Live is Better

While some people think live albums are just a sales ploy, most fans would much rather see their favorite band performing live than listen to a studio album.  Seeing all the members working together to create beautiful music onstage is part of the whole experience.

In the past “your band” could play together on stage, but when writing lyrics or tracking things like album sales, it was tough to keep everyone playing the same song at the same time.  Even worse while things like MySpace.com made creating a band editable site easier, creating a community was pretty difficult.  So our word for the day is collaboration, specifically online collaboration.    



TechLife interviewed collaboration expert Patrick Michaud from Plano, Texas, USA  about how he put off using wiki’s and then eventually was so transformed he built his own.  After reading, “The Wiki Way” by Bo Leuf and Ward Cunningham, “I was convinced that wikis would solve a lot of communication and web problems we were having,” Michaud declared in 2001.

Most people are pretty familiar with the wiki poster child, Wikipedia started by Jimmy Wales.  Wiki’s as Michaud explains, are basically easy to maintain web pages.  I use Michaud’s PmWiki engine for working with clients and keeping all of us working towards the same goal.  When explaining how easy they are, I tell folks, “if you can send an email, you can use a wiki.” This is perfect for keeping the band and fans all building their community in one place.


Michaud has built a great tool for community building, and it works well for private, secure communication too.  Often times though, a band member just wants some lyrics shared with the band members.  Sure a wiki or email can do this, but another great tool is Writely.

Writely’s interface is easy and simple to use.

Writely is an online full-featured word processor, and recent Google acquisition.  It is still in beta, so you need to know someone with Writely access to get an invite.  I was fortunate enough to score “backstage passes” for Writely and have been using it quite a bit.  It’s easy to use for document sharing, but its best feature is collaboration, for group writing the lyrics to the next great chart topper the whole band can be involved. 


When your hit song “Collaboration” hits #1 on the POP, RAP, Country, and Indie charts in the same week, you will likely become quickly interested in accounting.  Even an altruistic rocker needs to pay the bills.  It could be the tour budget, royalties, or record sales this information is usually stored in a spreadsheet.  Sticking with our theme, there are now a few collaborative online spreadsheets.  Dan Bricklin inventor of the spreadsheet created wikiCalc, and Google Labs released Google Spreadsheets.

Google Spreadsheets
Google Spreadsheet looks and works like the 800lb. Gorilla, Microsoft Excel.

Both are excellent tools, and while TechLife doesn’t churn out #1 chart toppers we have worked with a team to track a few different things using these tools and had great success.  So keep the band’s dream alive, and as The Beatles said, “Come together right now over me.”

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