Pandemic Brings About Innovation and Collaboration

Elizabeth Dale

Over a year has gone by since the world has been living in the shadow of COVID-19, and while people are yearning to ditch the restrictions and fears brought on by the virus, there has been an unprecedented wave of innovation in the music products industry.

2020 brought about waves of lockdowns across the globe and with that came the need for people to fuel their creative needs or, in some cases, develop new ones. Some spent the time working on a long put off project, getting in shape, reading books that had been collecting dust on the shelf, or in many cases, learning a new instrument. Many music retailers noticed a substantial rise in their sales during the quarantine period and manufacturers often could not keep up with the demand from a new wave of music enthusiasts. Often accompanying a surge in interest in innovation, and companies found new ways to engage their customers. Three such examples of innovating products born out of the COVID-19 pandemic are New Product Experimentation’s (NPE) at Facebook iOS application Collab (1.3), the Android version Roland’s 4XCAMERA application, and Avid® and Dolby Laboratories’ AvidPlay.

Musicians, both novice and experienced benefit from the art of collaboration. Playing alongside other musicians pushes artists to reach new levels of their craft and can lead to a higher caliber of track. This, along with the inherent social aspect that creating music fosters, is something that was lost during the early stages of global lockdowns. No longer could musicians and bandmates get together to perform or simply jam. Seeing a void, NPE has recently launched Collab, an iOs app that “brings together creators and fans to create, watch, and mix and match original videos, starting with music.” Ultimately, the goal of Collab is “to help users feel closer together, even though we are all apart.”

NPE Collab App

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Videos within the app are “three independent videos that are playing in sync,” and users can “create your arrangement by adding in your recording or by swiping and discovering an arrangement to complete your composition.” Requirements for Collab include access to iOs 13.0 or later and is currently only available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.


Roland has developed an Android tool to help make creating content on platforms like Collab even easier. 4XCAMERA is an app for both iOS and Android that now “allows you to create impressive music videos with up to four performers split on the screen.” Users begin the process by capturing one video through the app and this video is then used as a guide while up to an additional three performances add their parts. Recording is done using your device’s built-in mic or a connected audio capture device and the latest version of the app provides access to a library of free video clips of live drumming, creating your own on-demand backing. A free version of the app is available and will allow for up to two video contributions, while a paid version allows full access to 4xCAMERA’s compete range of capabilities.

Roland 4XCamera

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With the surge in practicing musicians came a demand for ways to push their art out to the masses, and AvidPlay from Avid and Dolby Laboratories helps musicians solve this problem. The longtime partners recently launched a groundbreaking process for DIY music distribution “by providing independent artists, producers, and record labels the ability to easily self-distribute their music in Dolby Atmos® to streaming services Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and TIDAL.” Users subscribe to the AvidPlay subscription plan that best meets their needs via the AvidLink mobile or desktop app. From there, they will intuitively upload completed Dolby Atmos Music tracks and artwork. AvidPlay also allows subscribers to “create songs and albums using any compatible Dolby Atmos-enabled digital audio workstation (DAW), including Avid Pro Tools, and then upload their music to the AvidPlay dashboard to manage their tracks and albums.” AvidPlay allows subscribers to do all of this while earning 100% of their rights and earnings and tracking their revenue via a convenient dashboard.


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These are just three of the countless examples of innovations that have come about during the COVID-19 pandemic. NAMM is always looking to highlight new and engaging products that help expand music-making opportunities. If you have an innovation that you would like to see highlighted, email

For more on Collab, visit the latest update from NPE at and to learn about 4xCAMERA visit Information about AvidPlay can be found by visiting,