It was a pleasure to participate in a session on music and tech for the Incorporated Society of Musicians, part of their excellent free event ‘The Empowered Musician’. I talked about the research I’ve done into online real-time music software, drawing on discussions I had with Sam Leak, Adam Spiers, Doug Hunt, and many more, while preparing this article.

Thanks to the ISM and the other panellists for a fascinating talk. After the event is finished, it will be available on YouTube for a few more days.

I’ve just published an article for the Incorporated Society of Musicians, introducing the world of online real-time music (ORM) software. Strangely, this field has hidden in plain sight for decades, as a somewhat niche occupation of internet hobbyists and academic researchers. The COVID-19 lockdown has precipitated a wave of new interest, with professional musicians quickly realising that Zoom and Skype wouldn’t cut it and looking for something more suitable.

The article is based on extensive interviews with some key players, and my own forays into ORM. We all want to get back to playing in real life as soon as possible, but it’s likely that being able to rehearse, livestream and record remotely in real time will remain useful going forward. The pandemic could prompt a rapid ‘professionalisation’ of the field, and ORM may become a standard tool of jobbing musicians alongside home recording, remote lessons, etc.

Check it out and please share the article if you find it interesting. Most people still do not know that online real-time music is actually possible.

In due course I might upload a slightly longer version to this blog, but the essentials are pretty completely covered in the ISM’s version — thanks to them for their editorial flexibility in allowing me to retain the hybrid news/advice tone I was going for.