UPDATE 2: After reading this, also read my follow-up post describing how several of these issues have been addressed in recent updates to the app.
I really, really want to like WholeWorldBand. Not only does it allow you to record collaboratively over the internet, it also enables musicians to make money out of it. Their video explains it very well…
Since I first saw the video, I’ve been eagerly waiting its released. And yesterday, I got an email saying it was now live. The first 5000 users get a free upgrade to the full app (that allows recording) and some in-app credit for starting & joining sessions, so if you’re quick, you might also qualify.
So far, so good. Unfortunately, the app (iPad only) isn’t really finished, either from a functionality or stability point of view. It crashed frequently, and I had terrible audio sync problems when using external audio devices. In the end the only way I could construct a tune was recording directly through the iPad mic, so the audio quality is not great.
Here’s the result – a short burst of “Raggle Taggle Gypsy” on two bouzoukis and an accordion.
Obviously this is all just me – I haven’t had anyone create a session from my track yet, which is not very surprising as (a) it’s not very good and (b) I only published it half an hour ago.
It was also quite a tortuous process getting this video onto here. You can post your “mosaics” (which is what WWB calls mixes) to Facebook and Twitter, but that just seems to post a link to an obscure URL. So I downloaded it from there, and found the audio was only exported in 64k mono.
This highlights another oddity about the platform – for a music recording app, it seems more fixated with video than sound quality. The mixing controls are very primitive and there are no editing controls at all. Although WWB and OhmStudio would appear to superficially be trying to do the same thing – let you record music over the internet – they are a million miles apart in the way they do it.
The focus on helping musicians get paid for their work is commendable, but it certainly makes the platform confusing at first as you have to wade through all sorts of terms and conditions about each track you create or contribute to. I tried to create an entirely free track that anyone could use for whatever they wanted without any cost, but it wouldn’t let me – the lowest price you can set for using a track is 1000 credits (€0.89). And it forced me to choose between my track being an original song of my own, or a cover version that royalties should be paid on – there was no option for a traditional tune like the one I was doing.
I’m really excited about the potential of WWB, but the app appears to have a long way to go. Well worth a try, but don’t expect it to be perfect.
UPDATE – this morning I got an email from WWB’s CEO asking for my feedback as an early user. I mentioned most of the issues in this post, and got a very quick reply from him. They’ve not seen the audio sync problem elsewhere, so I’m going to try and work out if it’s my Blue Snowball mic (which they hadn’t tested). Many of the other issues are things they are expecting to fix in future releases. So my hopes remain high, and it’s great that they are taking feedback seriously.