Open music production

Do you collaborate with other producers openly, or do you know about musicians who do? I wonder what tools or processes producers can use to collaborate openly.

The point that intrigues me more is the publication of files while producing a track. Open source development wouldn’t have got as far without public repositories of open source code that are easy to fork, branch and contribute to. In fact, it is perfectly possible to use git (and GitLab, GitHub, etc) to publish the files of a track as you are producing it, but are there musicians doing this? Or are there services taking the idea of code repositories and applying it to music production?

For what is worth, I (timidly) used GitLab to publish my first track and I was happy with the potential.

One problem of open music production compared to open source software development is that producers are more chained to specific DAWs (often commercial) because of the closed-sourcedness and incompatibility of project file formats. But well, a git-like collaboration platform still could help sharing midi files and audios.

Git Logo by Jason Long - CC-BY.

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I’d like to do more collaboration with producers. Last summer Crystal Cage sent me several of their custom synths and I wrote a song with them (and am writing another song with them for an upcoming EP), but that’s all I’ve done so far. I never thought of using Git to collab, cool idea; whenever my Mac dies I want to move to Linux so I’m already rethinking my DAW situation. btw really enjoyed your track that you linked to, sweet bass line!

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@deathofcodes you may know this but just in case: the “git process” is independent from operating system or DAW, and anyone could use it if only to better backup their files.

After my first experiment I haven’t been systematic at using git (GitLab in my case) for new work-in-progress tracks, but if anyone else here is interested in giving it a try even just to learn and for fun, I will be happy “gitifying” other beats I have laying around and helping others setting up git and learning the basics. After an initial one-off setup that might be a bit challenging (more mentally that technically), the rest is as simple as an extra “Save and explain your changes” every time you want to back up and share your new progress.

I have been investigating just a bit more about “open music production” in a broad sense.

  • seems to offer a very similar workflow, probably not as open? I see users can upload their projects (and I assume associated audio files) and then collaborate with a git-like process. You need to create and account and install their client.

  • Apparently no less than Splice offers a similar workflow where musicians can upload their samples, keep a history of previous versions and others can fork and modify. Splice says that all content is royalty free, but I don’t know the service well enough to know how open is the process and the license of the resulting files. You need to create an account and install their client. (old article about, no idea how much things have change since then)

And this is totally unrelated but I’ll share it anyway. :slight_smile:

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A lot of the folx I bump into will publish their stems after releasing their tunes, and generally will provide them on request. Usually I see this because FL Studio makes it pretty trivial to split your mixer into parallel .wav’s for you to zip up and ship out. I’ve also collaborated with people by streaming each other’s desk to each other, and then rendering out a channel to ship off to the other party when we like it.

I think that broadly speaking, because people are siloed to their DAWs/grooveboxes/modular synths/whatever, and the main method of collaboration is sharing stems either in a synchronous or asynchronous environment, then a more free-form method of collaboration would be to build sample packs, loops, and all-in-one samples (as in, the “Mud Pies” you can find inside of packs like this one ).

There are some obstacles to providing resources like the latter…Hosting a lot of data isn’t trivial; the compositional and technical idioms that make sample packs at their most valuable are alien to a lot of people; and finally, people who do the work for free are probably not going to feel any less siloed and alone at the end of it.


yeah I was just generally referring to my desire to shift my process, both in terms of how I approach collaboration and how I construct my tracks. for me the biggest barrier to doing either is simply time. because of my day job (can’t get enough of that sweet sweet health insurance) I barely have enough time to make the music itself. btw that github audio site is great, nice soothing pentatonic sounds :slight_smile:

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I would really like to start writing whole albums in SuperCollider and then the whole source to the album is just code which is published as open source and open to remixes, reuses, etc.

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Fresh from yesterday:

It’s a Bitwig project, and in fact it is not a track but a simple engine to produce music semi-randomly based on a few basic instruments and scenes. In other words, you’d need the same DAW to enjoy the benefits of open music production.

More details (including a screencast demoing the project) at Bitwig meeting point.

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