Collab - Band Together

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Collab - Band Together App Poster Image
Mash-up music maker has some mature stuff.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Scroll through music clips to discover new music genres and experiment with different sound combinations. Get creative with your own work or add on to songs to try out harmony, different instrumentals, or other variations.

Ease of Play

It takes some playing around to figure out how everything works. There's no tutorial or other how-to information.

Violence

Some songs lyrics may have references to violence.

Sex

Some song lyrics may reference sex or romance. In at least one video, a man was singing without a shirt.

Language

Some song lyrics may contain language, for example there are at least several instances of "goddamn" or "damn."

Consumerism

Many songs are from well-known, branded artists.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some songs lyrics may reference drinking, drugs, or smoking. In at least one video, a musician had a glass of red wine sitting on his piano.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Collab - Band Together is a music collaboration app from Facebook. With the app, users mix and match up to three 15-second long video music clips to create a layered loop called a "collab." Users browse video clips posted by others in the Collab community, or they can create and post their own videos. Most submissions seem to be people singing or playing popular music from a variety of artists such as Drake, Michael Jackson, or the Beatles. Though the clips are short, there's still room for song lyrics to contain adult content, like swearing or sexual references. During review, there were videos of a man playing shirtless and another with a glass of wine visible. Once users tap post on any videos or "collabs" they create, the clips enter the public feed where others can view or like them - or mix them up in their own collab. There doesn't seem to be an option for deleting content once it's been posted. To create an account, users must sign in through their Apple ID, then create a username and a display name. They can also include a short bio and a picture in their profile. Some users include information on where to find them on other platforms. Users must be at least 13 years old to use Collab - Band Together, though any savvy kid can easily get around that limit. All usage of Collab - Band Together falls under its parent company, Facebook, and follows Facebook's Terms of Use, Data Policy, and Community Guidelines. Read Facebook's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

To join the COLLAB - BAND TOGETHER community, sign in with an Apple ID, and then create a user profile. Once in, swipe up or down to scroll through the feed of recent submissions. Tap the heart to like them, or swipe left or right on any of the three individual layers to browse through other clips for the same song and experiment with using a different one. Tap the big plus sign to record yourself singing or playing an instrument for up to one minute, then cut the clip to the exact 15 seconds you want to post. Before posting, label your clip with the name of the artist and song. Submit individual clips, combine your own clips, or use your clips with clips from other users. In the search menu, look for submissions for a particular song that interests you. Notifications let you know if others have liked or edited your clips or collabs. And in your profile you can view all the collabs and clips you've created.

Is it any good?

Music lovers can easily create mini-jams with other musicians from anywhere in the world, but there's some mature content. Even for non-musicians, it can be almost addictive to scroll through music clips and experiment with combining them in different ways. It's fun to see how amateurs get creative with their interpretations of popular songs, or how the feel of the song changes as you swap out one voice or instrument for another. And, the range of available music, both original and covers, can expose kids to new sounds. But teens who sing or play music themselves will likely get the most out of Collab - Band Together.

At its best, the app allows users to combine their musical talents with anyone they wish or be inspired to riff off of someone else's contribution. They can experiment with adding harmony, a back beat, or a new instrument. With the 15-second limit, there's only so far each collab can go, which sometimes feels disappointing. Despite that, there's definitely potential for a positive community that creates beautiful music together. On the other hand, to participate fully, teens do have to submit videos of themselves. And, though Collab - Band Together is subject to Facebook's community guidelines, those guidelines can be notoriously unsatisfying. Though there's no way for users to interact directly with each other in the app, some users include information on how to find them on other platforms, making it easy for users to connect, supposedly for the purposes of collaborating on making music in other ways. Collab - Band Together is very much a social media space and parents may want to discuss some guidelines around sharing and connecting with people online.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the music teens create with Collab - Band Together. Encourage them to experiment with different kinds of music. Listen with your teens and show interest in what excites them.

  • Discuss what's okay and what's not okay to share. What should you include in the videos you post? Should they be close ups of your instrument or should they show more? Is it okay to contact another musician outside the app?

  • Use the information in Facebook's Youth Portal to talk with your teen about how to use this -- and other -- social networking sites and apps safely and responsibly.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Arts: improvising and music analysis, music, singing
  • Skills: Creativity: making new creations, producing new content
    Tech Skills: social media
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: December 14, 2020
  • Category: Music
  • Topics: Music and Sing-Along
  • Size: 7.10 MB
  • Publisher: NPE Team
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: 13.0 or later
  • Last updated: January 5, 2021

Our editors recommend

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