Cameron Parkins, November 2nd, 2007
UPDATE: Jamglue has shut down – former users should see our music communities page for a list of additional communities working in a similar vein.
Jamglue has been consistent blog-fuel for CC over the past couple months, combining some seriously cool remix contests with an exemplary online music collaboration platform. We recently caught up with co-founder Divya Bhat to learn more:
What’s Jamglue all about? What’s its history? How did it come about? Who’s involved?
Jamglue aims to make it simple and fun for fans to get involved with the music they love. Our Flash-based tools let anyone mash up and remix music from within their browser, making their mark on their favorite music.
Our tools and rapidly growing online community provide a platform for artists to engage their listeners. Through remix contests, fans can interact with their music by adding/removing parts, chopping up tracks, contributing their own vocals, and adding sound effects. Our community facilitates collaboration and provides an instant audience for the new music that’s produced.
Jamglue is run and maintained by its three founders: Gautam Jayaraman, Casey Muller and myself. The story began when Gautam and Casey were in a band together in college, then after graduation in 2003, moved to distant cities. They got excited about distance musical collaboration, as well as applying an “open source” model to music production — putting it into the hands of many and making it less of a closed art form. This sparked the initial idea for Jamglue, and the idea continued to evolve as we began building the site in June 2006 and launched the following December.
The original, raw version of Jamglue was designed to make it easy for musicians to collaborate over the internet. As the idea evolved, we saw that these tools were perfect not only for musicians, but also for their fans to play around with the music, learn more about how it fits together, and personalize it to make it their own. Today the Jamglue community has over 75,000 members engaging in a creative dialogue with their favorite artists, as well as each other, to create hundreds of thousands of original remixes.
How are you using CC licenses on this project? Which CC licenses are you using and why?
Jamglue is basically a huge library containing two types of music: tracks and mixes. A track is an audio file that a user has uploaded, and a mix is a collection of tracks that have been chopped, layered and arranged together using our Flash-based remixing tools.
Our users apply CC licenses to the tracks they upload as well as the mixes they create online. This way everything in the library is remixable, i.e. anyone can use anyone else’s stuff in their own mixes. Without CC it would be very difficult to give users the flexibility they deserve while keeping it simple to use. We support five CC licenses, so users can add NonCommercial or ShareAlike stipulations as they see fit. At the same time, Jamglue automatically enforces compatibility rules between different licenses, so that in most cases the licensing “just works” and users can focus on the creative aspects of making music.
Can you talk about any interesting instances of reuse that have arisen from your choice of CC licensing? What benefits have you seen from using CC licenses?
Some of the most exciting reuse has occurred when artists release popular songs for their fans to remix. Under a CC license, the artist provides the studio stems (i.e. separate tracks for different instruments, etc.), giving fans and remixers incredible creative freedom. We’ve had people trading verses with major artists, rapping and singing, and we’ve had skilled DJs who take a hit song and completely rework it with fresh beats they made. And this is a win-win situation where the artists and labels benefit as well- they get to publicize their song and engage fans on a deeper level, while protecting their creative property and making sure it’s not reused commercially.
It’s been gratifying how receptive artists have been to the idea of Jamglue. We’re constantly getting approached by artists who understand that fans don’t just want to sit on the sidelines and passively listen to music. We’ve already held remix contests with T-Pain, Public Enemy, R. Kelly, Jars of Clay, and several up-and-coming artists, all of whom share in our vision of bringing remixing to the masses.
What’s next for Jamglue?
We would love to become the place that every artist promotes their new music through remixing. We’re planning several more remix contests over the next few months, as well as adding features to better support our growing community of remixers, singers and rappers. As our community grows, we are finding more and more talented young fans who are making fantastic music on Jamglue; we are hoping to find ways to really showcase and recognize this talent, and eventually become a destination for music consumers looking for original, CC licensed music by rising stars. We’re really excited that Jamglue is starting to build a strong identity, especially in genres like hip-hop and R&B where remixing, sampling, and collaboration are part of the DNA; we’re listening hard to our users, artists, and record label partners, and hope to continue to blur the line between musician and fan!