Published: March 18, 2021

Darren Sholes, ATLAS PhD student and a member of the ACME Lab, pitched LoopSketch to judges during CU Boulder’s New Venture Challenge 14 Prize Night on March 17, winning first place in the newcomer competition (event video here), which comes with $5,000 in funding. In addition, the team advances to the next round where they will compete for additional awards. 

Restrictions during the pandemic have made it difficult for musicians to make music with others because the creative process is often intensely collaborative, and latency, the short unavoidable delays that are part of remote information transmission, make digital communication technologies a poor substitute for working together in person, Sholes says. 

“LoopSketch’s software program is designed for collaborative music-making,” he says. “It focuses on group flow and brainstorming, allowing for a remote experience that feels more like an in-person jam session.”

The program makes it possible for musicians in different locations to collaborate and quickly build rich, multilayered recordings. For example, a drummer in New York City could use LoopSketch to share a short recording with two friends in California and Oregon. The friend in California then composes an accompanying guitar track and their buddy in Oregon, who plays the bass, can listen to the combined tracks and add his own layer.

Sholes explains that the power of LoopSketch lies in the simplicity of the design. Users record short loops of music that are shared among friends who progressively build a song layer by layer, section by section. The software modulates playback so loops stay in sync with each other, empowering users to focus on playing the music, not managing the session.

The short video above explains the technology in more depth.