We explore a few ways to share your Logic Pro projects with collaborators.
While Logic Pro provides multiple means and methods for sharing projects and files, choosing the right one depends on a range of variables. It may surprise you that there is no clear one‑size‑fits‑all approach, and each solution has its pros and cons. Rather than describe all of them, let’s look at a few scenarios and decide which route is optimal.
Say you have a production partner with whom you collaborate. You write, arrange, and produce your songs as a team, albeit from different locations. Each of you is adding to the other’s contributions and the Logic session is continually being updated.
The main obstacle with this type of collaboration is getting the Logic session files to open easily and completely intact on each producer’s system. It might be wise in this case to limit your instruments and effects to Logic’s offerings. If you indeed have some of the same third‑party extras, feel free to include them. Something like Kontakt might be tricky since it will look for samples on drives that may not exist on one of the systems. But if you are a team that collaborates regularly, you can set up your drives to match each other’s and employ other strategies to render your systems effectively the same.
If you are a team that collaborates regularly, you can set up your drives to match each other’s and employ other strategies to render your systems effectively the same.
One excellent feature for sharing project files is the Notes section. You can paste your lyrics or general directions and ideas into the Project Notes, and your partner can edit them too. It’s such a simple and easy to overlook benefit but I love not having to refer back to an email or a text document once I’m working in Logic. I’ll usually copy and paste all of the information (the brief, notes, emails from clients) into the Project Notes even when I’m working on my own.
Additionally, the Track Notes section is where your collaborator can provide details about what’s happening on each take. Singers might give you several different approaches for a vocal (more aggressive, falsetto, laidback) and, while it’s not a big nuisance to have this labeled on the track name or even the file name, it’s much cleaner to have this information in its own box, especially if the notes are more extensive than just a few words.
To prep your session, create a new Alternative (File / Project Alternatives / New Alternative...) and give it a name or version number. This way, no matter what happens, you can always revert back to your previous version.
Next go to File / Project Management / Consolidate, and select all the elements that apply to your project (or, to be safe, check them all). This process is similar to the dialogue you’re presented with when saving a file in Logic for the first time. In case you didn’t anticipate needing your arsenal of sounds saved on your various hard drives included with your project at its onset, Consolidate gives you another chance to incorporate them.
And finally, before sending your Logic session along with all of its resource files, right‑click on the folder that the project resides in and select Compress. This will ensure that every element of the project remains unharmed on its journey.
While this working scenario may sound a bit extreme, there are definitely scaled‑down variations of it that are quite commonplace. I’m often hired by bands to write horn arrangements. They provide me with a mix that I load into my Logic horn arrangement template, and, using MIDI instruments, I create the full arrangement. After I receive the band’s approval, I proceed to the recording phase. I write out the parts in a notation program (although I have used Logic’s notation for this in the past). Because all of the horn players I hire all use Logic, I can send them the session as‑is. I will even have the tracks labelled for them to record onto. I disable the MIDI regions and hide them. The session includes all of my routings and plug‑ins but, because nothing is going through them at this point, it doesn’t cause any issues with it being opened on a new system.
Here’s another scenario. You’re working on a full album with 60+ track sessions and system‑crashing amounts of native and third‑party plug‑ins chugging through it. Your drummer uses Logic, so what are the options? For one thing, you don’t need to put too much weight on the fact that you both use Logic. If you bounce out basic stems, the drummer will have all they need. They may even be okay with just a stereo track. However, it’s not uncommon for them to need more control. Maybe the tambourine track is throwing them off or the vocal is too distracting or the bass is too low. A decade ago, outputting stems by instrument group would be tedious but these days, it’s pretty simple.
Select each track or stack that you want a separate stem for (by Command‑clicking them), go to File / Export / X Tracks as Audio Files. Confirm that X is the number of tracks you have selected. If you have four tracks selected and that option is reading ‘47 Tracks as Audio Files’, you probably have selected tracks that are hidden.
Ensure that your locators are set to cycle the entire song and, additionally, confirm that Export Cycle Range is selected in the export dialogue.
Once your drummer has the files, they can load them into Logic or any DAW and get to work. Most DAWs can use the audio file’s tempo, but just in case it doesn’t, indicate the bpm in the folder name. Markers are embedded into the audio files so take advantage and add any that may help your collaborator navigate your song.
Without additional instructions, the drummer should send you back one file per track that all line up at the beginning of the cycle range.
That’s all very well, but what if the song has multiple tempo and meter changes throughout? In this scenario, we need to find a solution that allows us to export stems while still using some of the tools that Logic affords us. A quick and dirty fix is simply to include a MIDI file along with your stems.
Create a track with any software instrument on it. Play a few notes at the beginning of the cycle range, then jump to the end and record a few more notes. If you have just one region that fills the cycle range, great. If you have two regions at the start and end, select both and hit Command+J to join them.
Now, with the region selected, go to File / Export / Selection as MIDI File. You would then instruct the drummer to open the MIDI file in Logic (or any DAW) before loading in the files. If everything was done correctly, all the tempo and meter changes should load into the new session.
Now let’s suppose our drummer would love it if we gave them a Logic session with all of the tempo and meter changes, but they only need the stems. Here’s what I would do: create a new Logic session, then go to File / Import / Logic Projects...
Locate the song that we just got the stems from and, from the long list in the media browser, Shift‑click to select Marker, Signature, Tempo and Notes (if applicable), and click on the Contents box. Now hit the Add button on the bottom. At this point we should have an empty song with all of the markers, tempo changes and so on from our masterpiece. Now, go ahead and drag in the stems you created earlier.
I would consider this to be the best‑of‑all‑worlds approach. The musician only has to deal with a few tracks of audio, without any software instruments or plug‑ins to gum up the works, yet they have a session with notes, markers, and meter and tempo changes included. They can then send the entire Logic session back to you (no need for them to bounce anything), and you can then use the Import Logic Projects process to bring the drum recordings into your session.
What makes this method ideal is that the drummer can take advantage of track alternatives and include numerous takes without having to export each batch, one at a time.
Sharing projects in Logic is a bit of a balancing act. The scope of the project, the role and needs of the collaborator(s), and their proficiency with Logic must all be considered when deciding on the ideal approach.