Collaborating with other musicians over the internet isn't the most straightforward task. You have file revisions, different plugins, and file storage to worry about. You could use a service like Dropbox but you are limited in size and must manually download every change and the entire session. This usually requires downloading entire sessions over and over. To limit the file size you can compress the project in a Zip file but you still must collect and upload the file which must then be manually downloaded by the other participant.

Bittorrent Sync

An easier alternative is to use Bittorrent Sync. This allows you to keep your entire project in sync on multiple computers between as many clients as you'd like. There are only a few guidelines to keep your workflow seamless and void of any errors and hiccups.

Setting Up Each Collaborator's System

First you must download and install the Bittorrent Sync application on both computers. Then create a folder to sync that will hold all projects that you will collaborate on. No need to create a folder for each session. One folder to hold all of your sessions will suffice. Next, the first client should open the sync app and "Add a Sync Folder" under the "Folders" tab in the program. Click "Browse" to locate the folder that will hold all of your sessions. Then Click "Generate" and send that string of characters to your other collaborators. Click "OK" to accept these settings. Now on the collaborators sync app click "Add a Sync Folder" under the "Folders" tab. Click browse and locate the folder that will hold all the synced sessions. Now paste in the string of characters that was generated on the first persons Sync app. Click "OK" to commit these settings. You are now syncing on two computers.

Guidelines For Collaborating

To make sure that each session runs smoothly without any errors there are a few techniques that must be implemented. To ensure that each participant is on the same page it is recommended to save each session update with a date and the collaborator's initials in the name of the session under the same session folder. Before a collaborator starts working he must first "Save as" the session so any changes aren't saved across computers. This is not necessary but helps with plugin discrepancies. If the collaborators use any third-party plugins then those instruments or tracks with plugins must be frozen or flattened. Saving each session update with unique file names will make it easier to drag in instruments and tracks from previous revisions to make changes. Finally, never delete any unused files as a previous revision might still use them. You may delete unused files when both parties decide to move on from a certain revision.

How the Syncing Works

Using the generated key when creating the first sync folder makes that key read/write accessible. This means that any party that changes the files will change the files for the other parties. The file with the most recent timestamp will override any older file. This is another reason saving each session with a unique name is recommended. You can find this key by right-clicking on the shared folder in the Sync app and showing the preferences. You can see a few options here to limit the access to your folder. The full access key will allow any party to change the files in the shared folders. A read-only secret will only allow the first party to change files in the shared folder. If the subsequent parties change files in the shared folder they will be overridden if the file is changed again by the first party. The one time secret allows a 24 hour window of access to the shared folder in a read only fashion. Finally it is required that both computers be on and running the sync app for the files to be transferred and any revision be saved. You can add a third computer for backup or even as another collaborator by running the Sync app on it and choosing a folder and inputting the same read/write key into it.