The DIY iOS Musician: Collaborating with Musicians

A few years back when I first made the switch to recording on iOS Garageband I had assumed the only way I would be able to work or record with other artists meant that I would need to physically have them with me to record. It was not until about 6 months ago that I realized that it was not true and I could work remotely with anyone across the world. This blog will walk you through how I have learned to be able to collaborate with others on iOS.

Full disclaimer, I may have showed up to the party late, but for those who have not made it yet, I hope this is enlightening and opens up a new world to you.  If you have any questions on anything here please ask.

So my revelations happened working on tracks with the band Ignition89. The singer/guitarist and I were laying down new ideas and he wanted to work on a bass line that I was working on. He records in Reason and I use Garageband. I sent out an isolated track from my DAW as a mp3 or WAV file and emailed it to him. He inputed the track into his software set at the same beats per minute (BPM) and worked on his parts. He then bounced the track back to be and I was able to import it as a loop into Garageband and continue working on drums with his added vocals and guitar… The revelation occurred…

If I could share ideas and work remotely with someone locally, why could I not do the same thing with other bands that I had developed relationships with online and on Twitter? Distance was meaningless and recording software did not matter… Since then I have Collaborated with Skyline Tigers, Trip Music, Operation Neptune Spear, Beta PSI, Thommo and Mojo’s Army. (Some are released and some are still works in progress and developing.)

So… How does it work with iOS Garageband to collaborate on tracks together? I will walk you through the process whether you start the song or if you work on something existing from someone else.

Starting from your iPhone and keeping the mastering and such to your device:

So you start a new song. Obviously you set the Key and BPM for the song, You work out maybe some drums and an instrument or two. Once you are ready to send the track over to your collaborator to work on you will need to highlight the song and click share. Select the option to send it as a song, choose the quality (if you are mastering everything on your end you don’t need to send out a high end file, low quality works find and keeps the file smaller), the select how you would like to send it. I like to use Dropbox personally because I can email a link to the other person or copy the link into social media and they can access the file from there. Once the other artist is done with their work, have them export their tracks back to you at high quality one track at a time. This allows you to create a track for each track they send and you can mix them into your own mix. To import tracks using your iPhone, open the file and save it into iCloud. From there, open up Garageband, create new blank tracks for their audio, click on the loop icon and import in the loops from iCloud. From there you simply drag and drop them into the blank tracks that you created for the and move forward with your song.

Starting with a track from someone else:

If you are going to work on a song that someone else sent you, the process is nearly the same. The most important things are to set up a new song with their key and BPM. Your musical counterpart will send you over a file, save it to iCloud and then from within the song import it in from the loops just like above. If you don’t know the song length, manually change the song length by clicking on the + icon on the right side and set it to a super high number. (You can reduce it after the song has been imported.

From there, record your tracks that you are going to send off to the other person. Once you have everything recorded, you will want to isolate each track you are going to send by muting the rest and exporting them to email or dropbox as mentioned above. Because the other musician will be using your song in their audio where they are mastering everything you will want to send out the highest quality track possible. Repeat this for every track you have.

To sum it up, you can bounce tracks and songs back and forth all day long and keep adding as you write together. It is a fun way to be able to work with others that are half way across the world. I never fathomed that I would 1. Have music friends in Europe and 2. Be able to write music with them. I love it!

Soooo…. What do you think? Do you have any questions on the process? If you would like more information or any tips or guidance please let me know. This blog is about sharing the love and the journeys I have had.

Thanks for reading, please follow me, share this with your friends and have a great day!

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