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How to Collaborate When Recording Music Online

Ohm Studio

One of the highlights of being in a band is the moment you can put your own CD into your computer’s CD player for the first time. But every track on that CD is the result of hours in the recording studio, playing the same track over and over again, and sitting around waiting for the producer to do his or her magic using a whole host of sophisticated music applications on his computer. At least, that’s how it used to be. Because now, there is a second option: recording over the internet. Many studios offer online recording services, and there are several ways to go about it.

You can create music online with digital instruments in a simple browser app on your own laptop or notebook. You can record your own instruments and have an online studio do the mixing. You could hire session musicians to record your track on the other side of the world. This last option is increasingly popular, especially with solo artists who are looking for a fully produced album, but can’t get a band together to record it.

Like with any recording session, it’s all about preparation and communication – these two aspects are emphasized in online recording. If you’re all physically present in the studio, you can comment on the tracks as they are being mixed, quickly change the levels and try some different sound effects, and if you discover there’s a single note that doesn’t exactly sound the way you want, you can just grab your instrument and record an overdub… The only delays are caused by you and your equipment; everything else happens in real time.

For an online recording, you’ll have to make sure the producer and the musicians know what you’re looking for. Just using a different guitar or snare can make a huge impact on the end results, something that cannot easily be changed in the mix. Also, most online studios charge a fee for modifications after the first one, so you want that to be as close to the right mix as possible. So before you start, send the producer an example demo of your songs, and especially some reference tracks that don’t have to sound like your songs at all, but which have the right sound or the right vibe; music is easier to describe in more music than in words.

Don’t forget there are more communication tools than email. Listen in on the session using Skype or a video conferencing program on your laptop so you can give immediate feedback. If you show you’re committed, the producer will be more likely to put in the extra effort, and perhaps do some little tweaks free of charge. It shouldn’t have to be said, but reply promptly and politely to every email, and make sure your internet connection is reliable. You don’t want to get delayed by slow internet or a full Dropbox.

Instead of hiring professionals, you can also join an online recording community. Ohm Studio is the prime example of a music community where you can find other musicians to record your tracks from home using the cloud-based software that works independently from demanding plug-ins or operating systems, so it doesn’t matter what kind of computer unit you utilize: desktop, laptop, or even a tablet. While the online studio offers everything you need to make a good recording, it’s not only about music – it’s also about connecting with other people through music. These musicians love the idea that part of their music is recorded on the other side of the world.

So in the end, you have to weigh up the options: do want to know all costs up front, be assured of a professional performance, and have no hassle travelling or finding accommodation? Many studios offer online packages that offer you just that – but you should realize that it’s easier to communicate in person, and that you’ll have to wait for the results before you can give feedback. If you want to work together with other musicians all over the world, you can collaborate through an online music community and help give a new definition to the phrase “world music.”

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