What is a virtual band?

Why so glum, solo rocker? Get on the Net and form a virtual band! See more guitar pictures.
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We can carry out almost all forms of basic human interaction online. We can pay our bills, m­ake new friends (and keep up with old ones) and even get involved in a romantic relationship. Social networking sites have racked up tens of millions of users because so much of people's daily lives now revolve around computers and the Internet.

The same thing goes for the music industry. For starters, you've got iTunes, YouTube and MySpace Music. Then there are band and record label Web sites and file sharing sites to spread the love around. Most of the time, the musical content we listen to and watch online was recorded and produced by people in the real world, not the virtual world, and uploaded for our pleasure.

But now, folks, we've reached the age when scattered musicians can unite their rhythmical powers through the World Wide Web to make vir­tual bands. Virtual bands, also known as Internet bands, are bands in which the members do not meet and make music face to face, but online. Sounds preposterous, right? How on earth can they practice, much less compose songs together?

A growing number of Web sites offer people the opportunity to do compose music online. They marry social networking with music mixing and uploading technology. Users decide what projects they wish to add their special touches to and how actively they want to get involved.

How do these sites work? How can you post a wicked bass track, for instance, and watch it magically transform into a song with nine other instruments and vocals? Find out on the next page.­