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Nice to see a post from Kyle! I hadn't heard of this company before but this makes for an interesting case study. I think the main lesson is summarized well when you say "But fanatics aren’t everyone else; their wants and needs are different. A chasm exists between them and casual fans, and they don’t see it." As huge music fans and creatively-minded people working in a business whose products are frequently aimed at casual listeners, it can be hard to understand what those consumers really want and how they think, so metrics are an invaluable tool (as long as you don't let them stifle the creativity). Ultimately though, I don't think the casual music fan will ever be interested in listening only to developing artists they don't know if those they already love aren't included, just like most people come late to concerts to purposely avoid seeing the opening act. As for the fanatics, I think most would probably prefer more organic recommendations over a program where musicians can buy airtime.


Hey Katie,

An interesting note on your last comment...last year we started to give new users a disproportionate number of songs from our highest quality and most popular artists, assuming, as you've said, that editorial oversight is important. After implementing Lean Metrics, we tested this feature and found that it did nothing to improve engagement over playing a random selection of songs or paying customers first. I'm sure this has to do with the fact that every song on Earbits has already been through our editorial department in the first place, but looking at the data we have now, organic recommendations vs those paying has not proven to be important to listeners.

-Joey, CEO Earbits.com


Thanks for your reply. That's interesting and seemingly further proves the point that music fanatics don't truly know what regular users want without those metrics. Good luck with it!


I recently started using the service as I have no faith in today's radio system to expose me to emerging acts. Gone are the days when you could count on a DJ to bring to light a artist who had, it. To the Earbits crew stick with it, I think the service is valuable and needed. To the artist please make sure to give us (potential new fans) your best and make it easy for us to keep up with you. All too often I find it hard to stay in touch with them.

Jackey Mars

This site is very inferior to Jango, which was the original site to come up with this idea. I joined up with them at their launch and they worked well for me as a singer and have gotten many fans through them. People need a variety of well known music mixed in with various indie artists for discovery. You just can't sit through a ton of music you don't know, even if you are as big of a music fan as me and loving to discover new artists. Their model will not sustain themselves as they need regular advertising to survive, starving artists alone aren't enough to bankroll this to last. Stick with Jango, the original!!!!


Interesting, you are kind of proving yourself wrong, since your "highest quality" as you've deemed artists don't seem to be performing any better than the others, how about you let you audience decide which artists/songs you accept on earbits. As a loyal Jango artist, I think the people in the long run are who we are aiming to please and it is hard for you to speak for them since you're so wrapped up in the minutia of what is or isn't a good "listening/user experience".


Jackey - I hate to call you out here, but this is the 2nd article about us where you've said Jango is better, and the truth is that you were not approved for our service. You might want to be forthcoming with that information when you go talking about how bad our service is.


Jackey - artists approved for Earbits who have used the Jango service almost universally agree that ours works better. The truth is that you have not used our service, and you should be up front about that before you tell people your opinion about it.

The Throws

The Throws have used Jango and Earbits. From an artist perspective, Earbits is a significantly better value. The reason is pretty simple: eventually the Jango platform positions itself as a middle-man between listeners and artists. If I want to communicate with my Jango fans--- I can only do so through Jango's messages and comments.

But the ONLY way for an independent band to grow its business is by developing a growing base of listeners. Earbits allows direct contact through email collection and FB likes. To me this is a *quantifiable* value that I can take with me regardless of whether I continue to pay for the service.

Furthermore, the Earbits user is actively seeking-out new music, which makes him/her a more engaged listener. If people want to hear ColdPlay, they know where to find it. This is not for them. The world of pop/rock/indie music is increasingly a world of niche-artists and their core fanbase(s). Earbits is a way to build that core base.

My only complaint is the lack of geo-tagging. At our level, we're happy to gain fans anywhere in the world. But it'd be useful if we could focus on fans in cities that we could actually visit. I'm not likely to do a show in Dubai anytime soon, but I'm glad we have a few fans there now!

Great work Earbits crew, keep at it. Screw the haters, they can go develop their own web-based-music-discovery

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