‘The possibilities for making new music are endless’ – Songweavers co-founder Adam Baruch.The estimated number of musicians in the United
States alone is 10 million, and most of them are
amateurs. Songweavers was developed for every amateur musician who wants to make music, says Israeli Adam Baruch, one of the founders and vice president of R&D for Songweavers, an innovative new online music-making site.
Songweavers is a virtual studio where people can make music together or integrate their soundtrack with someone else’s soundtrack and make a new musical mix. “The possibilities for making new music are endless,” says Baruch.
Founded at the end of 2006, Songweavers is the
brainchild of Baruch and a close friend in New York who had the idea of taking music-making to the next level on the Web. Baruch, 56, the son of Holocaust survivors who grew up in Poland until the age of 13, has a rich musical and high tech background.
“In the Poland of the 1950s, music was the only way to express intellectual freedom,” says Baruch. “Through [the radio program] Voice of America, I became hooked on jazz and have been involved in music ever since. At the same time, I was a computer whiz, always looking for newer, more advanced computer technologies,” he admits.
A few weeks before Israel’s Six Day War, Baruch’s
family made aliya. Baruch served in the Israeli army before amassing a number of degrees, including a Ph.D in computer science.
When Baruch’s friend spoke about his idea for a Web site that would revolutionize the music industry, Baruch jumped on the bandwagon. The two set up a private company, registered it in Nevada, and proceeded to raise $100,000 in pre-seed funding from friends.
The brunt of the R&D work was carried out in a bomb shelter during last summer’s Lebanon war. Baruch, who lives in a suburb of Haifa, and the team spent hours perfecting the technology as Katyusa rockets rained around them.
“We couldn’t sleep anyway,” says Baruch, “so we used our time productively.”
In conventional recording, when someone writes music he or she makes one or more tracks. There is a song track and different instrument tracks. These tracks are put together to form a mix. At a recording studio, the mixes are put together to produce a song. Songweavers has brought this process to the computer. Any artist, anywhere in the world can upload their music in track or mix format. Anyone can use someone else’s track or mix and add to it to make a new version of the original music.
Here’s how it works. For example, Mark from the United States wrote a song. He uploaded two tracks, vocal and acoustic guitar. He also uploaded the song’s lyrics. This then became version 0 of the song.
Pekka from Finland heard Mark’s version. He uploaded a new track, drums. This became version one of the song. Pekka contacted his friend in Norway, who uploaded acoustic bass to make version two.
Arkadi from Russia and Jane from Canada added electric guitar and background vocals in versions three and four, and on it goes.
According to Songweavers, the only equipment you need is a computer and a microphone (and the ability to play an instrument or carry a tune) to become part of the community.
There can be an infinite number of versions of the same song with different tracks, says Baruch.
The site, which was launched in February 2007 after five months of Beta testing, has been set up so that Songweavers has the publishing rights for all the music produced on the site. Membership to the site is free, but each member who uploads music must sign a contract.
Songweavers’ business model is multi-layered.
The key to Internet business is community building, says Baruch. And musicians are a very active community. People spend endless hours on the site, going back and forth and making music without ever meeting each other.
Baruch is counting on the large amount of traffic to raise the value of the site. Within the year, with additional investment and proper marketing, he predicts that they can reach one million hits per day. The second level of business is through publishing the music. Songweavers has set up a publishing company
called We Are Songweavers. Every song put on the site is published on this label…
“There are limitless financial possibilities here,” says Baruch.
The songwriters own the songs, and there is a 50/50 split for publishing rights with Songweavers. If a new version of the original song is published, then the split is 40% for the original songwriter and 10% for the writer of the new version.
The next stage of development is offering a broad
range of music services, including making DVDs,
promoting artists, establishing a radio station,
songwriting services, graphics for album covers and other services that are an integral part of the multibillion-dollar music industry.
“Right now our main focus is to find investors who understand the size and scope of our business,” says Baruch. “With funds for intensive marketing and continued development, the sky is the limit.”
“We are revolutionizing the entertainment industry,” says Baruch. “This is the future of music.”
(Reprinted with permission from The Jerusalem Post)