Skip to content

Indaba Music


Indaba Music, in their words, is “an international community of musicians, music professionals, and fans exploring the creative possibilities of making music with people in different places”. Enabling exciting forms of online musical creation, Indaba allows musicians to work with each other in ways that are both fresh and exciting, facilitating new and interesting means of collaboration. Unsurprisingly, Indaba is getting serious praise from the press and we thankfully got to chat with co-founders Matthew Siegel and Daniel Zaccagnino about what they are doing at Indaba and how it functions within the context of the CC-community (CC licensing options are built into their UI). Check out their responses below to find out more:

(Indaba logo (c) Indaba Media, LLC, All Rights Reserved)

What’s Indaba Music all about? What’s its backstory? How did it come about? Who’s involved?

Indaba Music is an international community of musicians, from amateurs to Grammy-award winners, all mingling and making music together online. We came up with the idea for Indaba after starting a non-profit label in college as a means to provide new opportunities for student artists and give them greater exposure. That experience led us to bigger ideas – the two most exciting of which were 1) the way the connectivity of the internet has given artists increased access to fans (and vice versa) and to each other, and 2) the spread of cheap digital production technology (in the form of inexpensive but high quality software and hardware). To us, this meant that there were more people creating music than at any other point in history, and there was an exciting opportunity to connect these music-makers with each other and offer them new possibilities for collaboration and discovery. That’s ultimately what Indaba is – a place where artists meet and create new music.

How are you using CC licenses with Indaba Music? Which CC licenses are you using and why?

When Indaba members upload tracks to Sessions on Indaba, they can choose to reserve all rights, OR they can select a Creative Commons license. Artist rights are very important to us, and so this flexibility fits well with our mission to empower musicians. Indaba members can keep all their rights, or, thanks to Creative Commons, they can permit certain uses of their work by others. We’re using the CC Attribution 3.0 Unported license and the CC Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported license – these licenses, along with the option to reserve all rights offer our members maximum flexibility.

We also host contests and promotions on our site in which we bring interesting opportunities to our community and enable them to collaborate with interesting material, big-name artists, and major brands (like the Leo Laporte Tech Guy Remix promotion that’s currently running on the site). Whenever possible we require that all submissions be licensed under Creative Commons so that these works can spread from Indaba out into the world (and also promote CC!).

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?

One interesting instance of reuse occurred through a promotional contest we ran was with the Berklee College of Music. Grammy Award winner Joe Lovano and world renowned saxophonist Greg Osby (both Berklee alumni) worked via Indaba Music with four current Berklee students to create an original composition with each track licensed under Creative Commons. Our community was then invited to reuse the tracks and re-imagine the song in their own style. Creative Commons made this promotion possible because we were able to clearly communicate to these artists how their tracks would be used (and not used!) and, as a result, we were able to provide great some great jazz tracks that our community re-imagined in every style from techno to rock to reggae.

More generally, we have seen tremendous benefits from using CC licenses. Determining what certain audio tracks can be used for is complicated in the world of offline music production and is similarly complicated in the online world. CC licenses enable our members to be explicit about the permissions they grant to their collaborative partners and to the Indaba community at large without having to craft their own complicated legal arrangements. This flexibility is great for musicians, and when you combine it with Indaba’s ability to track every event that occurs within specific projects, it means that artists have more control over their work and the creative process than they ever had before.

What’s next for Indaba Music?

Indaba recently launched a redesign that makes the site more cohesive and easier to use, and over the next few months we’ll be launching additional features that enhance the collaborative experience and lower the barriers to entry even further for digital recording. We’ll also be bringing our members other tools that they’ve asked for, enabling them to do more with their music once they’ve created it on the site. It is important to us, not only for future of our company but for the future of the music industry, that we continue to provide new tools for independent musicians and promote artist-friendly resources like Creative Commons.


Posted 04 March 2008