February 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

Crowdsourced Beats Maker JSONloops Seeks $20K

“Social media” has become such an overused buzzword that one can easily forget that the term refers to a real phenomenon experienced by actual people, rather than a way in which marketers sell deoderant.

JSONloops, originally presented at Music Hack Day New York, takes the very real social listening concept recently manifested in Listening Room, ChatMusic, and of course YouTube+Facebook, and applies it to music creation. This cross-browser web app allows even musically- and technically-unsophisticated people to get together and make music online with a very low learning curve.

Originally started as a hack created during a 24-hour period at that hack day, the open-source JSONloops now seeks $20,000 in funding on Kickstarter with which its creators hope to develop a primetime-ready version in time for a fall 2011 release.

“When we were younger, there was no open-source audio sequencer that was easily accessible, and we’d like to change that,” explains project creator Marak Squires, adding that this sequencer encodes beats into JSON (Javascript Object Notation) — the same text-based format used by Twitter, Google, Yahoo and others. This simple architecture will enable other developers to create add-ons extending JSONloops in new directions, and also means that existing beats can be remixed using “existing tools, or even just a plain text editor.”

Modeled on the popular Fruity Loops software of yore, JSONloops presents multiple users with a step sequencer where they can add kick drum, snare, bass drum, and other samples to various moments in a loop, alter its tempo, and so on. All of this happens in real time as the beat plays, so you and your online crew can make adjustments on-the-fly.

It’s a simple concept, and it already works, for the most part. Despite some early hiccups with its demo at Music Hack Day New York, JSONloops took home the award for “best collaborative hack.”

As of 10:36am, JSONloops has received $659 in funding towards its goal of $20,000, which the three hope to reach by March 22 in order to put in the hundreds or thousands of hours they expect to put in before this thing is ready for the public.

Aside from the sheer satisfaction of potentially helping the next generation learn the basics of electronic music collaboration, donors can expect benefits ranging from early access to the beta to laptops with JSONloops pre-installed and an “(optional) on-site party in your honor.”