
PRODUCER - $14.99 – Mix, edit, comment, and upload unlimited songs. Great for schools, professionals, and anyone who wants it all.
An Open Platform: collaborate on a global scale We love the idea of making BandLab an open platform, with an integrated App market and readily available development tools, so technical artists will be empowered to grow and build the BandLab environment. We’re excited to see this project evolve into something the whole world can claim as its own. Might be as simple as writing a cool new vocal effect and sharing it, but to us its something much bigger and more beautiful that gets right down to the core principles that have excited our team about BandLab since its conception ... collaboration.
The first BandLab Apps for the Platform will be a group of Music Education focused apps created by MIX Music Education of the UK. We are excited by the opportunity and this innovative company is excited to bring their talents, experiences and ideas to the BandLab platform.
Use of funds We have the Alpha version of the system working, and our core team has the skills to get our coding done, but we need outside help to do the following:
- Set up the hosting servers and backups
- Launch the official website
- Create training and “how to” videos
- Hire specialized coders to help us run security audits on the things that need to be bulletproof
- Pay the fees to put the BandLab Mobile apps on the Apple app store and Android store
- Bandwidth allocation and storage system load testing
- Pay license and legal fees to get effects from existing companies so that we can license the best effects, cool loops, other features and get them up and running very quickly
The team Steve Skillings has spent his career building stuff ... both professionally and personally. He’s built guitars, amps, and pedals for fun, while building car audio systems for the Auto industry, and even large-scale commerce systems for Bose Corp. He created JamHub Corp in 2008 to make silent rehearsal a reality for garage bands, but the market quickly took his products and made them an essential part of a modern band’s stage and studio monitoring kit. He’s compiled a great team at JamHub, including a few former Bose employees and some talented business/musician people, and believes quite wholely in the promise of BandLab as a way to help musicians play more and create more.
JAMProactive is an award winning design firm and the principle designer, Jonathan Marks, is highly engaged with the BandLab User Interface. Jonathan has won several International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), a distinction very few individuals have. He’s a keyboard/piano player who is obsessed with making things easy to use and beautiful ... in that order.
EnViD Technologies is a tech company to the highest degree. With amazing video compression and bandwidth technology, they are THE geeky technology guys that you read about. For this team, BandLab represents a mix of coding and some really cool applications for their core skills ... moving things through the internet at blazing speeds.
Thank You! We want to extend our most sincere thank you's for showing interest in this project (and reading this far). Your support of this, and projects like it, are helping to build a more creative world. Please share it widely. We would also like to thank KickStarter, without this type of builder-customer collaboration, it would be impossible to bring BandLab to market in an efficient, timely manner.
Here is a link to the PDF for those gifting a BandLab account.
FAQs (Freakishly Asked Questions)
I have a DAW now, but I really wish it could do what BandLab does; can I still use it with BandLab? YES! BandLab is fully compatible with every DAW that we know of. And as we move forward we’ll make simple tools that allow you to upload and download mixes, in and out of BandLab for your current flavor of DAW.
How do the levels work together? Can a “Fan” account access my “Writer Account”? YES! You’ll be able to choose who gets access to your music and you’ll be able to share tracks, songs and notes with whomever you’d like, no matter what account level they choose.
How many tracks can I have in a “song” and what’s the “unlimited mixes” thing? Each song will have unlimited tracks. Because our servers are BIG STRONG computers, they can do a lot of math and fast. We’re also using some clever coding to make sure that you can create mix after mix after mix on the servers and can worry less about the computer and more about the music you want to make (and keep).
How do I get my music into BandLab? Your old music can be uploaded from any computer. Your new music will be unloadable from a computer but also by mid 2013 we’ll have hardware and software that will do it automatically for you. You’ll be able to just jam and BandLab will store it all for you to edit later.
Are you trying to eliminate the studio and other DAWs with BandLab? NO! We are hoping you’ll get your music making going more and more so that when you do have the time to get to the studio it’s highly productive. BandLab will help you to build more demo mixes and perfect your songs so you can make the most of your time in the studio.
What account level is right for me? That’s tough for us to answer. The good news is that after BandLab goes live, you can upgrade at any time if you need more features.
I’m giving this to my band for the holidays, got any ideas on how to “gift” them? We’ve created a .PDF for you to download and print to give to the band. Or you can grab the .PDF and put it in an email with their account info. Either way, you’ll spread the joy on the day that works for you and we won’t ruin your surprise gift to them.
Are the files compressed? NO and YES. BandLab is smart. If you’re uploading a .WAV file, it will keep your file as .WAV. If you’ve uploaded a .MP3 file it will keep it .MP3 for you.
What hardware do I need to work with BandLab? Just about any analog-to-digital converter will work. Just get that music into an electronic format and upload it to your account.
If my bandmate gets a Player level account, how do I comment on the music with my Fan level account? What you’ll need to do is have your “Player” level friend invite you to his account. From there, you’ll have access to commenting. If you want to make sure you have access to your files, you’ll need to setup an account with storage.
Can I get my mixes off the system when I am ready to share them? YES! Just download the mixes (or individual tracks) and use them how you’d like.
What happens at the end of the year if I don’t want to use BandLab anymore? You can download your tracks for storage on your computer or you can “hibernate” your account for $10. We’ll save the audio for a year until you’re ready to get back into BandLab.
What if my band splits up? No worries. We are planning for it. We’ll have a way to tag who created what music so that you can always have a copy of your part of the music attached to your account. But, if you have no storage in your account, then you won’t be able to keep your music.
What if I don’t want others to hear my band’s music until it’s done? Nobody will hear your music unless you decide to share it. Don’t worry, we are musicians too, we know that you want to control when the song is “ready” for those outside the band to hear.
BandLab is an “open platform.” What does that mean? Developers (hardware and software) can create their own effects, user interfaces and more. An exciting part of using Kickstarter is that we can get their input early and often to ensure that BandLab is an ever improving system for our fellow musicians. Others will be able to sell apps too if they want, like on the Apple App store or Android Market. So you can get what you want, when you want. It also means that people with cool hardware interface ideas can make them automatically connect to your BandLab account(s) so you easily upload your music, no matter where the creative muse strikes.
How is BandLab different than file sharing sites and collaboration sites? Other file sharing and collaboration sites enable you to upload and download files, sort of like DropBox does. To make one song, you need to do many up and downloads using hardware that exists at each musician’s home. It’s sort of an “email” process where one move follows the next. BandLab lets you collaborate right in the song software. Upload your track and then go for it. It’s more like playing an online game where everyone is involved.
What technologies are at work with BandLab? MANY. Audio analysis, bandwidth metering, database optimization, app development, audio processing and things we just can’t talk about yet. ;o)
Will I lose my work at the end of the 1-year period? NO. You’ll have the ability to get your files whenever you want. And we hope this Kickstarter is the beginning of many years of enjoyment, just like a good music Album ... created once, enjoyed for years and years.
Can I record/play online with my band simultaneously and “online jam”? NO. BandLab is not a jamming online system. It is for collaborating quickly, but the Internet is not quite fast enough to do online jamming ... yet.
What do I get for supporting this project? Depending on the level of pledge, you’ll get different things. Check out the rewards list, but the basic concept it this, you get storage of your music that safe and accessible, and software that’s going to work on any device you own or may own in the future. But best of all, you get to develop your music when the mood strikes you, unencumbered by the limits of today's setups.
Risks and challenges
Every software project comes with risks and challenges. We have absolute confidence in our ability to overcome these hurdles as they pop up. We have a working Proof of Concept version and a great team dedicated to bringing it to the world. Our next big move is to make the system scalable so that thousands of users can enjoy what our small team is already using and loving.
Delays: This is a very experienced development team, both in the software and hardware world. Even the best laid course changes, so we’ve built in some padding time to accommodate detours. So, what might cause a delay? A database could explode, a bug might be hiding deep down there, we get a GREAT idea from one of our "Lab Rat" level supporters and decide to code it for the good of the project, you get the idea. We know what can go wrong, how to minimize it, and how to minimize "feature creep" so that we can get this product out to musicians quickly and efficiently.
Too Much Love: If this KickStarter goes nuts, we may need to build on a bigger platform than we had intended for roll-out, and that could delay the launch a bit. We are confident that the software as we are developing today can handle a multitude of users, but load testing will be a large part of our process moving forward.
Intellectual Property: We've searched high and low for a product like BandLab and we are confident that it does not exist. If there is some form of IP that we don't know about, and we find out about it after we get started, we'll license what we need or do things differently. We don't want to infringe on anyone's IP.
The "know unknown" is always out there, and we're ready for it. We're hard working people who are dedicated to an ideal. We can handle whatever is thrown at us. Pledge with confidence, and we will deliver. None of the component parts are new to this team, but the overall BandLab system is an invention we are thrilled to be swimming neck deep in. Once you try it, you might never go back to the "old" way of doing things again.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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