A little while ago I wrote an article about my experience using esession.com, a web-based “virtual recording studio”. Esession struck me as having a very well-integrated collection of professional features. Now comes esession.com Version 2, and it looks like it’s going to be better - largely by incorporating more non-professional features. (Disclosure: esession founder Gina Fant-Saez has become a friend and musical collaborator, with my band The Desert Mothers, so while I can comfortably pass along news like the following, I’m out of the esession-reviewing business.)
Among esession’s new features is the beta version of the long-promised Virtual Glass plug-in which enables live collaboration by people using digital audio workstations (those that are RTAS compatible, at this point). Other enhancements look to be designed to make the service more of a social network. For example:
- The Search Engine has been rewritten. According to an esession newsletter, “Now members can find anyone, whether they are an eMember” - that would be regular folks - “or eTalent” - i.e. pro players who have at least 15 major album credits.
- Member profiles are now displayed with equal visibility, with order determined by matching of search terms, instead of giving more weight to eTalent.
- To lower the users’ anxiety about cost, average fee ranges are now displayed on profiles.
- eTalent are now available to answer “mentor requests” from people who feel they need some advice from an expert.
- There is now a free “collaboration request” to facilitate members working together.
Esession has also been working out a collaboration-oriented partnership with ASCAP (which collects royalties for composers, songwriters and publishers), and will make an announcement about it April 12 at the ASCAP Expo in Los Angeles.
All of this moves esession toward a more modern model of recording. Version 1 supported the traditional, centralized and hierarchical recording process, which was based on limited access to high quality studios and accomplished studio musicians. Esession democratized that model, but it was still, at its heart, that model.
Esession 2 looks like it retains the traditional model while also being more accommodating of the new, flat world of open collaboration and universal access to cheap tools and talent. It’s a world in which the “users” of music have more clout than the producers, and fewer of the producers are professionals.