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The heart of tech

This article was published on July 1, 2010

    Youphonics has just changed the way that the world makes music.

    Youphonics has just changed the way that the world makes music.
    Brad McCarty
    Story by

    Brad McCarty

    A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

    If you’ve ever taken a few seconds to read my bio, then you know that I’m a music geek.  Above and beyond anything else, I’m addicted to rhythm.  So when a web-based application to do music collaboration hit my desktop, I was in blogger-music-junkie nirvana.

    That website is Youphonics.  Let’s take a look.

    First off, Youphonics is beautifully simple.  When  you open the site and log in, you’re taken to a home page that allows you to listen to audio clips (called Stems, in Youphonics), see the latest activity from your friends and search for stems to use.

    The Sound Room is your next stop.  You can either start with an existing stem, or create your own.  You create Stems by recording via your audio input device.  In my case, I have an audio production studio that runs through a Firewire audio interface, but Youphonics can accept any sort of audio input that your computer is recognizing.

    Starting with an existing Stem is probably the best way to get a feel for what Youphonics does.  The idea is that you’ll listen to what’s in a Stem, and you’ll record your own Stem while doing so.  Once you’ve recorded your stem you can continue to add more until you have all of the sounds that you want in your finished track.

    Each Stem has a volume feature, so you can set it appropriately.  But really, it’s the collaboration function that makes things interesting.  You can give a Stem a Thumbs Up rating, leave comments on it and add tags to it.  You can even download the stem to edit it locally, before adding it back into the whole.

    After you and your friends have finished adding all of the stems into a track, you can of course download it, but it’s much more fun if you share what you’re listening to and working on.  The integrated social media sharing of Youphonics, predictably, makes that incredibly easy.

    Users within Youphonics have a social profile, and the site encourages  you to find users who create things that you love to add to your own tracks.  This sort of on-the-fly collaboration paves the way toward experimentation with music that we’ve not yet seen before.  As you add friends, invite friends and find new sounds, your creative boundaries are constantly being pushed.

    This, to say the least, is a very good thing.

    The brain behind Youphonics is Aidan Nulman.  He’s been described as the Zuckerberg of the music industry, and he’s been called the best thing to happen to music since the wax record.  Clearly, Mr. Nulman is making some pretty good impressions, and with good reason.

    There’s nothing that’s more inspiring to ideas than when it really hits home.  This is the situation that Nulman found himself in.  After playing with his own band for over two years, he set to traveling and hasn’t had the opportunity to create music with them again.  Seeing other people in similar situations, the idea of Youphonics was born.

    Now, Nulman will be giving people worldwide the chance to collaborate and create new music, no matter where they are.  Given my own passions, that’s a heck of an amazing gift to see passed on.

    For now, the site is still in beta stages.  If you want to get in and start creating, you’ll need to pay it a visit and drop your email address and use the code TNWFTW.  It works until July 7th, so get moving!