Indaba Music – Changes Everything

29 Aug

Every so often something comes along on the Internet and it hits you that “this is big.” Amazon, YouTube, Google, and podcasting are cases in point. Recently I had the same sensation when I happened upon INDABA MUSIC.

Indaba won’t have the same kind of mass appeal as the examples mentioned above, but for musicians, both struggling and successful, this is a game changer. Basically, it frees musicians from the limits of location. It allows musicians around the globe to interact in sessions, or on projects.


For successful musicians Indaba Music has much to offer. Let’s say you have a new release coming out. Indaba allows you to have a promotional contest that will not only generate publicity, but it might also open you up to new creative impulses. So how does it work?

You upload a finished track, but you also provide various source files: bass, piano, vocal, drums, etc. Contest participants can download the source files and remix the track, using as much or as little as they wish, adding instruments, or even starting from scratch. Here’s an example.
indaba tracks-2

Well known and established musicians like Yo-Yo Ma and John Legend have joined groups like Derek Trucks, The Roots, and even the Berklee College of Music in contests open to musicians around the globe.

The results have been remarkably impressive.  Check out the two winners of the Yo-Yo Ma contest and his own reaction to these versions.  They could hardly be any more different, yet they are equally brilliant.

As a Derek Trucks fan I was curious to hear how their original song would evolve in the hands of others.  The winner, selected by Derek, producer Doyle Bramhall II, and Sony A&R man Steve Berkowitz, was a college student who started from scratch and did his own version of the song.  He played all instruments (including a slide guitar very much in the Derek Trucks style), did all the vocals, and came up with an arrangement that IMHO was superior to the original.  His arrangement with a Susan Tedeschi vocal would have been absolute perfection.

In addition to winning a guitar, Mike Gannon also met the band and was invited to play with them onstage this summer.  You can see a video of that appearance, and hear his winning version here (and do yourself a favor and read his remarks.)


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