Tuesday, May 19, 2020

JamKazam: Online Jamming for Quarantined Musicians

This is month 2 of Armageddon for musicians.  If you are one, or know someone who is, you are aware that they are climbing the walls because all of their shows, rehearsals, and even jam sessions have been taken off the table since March.  Playing together online using Zoom or Meet sounds like a great idea, until you try it and find out no one can line up the rhythm due to the inherent delays.

Enter JamKazam - the service for jamming online.  Musicians sign up, login, and can jam with each other for free. And it uses a different method of delivering audio to each other, so it actually works! Sounds great, right?  Well this service has been running since 2015, and the world is just finding out about it now.  What gives?

The barrier to entry is fairly high.  Make no mistake about it, achieving success with JamKazam sessions is not for the faint of heart.  If you are expecting to download an app to your phone, set it on the table, and magically play along with your buds from all over the world, move along.  That is not even close to what is going to happen here.  You need the right gear, the right settings, a lot of patience, and ability to adapt.  But if you can get through the process, real-time jamming is waiting for you on the other side.  My guess is that there has not been a critical mass of tech-savvy musicians who were motivated to stick with it.  But as my friends and I have joked, "wow, who knew all it would take to stimulate the online jamming economy is a global pandemic?"

There are copious tutorials available on how to set up and get the best performance from JamKazam, and a great forum that has been really active in the last couple of months, so I am not going to duplicating those effort here.  Over the next few posts, I will attempt to demystify some of the aspects of JamKazam that tend to befuddle newcomers. 

Next post in series: What you really need

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