Keep checkin' back, soon you will be able to jam in real time with other musicians
over the Internet.
Currently we are planning on offering telephone like quality (8 kbit/sec) for the real time feed, with a 44.1 kbit/sec track being recorded to your local hard drive for transmitting after the track is finished. Keeping the two (or more) feeds syncronized will be the trickiest part of the process, probably requiring a beat track. Any recordable signal can be compressed into a MP3, so there is no longer a limitation on the type of instrument used. You can even do vocals!
Artists who are concerned about copywrite infringement can prerecord tracks, and send the track in place of a live feed (the only thing that could be recoreded by any party would be the 8 bit version, hich would be of little to no value to anyone). The lines between the live format versus the prerecorded track format will blur greatly, and we expect a mixture of the two formats to be commonplace.
There are a few different ways in which iJam.net could function:
I post 2 copies of my track (say the guitar track including solos of "Little Wing") to iJam.net. The first copy of the track is a compact 8bit .mp3, well suited to real time listening. The other copy is a high quality (44.1k - the same as CD's) version, suitable for recording. Over time, other musicians post copies of their versions, and we wind up with a 'library' of tracks.
After sampling a few tracks online, you decided that mine suits you best, so you download the high quality version, and practice playing along. In fact, you can record your own tracks, and mix them with mine. Or you might find a part in my version that you do not like, and instead decided to get in touch with me to do some off-line collaboration. You mix down a 8bit version of your tracks, and post them to ijam.net (or you can email them directly to me), then you get in touch with me and I check them out. After I work out the changes (think about how nice this part would be with real time jamming!), we can either swap the high quality tracks, or one of us can assemble the mixed down version, and send a copy to the other artist.
Lets say that Branford Marsalis is checking iJam.net out, when he stumbles upon my version of "Little Wing". He thinks it's the greatest thing he has ever heard, but he has a problem with posting his tracks to the "web" (obviously his music has a much greater value than mine), so he can download mine, add his own stuff, add some stuff from others, mix it all down, and only send out the mixed copy, or even a copy with a "beep" inserted every 10 seconds (Hell, if Branford wanted to jam with me, the man can do whatever he wants and I'll still be tickled pink!), and honestly, he can keep the entire thing to himself, doing it only for personal enjoyment.
Imagine the operturnities to lay down some base lines to Eddie Van Halen's version of "Fade to Black", or to have Jewel add some vocals to the sweet little number you have been plucking on your acoustic for years. How about having Thomas Dolby add some boards to your version of "Red Barchetta", or David Bowie adding a background vocal track to your copy of "Summerland", the posibilities are endless. The more realistic possibilities are even better! How about finally getting the chance to jam again with your drummer buddy from high school!