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I developed a soundtrack that is about 3 minutes long but it is massive, over 300MB in size. I'd like to share this project and collaborate with other users. However, revision control systems aimed at software development, like Git, don't handle projects like this well because the repository can grow quickly with audio edits.

What alternatives are there that will allow me to share this project online and work collaboratively?

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I don't really understand your question. Git can handle 300 MB files. Is the issue that you'll be changing them too often? Or that there are too many? That you need conversion when you are done? Most people would design a website with a database and processing scripts to handle these tasks, but it all depends on your needs. –  Bjorn Roche Aug 11 '12 at 23:43
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What is the target here? Do you need to share the source files for someone else to edit? Are you looking to publish this in a format that everyone can listen to? What is your goal. –  Brad Aug 12 '12 at 18:54
    
@Brad needs to be editable and everyone needs to be able to listen eventually. –  hhh Aug 13 '12 at 7:55
    
...perhaps one good alternative is to use the GarageBand in Desktop, Apple has surely good support for it from iPad GarageBand -- does it have some collaborative features? –  hhh Aug 19 '12 at 17:56
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This question had gotten very difficult to read and follow, so I've greatly clarified it and cut down to just the intended question, based on what I saw in the edits and in the comments. –  Warrior Bob Aug 23 '12 at 17:55

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You may want to try a different DAW to manage this project.

I don't know about other DAWs, but Reaper uses non-destructive editing for the audio files. This means that no matter how many changes you make to the audio, the original files never change. You will only need to save a single copy of the original audio files and version the project file (which is a simple text file).

When working with a large amount of tracks or effects you have the option to render portions of the audio to stem tracks to save processing power. This will create a new file, but it does not need to be put in version control since you can regenerate it at any time from the original files and the project file.

Edit: To share a project all you would need to do is put all the files in Git. Any audio files will only go in once and will not change. The project files are very small text files so it doesn't matter much how often they change. This should allow you to share the files without using up huge amounts of bandwidth and storage capacity.

Edit: From the Reaper User Guide:

All of the settings, preferences and custom files are text files. Any of them can be opened and modified using a text editor such as Notepad. This even applies to REAPER’s project files, with .RPP extension.

The project files are simply text files in an XML-like format. The project file contains the project properties and a list of tracks. Each track contains a list of items. Each item lists the original wav file, the start point and length of the clip, and other properties of the item. This type of file works really well in Git or any other source control repository. Since the large wav files associated with the project will only be added or removed and the small project files are the only files being changed it will minimize the amount of data that needs to be shared when a change is made.

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I added info about sharing a project in my answer. The development/deployment thread is slightly different, so I'll answer there also. –  Friend Of George Aug 16 '12 at 17:02
    
"The project files are very small text files so it doesn't matter much how often they change.", how come? When I tried to back-up my iPad W2 -file from GarageBand (shared with email, apparently original files), it was over 300MB -- so I decided that Git is not optimal for such large files. I have tried to find out how to have such small files, more here. Could you clarify your statement? I feel it like understatement. –  hhh Aug 16 '12 at 17:54
    
Related answer here but scope on development/deployment/management -things. –  hhh Aug 16 '12 at 17:58
    
I have edited my answer to better explain the project file –  Friend Of George Aug 17 '12 at 13:34
    
There's also Ohm Studio, which is a DAW designed to be collaborative-over-the-internet to begin with. –  Warrior Bob Aug 23 '12 at 17:56

If you want your project to be editable, you must upload all of it. The easiest way to do this is throw it in a ZIP file. Everyone can open a ZIP file, and then it is just one thing to upload. Instructions for Windows/OSX.

When you're done and have bounced everything down to stereo, encode it to MP3 as NReilingh suggested. MP3 is lossy compression, and you will lose some audio quality this way, but 256kbit-320kbit is decent, will play on anything, and won't be a large download.

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Export your project to an mp3 file (256kbps should do it for the stereo bit rate) and upload it to your website's server.

If this question is specific to the GarageBand app on the iPad, I believe the course of action would be to export a full-quality mix to iTunes and sync that back to your computer. You should then be able to find the track in iTunes, set your import settings to Mp3, then right click the track and select "Create Mp3 version". View the track that results in the Finder to see the file you can upload to your webserver.

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mp3 uses a lossy compression, resulting in data-loss, more here -- so mp3 is only an alternative at the final deployment phase. In contrast, collaboration usually requires non-lossy compression format such as FLAC. –  hhh Aug 16 '12 at 14:15
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You have completely changed your question from what was originally asked. This question was about deployment when I answered it. –  NReilingh Aug 16 '12 at 14:27
    
We generalized it with the term sharing. Your point is still valid. More develop/deploy -centric -thread here. Feel free to suggest improvements, I try to keep the threads more focused to attract expert -answers. Lossy-compression -formats, archives and amateur tools are not the only ones. My answer, your answer and Brad's answer are very similar -- I hope they could be combined somehow to some succint form, investigating the issue. –  hhh Aug 16 '12 at 15:42

I feel I should mention DropBox, GoogleDrive (with the new(?) desktop sync app) and Gobbler.

DropBox is my collaborative/online storage app of choice, but the other 2 have more free/initial storage space.

Gobbler is more of a backup and transfer service, but is optimised for media projects. Hopefully soon they will add a collaborative feature like DropBox.

I've not tried GoogleDrive with proper projects yet, but it appears to have all the requisite components to fit the task.

Secondly, a note on stems: It's basically a given that you transfer lossless quality stems when you send them. If your stems are going to have large sections of silence (i.e song start->end), I'd strongly recommend exporting/converting to Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC). At Maximum compression, this can greatly increase your efficiency. As part of Presonus Studio One, I can't see much increase in export times either.

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