Endlesss Studio, the jamming and riff making collaboration app, hits the Windows desktop, turns off the paywalls and sees the future in Crypto.
Endlesss Studio for Windows
Endlesss is a cool little loop-based jamming app originally for iPhone that brings musicians together to collaborate on “riffs”. You connect up via the app, someone starts a beat and then anyone connected to the jam can add to it, build on it, effect it or replace it in real-time. It’s enormous fun and generates a huge amount of musical content. Last year Endlesss went to Kickstarter to raise funds to turn it into a desktop application that would work with your DAW making it far easier to route audio into the jams and pull audio out into your projects.
Endlesss Studio appeared on macOS at the end of last year and now after a really long wait, it’s finally made it into Windows. I’ve just installed it, turned it on and had a looped jam running in just a handful of seconds. The good news is that they haven’t ruined it! It’s just as easy and cool and natural and fun as the app on my phone.
The app comes with a bunch of sounds like synths, drum kits, bass, leads and effects. You start playing with a mouse or MIDI keyboard and it starts recording and when you’re happy with what you just did you hit the loop button and off you go. You can then add further sounds over the top, add effects, mix the sounds and recapture loops to push the riff forward. You can plug in external instruments, microphones and now it’s running on your main computer you can use all your virtual instruments. It’s real, live and in the moment and comes alive once you start playing with more people than just yourself. The heart of it is collaboration and that’s what makes it extraordinary.
Tim Exile: We always intended for Endless to be free
While the iPhone version remained free with the option to buy content, the price of the Studio version was set to $199 which, honestly, felt reasonable for this sort of software. However, Endlesss has announced that all versions of Endlesss are going to be free forever.
I spoke to Tim Exile, the head visionary at Endlesss, who said that they were never happy with having a paywall in front of Endlesss. It was always meant to be free and they always knew that it would cost more to build than they would ever raise. But Tim believes so deeply in the project that he knew it was a worthwhile investment of his time and energy to get this community-driven and fundamentally collaborative software into people’s hands. Now there are no more boundaries to that idea.
However, Endlesss will have a marketplace and it is looking to harness concepts of Web 3.0, NFT and Blockchain technology to create a future proof economy within the app and community.
Technology based on cryptocurrencies has many people in a bit of a lather at the moment. There are issues with the amount of energy required to generate Bitcoins and the cost of doing business with these systems. These are valid concerns and I talked to Tim at length about them. While I don’t fully understand all the aspects I’ll do my best to summarise our conversation.
Currently, the Endlesss app runs like any piece of software. It uses centralised servers to store riffs and accounts and has no connection to Blockchain technology. Endlesss are in the process of building a web-based marketplace for the buying and selling of the riffs that musicians create in the app. This marketplace needs to secure the ownership of the riffs and Tim believes the best way to do this is through Blockchain technology.
Now, before anyone piles in with accusations of planet burning, Endlesss is using NEAR Protocol which employs “Proof-of-Stake” rather than “Proof-of-Work” mining that is used by Bitcoin. Proof-of-Stake does not require the huge amounts of energy consumed by minting Bitcoin. On the Endlesss blog you’ll find calculations on the carbon footprint of Endlesss transactions which essentially demonstrate that the movement of a riff has less impact than an email.
Turning Your Riffs into Products
So, the basic idea is that your riffs (if you choose) become products. Someone browsing the riff store could hear something they like and hit the Buy button. All the assets for that riff would be pulled together and minted as an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) which points to all the collaborators. That NFT is delivered to the purchaser and the payment is distributed to Endlesss (as the toolmaker) and the collaborators. The riff in question is still listenable and usable by everyone but is owned by the purchaser. The value of that riff is governed by the engagement, the interest, the context of where it happened and who played on it. It’s fluid and fun and at all times the intellectual property is secured and known.
The ownership of Endlesss will also be farmed back into the community via ESSS tokens. People who have invested in Endlesss or supported the Kickstarter or bought the product will receive tokens and that puts the value into the hands of far more people than shares in a regular company ever could.
There’s no way that I’ve adequately captured exactly what’s going on here and I know that many people I respect have genuine concerns about this technology. However, I’ve known Tim for a few years now and what I know of his heart is that he’s an authentic and passion-driven person and musician who is thoroughly engaged in the issues and is excited by how highly collaborative, positive and community based this technology can be. You can read more about what Endlesss are doing here.
Regardless of how you feel about all that Endlesss is still an excellent piece of software that’s enormously fun to use and creatively inspiring. And it’s free, so go and have a play.