eJamming: Skype for musicians
eJamming, which makes software that enables people to practice music together if their instruments are Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI)-enabled, is announcing a service that works for non-MIDI instruments too: drums, guitars, voice, violins, etc. The idea is to let musicians practice together even when they can't get together physically, or to let students and teachers work together remotely.
There are really interesting technical challenges to making this work. Not only do you have to transmit very high quality audio, but you have to do it with extremely low audio latency. The eJamming founders, Alan Glueckman and Gail Kantor, told me their audio processor and peer-to-peer technology solves these issues, and they're going to demo their new product on Wednesday at the Demo '07 conference.
But eJamming can't break the laws of physics or go faster than the network it's running on, and it's the first online service I've heard of with geographic constraints. Even with a fast connection, Glueckman and Kantor don't recommend the service for people separated by more than a few hundred miles.
Glueckman says he had his cousin, Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer, in mind when he built this product. The idea being that Aerosmith can still have rehearsals when one or more band members are out of town. Kramer hasn't yet tried the product, Glueckman told me. I also ran this idea by my wife, who plays in a string quartet. She scoffed at it, since so much of performing, rehearsing, and teaching, she said, depends on subtle visual and personal cues that can't be transmitted over a network. The eJamming team hopes to add video to the product at some point.
I can see this working, though, for occasional rehearsals and for informal jamming. There's also a social-network angle to the service, which helps musicians find each other.
The service will go into beta in a few weeks. However, the cost of the service may limit its uptake: It's $15 a month. Per band member. That means a four-member band will have to shell out $720 a year to use it.
Are you a musician? What do you think of this idea?
By the way, at last year's Demo, iGuitar showed off a cool USB guitar [see video].