From Broadband To Bands Jamming Abroad The Internet has been revolutionary for connecting musicians with their fans. But new companies like eJamming AUDiiO and Indaba Music are developing technology for online collaborations — between musicians.
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From Broadband To Bands Jamming Abroad

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From Broadband To Bands Jamming Abroad

From Broadband To Bands Jamming Abroad

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The Internet has been revolutionary for building a fan base and for connecting musicians with other musicians. Today, players don't even have to share the same stage to make music together.

Unidentified Man #1: We're going to try something tonight...

HANSEN: Last year, NPR's All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen held a reunion concert of his band, Tiny Desk Unit. Bob was on stage here in Washington. His guitarist, Michael Barron, was in California, and they played using software called eJamming.

Unidentified Man #1: Hi. This is a song called (unintelligible).

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: Bob Boilen is in NPR studio 4-A. Hi, Bob. Nice to see you.

BOB BOILEN: Hello. Good to see you.

HANSEN: Tell us a little bit, Bob, about your own experience with the software.

BOILEN: My friend, Michael Barron, and I were in a band here in Washington D.C. He moved to California, and we wanted to play music together. We exchange sound files, and we love doing that. But we wanted to do something in real time.

And so we found this software, and it was remarkable to be able to play with a friend who I hadn't played with in years. It was midnight my time, nine o'clock his time, and we were making music together. And then we took it to the stage, which was absolutely an insane thing to think to do. But we did it, and it worked.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man #1: Thank you.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

HANSEN: Joining us via the Internet and eJamming software is eJamming technologist Chris Short. Hi, Chris.

Mr. CHRIS SHORT (Music Technologist, eJamming Software): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Are there limitations to eJamming?

Mr. SHORT: Absolutely. I mean, just like with any other application that uses the Internet, you're going to have problems with the Internet itself. When you're trying to keep a real-time audio connection happening, then yeah, you will have problems. You're going to hear dropouts from time to time. It's just the nature of the beast.

BOILEN: One thing, Liane, is that most musicians do this at night, when everybody is off their Internet connection. And sort of the advantage of being a musician and playing music with your friends is often, you're not doing it as we are now in the daytime. We're often doing it when there's a lot less traffic, and so, that helps.

HANSEN: We're going to take it to the stage, sort of as they say right now. We are in our performance studio 4-A, after all, and, Bob, you have some electronics here. You're going to play a rhythm track and a baseline. Chris, you've got a guitar on your end?

Mr. SHORT: Yes, I do.

HANSEN: And...

(Soundbite of electric guitar)

HANSEN: Uh, yeah, you do. And I understand we're going to have a keyboard player joining us from another location.

Mr. SHORT: Yeah. My buddy, Michael, should be around.

BOILEN: Hey, Michael. Are you there?

Mr. MICHAEL FARGNOLI (Keyboard Player): Hey, I'm here.


HANSEN: Hi, Michael. OK. What's Michael's last name?

Mr. SHORT: Michael's last name is - well, I'll let him tell you. I'm sorry.

Mr. FARGNOLI: Fargnoli.

HANSEN: Fargnoli.

BOILEN: But we all know him as Piano Michael 738 from Rotondo(ph), Florida, right?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORT: Yeah.

BOILEN: Here we go then.

(Soundbite of music)

BOILEN: Are you ready, Mr. Chris?

Mr. SHORT: Ready as I'll ever be.

BOILEN: We're in G.

(Soundbite of music)

BOILEN: A piano might be nice, Michael.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: That is so cool. We've been listening to a jam via the Internet and eJamming software. Bob Boilen is in studio 4-A. We got Chris Short somewhere in Florida, coming to us via computer and Michael Fargnoli, also in Florida, playing the keyboard. That is so cool.

BOILEN: And none of us, you know - I mean, it's like any three musicians getting together in a room. We've now been together for four minutes.

HANSEN: Right.

BOILEN: (Unintelligible).

HANSEN: You guys started kicking it, you know. You know, by the time you all kind of warmed up a little bit. I want to talk about another piece of software that's used for online collaboration. This is something from And joining us from our New York bureau is the company's CEO and co-founder, Dan Zaccagnino. Hi, Dan.

Mr. DAN ZACCAGNINO (CEO and Co-Founder, Indaba Music): Hi. How are you?

HANSEN: Very well. Thank you. What do you think on that Internet jam that was going on?

Mr. ZACCAGNINO: I think it's very interesting, and I think it's very cool that we live in a time when things like this are possible.

HANSEN: Absolutely. So tell us what is Indaba Music?

Mr. ZACCAGNINO: Well, Indaba Music is an online platform for musicians. Right now, there's about 100,000 musicians all over the world who use the platform to create music together in a different way, taking something that has always been done since the advent of multi-track recording, asynchronous recording with tracks that have been recorded in one place and bring them to another place and have other musicians work on them. They can now put a bass track, and then they can search and find someone that they want to invite to their session. It's really supposed to be a flexible platform for people to collaborate however they want to.

HANSEN: Now comes the show us part. You have a piece of music that was created via Indaba and you...


HANSEN: Can you deconstruct it for us?

Mr. ZACCAGNINO: Sure. So, the first track is from a gentleman named Aresty(ph) in New York City. He laid down a basic synth part. So then, he invited TW, who's another gentleman in New York. They've never met one another, even though they're in the same city, and he invited him to play live drums on the session. The third track we'll hear includes a guitar from United Kingdom.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. ZACCAGNINO: After that tape was recorded, there was some other musicians from the U.K. and U.S. that were involved, and we'll hear all of them on the final take.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: I love it. That's wonderful. Let me bring Chris Short, the music technologist for eJamming audio, back into the conversation. Let me ask you, what do you think the future holds for Internet music making?

Mr. SHORT: I think the future is pretty bright for music making on the Internet, considering the fact that most of the major acts that get put out don't get much love from the actual music lovers, from the guys like me and like Dan and like Michael and like Bob, who loved making music, but probably don't have a snowball's chance in hell of actually getting a deal.

We can create the production that we always wanted from our bedrooms, from our living rooms, with people anywhere, literally. I've met an accordion player on eJamming who laid something down on a track I was working on. And you don't wake up in the morning and go, gosh, why don't I have an accordion player in my band? But you meet creative people who you would never meet.

HANSEN: Chris Short is music technologist for eJamming audio. Thanks a lot, Chris.

Mr. SHORT: Thank you. It was a pleasure, Liane.

HANSEN: Dan Zaccagnino is co-founder and CEO of Indaba Music. Dan, thank you.

Mr. ZACCAGNINO: Thank you.

HANSEN: Bob Boilen is host of NPR's online music show All Songs Considered. Bob, thank you.

BOILEN: Thanks, Liane.

HANSEN: You can't go yet, Bob and Chris, because this is the final segment of our month-long series on music and technology, and it really doesn't get any better than this. I think it would be fitting for the both of you to play us out with an eJam over the Internet. Is that OK with you?

BOILEN: I'm going to pick up my guitar.

HANSEN: You can do whatever you want, Bob. Chris, is that good for you?

Mr. SHORT: You're twisting my arm here, but OK.

HANSEN: All right. So rock on, guys.

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