I’m joining a contest for the first time. How do I get started on BandLab?

If you’re here, you’re probably new to BandLab and diving straight into the deep end – by joining one of BandLab’s monthly contests.

Thankfully, getting starting on BandLab is easy and you’ll be making your first song in no time. BandLab is free to use, on both your computer’s web browser or your iOS or Android device.

Here are the things you need to know on BandLab so you can get your music into our contests!

Sign up for a BandLab account

First you need to set up your BandLab account.

If you’re on your computer, head to bandlab.com on the Chrome browser. If you want to work on your mobile device, download the BandLab app on your iOS or Android device.

Once you’ve signed up, you can fill up your profile by telling us a little about yourself, the music you love, and the instruments you play. This can be filled up at a later time.

Start making music

Now you’re ready to publish music to your profile.

If you’re using BandLab on the web:

  1. Click the Red Create button at the top right of the screen
  2. Choose Let’s Make Music which will take you to the Mix Editor
  3. You will be prompted with a screen where you will choose what kind of track you want to start:
    • Instruments – Use your computer keyboard to play virtual instruments, or you can connect a MIDI controller too
    • Drum Machine – Create beats and rhythms with our built-in drum machine
    • Voice/Mic – Record via microphone or a connected audio interface
    • Guitar or Bass – Plug in a guitar or bass to use BandLab as an amp – this will require some sort of audio interface or special cable
  4. To start off with vocals, choose Voice/Mic and you can record using the built-in mic on your computer
  5. You’ll see input settings, including a volume meter. Hit the red record button at the top of the screen. Speak or sing or snap to test the input
  6. Click the Red Record Button again to stop recording
  7. You can import drum loops or saved files on your computer right into the Mix Editor, by simply dragging and dropping the file onto a track.
  8. To save, click the Save button at the top right of the screen. You’ll be prompted to name your song, and whether or not you want to publish the song.

To record using the BandLab iOS/Android apps:

  1. Tap on the Red + Button at the bottom of the screen
  2. You will be prompted with the Let’s Make Music screen where you can choose what kind of track you want to start with:
    • Import Track – Upload your MP3, M4A or WAV file
    • Voice/Mic – Record any sound via microphone or a connected audio interface
    • MIDI Instruments – Access virtual instruments such as drums, piano, synths, strings, woodwind and many more!
    • Looper – Make dope beats by using our Looper interface. Layer sounds by adding guitars, FX, bass and beats that can be downloaded from our Sound Packs library.
    • Guitar or Bass – Plug in a guitar to use BandLab as an amp – this will require some sort of portable audio interface.
  3. To start, choose Voice/Mic and you can record using the built-in mic on your phone.
  4. Record something by tapping on the Red Record Button. This will end up being your first track.
  5. Tap the Arrow Down Icon on the top right to bring you back to the track view
  6. To add more tracks, tap the + Icon beneath the first track
  7. You can continue making up to a total of 12 tracks.
  8. To save, tap the Cloud Icon at the top right of the screen. You can choose if you want to Save or Publish.

Here you can name your project, add a description, choose if you want to allow Forks or not and if you want to move the song to a band.

Importing a track

upload audio

Already have an existing track that you want to enter to the contest? No problem!

You can always import a track that you have created outside of BandLab. To import a track, select “Import Audio/MIDI”. On the first screen you see after clicking on the red create button, or red + button on mobile. You can upload an MP3, M4A or WAV file.

What is forking?

fork-web

You’ll see the term “fork” a lot on BandLab. For contests that require you to remix or rap over a track, you’ll need to fork that track to enter.

When you fork a song on BandLab, you’re picking up where the original artist left off, or starting from where they stopped. In a contest’s case, you’re taking an official track, and having the freedom to do whatever you want with it creatively.

You can then build on the work, add to it, change it and then, if you like, republish your version of the track. Not all tracks are forkable – you can choose whether or not you want your track to be forkable. You can tell if a track is forkable by the green fork symbol.

Good luck and have a blast making music for the BandLab contests!

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