One thing lacking in the current landscape of the Internet, digital media, computer based recording, digital synthesis etc. is an easy, streamlined way to collaborate online. This has always frustrated me.
The much anticipated and promising Ableton Live 8 sharing feature quietly disappeared with not so much as a peep. The feature never did leave beta as far as I am aware. When I was beta testing I unfortunately was unable to do any serious collaboration. The Live 8 beta release schedule was extreme. Daily updates and bug fixes, not to mention stability questions. I wasn’t quite ready to make the jump to Live 8 when it was released. By the time I did make the jump to 8 the share function was completely gone.
There are some pseudo solutions such as Dropbox.com that I won’t get into here. I hate sending large files over the internet in such a kludgy way. That seems to be the biggest problem with collaborating online at the moment. The kludgy, slow, giant file landscape of music collaboration frustrates me to no end. I should be able to just open my DAW and start working on a project without the headache of downloading giant files and reinstalling plugins I no longer use regularly.
The fact that every producer’s DAW has different collections of third party plugins and settings makes things infinitely worse. Every DAW install is customized to its user. A fingerprint of all the additional “stuff” a particular producer feels he/she needs or can afford, not unlike a modular synth. Freezing tracks can make editing a colossal pain in the ass.
We’re living in a mess of plugins and messiness that we created with beautifully simple, complex, diverse, expensive and affordable plugins. I love third party plugins for a myriad of reasons, but more and more I’ve been trying to use what I can within the box to keep things as simple and transferrable as possible. I hate doing this though because of the amount of external hardware synths and effects I have and consequently waste.
Remix stems are one thing. I usually only ever reuse the vocal stems so that I can put MY arrangement and music to the song. Please, for the love of Moog, only include unprocessed vocals in remix stems! Reverb and delay drenched stems are insulting! Full on collaboration can sometimes bring up a whole new brown flaming bag of sonic turds. Frozen effects, uneditable synth patches and mixes are nasty to have to work with.
How do you manage your DAW mess? What methods do you use to collaborate and keep things as simple but as editable as possible?