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I’ve seen a fair few posts on web forums recently discussing online collaboration and the best methods currently available to music producers, so I thought it might be worthwhile sharing some of the experiences and knowledge I’ve picked up over the past few months regarding this subject.
Whilst direct DAW to DAW collaboration is still something in the pipeline, hopefully the first true example being Ohm Force’s forthcoming Ohm Studio solution  there are still a couple of tools and services available that allow easy collaboration via the web.

All of the below are free tools, although they do offer additional features such as increased storage space and promotional tools through paid subscription packages –


Apart from being one of the most useful tools I’ve come across for general computing in the past year or so, Dropbox is also a relatively easy and direct means of sharing DAW project files, WAV files and any other data relevant to your music production and composition.

Essentially it is a storage tool that is accessible from your desktop PC, laptop or mobile device – taking the form of a standard folder when using a PC or Mac where you simply drag and drop files to make them available to anyone else with access to the account.

Dropbox is generally very fast to upload and incredibly simple to use, the only real issue might be losing track of files if you are not organising or dating them in reference to your sessions. I’d suggest setting some ground rules with your collaboration partners regarding file management in advance of starting a project to avoid potential chaos and frustration.

Pro’s –

Easy to use
Familiar interface
Very fast to upload

Con’s –

Requires organisation and file management
Not geared specifically towards music collaboration


I go on a lot about SoundCloud on here, but lets face it – a million plus users can’t really be wrong, they are one the best and most musician friendly online services out there and getting better all the time.

Although normally used to showcase and promote tracks SoundCloud is also a valuable tool for online collaboration – not the least because individual sound files are easy accesible and can be labelled with information such BPM, Key as well as any notes you might want to include.

In addition to this SoundCloud has plans to integrate with popular DAWs – having already started with Presonus Studio One by providing an interface where you can import or export files to and from your DAW project.

As with Dropbox, some organisation is still required but is made easier by the inclusion of notes for each sound file and a musician friendly interface. The only real drawback is that uploading and downloading files can be a little time consuming – especially for WAV’s, although you do have the option of uploading multiple files at the same time.

Pro’s –

Made by musicians for musicians
Easy to make notes and provide relevant informaiton for sound files

Con’s –

Uploading and downloading can be time consuming
Currently only integrates with one DAW (Presonus Studio One) – more to come though!

Online Music collaboration services –

Web based services such as Indaba Music, Tracks and Fields and AudioOrchard offer a centralised means of producing and collaborating on tracks – mainly through the use of community tools and incorporated online DAW’s. Whilst the production tools are generally no match for your standard desktop DAW they do allow a means of sketching out basic tracks that you could move onto your local platform later on.

In terms of organisation and communication around projects some of the tools on offer, especially within Indaba, are very good indeed – its doubtful that you would lose track of files or projects simply because of how well organised they generally are within these services.

Using an online service also normally gives you access to a library of loops and sound files you can make use of within a track, as well as promotional tools such as online widgets and the option of selling your tracks through online services such as I-tunes.

Pro’s –

Centralised service where tracks and projects are well organised
Great communication tools such as online chat interfaces
Useful promotional and sales tools

Con’s –

Although you’re not restricted to using them, the online DAW’s are somewhat limited compared to standard ones

The Future

The aforementioned Ohm Studio should hopefully be the first DAW to allow slick online collaboration and its also likely that, if this proves to be a success then other vendors such as Pro Tools and Cubase will follow. Ultimately these features are driven by user requirements and demand so if you really want to see them included in your desktop DAW in the near future now’s the time to start letting these vendors know!

One Comment

  1. Cool topic. I often wish to read as much about this as I can.

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