Grooveshark is a perfect example of this. More and more people are getting turned onto the site because the interface is pretty and the user experience is great. Is it the best music service?
No. But it's the best at what it does.1
If you like, just skip ahead and read my latest MTT essay here.
Early in January, I did a rather extensive review of Thumbplay Music. In it, I suggested features that were missing from the cloud-based music service. Soon thereafter, I was in a book store and I started flipping through The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely. One chapter called The IKEA Effect caught my eye and I started reading it. In short, the chapter is about how effort impacts the way we value things. The harder we work to get something, the higher we tend to value it. This plays out in all aspects of our lives from chasing partners to cooking food.
After being told that there was "no format" that would play Justin Bieber on the radio, manager Scooter Braun decided "hand-to-hand combat" was his only option and took the young singer to stations across the country. "There's not a DJ who can say they haven't met Justin Bieber," says Braun. long the way Beiber tweeted fans who swamped the stations at each stop. Watch the video:
The service enables artists and their managers to track everything from their Twitter followers to who is watching their videos online. All of this info is pulled into a dashboard wherein the activity across networks can be compared and contrasted. Sixteen-year-old ukulele player, Misty Miller, has found using the service fascinating. It shows she has gained fans all over the world. Take a look:
Below is a fantastic and well-produced gizmo-jam session. Everything makes noise. Done right, it can sound beautiful.
Next time you're getting tired of looking at the guitar in the corner, maybe you should raid for kitchen for instruments.
You'd be surprised how it will sound when it all comes together. Take a look:
"I get a tatt every time I come to Hawaii", T-Pain tweeted showing off an arm which now reads: "You don't have to 'like' me" with the Facebook "like" button. Acknowledging that Facebook could stumble and render his tatt as obsolete as an old girlfriend's name, he tweeted "I think this ones pretty sweet, unless facebook shuts down soon 0_o."
Reports indicate that Spotify is close to signing a deal with EMI. If a contract is signed, it will give the company an additional toehold in their quest to launch in the US. Two weeks ago, the company landed a deal with Sony Music. Taken together, Sony and EMI represent a 37% market share of music sales in the US.
This week on Music Think Tank, there were several great essays:
There's a new 8mm Vintage Camera iPhone app out now. It's a simple and easy way to create music videos with a retro style to them. For $1.99, the app lets users add frame jitters, dust and scratches, retro colors, and light leaks that can be activated during recording. Our friend Voyno over at The New Rockstar Philosophy went as far as creating a music video for his group. The result is rather convincing and fun. If you have an iPhone and a stand, this could be a nice weekend project. Add in some old-school decorations and clothes, and your fans will be convinced that you're rocking out in a different era. Take a look:
An obscure rapper named Optimo 55 Souf decided to dance into traffic during a DIY music video shoot for his new song. Midway into the road, he got hit by an ice cream truck. Shortly thereafter, the video got posted on YouTube and went viral. Comedian Daniel Tosh, host of Tosh.0 on Comedy Central, saw the video, reached out to the rapper, and helped him film a professional music video for his song "I'm Gipper" on the show. The song has since skyrocketed up the iTunes hip-hop singles chart to #15.
Yesterday, ReverbNation told its tens of thousands of active artist users that Facebook had disabled RN links on their site. "This was a mistake in one of our automated systems for preventing spam," a Facebook spokesperson told Hypebot and by late in the day, the problem had been fixed. But the incident serves as a reminder of a hazard that accompanies the incredible potential of interconnected marketing - lack of control.
RootMusic is getting kudos for its program that creates great looking Facebook Profiles and ReverbNation has a popular tool that makes it even easier by pulling from assets already stored in its system. Now Sonicbids has added a Profile builder with a feature that encourages fans to "Like" an artist:
A Canadian woman has become the first person to graduate with the degree. In the course, Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy told the BBC that she studied, "how The Beatles came to be. What the political and social climate was and the cultural aspects that helped to facilitate an environment where The Beatles' could happen."
With Google now censoring terms like “BitTorrent” and “RapidShare” from their Autocomplete service, it’s important to put this move into context. What terms doesn’t Google filter? Big Content has pressured Google into taking a stance against piracy, but there are many things that the company is still mute about.
And in reality, the things that Google doesn’t filter are far, far worse than piracy.
"BitTorrent" is taboo, but child kidnapping? Not so much. Suddenly, making it harder for kids to find torrents seems like a sad victory for the RIAA. See below:
Thinking about using an iPhone or iPad to process credit card payments at your merchandise table? After all, Intuit and others have created very affordable systems and are even giving away the card scanner that powers them. But you may want to wait a few months before investing hundred of dollars in an iPad or iPhone.
Say you're a band from Australia and you have a new album coming out. It's done. You've picked a release date, but it's not really set in stone. There's a tour coming up through the US in April and that seemed like the best time to release it. No point in touring unless you can put an album in people's hands.
Here's the catch: you have fans all around the world and it would be unfair to make them wait to hear the music just because it happened to line-up with tour dates that they can't attend.
I just got back from Midem 2011 and will post some very informative presentations in the coming days. While there were no game changing announcements, music in the cloud - streaming, lockers, mobile - was on everyone's lips. It's clearly what fans want and the assembled companies appeared intent on giving it to them. Sadly, however, the debate still continues over how to make more money from the cloud. If I could send a single message to the music industry, it would be:
Before you could say "We're big on Myspace", it seems the foundations of this once burgeoning oasis of digital discovery have quickly crumbled. These days, it actually closer resembles an online Salton Sea.
In retrospect and with hindsight we have to ask ourselves – did we ever really need MySpace?