Music sharing

About a year ago I bought a new Taylor acoustic guitar and acquired a renewed interest in songwriting (see related post). At the time I did a little bit of research into online sites for musicians, which fall into two broad categories:  music sharing and music collaboration. Although I have an interest in both aspects, at present I'm mainly concerned with having a means to share my creations with others to get feedback, as well as possibly develop connections with other musicians and tap into their music feeds for inspiration, very much analogous to the Instagram photo sharing ecosystem. Last spring I decided to try using the site, and posted a music player widget on this site so people could listen to my works-in-progress. Unfortunately the site shut down several months later in July 2010. 

Recently, after doing a bit of research into the current music sharing landscape (see below), I've decided to try using SoundCloud, and posted one of their widgets on my music project page with my previous song sketches (warning: my vocals consist of humming, in order to get the melody down in the absence of there is an unavoidable repetitiveness). The widget is well designed, and even allows anyone to post a comment at any point in time along the track. Their service is focussed on providing tools to help create connections and communication between musicians, and they offer free desktop and mobile (iPhone and Android) apps in addition to their web-based interface. I've just begun to use the service, so I can't offer much of a critique yet. It looks promising, but doesn't seem to have hit that design/functionality sweet spot that Instagram has.

There are quite a few different music sharing sites to choose from. I chose SoundCloud mainly because it is designed for amateur musicians, while other sites like and include features targeting professional musicians, such as building a revenue stream. All three sites seem to be enjoying a growth trend over the past year, according to UPDATE (2/25/12): The site no longer allows multiple domains to be compared unless you subscribe to their Pro service. But you can compare them over at Wolfram|Alpha instead.

I'm also interested in music collaboration sites. I came across several blog posts on the web that list some of the various services that exist (somewhat outdated):

The most popular music collaboration site seem to be, followed by A new site that is still in beta and has not yet officially launched is If I had more time to dedicate to creating music and songwriting, I would love to explore online collaboration more.


Creating music

I've been playing guitar for the past 20 years or so, starting my freshman year at the University of Iowa. When I first started, I took guitar lessons for about a year off-and-on from a guitarist named Tom Nothnagle. We mostly focussed on basic chords, a tiny bit of music theory, and lots of interesting discussions. I remember sitting in my dorm room trying to write songs, recording them on a cassette player stereo. It was such a great creative outlet. 

Over the years, my guitar playing has improved at a glacial pace, with bursts of activity after making a new guitar purchase. As I mentioned in a previous post, a couple of weeks ago I purchased a new Taylor acoustic six string guitar and am entering into a renewed period of inspired music making. To help spur on my creativity I also purchased a couple of really well-written books on songwriting for guitar:

The first one discusses basic music theory for people like myself who know their way around on a guitar but don't know, for example, what key they are playing in. 

I'm also interested in exploring the landscape of online music sharing and collaborating resources. I've come across several that look promising:

Garageband is mainly a music sharing and networking site, where members review each others' music. When I joined last week I was required to review a couple of songs from other members. I haven't explored the other sites yet. This blog post I found reviews some of these types of sites and their copyright policies.

I created a new section called Music under Projects on my site. I'm still experimenting with a good format. At the moment I've got an embedded music player streaming songs I've uploaded over at Garageband, and I've only got one song up (well, a skeleton of a song) that I composed in Garageband about four years ago. No melody/lyrics yet, but it's got potential. Hopefully I'll be posting new musical sketches periodically in the near future.