From the Team / 19 March 2021

Forking and collaboration on BandLab explained

BandLab forking and collaboration explained

Collaborations in this world of music have given us plenty of unforgettable moments from genre-defying bangers to crossovers nobody asked for but everyone needed. As history has taught us, collaborations can produce greatness, and one of BandLab’s goals is to make that easier for creators across the globe. We give you the tools, and we surround you with a community of millions. The usual vanilla collaborations aside, BandLab has a popular feature that we introduced way back in 2015. It’s called Forks. That mint green button has caused quite a stir since its inception and today, forking is one of the few unique collaboration features that’s become a BandLab calling card. 

Is forking a form of collaboration?

Forking and its open nature of allowing anyone on BandLab to jump on your track and do as they wish has led many to ask if it really is a form of collaboration. It’s a very valid question and in this blog post, we’ll attempt to clear the air once and for all.

Built for collaboration. But how?

Before we touch on the subject of forks, we need to take a look at the tools on BandLab that make collaboration possible.

There are a number of ways to collaborate on BandLab. From simply rapping over a beat to the complex roles and responsibilities of a big band, these tools make collaboration easier in an increasingly digital world.

Finding your perfect collaborators

There are millions of creators in the BandLab community worldwide. As our community grows, it increases your chances of finding someone who shares the same goals. 

To make this process easier for the community, we have features like Creator Connect, which aims to connect you with creators on BandLab based on your location, talents and genre. This could help you search for a guitarist who lives in the same neighborhood. Or the very opposite could be true – this band used Creator Connect to search for musicians from all over the globe to create an intercontinental band of 22 musicians from seven continents

Read more: Introducing: BandLab Creator Connect

Collaborating on a single song

Just like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg working together for “Nuthin’ but a G Thang”, you too can create a top drawer collaboration with anyone from the BandLab community. 

Single songs collaborations on BandLab will have a main owner, and one or more users credited to it. The person who first sends the invite to collaborate is the main owner. But first, you will need to create a revision to begin the process. Here’s our step-by-step guide to starting a single song collaboration on BandLab.

Fun fact: The maximum limit of collaborators working on a single project is 50! Who’s willing to take up that challenge?

Real-time collaboration

With face to face collaborations going from the norm to luxury in this day and age, virtual collaborations have become commonplace in our work lives. Music is no different, but the tools required for that level of collaboration aren’t that straightforward.

BandLab web Mix Editor. Live Session Collaboration
Start a Live Session in BandLab’s web Mix Editor by clicking on the “Start Session” button.

BandLab’s Live Session on the web Mix Editor allows you to work in real-time with your collaborators. This means you can be laying down a beat at the very same time as another collaborator recording their instrument, all in real-time! Like normal collaborations, it also requires you to invite other users into your project before you can begin.

Learn how to start a Live Session to collaborate in real-time with other BandLab users.

Bands

The difference between collaborating through a Band compared to a single song is Band Members get access to all the music being created under the Band’s name. Just like in the real world, Band members share work material and make decisions collectively.

You can find out more in-depth details about everything you need to know about Bands on BandLab over at our Help Center, with topics like starting a Band, leaving one, roles and copyright ownership of content.

What really is forking?

You see that mint green button on a song on BandLab that says “Fork”? Tapping it lets you “fork” that song – which means you now have access to all the parts of the song, and you can do whatever you want with it on the Mix Editor. Think of it as taking a beat that’s available to the public, and remixing or rapping over it.

When you publish a song, by default, forking is not enabled.

On the legal side of things, when you set your song to become “forkable”, you, as the copyright owner, are essentially granting other users a licence to use your song however they wish.

Still with us? Why would you want to let other users fork your songs then? There are a number of reasons. You might want any creator in the community to take your song and add their creative spin on it, so it in turn, inspires you to create even more. You might want to build your reputation as a beat maker on BandLab. Or you might just be looking to have a bit of fun!

Remember, any music published from your “forked” song will always be attributed to the original song. You, as the OG creator, will always have your name and song credited at the top of any “fork-published” song. 

A song published from a forked song

So does forking = collaboration?

Yes, but it really depends.

At the end of the day, collaborations are an act of working together to achieve a common goal. If someone forks your song and releases it as their own with little or no changes, it definitely doesn’t qualify as a collaboration. You probably have never heard of them either!

As we explained earlier, forking can be a way for you to open up your music to potential collaborators. If you truly dig what a user has done with your song and you contact them and start a conversation, your ideas develop further – sure, we’re sure you both would call it a collaboration.

So to answer this question once and for all – is forking a means of collaboration? We’ll let you and your “collaborator” decide. For real.

Here’s the bottom line

Forking has its place on BandLab. If you’ve made it this far, you’ll know best when to “allow forks” for your music!

If you’re looking for a classic way of collaborating, look no further than the few ways we mentioned earlier in the article. 

Explore BandLab

Read more: What to do when you get a copyright claim when uploading to streaming services

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