Songs of Web 2.0 Collaboration in South Africa

Digital Content

IBM is inviting professional and amateur musicians from all over the world to use its Internet collaboration tools to compose songs about South Africa. The initiative, called Songs of Good Hope, is being officially announced at CeBIT 2008 in Hannover, Germany, currently taking place.

With this venture, IBM intends to demonstrate the advantages of a connected and global world without borders, as well as to familiarise the public and show the potential inherent in 3D Internet and Web 2.0 technologies. IBM sees these collaboration technologies as the future of the internet.

Lucky Thobela, a South African musician with the band 6Mabone, says: "The project affords young people an opportunity to be creative using collaboration technologies. Music is a great way of bringing cultures together and breaking barriers. We have had a good experience working together with the Germans, singing together in harmony."

The IT giant has developed collaboration tools for musicians within Second Life, the three-dimensional Internet world, as well as in the two-dimensional Internet using Web 2.0 collaboration. Through this use of modern IT technologies, musicians will be able to come together to jointly compose 17 world-class songs and to give their creativity free rein across multiple country and culture boundaries.

Musicians can upload and download audio samples or single notes hits, mix them with samples or overlay them with other rhythms. After completion of the music jam session early in 2009, the best songs will be recorded and released on a CD. Profits from this initiative will be donated to township projects in line with IBM South Africa's Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

The initiative is hosted on a new IBM System z server, a mainframe for "gameframe", at IBM's "Web 2.0 & Virtual World" Research Centre in Boeblingen (near Stuttgart), and is facilitated by the web agency T4 Media in Stuttgart.

Explains IBM SA communications executive Mathula Mphande, "Innovation is one of the core values of IBM. The 'Songs of Good Hope' is an excellent example of this value at work, enabling South African musicians to collaborate with musicians in other parts of the world to produce what we expect to be a world class CD."

Erwin Staudt, president of the German soccer club VfB Stuttgart (German Bundesliga Champions 2007) and Martin Jetter, IBM Germany MD, are patrons of this initiative.

"Through this project, IBM demonstrates the immense possibilities that modern collaboration technology presents - reaching beyond the work and business world: We create a bridge between globalisation and global responsibility, in that we bring together people from around the world for this exciting, entertaining and in particular socially responsible initiative," explains Jetter.

Participating partners include German Telekom and Volkswagen, the web agency T4Media, Universal Music Classics & Jazz, City of Stuttgart, University of the Media and instructors of the State University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart, the Mannheim Pop Academy, Bauer Studios, Ludwigsburg as well as the South African Consulate.

The initiative is an experiment with various aspects: modern technology, globalisation and social responsibility as well as global collaboration. It is divided into five phases as follows:

Phase 1 - "Unplugged" runs March - August 2008. During this time, music will be composed, based on the 17 existing lyrics of the Songs of Good Hope.

Phase 2 - "Plug-in" will take place August - December 2008 and the best "unplugged" songs will be refined with additional instruments and vocalist.

Phase 3 - "Vote", which runs December 2008 - January 2009, involves all participants (musicians, public and a panel of music experts) voting for the best songs.

Phase 4 - "Session" will run February - April 2009 where the best musicians will meet to produce the CD in a studio in either Germany or South Africa.

Phase 5 - "Global Band" marks the end of the initiative with the selection of a band that will tour South Africa from mid 2009 up to the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Further information on the initiative is available on

CeBIT, one of the world's largest trade fairs for digital solutions, takes place 4 - 9 March 2008.