Meet and Jam: Making jamming a reality

Looking for someone who plays bongos to jam with? Or maybe your band is in need of a saxophonist to add a touch of jazz to your sounds? Or a multi-instrumentalist who even doubles up as a beat boxer?

Meet and Jam may be the answer to all your prayers. A social network for musicians, meetandjam.com helps musicians find and connect with each other. It also offers an online booking system for rehearsal and recording studios.

Profiles

Musicians all over the world can put up profiles, list their influences and instruments, post video and audio, and then connect with each other. The idea is that you create a profile while maximising your chances of getting found by fellow musicians, bands and music industry types – whether you are an engineer, vocalist, producer or a guitarist.

The idea for Meet and Jam came about by Nick Ford-Young, previously a strategist for a creative agency, and former publisher, Peter Fiennes. A musician himself, Ford-Young identified a gap in the market by chance. A search on Google for musicians to jam with in his area pulled up no results.

“I was in bands gigging for years before taking a job at an agency as a Strategist,” Ford-Young explains. “With less time to play music I wanted to find some varied musicians of a similar standard to jam with once a week so I typed ‘Meet and Jam’ into Google. Nothing came back. There was no site with accountable video or audio profiles of musicians to connect with.”

Ford-Young – who has played gigs as session drummer but also sings and plays guitar – was also surprised by the archaic methods that studios were using to book sessions. “When we went around the studios and found they pretty much all used a pad and a pen for their booking system, we thought there was a good gap to build some software for them and link it all up. So Meet and Jam was born,” he says.

All levels and styles

With a mix of professionals and amateurs, Meet and Jam attracts musicians of all levels and styles. The video profiles on Meet and Jam allow users to view fellow musicians’ talents so they can get a flavour of their skills and abilities before making contact with them, which Ford-Young says “saves time and embarrassment in the studio”.

“Meet and Jam is a great place for musicians to promote themselves and be found,” Meet and Jam’s co-director  states. “They can list their instruments, influences and genres, give their location, put up video and audio of their sound – and generally make sure that they are presenting a picture of themselves that they want the world to see.”

Meet and Jam literally takes the arduous task of finding a new band member or even forming a band and makes it happen sooner. “We feel nowadays more than ever musicians need to put themselves out there online and network, of course to have fun as well as giving themselves the best chance of being discovered,” adds Ford-Young. “Meet and Jam is a great way for musicians to meet and connect, so we’re seeing lots of people use it to find new band members or form a band.”

In addition to profiles, free classified ads make it easy for musicians to organise more casual or one-off jams. There is also a ‘Band Planner’ which is a private space for groups. They can message each other, use the interactive calendar, and list their gigs, rehearsal and sound-check times.

Online booking for studios

For those based in the UK that want to book studio space, Meet and Jam also offers an online booking system with access to over 50 studios in the UK currently. Users can view their rooms and kit, and then book online – with a simple click and credit card payment system.

It is the only online booking system that has been developed specifically for rehearsal and recording studios, and is a “breathtakingly simple and elegant solution to a complex set of challenges”, according to Meet and Jam.

In less than a year since it was set up, Meet and Jam has seen its fair share of hook-ups during that time. “We get people writing to us all the time saying how much they love the site and we can see there is a lot of activity between musicians connecting with each other which I can’t tell you how great it makes us feel,” Ford-Young says. “I have had a few jams myself with people I’ve connected with on the site. The highlight for me was when I turned up and was asked to read big band jazz music…It took me back to my school days! Great fun!”

Spread the jam

The Meet and Jam founders are on a mission to spread the word and get more musicians signed-up to the social network site, and are even planning an event at the Underbelly in June.

“We’re growing fast, but of course we’d like to spread the word and get every musician in the UK using the site,” Ford-Young says. “It’s for musicians of every level and genre, and we’re passionate about getting them playing more live music. We have a lot of features we’re looking to add and are redesigning parts of the site at the moment to make it even better for musicians.”

For more information, check out Meet and Jam.

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