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5 Tools to Help You Work With Artists Remotely

April 11, 2020
by
Charles Hoffman
Learn how Splice Studio, Spire Studio, Skype, VR social spaces, and Google Drive can help you work with artists online more effectively.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to certain products. If you take action (i.e. subscribe, make a purchase) after clicking one of these links, Black Ghost Audio will earn a commission.

The great thing about the internet is that it allows you to work with artists from all around the world. You aren’t limited to working with the artists, or lack of artists, in your hometown. This article takes a look at 5 tools to help you work with artists remotely.

1. Splice Studio

An image of Splice Studio.

Splice Studio lets you back up every version of a project session, without using up hard drive space, and collaborate with other artists online. It allows other artists to work on the same project files as you. You can also see the changes other artists make when they make them.

The ability to revert to any version of a project using Splice Studio means that you can experiment without consequences. To track changes, you can attach notes to each version of a project; this is helpful when you need to identify which version of a project to revert to.

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The best part about Splice Studio is that it backs up your files in the background, so you don’t need to think about it. You can set up Splice Studio to backup all the project sessions on your computer, regardless of where they’re saved, or set it up to back up a specific folder on your computer.

2. iZotope Spire Studio

An image of iZotope's Spire Studio hardware and iZotope's Spire app.

iZotope’s Spire Studio delivers an all-in-one wireless multitrack recording experience that lets you quickly record and mix audio anywhere. It combines powerful hardware with a user-friendly app available on both iOS and Android devices.

The hardware includes various recording and playback buttons, a built-in microphone, two 1/8” headphone outputs, 4+ hours of battery life, custom preamps, XLR and 1/4” instrument inputs, as well as +48V phantom power. There’s also an included power supply if you’d prefer not to rely on battery power.

Soundcheck is a Spire feature that acts like a personal recording engineer that automatically detects the type of sound source you’re recording, sets your recording levels, and intelligently applies EQ adjustments.

Spire Studio’s most alluring qualities are that it delivers a fast workflow, and it’s easy to use. You can instantly create and share a Spire project link with other artists, which lets them preview the song you’ve made, open the project in Spire, download the project as an MP3 or WAV file, or download stems and pull them into a DAW.

The Spire app contains an Enhance feature that’s based on iZotope’s powerful Ozone mastering plugin. It increases clarity and boosts loudness. To use the Enhance feature, you need to be connected to the Spire Studio hardware.

If you’re working remotely with a vocalist, and they don’t have access to a recording studio, they can record directly into the iOS app. Currently, the Android app only works with the hardware, but there will hopefully be an update to address this in the future. For capturing scratch vocals, the Spire iOS app is undoubtedly the most mobile-friendly recording solution out there.

You can engage input monitoring if you’re using earbuds or headphones, which lets you listen to an instrumental while recording over it. Try to avoid using Bluetooth headphones since they can introduce latency; this is an issue when recording with Bluetooth gear, which is a problem that isn't specific to Spire. Using the Spire app’s Mix tab, you can position your multitrack recordings along the X-axis and Z-axis of your stereo field.

The free Spire app on its own is excellent for capturing musical ideas and scratch vocals, while the Spire Studio hardware provides the features required to record professional-quality audio. Consider recommending Spire Studio to artists you work with if they need an all-in-one recording solution.

3. Skype

An image of Skype's logo.

Skype is a software that lets you chat, call, and video conference with people online. You can share your screen, as well as your system’s audio; this makes collaborating on project sessions a breeze. Skype is free to use and supports up to 50 users within a single video conference.

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The newly introduced “Meet Now” Skype feature lets you video conference with people but doesn’t require them to sign-up for Skype or download software onto their device. There’s also no time limit on Skype meetings, whereas Skype’s main competitor, Zoom, has a 40-minute conference time limit unless you subscribe to a paid plan.

Skype and Zoom are pretty similar to one another, but there are some key differences. Skype is more well-suited for small teams, whereas Zoom caters toward large companies. For collaborating with artists remotely, I have to give the edge to Skype.

4. VR Social Spaces

An image of a virtual reality headset with headphones attached.

Virtual reality (VR) social spaces provide a simulated social experience that can be very similar to, or entirely different from, the real world. Conventional VR systems use a VR headset to generate images, while headphones and a microphone are used to deliver sound.

Museum of Other Realities (MOR) is an immersive multiplayer art showcase in virtual reality that lets you connect, share, and experience a growing collection of mind-bending VR art with other people. If you and the artist you’re collaborating with are looking for some creative inspiration, MOR won’t disappoint.

MOR is accessible via Steam and can be played if you own an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or Valve Index. It’s a cool way to break the ice and get to know the artist you’re working with if you’re unfamiliar with them.

The one downside to VR social spaces is that VR technology is still catching on, and it’s not guaranteed that the artist you’re working with will own a VR headset. However, as VR headsets become more affordable and the technology continues to evolve, I don’t think it’s too brash to say that they’ll soon become as commonplace as gaming consoles like the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One S.

5. Google Drive

An image of Google Drive's logo.

Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service developed by Google. It lets you save files to the cloud, similar to Dropbox, but instead of providing 2 GB of free cloud storage like Dropbox, it provides 15 GB. If you need to share documents, cover art, and other media with artists, Google Drive is a perfect solution.

As long as you’re not storing a massive number of audio files, photos, and videos in cloud storage, 15 GB should be more than enough storage space. If, for some reason, you require more storage, Dropbox offers up to 3 TB of storage at $16.58/month, whereas Google Drive offers up to 30 TB of storage at $299.99/month.

When you purchase one of Google’s paid plans, you also gain access to Google One, which allows you to add family members to your plan and save up to 10% on Google Store purchases.

Google Sheets is a free cloud-based spreadsheet software that’s available through Google Drive. You can use Google Sheets to organize and steer the direction of projects. For example, you can create a spreadsheet with project deadlines, writing credits, etc.

The cool thing about Google Sheets is that anyone you grant editing access to can view and edit the spreadsheet you’ve shared with them in real-time. Google Drive will help you tackle the file management and organization side of things when collaborating with artists remotely.

Make sure to follow Black Ghost Audio on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to stay up to date on the latest music production tips and tricks. There’s new content every week.

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