Collaboration has always been at the heart of musical creation. Thanks to a new generation of collaborative music apps, musicians can continue to create music together, even when a global pandemic has separated them.
An example is unending. Launched at the start of lockdown last year, the platform combines software recreations of drum machines, samplers, synths and effects, with a âtap to loopâ workflow. It also accepts live audio for use with guitars, mics, and other external instruments.
Endlesss has made it possible for people all over the world to find each other at a distance. This year, The Veltrons are releasing their second album, having met on the app in 2020. The band members have yet to meet in person. Broken Social Scene frontman Kevin Drew wrote an entire album on the app, which was released in July.
CEO and Founder Tim Exile believes music has always been about performance, and the future of media will be conversational interactions rather than passive consumption. His own musical journey began at the age of five when he learned to play the violin. When he was 12, a friend lent him a contraband rave tape and that changed everything.
He says, âI knew this was the world of sound I wanted to be in, so I learned to be a DJ, then to produce, and I started playing on the radio and releasing records. I completely lost touch with what initially motivated me to get into music, so I started to get interested in programming.
As his self-confidence as a programmer grew, he was ready to create an instrument that would allow him to play electronic music like he had played the violin. This instrument became the “flow machine” and, in 2010, Exile decided to give up her recording career to devote herself to pure improvised live performance.
âThe feeling of connecting live with an audience in the room was so exciting,â he says. âI knew I would never look back, but I also knew that the greatest potential here was not my career as an artist, it was the technology that I had built that had to be put into the hands of ‘other people.”
From there he started creating products, first partnering with big brands like Native Instruments and then branching out. However, he knew that the only way to truly complete his mission was to start something from scratch. The result was endless.
Previously it had only focused on producing an end-to-end live improvisation instrument, but it soon became clear that building it in a web-connected way was the best way forward. âThe way we created Endlesss was perfectly suited to live remote collaboration and the potential network effects that this could bring were really exciting,â he says.
The business was started, initially out of money earned from Exile’s other software products, as well as some government grants, before raising funds from friends, family and angels.
Exile was also fortunate to have a strong network of contacts from his previous career in music and technology, giving him access to early investors including Tim Clark, founder of IE: Music, and artists such as Imogen. Heap, BT and Flux Pavilion.
He says: âWe also received strong support from our community which helped us run the second biggest software campaign ever on Kickstarter, and most recently when we raised Â£ 400,000 as part of a crowdfunding. Our total start-up costs to date are around Â£ 1million.
In what is the biggest economic change in centuries, Exile believes that the ability to create immutable digital goods that are verified by decentralized networks is a change as huge as when industry started to incorporate legal entities to centralize the production at the start of the industrial revolution.
He says, âOver the next decade, this will disrupt the extractive practices of social media platforms and the attention economy. We are at the start of a cultural renaissance that could likely result in the size of the cultural industries market exceeding the âreal worldâ economy.
Endlesss has been following these developments closely while also being involved in several NFT projects where Endlesss artists such as Imogen Heap have hit and sold riffs created on the platform as NFT.
âThe value of NFTs is explicitly determined by how the communities around them interact and coordinate,â says Exile. âRight now the NFT world is very focused on what’s happening downstream of minting and sales, but we believe there is a huge opportunity to embed the creative process itself into the platforms. NFT forms. “
It’s still early days for Endlesss, which has over 100,000 users on the platform, with 3,000 of its top creators creating over 10 riffs in the past 30 days.
âSo far, we’ve focused on creating a great creative experience and on the platforms where most music makers are located,â says Exile. “We have big supporters of the app such as Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew, comedian-beatmaker Hannibal Buress and our artist investors.”
He is also optimistic about the future of artists and musicians. As the industry moves away from the era of production and consumption, of artists and fans, towards a world of creative communities, Exile believes that the value that emerges from their interactions is held between members of the community. community.
âOld music industry structures that rely on centralized ownership and distribution might find it difficult to compete or transition to this world,â he says. “But it will be fascinating to see how it goes.”