Playing Music Together over the Internet
You may have seen that we are planning an event with this coming Friday, to expose their platform and app to our community.
If you know any musicians who might be interested in such things, please send them to Jamkazam.com so that they can try it. If they do get set up before Friday, try to get them in contact with me so they can join the session or at least audit the
Otherwise, the YouTube will be live Friday April 24th at 12 Noon EDT here: [ http://live.vuc.me ]
The technological barrier that makes this difficult (see below for the human end): Network latency. On a phone conversation, a few hundred milliseconds is acceptable, but to play music together in time, the latency needs to be much lower. To further complicate the challenge, there is latency in the hardware: computer and sound card add their own delays. The company tried to build a low-latency audio interface that connected directly to the router, which would have all but eliminated the problem locally.
Their Kickstarter project fell short though, partly IMO, because it wasn't known to enough of the appropriate community. The JamBlaster project attracted under 200 supporters.
Here are the three biggest human problems I see with this kind of technology:
1. Musicians are rarely rich and often have antiquated computers, even if they have recent smartphones. In fact, this is one of the things that a smartphone won't do well.
2. Musicians who are geeky enough to be into computing are often more oriented towards open source and linux. I know a lot of people who are into both computing & networking tech and music, people like Dave Tâht, a perfect example who I hope will make it to Friday's session.
3. Musicians aren't always into tech, so those who are not covered by (2) don't know how to setup and test something like Jamkazam. They get caught in details, don't understand latency, are often not familiar with social media and web paradigms like "contact", "search for sessions" or hardware stuff like "audio interface".
I think what would solve all the problems above would be an appliance (the JamBlaster would surely evolve into that), but the sad thing is, the market today would not support such a development. If we go even further, we can imagine the appliance that streams the audio out and/or sends recordings to Soundcloud or YouTube or whatever. Will there ever be a market to support such activity? Maybe if the Neil Youngs, Formerly Known as Princes and Jay Zs of the world wanted to jam with others without traveling, a product could emerge.