Clubs are a new social space for communities to share and collaborate on music, with private and public areas. Clubs are the creation of multiplayer music creation app maker Endlesss, and integrate with those tools – but they’re also catering to users of other desktop tools, too. Here’s what we know from today’s announcement.
It’s no secret that today’s social platforms are, if anything, music-hostile. Increasing platform capitalism has reoriented every activity around algorithmic selections, including on Meta’s Instagram and Facebook, TikTok, and X, the service formerly known as Twitter. SoundCloud, the service that was originally built for musicians and labels, killed groups and community features years ago, and now increasingly mimics all the “winners and losers” algorithmic biases of the streaming giants. Bandcamp and specialized download stores can be good places to distribute music – but you still need somewhere to talk about those releases, or to work collaboratively with others. Instead, what even successful artists are forced to do is to pose for the camera in order to please the preferences of machine learning algorithms. We replaced the male gaze, already a problem in music, with the machine gaze, which amplifies that – and worse.
Okay, okay, so it’s easy to talk problems – what about solutions? Clubs so far looks simple but effective. As our friend Endlesss founder Tim Exile puts it, musicians “want to develop skills, make friends, and get heard.” Yep.
So here’s what’s on offer:
- Each Club has a private and public area. The private area is the community-only hang and a place to collaborate; public is where you share your work.
- Private areas have channels and Club hosts.
- Chat-based interface.
- Share files.
- Hosts set permissions (Roles) per-channel.
- Music messages can contain 8 looped layers of audio, metadata like tempo and key and author info. Add or remix messages.
- Endlesss integration: sounds in the Endlesss app work as music messages.
- … or use live inputs…
- … or export audio bits from your desktop software (DAW, plug-ins, whatnot) if you prefer
Endlesss, for its part, runs on iOS, macOS, Windows, and the Web. But it’s important to note that this isn’t just an Endlesss community site; it does look as useful for everything else. You’ll export stems and loops to and from Club and something like Ableton Live. Tim tells us more native integration is something they’re looking at, as well.
A closed beta is due later this year, with a full public rollout promised for early 2024. You can signup for the waitlist now:
To be clear, there is no information about governance, pricing – look, we don’t even have a closed private beta at this point, just a feature list. But this should at least generate some enthusiasm from Endlesss users, and it’s worth watching.
Clarification: For now, what this is not is connected to some of the blockchain-based tech Endlesss had talked about in the past. It’s a conventional web service, and the plans as Tim describes to us are monetizing on a freemium model, a la Discord Nitro, Twitch, and the like. It sounds as though there could be interoperability with assets on the blockchain for those who want it, but that’s down the road and not fundamentally what they’re pitching here.
I’m curious to see how this works. Honestly, even if this just popularizes this kind of interaction, it’d already represent progress from a catastrophically unsupportive status quo. But as there’s not yet any discussion of an API, it’ll be equally important to track what might be possible with open source tools and the Fediverse.
And we should certainly host some of those conversations here on CDM, since this site has been going since the days before Twitter/X had been founded, when The FaceBook was still at schools, and YouTube hadn’t yet been bought by Google. (The latter of those I’m pondering as there is some arcane broken embed code from the early YouTube scattered on the site.)
All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again. Don’t let the algorithms get you down. More soon.