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You could open up your DAW but it’s just a few lines; that seems like overkill until you at least have it fleshed out a bit. Additionally, those ideas usually come when you’re not around your desktop. You could write it down on a notebook, but you really want to capture that melody and you have some ideas for harmonies, too. I love the tactile nature of writing lyrics in notebooks, but then I know I am eventually going to have to digitize it.
The choice usually comes down to what you have at your disposal nearly all the time, your smartphone.▼ Article continues below ▼
Most of you, like me, probably open up Voice Memos, drop the melody in there, maybe voice some of the beat and change the name of the file. And there it sits. Just waiting for you to come back to it.
One of the main problems with this is you can’t add multiple tracks, you can only record over it.
What if you’re co-writing? What if, like so many of us are during this semi-quarantine, are co-writing over vast distances? Zoom doesn’t cut it. With those other apps there really is no way to share and collaborate musically. It’s just a static audio note.
Enter audiobridge – a simple, mobile, multi-track recording studio in your pocket. The app is available on iOS and claims to have “the power of Pro Tools and the simplicity of a voice memo.”
I messed around with the app and literally within 10 minutes composed an audio jingle with 14 tracks of vocals, and some guitar using iRig. I was stuck by how simple the interface is. Very clean. If you are used to working in DAWs some of the things you are used to are missing right now (like a click track intro), but for the most part, all the technical stuff is handled for you.
That’s the idea. You can import an audio file to work from, or start a whole new session. Add a contact to your session for co-writing. There’s a section for Notes where you can place lyrics or production cue notes. Messaging is a cool section to share impressions and comments with anyone invited to the session by texting. And just released, Experimental Settings, where you can allow open editing and Audio Effects, such as EQ, Reverb, Delay, etc.
I had a chance to chat with Matt Miller, Founder and CEO of audiobridge. I really like his vision of getting rid of the perfection roadblocks that keep songwriters from finishing creations. Remove the friction and get to the writing.
My dream as a kid in front of the mirror with a guitar was to be a successful musician. I’ve been playing guitar for 26 years now. I put my time in as a session guitarist, co-writer, artist, performer, and producer. I did the creative side of music and got burned out by the LA scene. So, I came up to the Bay Area to stay with a friend who was working in tech. I always had a passion for coding, writing scripts and building things like geocities sites. I started taking clients to do some coding, and that fire was reignited.
It was just a natural combo of passion for music and tech. I could identify a problem, but also build a solution.
I’d been thinking for a while about how to really simplify my own writing and recording process and looking for a solution. As all of these things do, it started with a problem I was personally having. Originally, I was co-writing remotely and realized what a nightmare it was. Different tech, different DAWs, different abilities.
I was creating with a co-writer in Dublin. I’d record a track in Virginia and send it over… She was a bit of a luddite. So, she would literally send me voicemails, and I would be parsing tracks, and resending notes back. There was nothing to help us easily swap back and forth and communicate. So, I built audiobridge to solve that problem and realized that probably everyone was having the same issues.
We strive to be as simple as Voice Memos but more powerful than Pro Tools.
Right now, it’s for the semi-pro to pro musician. It’s meant to work out the ideas and get to a usable track quickly and simply. If they can understand it and use it, then we know they have the power to go further. Anybody in the world who wants to create music can do it with their phone.
We have a belief that super simple is more powerful than complicated and powerful.
Automation is also something we are working hard on. Most people just want to record music that sounds great, they don’t necessarily need to know how it got that way. Example: if you’re a singer in a recording studio and you’re off pitch, the engineer is going to fix or redo the track. Why not automate that? Same goes for quantization and other processes that are part of every session now. We want to take the complication out of creation.
Not really; that’s not what we’re focused on. There are other platforms doing that. We are driven by the idea of simplifying the creation process of songwriters and producers, and of course, collaboration with your personal contacts for co-writing.
Well, we are building slowly. We spent something like a year and half to see if this thing was viable. Especially during this global pandemic, we are more encouraged than ever about people all over the world creating songs wherever they are, with what they have, a smartphone. I think a lot of people are searching for something to focus on positively, and what’s better than writing songs during this time?
I believe in releasing features that work but don’t get in the way of the simple creation approach. One of the statistics we are proud to share is the audiobridge community creates 600-700 hours of music every month.
Yes, we are adding some simple Audio Effects this summer. Just make sure to turn the slider on.
Download audiobridge on iOS from the App Store for free and go create some magic on your phone today.
–Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.