Daily life moved online like never before in 2020.

If you spent last year on video calls, you’ve probably wondered about using videoconferencing software for music.

Music collaboration is vital for inspiration and working together face-to-face is extra difficult right now.

But using regular video apps for music can be a challenge. Configuring audio, getting mics set up and sharing your DAW screen can grind a fun session to a halt.

Even so, there are several effective options out there for musicians who want to work together from afar.

In this article I’m rounding up the top 10 Zoom alternatives for musicians so you can collaborate on music remotely.

Why Zoom doesn’t work well for music

Unfortunately, most major video chat programs aren’t a good fit for music.

They’re complicated, laggy and don’t handle audio very well—especially when it comes to your DAW.

Resourceful musicians will always find their own solutions, and many people have made remote collaboration work using Zoom, Skype or Google Meet. But those business-oriented apps will always be a poor fit for working on music. Here’s why.

Most video calling software prioritizes the video experience over audio. That means your sound gets compressed, degraded and summed to mono at the first sign of a poor connection.

When you’re trying to communicate your ideas, or share something you’re excited about, audio dropout is a dealbreaker.

When you’re trying to communicate your ideas, or share something you’re excited about, audio dropout is a dealbreaker.

On top of that, most video chat doesn’t even offer the option to route system audio into your call.

That means getting your DAW signal into a meeting requires a complicated patchwork of third-party workarounds.

Once you’ve done all that you’ll still have to struggle with your microphone, audio interface and webcam to get up and running.

You don’t have to use a dedicated video tool for music, but choosing one makes collaboration feel much closer to the vibe of a studio session.

The 10 Best Zoom Alternatives for Musicians

With that out of the way, here are the top Zoom alternatives musicians can use to work together online.

1. LANDR Sessions

LANDR Sessions is the first purpose-built video calling app for musicians.

LANDR Sessions is the first purpose-built video calling app for musicians.

Sessions lets you connect with collaborators, share your screen and easily stream DAW audio in pristine sound quality.

It’s the simplest and most effective choice for working sessions, mix feedback, teaching and learning music online.

Sessions is the natural extension of the powerful collaboration tools already built into the LANDR platform.

Upload tracks, leave time stamped comments and now make music in real time with full video and high quality audio support.

2. Discord

Discord is a popular communication tool based around organized channels called servers.

It offers asynchronous text chat and video calling within community groups

But best of all for DAW users, Discord features solid audio options that made it popular with gamers and online streamers.

These will give you a bit more flexibility when it comes to streaming your audio.

Discord can handle many different forms of communication, so it’s not quite as easy to set up for music as dedicated musician video chat.

3. Reaper

Reaper is one of the most affordable full DAWs out there. It frequently makes the list of best DAW apps ever—especially for budget-conscious musicians.

Reaper also features some built-in tools for remote collaboration. Mostly focused on online jamming, Reapers Ninjam plugin allows you to jam with people from all over the world.

The biggest challenge for online jamming is latency. Ninjam makes up for this by measuring latency between users, and overcompensating for it. The end result is an in time jam session–as long as everyone is playing to a click.

Ninjam also features remote recording in the same fashion. You’re able to remotely record in your session with other musicians, and NInjam will compensate for the latency and line up your remote collaborators’ performance.

Like other on this list, reaper handles DAW collaboration, but not video—you’ll still have to pair NInjam with traditional video chat to communicate in real time.

4. Ohm Studio

Ohm Studio is a collaboration focused DAW environment by plugin company Ohmforce.

Launched in 2013, Ohm Studio is an ongoing project that offers some of the only options for multiple users to work in the same DAW session at once.

This lets you use Ohm Studio like a text-based Google Doc in real time.

Unfortunately, Ohm Studio doesn’t include video, so you’ll still have to connect with a basic video call app to get the full experience.

5. OBS Studio

OBS or Open Broadcaster Software, is an open source video streaming tool that has exploded in popularity among livestreamers.

It lets you merge video and audio sources such as a webcam, system audio and screen capture to broadcast directly to the livestream platform of your choice.

That means you can use it to stream performances, lessons or other types of music sessions anywhere that hosts them online.

The technology that powers OBS is the backbone of the popular online busking community on Reddit’s RPAN live feed.

Unfortunately, traditional livestreaming is one-way communication. Participants in the stream can add comments and reactions, but can’t work together like in the studio.

Remote collaboration tools

We’ll all be happy to get back to our normal creative workflows when we can meet in person again.

Until then, digital tools can help musicians keep the spark of inspiration alive.

The first wave of videoconferencing software might not have hit the mark, but there are more effective options out there for musicians than ever before.

I’ve you’ve made it through this article you’ll have a great start on the best video apps for music collaboration.