Tracks.by is a new service for content distribution and social media marketing created by Matt Schlicht and Mazy Kazerooni. Their background working at Ustream and for Lil Wayne combined with their strong insights into social media have helped them find funding and successfully launch a Facebook app with a select group of musicians. Their free service should be open to all musicians by the end of the year and will be extended to other social networks.
I recently spoke with Tracks.by cofounders Matt Schlicht and Mazy Kazerooni after reading an excellent profile by Forbes staffer Tomio Geron. He discusses their early careers at Ustream that began in their teens and was followed by social media work for musicians including Lil Wayne. Their Ustream experiences connected them to a wide range of artists and artist management while Lil Wayne's use of the Tracks.by Facebook app gave it an initial boost.
The current incarnation of Tracks.by is actually fairly simple and straightforward. It launched as a Facebook app that allows musicians to share music and to offer special goodies to fans. Music and videos are streamed using YouTube, Vevo and SoundCloud so they also build views on those platforms.
Musicians can require use of the Like button or Tracks.by's own Love button or simply allow folks to listen to music. All of this activity gets recorded as impressive Tracks.by stats. Of course, their app is used by such artists as Lil Wayne and Trey Songz which certainly helps.
The Love button, which you can see at the top of the app, is key to solving a major problem for artists, building an email list that focuses on their core fans with related demographic data. Unlike my experiences with most trades of emails for tracks, the Love button is presented as a way to keep up with the artist and so functions as an opt-in for updating fans.
Though their focus has been Facebook, they recently created a landing page for Trey Songz to release two mixtapes. Prior to the actual release, the page featured a Love button and Trey Songz publicized the site resulting in over 25,000 email signups over the weekend prior to release.
Their longterm plans are to go beyond being a Facebook app and to become a content distribution platform for artists to connect with and gather data about fans across social networks so the Love button should eventually be appearing across the web. Am I wrong for envisioning Nicki Minaj conducting a "Touch My Love Button" campaign? I don't think so.
In talking to Matt and Mazy, I was struck by how down-to-earth they were about interacting with big stars and receiving $500k in investments from such sources as Menlo Venture's Talent Fund based on a presentation before they had a product. They said that artists and management typically recognize them as fellow entrepreneurs and that focusing on the work kept them grounded.
They also wanted indie artists to know that, though they've started out with a group of select artists, they intend to open up the platform to all musicians by the end of the year and the service will remain free. Their monetization plans are focused around ways that artists and Tracks.by can profit together rather than charging artists and they'll have more to say about that at a future date.
Overall, Matt Schlicht and Mazy Kazerooni struck me as genuinely enthusiastic about helping artists spread the word about their work and, judging by their efforts to date, Tracks.by appears to be a solid vehicle for pursuing such goals.
For more information on Tracks.by, contact: launch(at)tracksby(dot)com.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.