Music + Tech Special: Collaboration

Videos by American Songwriter

Writing and recording music is often a solitary endeavor and can lead to an isolationist mindset. Lucky for us, these great apps and services allow songwriters and musicians to collaborate across the digital wires, opening up the the potential for creative breakthroughs. Now go find the John to your Paul through the portal of your smartphone.



BandLab is an iOS- and Android-friendly social music platform that enables music creators to share the creative process with musicians and fans. BandLab combines music making and collaboration tools with social features like video sharing, messaging and discovery. In 2017 the company launched its hardware division, BandLab Machines, to produce high-quality audio hardware. Everything users create is hosted in the cloud, so they can capture musical ideas wherever they are, then further develop them using BandLab’s web-based, MIDI-enabled app. Artists and writers can make their music public, enabling others to collaborate and add their own skills and ideas to a project.

“The BandLab team is made up of musicians, so while we are creating a tech product, our core mission is to solve the problems facing modern musicians and songwriters,” says BandLab Technologies CEO Meng Ru Kuok. “Ultimately we want to simplify the creative process. We provide all the tools you need in one place so you don’t have to get bogged down in technical requirements while you’re creating.”

“I don’t think any songwriter can forget the heartbreak of Metallica’s Kirk Hammett losing his phone [in 2014] and the hundreds of riffs that went missing along with it,” Kuok says. “Losing your music can be a nightmare. So we have a cloud-based system that immediately saves your recordings and makes them available on mobile or desktop, so you can pick up and keep working on them no matter where you are. There’s no need to transfer files or change formats. We have unlimited storage, and you can organize your songs into folders and collections so you can quickly and easily find your material.”

BandLab’s aim is to break down the technical, geographic and creative barriers between creators, collaborators and community by providing a completely free and unlimited service. “Thinking back to my own music journey, feedback and encouragement from fellow musicians helped keep me going, and the social aspect of music was hugely important,” Kuok says. “BandLab was also built on the instinct that a virtual community and feedback can help get your music to the next level.” — RICK MOORE



SoundBetter offers a central online hub for songwriters and musicians who are looking for professional studios, audio engineers, producers or session musicians to help finish their songs and make them sound professional. In turn, engineers, producers, session players, studio owners and others can make their services available through the site by signing up for free and listing their available services. Songwriters and musicians can find and/or hire for local or remote work, based on several different criteria, including reviews, specialties, credits, location, and sound samples.

Founder and music tech veteran Gilad Shachar says SoundBetter provides the largest curated and vetted marketplace of the world’s top music and production talent, including dozens of winners of Grammys, Emmys and Oscars who make themselves available to indie musicians around the world. “If you’re a songwriter, you can work with industry leading mixing engineers, producers, or instrumentalists that can help you make your songs sound release-ready through SoundBetter,” Shachar says. “A great song is everything, but if it doesn’t sound good, it will be nearly impossible to get it placed in playlists, synced or on radio. You can find pros on SoundBetter who were previously inaccessible, who are available and interested in working with you on your music. We’ve also seen songwriters use SoundBetter to find co-writers. For example, if you need lyrics to complement your melody or vice versa, you can work with folks who have tremendous experience. Writers who have written for artists like Jason Derulo, Justin Bieber and others. This is true for all genres. We also have had well-known DJs hire songwriters on SoundBetter to write a topline for their track, or to sing it.”

“In addition,” Shachar continues, “experienced songwriters can make their services available on SoundBetter and earn a living doing what they love. There are so many artists around the world that might love to work with you because of that specific thing you do so well, and didn’t have a way to find you until now. Imagine writing for a K-pop band who has millions of fans. There are many stories about how that has happened on SoundBetter.” — RICK MOORE

Music + Tech Special: Recording