CueNotes: Making The Transition From Old School Liner Notes To The Digital Realm

Cuenotes-logoDigital liner notes and related offerings such as "annotated song lyrics" have long been considered one way to "bring back" some of the experience of listening to old timey record albums. But the temptation to create a digital replica that amounts to shovelware rather than adapting such concepts to the internet is a strong one. CueNotes is an example of one company that's making the transition with its iOS app.

I don't think musicians should wait for music tech companies to provide much needed solutions but I do think they should take advantage of services that currently exist for both physical and digital releases.

A recent post at Creative Allies reminds us that the old timey experience can still be part of contemporary physical products:

"The booklet that accompanies a CD is, at first glance, all about the words. Lyrics, acknowledgements and credits. But the liner notes (which can also be printed on the cardboard sleeves of Digipacks and vinyl packages) offer up an opportunity for more than just a lot of type face."

Such elements that were once an expected aspect of many physical releases now offer the opportunity to present physical products as "deluxe" releases in contrast to products that are simply nice looking cases for cds.

In addition, an important element of the current growth of vinyl is the artwork. On a rougher more homemade level, the same can be said of cassettes.

But in moving to digital, simply replicating physical products is rarely the best approach. CueNotes is an iOS app that seeks to create the:

"new liner notes – bringing the stories behind the music to you, while you listen."

Though the site copy emphasizes story telling, the model is similar to commenting on blog posts. The posts are songs that you can listen to via Spotify or your own music collection. The comments include material by verified artists who can claim a certain amount of ownership of their music on the service by participating.

As CEO Carlos B. Cashman put it in an email:

"CueNotes is built as a place to be the repository for liner note type content; facts, information, ideas/feedback, twitter content, soundcloud content – anything fans [and artists] want to curate and post."

There's also a social network element with profiles showing the CueNotes you've written, followers and those you follow as well as liked songs. You can also post your CueNotes to Facebook and Twitter. Songs can be bought via iTunes.

CueNotes is a nicely thought out service that's still developing. But it already sketches out one way to bring liner notes into the digital world without resorting to shovelware options such as PDFs and other awkwardly bundled content that simply mimics the offline world.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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