For new musicians, the world of recording software can be somewhat daunting, because seasoned pros demand powerful features. The people at London-based GigIn, who made the trip to Austin for SXSW, would suggest the process is downright discouraging, particularly when it comes to online collaboration — despite the availability of solid platforms such as Indaba Music, which offers free and paid options as GigIn plans to do.
“A lot of people want to get involved in sharing music over the Internet,” suggests Nik Miskov, who heads business development on the London-based site, currently in beta. “But when they’re getting started, they realize that there are a lot of added costs involved. They have to invest in a state-of-the-art computer and sign up for memberships.”
To simplify the process, Miskov and his fourteen fellow GigIn staffers set out to create a web-based recording platform with a beginner’s needs in mind. They built a basic user interface, cut down on the login requirements, and put Record and Play at the forefront of the site’s features.
“We’re not trying to compete with Pro Tools or Logic,” says Miskov. “We believe that the closest we can get to a one-click experience that opens up a studio — the closer we can bring them to getting an idea out of their minds and onto a track — that’s a huge step. A lot of people want to mess around with music but don’t want to come in at the level that other sites require.”
GigIn’s pared-down recording interface includes eight-track recording and a samples library. The site operates as a social network, allowing for real-time conversation thanks to a webcam system that sort of feels like an embedded version of Skype. GigIn operates entirely in the browser (Miskov suggests Firefox, Chrome or IE for best results), so there’s nothing to install, although the service is designed to be used with a webcam.
GigIn is free, and the version slated to debut officially next week but is already up and running will remain free for as long as the company is around, according to Miskov. Like their beginner users, GigIn has plans to evolve by adding features that cater to more advanced musicians. Miskov pointed to a subscription service that will launch in a few months, allowing users to purchase more recording tracks, sample bundles, and storage. Future plans also include instruments like synthesizers and drum machines.
Miskov also says to expect Facebook integration for posting music to user’s profiles on that social network, once they build an audience and figure out how to deal with potential cases of copyright infringement. As things stand now, GigIn’s own social network provides plenty of ways to find people with whom to record and communicate with them using text or voice chat.