Since mid-2018, I’ve been working with the team at Endlesss, on what I believe is a new category of app. Endlesss is a collaborative loop-based music creation platform. It’s developed out of the ideas of Tim Exile, who spent more than a decade creating a system for instant, live music improvisation. See if you can spot him use the word ‘endless’ in his TED talk from 2016!
Tim aims to take us back to the time before Edison created recordings. The time before we had a specialized caste of ‘professional musicians’ — and everyone was more involved in music.
Endlesss is not just an app — it’s an instrument. I’ve played with all the major music apps, and none of them come close in terms of how quickly you can create complex, layered musical ideas. But then it’s not just an instrument — it’s an entirely new form of social network. Here’s a video of the beta version in action to give you an idea:
Endlesss is the first of what I believe will be a new category of social apps. Apps that will allow users to share not just text, images and videos but creative ideas that they can instantly remix, layer, effect, or add to. It’s the most powerful, instant form of mobile music making that I’ve ever seen, second only to playing an instrument. But more importantly, it’s a platform for collaboration. Think Google Docs, or Whatsapp chat groups, but for music — instant and powerful. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever found to playing live music, in a room, with other musicians.
Back to the Jam
Amazing things happen when you play instruments with other people. I’ve been playing in bands on and off for nearly 20 years, and it’s sometimes the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on. Whether I’m playing guitar, drums, synthesizers, or singing, it’s an incredibly direct way to share with other people. Playing music, and being directly engaged by it, has changed my life in many positive ways. So I’m always excited about initiatives that get more people involved in creating music, and drop the barriers that stop so many people taking part.
Learning any instrument is hard — it can take thousands of hours to really master one. Since music became commodified as a specialist activity, many people have felt unable to participate. Endlesss however, allows anyone to play with electronic music in the form of short loops, to instantly share their ideas, and bounce them back and forth with other people. Me, I’m a jaded musician, and I’ve been working with music technology my whole life. But the Endlesss experience feels entirely new — something quite unexpected for me in 2019.
One thing that has already become apparent to the team — Endlesss is great for live performance and collaboration. With people streaming sessions over Twitch already, sessions may become more like multiplayer gaming than traditional forms of music-making. Other experiments are in store. Imagine going to an event with DJ’s streaming music from Endlesss. Anyone in the space has a chance of hearing music they just made over the PA! We’re sure many more applications that we haven’t even dreamed of yet will emerge.
Check out beta tester Echolox streaming a collaborative jam below:
Positive, Creative Social
If I spend an hour or two on most social media I feel terrible. Think of what I could have achieved, if I hadn’t spent that time mindlessly scrolling, ‘consuming’ content made by other people! Endlesss is different. Time spent on it actually feels productive! Sure, I spent ages on the app — but I made loads of music, with other people! I’ve also developed musical and technical skills. I can even export my favorite bits to polish in a finished track, if I want. It’s an entirely different feeling.
We’re obviously concerned that some users have already spent as much as 10 hours in a day in the app (!) But the contrast with other forms of social ‘media’ feels enormous. This isn’t about consuming media — it’s about creating it.
The app is now in public beta, and if you have an iOS device you can try it out right now: http://bit.ly/2CYDIZH
(We do have plans for Android — sign up at endlesss.fm to hear more on that.)
Despite the early state of the app, we’re experiencing explosive growth on the platform, with very little effort on our part. It’s a little buggy, but incredible fun.
We’ve had great feedback so far from the music community, and we’d love to hear from you too. Our users are already starting to shape the platform. In all honesty, it’s so new, and so novel, that we don’t know where it will go! You can join our discussion forum (Discord) here: https://discord.gg/MNKqcSt