Does anyone have any recommendations for online collaboration sites, to cover both the creative and production side of songwriting, using native DAW files?

I'm interested in asynchronous (rather than Live) collaboration. The process may work something like:

  • In Cubase, say, I write the song structure with some Drum patterns and add a piano guide for the chord structure (both VST instruments). These are committed/saved centrally;
  • My collaborator picks up the files, adds a twee synth line that drops in for the verses;
  • Meanwhile, I've added a middle 8, a Compressor on the Master group. These aren't committed yet;
  • I pick up my Collaborator's changes, change the patch on the synth.

[I can see there would be all sorts of contention and merging issues to overcome, even if the DAW's file structures were open to such possibilities.]

An initial web search has found some that are based on sharing WAV/MP3 files ... I'm assuming there's something that allows sharing of the underlying, say, Cubase project files, and is a bit more specialised than using simple sharing using, say, a Dropbox solution.

  • Tough problem to solve. Curious to see what people recommend.
    – Ian C.
    Jun 10 '11 at 15:38
  • What do you mean "creative and production side"? Are you talking about live musical collaboration? Project coordination? Task assignment and tracking? If you make your question more detailed, I'll try to edit my answer to suit.
    – gomad
    Jun 10 '11 at 16:27
  • @gomad, To cover both "creative and production side" I meant there could be sharing on both the song creation (tunes, cadences, instrumentation) and production (compression techniques, EQ to apply), e.g. not just input on the final mix. ... I was thinking more asynchronous than live (but allowing concurrency where possible). ... Wasn't so much interested in project co-ordination, assignemt & tracking, except now you mention it, I could see this being useful, especially if the numbers involved grew! I'll update the answer with some more thoughts along these lines.
    – richaux
    Jun 13 '11 at 8:53
  • @Ian, yes, it feels there are some sites in the IT space that offer the co-od, assignment & tracking that @gomad hinted at, like [codeplex] and [Google Code], and others like Kompoz (from @Christian) that are more obviously musician friendly but do not necessarily work at the lower file level.
    – richaux
    Jun 13 '11 at 9:05
  • Article from Hollin Jones in MusicTech magazine. More variations on techniques, products identifed, plus notes on bulk export option.
    – richaux
    Jul 6 '11 at 18:40


The only thing I know of for live collaboration in music is NINJAM.

If you're talking about asynchronous collaboration (where people are working on the project at different times), you could still use Dropbox (or any similar service - Amazon's Clouddrive might be more cost effective for large media file sharing) and share the DAW project files as well as the source media (midi, WAV, etc.)

There's also Sonoma Wire Works' Riffworld, but as far as I know, you can only use RiffWorks there, not any DAW you choose.

  • Its the async route I'm interested in (I've updated the question), so that would preclude NINJAM, eJamming, OJS. Similarly, Riffworks looks like NINJAM (where you hear others' previous loops as you jam).
    – richaux
    Jun 13 '11 at 19:21
  • So Dropbox/Clouddrive etc. could be used ... but depending on the DAW's file structure, we may be prevented from attempting anything other than "exclusive" access by one person at a time.
    – richaux
    Jun 13 '11 at 19:26
  • @richaux - By saying "async" you've declared that nobody will be working at the same time. What you still may have is a merge problem programmers have with multiple people working on the same files at the same time. If any of your files are or can be plain text files, then you could use a source control utility like Mercurial for those. Otherwise, you'll face the "last one wins" issue as with any shared file system. For a workflow where A works then emails B "I'm done, go ahead!", Dropbox / Clouddrive would be fine.
    – gomad
    Jun 13 '11 at 21:04
  • Yes, I see. Thanks for that. I need to do some more digging into the structure of my DAW's files next (Cubase).
    – richaux
    Jun 14 '11 at 8:59
  • Update: the Cubase project .cpr file is, not unexpectedly, a proprietary format (v5.5.3). It does have some XML fragments within it but overall the structure is not suited to merging.
    – richaux
    Jun 29 '11 at 9:14

I know 2:

Via Kompoz I found a vocalist. DM is a bit weird, but I had contacts here too.

  • The DM.net manual suggests that you can use your own DAW in conjunction with their P2P software, the DM-Container, that supports VSTs, as well as WAV. It does appear to be geared up to be musician focused (unlike simple file sharing like Dropbox) ... and does indeed look weird (e.g. unfinished FAQ page)! I'll probably take a closer look at this to see how they cope with synchronisation.
    – richaux
    Jun 13 '11 at 19:56
  • Kompoz again has good musician-centric features, based around WAV, MP3 etc. uploads ... but again not at the low level DAW file. Perhaps I'm expecting too much.
    – richaux
    Jun 13 '11 at 20:05

I don't have any experience with it, so this isn't a recommendation, but I've heard of one that might be worth checking out: Scratch Audio

Edit - I just noticed that your initial question mentioned native daw files, so this isn't going to be a great answer, but I'll leave it around as it hits the question's title at least, so might be of interest to some.

  • 1
    We try to not have totally anonymous links on these sites, so I've edited your answer accordingly. Welcome to StackExchange!
    – gomad
    Jun 10 '11 at 16:25
  • yes, it appears to use its own (simple) loop constructor and drum pattern editor. [Couldn't get much further as my Linux laptop crashed with the Silverlight plugin (Moonlight).]
    – richaux
    Jun 13 '11 at 20:17
  • It allows recording of audio files too, along with applying a little EQ, delay and reverb. It should be more robust on PCs and Macs as Moonlight, clever as the Mono team are, isn't an official Silverlight release.
    – eviltobz
    Jun 14 '11 at 10:09

For completeness, I came across VSTunnel

allowing VST supporting sequencers to be connected over the internet.

No longer produced since v1.5 (2006).

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