Watchworthy Wednesday: Music-making Revolution

Today’s stars are born on YouTube, Vine, Instagram and SoundCloud, and people are expressing themselves more than ever through social media using the written word, photographs and video. Musical expression, however, remains massively underserved, according to Craig Swann, co-founder of Looplabs, a cloud-based music studio that offers a free online collaborative production platform that allows anyone to create anywhere with an internet connection.

OrphanageLooplabs’ mission “is to help the world create, share and discover music together,” Swann said. “We’re quickly approaching 100,000 users since launching late last year in public beta. We have top users from 8 to 68 years old making music together, spending more than 25 minutes on average per session.”

Referred to as the “Minecraft of music” or the “Google docs for music,” Looplabs “takes care of the complexities of music production and allows anyone, regardless of their skills or ability, to easily create professional-quality music and distribute it instantly. For free,” Swann noted.

The online music studio provides a library of royalty-free sounds that can be dragged and dropped to quickly create music. Its cloud software then automatically converts the sounds into the same tempo and transposes them into the same musical key, removing the need to understand or know musical theory. The newly created music can then be instantly shared, discovered and remixed.

To reach more people, the New York-based Looplabs is piloting programs with several major record labels and forging partnerships with educational organizations, including Little Kids Rock, The Center for Educational Innovation and NYU MusEd Lab.

In an interview with Innovation Excellence’s Julie Anixter, Swann, who has been connecting people and music through technology for decades, explained Looplabs in detail: “Music is that connective tissue. It’s the rhythm of life. As humans, I think we’ve lost the ability to have a true respect for each other, especially for people we don’t identify with, whether it’s race or religion or geographic location. But, when you’re making music with people from around the world, there’s a deep appreciation for the fact that you’re connected together. Music is one of the only things that truly can connect us as souls, as humans, and if we can have some small or large role in doing that, that’s what it’s about.”

Banner image: A student from Alonzo Mourning’s Overtown Youth Center in Miami creates music on Looplabs. Inset image: Craig Swann and his Looplabs team with children from Niños de Cristo Orphanage in the Dominican Republic make music. Photos courtesy Craig Swann

Editor’s note: Watchworthy Wednesday posts highlight interesting DML resources that appear in this blog every Wednesday. Any tips for future posts are welcome. Please comment below or send email to mcruz@hri.uci.edu.