Musicshake – Composer Application and Social Network for Music Lovers

As a music lover, I would like to create my own songs that make use of different instruments. However, I’m not that skilled to use all of them. I know how to play the guitar (intermediate at best) and the piano (basics) but that’s about it. Good thing there are tools out there that aids aspiring musicians to create their own music. One of them is Musicshake, a composer application and social network site for creating and sharing your own music.

Getting Started

First, you have to create an account from their main site. You can link this account to your facebook account if you want. Once done, download their composer application and install. Open the application and login with your account. From here you can start making your own songs.

Making Music

When I first joined musicshake, the only way to create music is by using their desktop composer software, but now, they also offer an online version which has a different user interface and more limited features. Before proceeding with the steps, let’s define some terms.

  • Track – Refers to an instrument or effect track that can be added to your music. Instrument tracks offer a lot of choices ranging from guitar, string pad (violin, cello, etc.), piano, drums, up to vocals and raps. Each choice is further divided into different groups, with each group containing several choices of play styles. Effects offer sounds from various sources like nature, animal, voice overs, etc. I’ve used this to add dramatic effects or for portraying situations like in an actual music video. Each track also has a volume and effect property. The effect property adds modifications to the sound of a track (e.g. Reverb, Normalize, Higpass, etc.). You can also add a record track where you can use a recording device to add a track of your recorded sound, so if you’re a professional musician, you can use this application for your accompaniment.
  • Part – This represents a single constant measure in your song (A song with 9 parts at tempo 90 will last 3 minutes and 33 seconds which makes each part around 23.6 seconds). Each part has a chord progression attribute which affects the available play sequences (not applicable for effects) for each track that you add to your song. This means that, a track’s play style, chord progression, and play sequence will determine that track’s music output. This enables the users to have countless possibilities when they are making their own music.
Playscreen (Desktop Application Version)

Play Screen (Desktop Application Version)

Play Screen (Online Version)

Play Screen (Online Version)

Here are the basic steps for creating your own music

  1. Click Menu -> New Song
  2. Choose One Click Start or Genre – Tempo. I recommend the latter for further customization
  3. Choose your desired genre. (can be previewed by hovering your mouse cursor to an item)
  4. Choose your desired tempo. (can be previewed by hovering your mouse cursor to an item)
  5. Click Add Track and choose an instrument or effect. (can be previewed by hovering your mouse cursor to an item)
  6. Click the part’s header to set the chord progression. (can be previewed by hovering your mouse cursor to an item)
  7. For instruments, click the part’s cell of the track that you wish to play and choose a play sequence. (can be previewed by hovering your mouse cursor to an item)
  8. For effects, move the effect bar to the time that you want it to be played.
  9. If you need to add more parts, just click Add Part.
  10. To save your song, click  Menu -> Save
  11. To post your song online, click Menu -> Post on Musicshake
  12. After uploading your song, you’ll be redirected to your musicshake page. Hover the newly uploaded song and click post to share your song to the community.

I recommend using the desktop application version since it’s faster to use and offers more options for customization. The online version goes through a download process each time you add a new track, effect or part which slows down your music making experience. In the desktop application version, you will still need an internet connection to preview the tracks but other than that, you can add your components on the fly.

Music Sharing and Subscriptions

Songs shared online can be rated and marked as favorite by other users. You can also view the most played songs for the last 24 hours. Users also has a fan based system where you can become a fan of another user. Your fan base can be viewed in your profile. There’s also a battle option where you issue a challenge to another user’s song and then choose a song of your own. From there, other users will rate which song is better. The site also includes a forum for any queries and promotions that you would like to make.

You can only play your song through the composer application or through musicshake’s main site. In order to acquire a MP3 version of any songs shared in the community, you have to avail their subscription purchase. These includes unlimited downloads of MP3 as well as putting your song in Youtube’s Audioswap. If you want to take it to the next level and sell your creations, you can do so by paying the commercial subscription which is $250 a year. This includes the other privileges in the subscription purchase. Purchasable items can be paid using credit card or their in-house currency, shake cash (which is still purchased using a credit card XD)

Musicshake can not emulate all the types of music that can be done by an actual musical instrument, but this is a nice option for those who would love to experiment on making their own songs specially those who lack the time to study. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next great freelance composer and gain a lot of fans in the community. Try it and unleash the musician within you! (~^_^)~

Organizing Your Social Network and Other Online Accounts with Digsby and Hootsuite

If you have a lot of accounts from different social networks and online services (like me), then you may find it clunky to logon to various websites,  email accounts, and chat applications just to keep you updated with your social circles or message someone from your contacts. This is hard to manage and totally time consuming. Luckily, there are tools that can help you organize these accounts more efficiently.

Digsby: IM + Email + Social Networks

Courtesy of digsby.com

Courtesy of digsby.com

Digsby is my ultimate weapon of choice for tracking my online stuff. It’s a chat client, email client, and social media manager rolled into one neat application. Updates from your social media are displayed real time through a popup. You can manage your contacts from different chat applications and message them on the fly. You can even check your notifications and Timeline if applicable to your accounts. It also comes with an email feed which has shortcuts to common features like open, delete, and mark as read. Digsby hosts a wide array of platforms:

  • Google
  • Windows Live
  • Yahoo
  • AOL/AIM
  • Facebook (of course)
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • ICQ
  • LinkedIn
  • Jabber
  • POP Email
  • IMAP Email

With Digsby, it won’t be necessary to open a web browser or another chat client (Except if your’re using Skype XD).


HootSuite: Social Network Management

Hootsuite

Courtesy of hootsuite.com

If your only concern is managing your social network accounts, then Hootsuite may satisfy your needs. It features a dashboard style of presentation, organizing each account into tabs and each feed into streams. A stream may display marks when you receive new updates like posts, photos, and messages. I tried this when TweetDeck removed its connectivity with LinkedIn which is such a shame. Other than the default social network sites supported by the application, it also features an app directory which acts like a plugin to provide more connectivity to your other online accounts like youtube, tumblr, even RSS feeds which is great now that google reader will shut down by July. Not all of the apps are free though. The supported platforms are listed below:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook (duh)
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+ Pages (Only the pages  feature, not the actual stream)
  • Foursquare
  • MySpace
  • WordPress (See you your posts as well other blog posts from your subscription)
  • Mixi (Popular social netowrk in Japan)
  • App Directory (Youtube, Tumblr, RSS, Instagram, Evernote, and a lot more)

The main application of Hootsuite is web-based, but mobile versions are available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry.

With these tools, you can follow your online accounts across different platforms in one convenient and organized space. However, remember to utilize its features to increase your efficiency and not to reduce your productivity. (~^_^)~