An Internet band, also called an online band, is a musical group whose members collaborate online through broadband by utilizing a content management system and local digital audio workstations. The work is sometimes released under a Creative Commons license, so musicians can share their "samples" to create collaborative musical expressions for noncommercial purposes without ever meeting face to face.
In March 1996, Nora Farrell and William Duckworth began to develop Cathedral, one of the first interactive works of music and art on the World Wide Web. Their aim was to create an interactive website with web-based musical instruments that anyone could play. Also in the preliminary stages of the system, they determined that they wanted to make a place on the Web for acoustic music through a series of live webcasts and performances online.
In June 1997, Cathedral went live online. The first build of this system included streaming audio, streaming video, animation, images, and text. At the time, there were fewer than one million sites on the World Wide Web and fewer than 2% of those made any sounds.
According to the creators of Cathedral, their goals at that point were:
- To create an imaginative, ongoing artistic experience that builds community.
- To blur the distinctions that separate composers, performers, and audiences.
- To offer each individual listener the ability to create his or her own unique work online.
By 2003, Cathedral consisted of three primary components:
- A website that featured a variety of interactive musical, artistic, and text-based experiences.
- A group of virtual instruments that allowed listeners to participate actively and creatively.
- An Internet band that gave periodic live performances and offered listeners focused moments in which to come together and play music in community online.
Social networking sites have gained a large number of users because many aspects of society revolve around computers and the Internet. The music industry itself has undergone this change as well. People are using iTunes, YouTube and MySpace Music to share the music and communicate with others. Adaptively, artists and record labels can utilize Web sites and file sharing sites to spread their music. Musicians who use the Internet can also form bands online.
Internet bands became popular in the early 2000s when music technology, file sharing and collaboration software became more prevalent on the Internet. While the extent of collaboration between bands may vary, an Internet band identifies as a band whose members collaborate on music projects via the Internet.
A growing number of websites offer people the opportunity to 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.
The advantages of joining an online band include the ability to collaborate with musicians, vocalists, audio engineers, etc. who reside in any part of the world with Internet access. Also, since many online bands do not perform or record in "real-time", it allows members to record their track (their part of a collaboration) at their leisure.
Education through online music collaboration
In addition to setting a platform to creatively collaborate with other musicians, online music collaboration gives opportunities to educators and students that were not possible before its conception. This platform provides an alternative to the traditional 1:1 music lesson, but its effectiveness on a higher scale is questionable.
- Prejudice regarding the legitimacy of online degrees
- Coordination between distance education and music departments
- Pressure to maximize profits at the expense of educational quality
- Management of adjunct music instructors
- Management of student behavior and provision of student services
To address these challenges, Hebert pointed out the importance of expert mentors, outstanding research theses completed online, a strong record of graduate job placement from online programs, detailed planning between instructors and music departments, and the implementation of assessment moderation systems.
Online music collaboration is an Internet-based system designed to help coordinate online music projects. Most platforms provide a virtual space to upload recorded music files, a community forum where members cans offer feedback or make alterations to the uploaded music.
Each musician usually needs to record to a click track or metronome and upload the instrument or vocals for the song independently. Then a designated Internet music producer can edit for timing and tightness between all tracks, arrange, optimize and mix all instruments together and do a final mastering process to get a complete song out of single tracks.
Internet-based music collaboration can be done by individuals who never form one permanent band. The Playing for Change Foundation is musical charity that releases music recorded by musicians from all around the globe, only some of who have gone on to play to together live. Even more decentralized collaboration happens between YouTube users; one Cracked columnist praised the cover of the "Game of Thrones" Theme performed by violinist Jason Yang and guitarist and sound engineer Roger Lima and directed by Paolo Dy.
And these people have never met. The Internet isn't just causing collaborations between people who would otherwise never have got together, it's creating collaborations between people who still haven't got together. There's just so much creativity being uploaded that we've reached collaboration critical-mass, where mixes can be generated across the world with nothing but HTTP. The result is a "super-feit" -- a copy superior to the original.
Internet band communities
Internet bands develop online and base the foundations their work within various communities. The systems below are examples of communities which support the formation and maintenance of online bands:
- BANDMIX is the highest rated and largest "musicians wanted" and musicians classifieds online. It has a search function that enables users to find musicians and bands by instrument and zip code. It also allows users to browse the musicians and bands by state within the United States.
- Digitalmusician.net is a real-time audio and MIDI collaboration system for Mac and PC that provides video chat functionality and the exchange of big audio files. The company is partnered with Steinberg, Native Instruments, and Ableton.
- Join My Band is the UK's most popular musicians classifieds site. It can help users in the UK find local partners. It classifies the category by location. Anyone in the UK could successfully find something useful to them if they want to join a local band. In addition, Join My Band provides discussion forums which include music and music-making.
- Kompoz is a global artist community. It establishes a focus on digital audio workstation users and promotes recording collaboration over live performance collaborations. Users are able to upload song ideas to the site and invite others to join. They can collaborate through that or even form a band.
- My Online Band is an online community that allows users to create a workspace to attract other users, publish their own songs, and listen to others’ music for free. Users can formally join a band through the site's “join a band” functionality. Users can access a list of bands, including what kind of member they are seeking and how to contact them.
- My BlogBand is a social network for musicians to collaborate online. Users can create a profile, create a band, create a song, and then upload, download, rework or repost tracks into the song file, selecting which version of the song they want to be the default song. Patents US8487173 and US20140040119 were issued and cover many collaborative functions of the social network for musicians with more features coming soon.
- ProCollabs is an exclusive 'members only' online music collaboration service that provides a global platform for international artists, songwriters, producers, and audio engineers to be able to meet, socialize, collaborate and produce original music.
Examples of Internet bands
- The ClipBandits, known as "the first Internet band," collaborated without ever having met each other, were featured on ABC World News, Good Morning America and ultimately met and performed on the Tyra Banks Show.
- Frozen Coco (former online rock band quartet, hailing from UK, US and Chile; music catalog consists of 21 tracks)
- Slice the Cake (three piece deathcore band; vocalist living in England, bassist living in Australia and guitarist/programmer living in Sweden)
- Decimated Humans (slam death metal band; vocalist living in Nevada USA, guitarist/bassist living in Australia and drummer living in Maine USA)
- Swine Overlord (slam death metal band from Florida and New York)
- Malodorous (death metal band with several members residing in numerous parts of the USA)
- Infant Annihilator (three member deathcore band; two members living in Hull, UK and vocalist living in Indiana, USA)
- Electric Rats (Blues Rock / Garage Rock Internet band from post-USSR (Russia and Ukraine))
- Spicy Folk, with music published and sold globally on Amazon and iTunes work from the UK and USA and formed after having met on an online music collaboration site, ProCollabs.com 
- http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/virtual-band.htm "What is a virtual band?" HowStuffWorks
- Duckworth, William (2003-11-01). "Perceptual and Structural Implications of "Virtual" Music on the Web". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 999 (1): 254–262. ISSN 1749-6632. doi:10.1196/annals.1284.036.
- Hebert, David G. (September 2007). "Five Challenges and Solutions in Online Music Teacher Education" (PDF). Research and Issues in Music Education.
- http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-music-videos-that-justify-existence-internet/#ixzz2AWxUYQCe "5 Music Videos That Justify the Existence of the Internet" Cracked.com
- "Digitalmusician.net Goes Public: Online Music Collaboration - Create Digital Music". Create Digital Music. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
- Lore Sjoberg, "The ClipBandits — Internet Band," Wired, October 17, 2006.
- "Frozen Coco". Frozen Coco. Retrieved 2016-02-19.