All The World’s A Studio: Global Collaboration Will Transform How We Make Music Together
As music’s geographical barriers continue to melt away, and technology becomes cheaper and easier to access than ever, globalized music collaboration is increasingly becoming a reality.
Guest post by Ameen Abdullah of Soundwhale
Over the last decade, music’s geographic siloes have started to disappear. Tracks are more likely to go truly global as content has become easy to share and more accessible to people around the world. The once undisputed centers of pop culture production–the Anglo-American major labels, say, and the celebrities they broadcast to the world–are being challenged by a constellation of cultural hotspots, regional styles, and local sounds. The future of globalized music is collaborative, thanks to the tech tools that have become part of our daily lives.
Social video platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Triller, and Instagram Stories have shown us how content from one place can create its own cultural resonance in other parts of the world, even in once remote or marginalized communities with limited infrastructure. Now thanks to the global pandemic, these social and messaging platforms have become lifelines, not only for personal communication and entertainment, but also for keeping our connection to the broader world.
This worldwide desire to maintain and discover meaningful connections with people elsewhere is putting new tools into people’s hands. It’s pushing up the production quality of content as better technology is accessible to more people, thanks to mobile software, better small devices, and lower price points for everything from data to mics and lights. On top of that, the pandemic is also mainstreaming ways to collaborate remotely.
Music collaboration across the globe has been happening for millenia, of course. But with limitations of time, money, and cultural differences, international or cross-cultural collaborations faced serious obstacles compared to domestic or local collaboration. However, we now use versions of remote tools to collaborate out of necessity, to keep our jobs and maintain our lives. At the same time, our communication and interaction is becoming globalized through social platforms. The combination of these social forces and tech tools puts us at the cusp of a new breakthrough that will globalize music collaborations. Where everyone, no matter where, will feel local, with access to the technology that allows us to work together effortlessly.
There are a ton of great tools that allow this already, everything from streaming remote recording sessions to cloud collaboration, and they are only getting better and more refined. Long after the pandemic is over, we will be left with improved tools and workflows while being accustomed to cross cultural, global interactions. This will give new meaning to the globalization of music, a collaborative framework that will allow more opportunity of equal input and a wider knowledge of each other’s culture.
Professionals that are making music can connect with up-and-coming filmmakers from different countries that need high quality content for their productions. Independent musicians can connect with larger filmmakers or gaming companies to score the music directly for picture in virtual sessions. Musicians from different parts of the globe will be collaborating easier with effortless tools and virtual spaces to connect and work. This time is giving us the opportunity to make these tools second nature, and the convenience will continue long after the pandemic is over.
Artists, engineers, and producers from different parts of the world can also document the ‘making of’ content with their fans, adding value to their brand while creating content at the same time. Fans love the mystique of this kind of background video, when they get to play fly on the wall to the creative process. Artists can use remote collaboration as part of this content.
With tech quality increasing and becoming cheaper, these tools will be available not only to professionals but to almost anyone with an idea. This will lower the entry barrier to creating high-quality content for the first time as social platforms are exploding. People will not only be using tools to create high-quality content, but creating it together, after connecting online with like-minded people.
While there’s a lot to be optimistic about, sometimes we need to halt before we progress. A shift in momentum and dips in the economy can expose bigger problems, and we need to solve not only current problems, but work to create what will put us further ahead once times are better. It’s ironic, but this short halt in globalization and physical global travel may actually bring us closer to a true global culture. We cannot fight our nature of curiosity and connecting.
After the pandemic, when in-person life resumes, we will have more opportunities and new tools that allow us to approach old problems with fresh perspectives. And we will have more experience and comfort with working with people who aren’t in the same room, building, or city.
About Ameen Abdullah/Soundwhale: Ameen Abdulla is the CEO and founder of Soundwhale, a collaborative platform for sound professionals and musicians to work remotely. The creation of the software took place primarily in Ukraine, where Abdulla decided to live and work during development. Despite the language and cultural differences, the product truly emerged with a global audience of musicians and sound professionals in mind and currently supports numerous users in Japan, Brazil, and the United States.