During our first TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York last May, the startup that nearly stole the show and was the obvious audience favorite was Ujam, a sophisticated Web-based music creation site which lets even tone-deaf people like me compose songs. During their demo at Disrupt, angel investor Chris Sacca, who was one of the judges, took it upon himself to test the application onstage and belted out a tune (see video above). Now you can try it too. Ujam quietly came out of private alpha last week, and is allowing a set number of new users in every day.
All you do is hum, whistle, or sing, and Ujam can turn your voice into nearly any instrument and fix it so that it is in tune. You can also upload your own pre-recorded tracks or pick pre-existing tracks on Ujam from different styles of music (Kraftwerk, 80s Rock, Campfire Guitar). The Ujam music editor lets you change the instruments, tempo, pitch, and mix between vocals and music to create your own composition. Once you are done, you can save your songs and download them as MP3s for sharing.
Below are a couple sample tracks I recorded in just a few minutes for different versions of a song I made up called “I Fight For The Users (TRON).” The first one, “Tron Arcade,” I created by first humming the notes and then turning them into a Nylon Guitar & Strings with a Kraftwerk style and it is just instrumental. That one I am pretty proud of. For the other one, I picked a pre-existing track and added vocals. Don’t worry, I am not going to quit my day job.
It helps if you have a decent microphone. I recorded these on my headset, and it only took me ten minutes. (Can you tell?) While my singing is still pretty awful, just be happy that you didn’t have to hear the original recording. Now imagine what someone could do with this who can actually carry a tune.
Ujam is putting up a bunch of tutorial videos to help new users navigate the site. Right now all you can do is pretty much create and edit music. Sharing is done elsewhere after you download your MP3s. At some point it would make sense for Ujam to add music embeds or partner with someone like Soundcloud so that you can share songs more easily with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. Ujam has many improvements planned, such as giving would-be musicians the ability to lay down multiple tracks. Out of the gate, it is a pretty impressive standalone Web-based music editor. Give it a shot, tell us what you think in comments.
Above is a video Robert Scoble captured of Chris Sacca trying out Ujam at Disrupt, and below that is the full Disrupt demo.