At some point, you may have found yourself bored out of your mind by your current music selection, and resisting the urge to try one of the eleventy million music discovery services out there, you think, “By God, I’m going to do it myself.” You rush home, download a music suite, start furiously clicking and recording, only to be sooner or later confronted by the reality that you have no idea what you’re doing, and reprimand yourself for turning down those music lessons in fourth grade.
Today, MusicShake provides over 2 million different music patterns, categorized into different generes and samples, to allow users to build music — as if with Lego blocks. For music novices, MusicShake has an intelligent algorithm that, when starting with a blank slate (or staff), you can add different samples or templates, picking and choosing from sounds you like, and the algorithm works in the background to optimize them, make sure the different parts are aligned — so you sound like a maestro.
MusicShake General Manager Kihong Bae tells us that it’s essentially a free, web-based GarageBand, which has very low barriers to entry and is a bit more novice-friendly. It can’t compete toe-to-toe on every level, but its a great alternative.
All of the service’s samples are created by the team’s very own musicians and “music robot,” which means they’re copyright free. The team revamped the service last year, offering a brand new website, and a user experience that allows you not just to create new music, but comment, listen, consumer not only your music, but those of other aspiring musicians — the goal of which was to create a mini-community for all music lovers.
MusicShake also enables users to add their tracks to slideshows and videos, then upload those videos to YouTube or their social network of choice. To date, MusicShake tunes are acting as soundtracks on over 300,000 YouTube videos that have generated over 1 billion page views. Again, this is all free, unless of course you’re looking to use the tracks for commercial purposes, in which case the company charges a reasonable $20 for licensing. (The company recently released its “YouTube Producer” iPhone app, which lets users search for copyright-free music, add to their videos on their iPhone and upload directly to YouTube.)
Naturally, many video and content creators want to add music to their content, and as MusicShake provides a trove of license-free tunes, it’s a great resource to quickly find and upload soundtracks. With this in mind, MusicShake has recently launched a whole new addition to their service that focuses on education — in bringing its service into the classroom. Nearly every school, whether it be elementary, middle, or high school, has media class where students learn to generate video, music, slide shows, etc. — and there’s always musical accompaniment.
Of course, some schools have the funding resources to buy Macs for their classrooms, and thus already have GarageBand in use. Of course, most schools don’t have that budget, and when teachers want to grab music, they’re forced to rely on paying for stock music, which isn’t cheap, or taking their chances with free music.
MusicShake EDU gives students an unlimited supply of music to use in their projects without requiring them to have prior music experience. Songs can be created instantly and used immediately, or students can refine each block in the song; plus, music samples are copyright free. At $499 per year, the service is pretty affordable, especially as it provides unlimited MP3s and WAVs for every student in your school, which, in most cases is less than one dollar per student per year. (It also helps that MusicShake meets the California Learning Resources Network review criteria, meaning it’s approved for social content.)
Next up, MusicShake will be building out an API, so that smaller video-creation services can quickly add tunes from the MusicShake catalog into their content, in addition to focusing on creating an award system to encourage users to return and up the level of stickiness.
MusicShake struggled through the recession, but they’ve seen increased traffic since launching their web app. Bringing the service into the classroom and to small video providers is a great way to increase their reach. We’ll see if it can help turn the startup around.
For more, check out the introductory video below, and let us know what you think.