LoopLabs is a beatmaker site that has been around for a while, but the beta has one distinguishing feature that has been catching a lot of people’s attention lately. The site is not only an online studio, but also a social site and cloud based. This means that users are able to listen to, comment, share and like other’s music. The real kicker is that users are able collaborate live from the studio portion of the site, which means that two or more producers can basically share what’s on the screen and work together to collaborate all on the site. So, do these features make LoopLabs a new essential for producers, or just another site that serious producers will ignore?
For starters, the social networking aspect is the bread and butter of LoopLabs. It has the basics of a music sharing and social networking site, such as the ability to add friends, share music, comment on posts and follow who you want to listen to the most. The best part of this feature is the ability to collaborate. On this site, you can send your work to another user to collaborate, and if any of your friends are online, they can join your session live to collaborate with you. To any producer who knows the hassles of collaborating with someone who isn’t in the same room with you, such as making sure you all have the same sounds, or having to send very large files, this sounds like a dream come true!
Now on to the studio portion of the site itself. It works by allowing users to combine different loops together to create songs. It has impressively large selection of kicks, snares, synths and instruments. However, they are all pre-recorded loops with no stand along instruments which you truly control. While you are able to add drops, change the tempo and chop the loops and add in different loops to your heart’s desire, the lack of being able to make your own patterns and melodies keeps you from getting truly creative.
The issue with the site is that it doesn’t have enough features to be looked at as a serious tool for producers. If you’re someone who is an experienced producer and use a program such as FL Studio, Logic or Ableton Live, then this site is definitely not going replace your program. For beginners, it could be a good tool to experiment with different genres and practice with tempo, adding drops and cuts, and experimenting with different samples and vocals. However, you’ll only use the site for a short amount of time before you at least download a free trial version of a popular program that’s capable of doing the same thing, plus the things that LoopLabs doesn’t let you do.
LoopLabs is definitely one of the better online studios for producers. However, a lot of free apps and websites dedicated to making beats are either presented as just fun music makers to enjoy with friends, or as something to relay ideas on the go, being meant to use alongside more sophisticated programs. If LoopLabs was presented in this manner, I could be more receptive. However, it is presented as a platform and program that can potentially be used to make a hit record or jumpstart a music career. Unfortunately, it isn’t the case. If you’re looking to chat with other producer you may want to collaborate with while having fun on the site, then it’s good for that. However, when even the free trial versions of other programs have features such as being able to make your own patterns, as well as use soundkits and VST’s, which are features that LoopLabs is lacking, then that makes LoopLabs sort of useless if you’re not a complete beginner. If you’re someone who has used programs like FL Studio and Logic in the past, then using this site will only make you wish for what could have been with the collaboration and social networking features that the site has.