What does Airtime mean for music?

by Jason Epstein

“Create shared experiences with people you know, and people you want to know,” is the tag line of a brand new live social video network called Airtime.  It just launched on June 5 at an exclusive launch event in New York City hosted by Jimmy Fallon, and also featured Jim Carrey, Ed Helms, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Joel McHale, Olivia Munn, and Snoop Dogg.  Shawn Fanning, developer of Napster, joined with first president of Facebook and fellow internet entrepreneur, Sean Parker, to be the brains behind the project.  15 years ago they met in a chat room and all this time later, they’ve developed Airtime to bring people together to connect through common interests and shared content with the possibility of successful collaborations that may not have existed without the simple coordination that the service provides.

Airtime requires Facebook, a webcam and an internet connection but strays from the need for downloads or installations.  It connects Facebook users by location and common interests.  This allows those users to communicate anonymously, and then choose whether to move forward or not with revealing their identities and so forth.  From there they can chat, listen to music together, and watch YouTube videos together, with more simul-options becoming available as time goes on.

So what does this mean for music?  For one, it could be a great way for bands whose members are far apart to be able to practice via webcam or test out and write music together from afar more conveniently than they were before.  Bands who are still working out the kinks can watch their own recorded performances together in order to improve their live energy, presence and accuracy.  It can also be a way for musicians to find each other that never would have been able to otherwise.  This is due to Airtime’s special attention to its user’s “identity layer,” which helps to connect and facilitate interests.  It could also be a way to have group interviews and try-outs for new band members from afar.  And of course, it’s a great way to watch a live feed of a concert or the premiere of a music video with a fellow fan.

Airtime looks to be an exciting new step in user’s live presence, social identity, interest and collaborative connectivity, with music being one of the many ways it can contribute to successful relationships and new endeavors that might have never been without it.  And we’re especially looking forward to seeing how this new technology integrates with the common interests of musicians and music lovers.

Jason Epstein is a writer based in the New York City area, and has been writing as long as he can remember.  In his career he’s done a wide variety of pieces and projects including interviews with notable musicians, short stories, comedic commentary, entertainment writing, event coverage, photography and more. He can be reached at Jasonepstein84 at gmail dot com.