April 11 2009

Paper: MiniBands – A collaborative mobile music concept

About two months ago I presented my master thesis. A concept for mobile music collaboration. Here is the full paper for anyone interested. Please refer to this paper if referencing any of the content.

We have come a long way since industrial society, where specialization and monotone labor was part of a bigger distributed cognitive system. Today society rewards creativity, ideas and versatility. Teaming up with others for additional competence is a natural way to get this process started. One and the same person could come up with ideas, create and test them, and eventually launch them. Demands on music today are high, it needs to be mobile, accessible and (almost) free. The concept of owning music has become a loose concept since the introduction of Napster, Limewire, Kazaa, DC and torrent programs that through different approaches has made music more or less free. Being able to listen to music wherever we are is something that has been taken for granted since the first walkman. But what about creating music? So far this has been a very stationary process that requires expensive equipment and a lot of time. This thesis aims to turn an advanced process like music composing into a mobile concept where beginners, as well as trained musicians, could find their way. We had to research ways to create an application that could reach as many users as possible and be easy enough for beginners, while at the same time challenging for experts. Music creation is often a collaboration between artists/musicians, each of them an expert (virtuoso) on their instrument. On MiniBands a band still consists of band members, and why should it not? In the concept we propose in this thesis we want to keep some of the individual virtuoso expert approach, but make it easy, mobile and accessible. A band will still consist of different members, each with their own, perhaps favorite, instrument. MiniBands, the system that we propose in this thesis, allows an easy, mobile interface where users have to develop music in cooperation with other users and eventually publish and distribute it over the web. MiniBands will work closely with artists but even closer with users. Allowing users to try their MiniBands skills with professional musicians will be an incentive that could bring a lot of amateurs to the application. MiniBands will be a completely new way to interact and create music that might be different to that which experts (artists) are used to. This thesis discusses what will make users want to be a part of the Minibands concept and how to create the application for web and mobile. Unlike other popular music games Minibands is not about hitting notes at the right time but about creating actual music. And unlike other musical sequencers Minibands is about creating music together. MiniBands does not intend to replace music-making as it is, but it might give composers an easy way to record their ideas or help to spawn new ones, through an intuitive and playful interface.
Download the full paper here

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