Latency is an important problem to fix for live music creation over the internet.
Choira uses 5G tech to minimize latency problems and allow musicians to jam together virtually.
This article is part of "How 5G Is Changing Everything," a series about transformational 5G tech across industries.
The past few years of pandemic distancing measures have shown, more than ever, humans' deep desire to connect and collaborate, regardless of whether they occupy the same physical space.
This manifested through virtual book clubs, game nights, and musical jam sessions - to name a few. While the first two could work with current video-meeting services, the latter presented a unique issue: latency, or how quickly data passes from one part of a network to another.
If you're casually chatting with someone, slight delays can go unnoticed. But even minuscule differences can throw off the entire jam session if a group plays instruments together virtually.
Choira, a new platform from Mumbai where musicians can connect virtually, uses 5G technology to minimize latency problems and give people a chance to rock together, wherever they are.
Vivart Rangari, the CEO and a cofounder of Choira, was first inspired to use 5G technology in 2017 after visiting the offices of the telecom-equipment giant Ericsson in Sweden. After that meeting, Rangari, whose background is in music production, continued to educate himself on the technology and connected with 5G experts, while growing the idea of helping musicians use 5G to work online successfully.
"Over the past few years, because of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, music has become a global phenomenon, wherein artists all over the world are trying to collaborate with each other as much as possible to create content with sounds more global, not local," Rangari told Insider. "So that's why we thought it's very important to create a digital music ecosystem, using the next-generation technologies to make sure musicians are able to come on one platform and collaborate with each other."
When starting a jam session, each Choira user enters their language and instrument. Rangari said the jam sessions acted as a starting point for musicians to explore ideas. They can also record the session, with the option to separate each person's part. The former is free, while piecing out the recordings requires a paid subscription.
If they choose to pursue creating a professional track, there's an option to connect with a producer. This feature has custom pricing but starts at $500 per track created. The user always retains the song rights, according to Choira.
In addition to jam sessions with friends, Choira users can connect with well-known musicians to collaborate on songs for displayed rates. The app asks questions about their song, such as whether it's an original or a cover and whether they have a demo. A Choira representative contacts the musician and, if they accept the project, adds them to a chat with the user.
Another feature allows users to book recording time with verified studios. The app uses their location to recommend nearby studios, sharing the studio's history, amenities, and reviews. Choira is also working with studios that have lower occupancy to improve their ratings and number of bookings.
Choira takes commissions for each of these services, at a rate of 10% for studio bookings and 15 to 20% for musicians.
It's still in its early stages and continues to evaluate and work toward achieving the lowest latency. A recent test by Choira found two users spaced about 7 ½ miles apart achieved a latency of only six milliseconds. For context, Zoom recommends users have a latency of under 150 milliseconds for calls.
Choira is focused on Mumbai, but Rangari plans to expand across India and, eventually, globally. It will target cities where 5G has rolled out. Rangari predicted it would launch in the US in January and said he hoped to collaborate with the film industry.
Rangari also expressed the importance of creating opportunities for musicians in rural areas.
With this in mind, Choira created Project Hope, which caters to musicians who haven't had a chance to fully pursue their craft because of financial reasons or societal disregard. These people can create a track through Choira for no cost, but Choira retains the rights to the song.