Drumming up business for Bojam: musician and company CEO, Andrew Greenstein.Bob Dylan was a rolling stone, traveling around America looking for musical influences and the poetry in everyday life. Artists tend to do that: they travel where the wind takes them to bump into like-minded musicians, poets and painters for inspiration. With a new online application, artists – or musicians at least – may never have to leave their basement or garage again.
Covering the world of music, Bojam has created a platform that lets musicians anywhere in the world collaborate on their music. It means a guitar player in Seattle can record with a Chinese zither player in China, while simultaneously working on a recording with a singer in Germany.
Bojam, which was founded in May 2008 and launched in alpha stage at TechCrunch in September, follows a worldwide trend started by Wikipedia and other open-source content and software creators, to make music into a collaborative, community event.
The idea started with Eyal Hertzog, an Israeli bassist and keyboard player, who moved from Israel to the United States. “The principle idea came from his need as a musician,” his partner Andrew Greenstein, Bojam’s CEO and a drummer tells ISRAEL21c. “He moved to the US; working with Metacafe he started to explore online collaboration and how it worked in video. Then it just hit him as a musician.”
Hertzog understood he could do the same with music. “I am also a musician going through a similar experience,” says Greenstein. “While studying at university, each time I went to a new place I had to find new people to play with, and it’s not easy, especially from a practicing perspective,” he says.
Alternative to iTunes
Musicians have a need for collaboration, but they also want to play with people at a similar skill level. The costs for recording space are high, but despite all the challenges, people will pay and contribute to areas in music they are passionate about, Greenstein tells ISRAEL21c.
The four-man company connects musicians, allowing them to mix, record and collaborate in producing their original songs or remakes of popular music, which they can then sell online through Bojam.
With musicians around the world now fighting against music distributors – such as iTunes or big record companies – for higher royalties on their creative product, Bojam based in Palo Alto California, expects to become a popular destination site for people looking to download hip and hot new songs, cutting out the big players. Bojam, as a distributor, could keep the royalties in the hands of the musicians, Greenstein believes.
Web-based music mixer
The heart of Bojam’s technology is its web-based Bojam Mixer, where musicians can control individual instruments (such as muting or panning a loop or clip), and play and record with the song right from the web browser.
Advanced editing tools, and sound effect tools can be used to clean up the song, which can then be shared for the next musician to play a role in. The result is a mass collaboration of music – a wiki-style platform says the company – for adding song info, lyrics and instrument tabs.
“Bojam is open-source music and our goal is to revolutionize the music creation process by harnessing the skill, enthusiasm, and creativity of the music community,” advertises the company.
Bojam, which is to release a private beta by the end of this year with some 500 musicians, and go public in about six months, expects to make money through a subscription fee for premium services, as well as from ad revenues. The company already has seed round investors and is currently raising series-A investment. If investors believe in the company as much as the founders do, expect it to become the next destination music site, as influential as Myspace.