Posts Tagged 'Twitter'



Welcome to the Tra.kz Artist Spotlight!

To celebrate the launch of tra.kz, a great selection of indie and emerging artists have come together to release new music using tra.kz. Throughout the day, new songs will be released on Twitter, with Evolving Music providing extra golden nuggets of information.

As part of the Tra.kz Artist Spotlight, MixMatchMusic has partnered with the forward-thinking folks over at Controlled Substance Sound Labs to release new music from Pepper, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, the Expendables, Mat McHugh and the BlackBird, Fishbone, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and Sabotage Soundsystem.

51198_2808_sourceControlled Substance Sound Labs was formed by brothers Jon and Matt Phillips as an artistic pipeline for the family of artists under Silverback Management. As a firm that has represented the vision and career direction on the management side, they have created a refreshing record label and distribution scenario that caters to the new “independent” minded landscape of the music business, and its changing climate. They have created a trustworthy scenario to release albums and own their own masters and copyrights, which as we all know, is not a practice commonly held by the major label behemoths currently in a steep decline both creatively and from a business standpoint.

Here is the full schedule of today’s Artist Spotlight. Get ready for some great music!

7:30AM: T. Mandrake — Honey
8:00AM: Dreamlin featuring Kim Powers — Fort Gaze
8:30AM: Angel Pier — Skullz and Xs
9:00AM: Throw Me the Statue — Ship
9:30AM: Trifonic — Gutter Box
10:00AM: Fishbone — Behind Closed Doors
11:00AM: Pepper — Too Much (Straight Board Mix)
12:00PM: The Expendables — Set Me Off
1:00PM: Slightly Stoopid — Closer to the Sun
2:00PM: Mat McHugh — Under the Landslide
3:00PM: Rebelution — Feelin’ Alright Dub
4:0PM: Sabotage Soundsystem — Love 2 the DJ
4:30PM: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad — Season’s Change
5:00PM: BLVD — Vortex
5:30PM: Enzyme Dynamite — Girls
6:00PM: Radio Nowhere — London Calling
6:30PM: The Dance Party — Sasha, Don’t Sleep
7:00PM: Alessandra Conti — Empty Words

MixMatchMusic Launches Tra.kz

It seems that the more accessible and fast information becomes, the greater the urge is to make it go faster. The evolution it took to go from snail mail to e-mail was not only a giant cost and speed leap, but a shift in thinking about the way to convey information simply. From there, IM made short and fast the norm for online communication. With these changes in communication and upgrades in data sharing speeds, artists are now not only able to immediately present new content to their fans, but they’re also able to spread the information about that content much more rapidly. Now, as the internet culture reaches another stepping stone in social networking and media, Facebook status messages and sub-141 character Twitter messages have become commonplace, making the need to dumb down traditionally fingernail-on-chalkboard length URLs to something that can link to a site and still hold space for a description. There are numerous sites that provide services like these already, Twitpic for pictures and bit.ly for other content, but this morning marks the launch of a URL shortener specifically made to direct readers to music related content.

MixMatchMusic has been working diligently with the online music community through their site which promotes the collaboration, organization and monetization of user created content. And while online artist content and collaboration remain the primary focus, MMM has been forward thinking in their approach by quickly recognizing and assimilating various aspects of the ever-expanding musical presence on the web, as evidenced by both their Remix Wizard and their site sequencer. It makes sense then that today they offered up a new and incredibly useful tool to the online community in tra.kz, a URL shortener for all things music.

When sending a shortened URL over the web, it’s easy for other people to skim links if they’re not sure of where it’s going or why they should be interested. With tra.kz, users will always know that the link points to an Mp3, artist interview, music video or something else musical, making the custom URL creator perfect for anyone trying to share music related content with a simple and easy to remember link. Like the press release about the tra.kz launch found at tra.kz/l82g.

In conjunction with the launch of tra.kz, numerous artists will team with MixMatchMusic today to release a new song on Twitter each hour. With musicians and fans increasingly turning to Twitter to keep up to date with the latest group information, the ability to share songs and other band related information through an easily recognizable music URL shortener can become central in online promotions. It’d be easy to stop there, create the tra.kz/___ URL and leave it at that. But in the interest of making the service social platform friendly, the Twitter box is provided right below the short form to send directly from there.

Keep checking in today with @EvolvingMusic and @MixMatchMusic for new songs released using the tra.kz link shortener. Artists will include Pepper, Slightly Stoopid and Throw Me the Statue to name just a few. The folks over at Controlled Substance Sound Labs are using the launch as a platform for their artists to interact with their fans and harness the TwitterVerse to drive content exposure. As someone just latching onto Twitter, the idea of something as easy as tra.kz to identify music related content comes as a welcome way to filter links that I’m simply not interested in. For some solid Bay Area hip-hop, I recommend with my first use of tra.kz The Tones’ “The Movemeant” over at tra.kz/thetones. I’m also enjoying this multi-lingual track from Breez Evahflowin and Indiefeed’s very own Dirt E. Dutch at tra.kz/4wind . Enjoy!

Sharing Mp3s in Twitter

While Evolving Music and MixMatchMusic have been Twitter devotees for several months now (check out why one of our writers thinks that musicians should jump on the Twitter bandwagon), I’ve only recently picked up the site. And I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t seen the iPhone app Gavroche has been rocking, I probably never would have. I put up an account several months ago, but the idea of just text messages coming in, or needing to look at a browser window seemed ridiculous to me. I’m not sitting at home checking my computer to see what other people are up to. But when Gavroche introduced me to Tweetie where you can post automatically, get a nice streamlined list of responses and other peoples’ status messages, I was intrigued. When he showed me how easy it was to post photos to the site from the phone, I was sold. And now, with even more features, I’m beginning to feel like Twitter culture is slowly infiltrating everything (and now to see if they can come up with a workable business model to actually stay in business.)

But up until now, the shortened URLs, the pictures, the @replies… these are fun things that have kept me busy, but haven’t yet broken into the main area of interest that I have… namely, big shocker here, music. So when I read about Songly, I was of course intrigued. The service allows you to use ANY URL that is hosting an Mp3 and post it as a Tweet. Here’s the kicker though… it doesn’t just shorten the URL and make it tweetable… it wraps it up in a flash player so anyone can listen.

To try out Songly, click here, and to read my first tweet attempt at such a thing, click here. I’ve used the new Souls of Mischief song, “Tour Stories” (click here for Souls of Mischief interview.) And for those of you rocking FireFox, Songly has an integrated tool for it. Talk about musical connectivity. A fantastic way to share music that will surely evolve with Twitter, forming the future of content sharing. Only drawback? Since the player they use is Flash, your iPhone friends won’t be able to listen until they get to a computer.

Why Musicians Should Jump on the Twitter Bandwagon

Twitter is not just for tech geek bloggers anymore. (Yes, that was a Scobleizer shout out.) Oh no, my friends. Twitter is for everyone. Especially DIY musicians.

Before you read the rest of this post, open another tab and listen to “You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter” in the background. It’s in the little music player at the top of this page. Just a little soundtrack for ya.

And, while you’re distracted, go ahead and follow evolvingmusic on Twitter.

Now, not everyone agrees with the merits of twittering as a part of an overall marketing strategy for musicians. I, however, would not only include Twitter in my strategy, I would make it one of the main features.

I know, Twitter can be mildly reminiscent of a 90s chat room sometimes. (I never really understood the appeal there). But instead of creepy old men posing as teenage girls and lonely housewives looking for excitement, it’s an entirely different crowd. Twitter is full of intelligent, resourceful, witty people who are passionate about new technology, endlessly curious about a wide range of topics, and more than happy to share helpful information. Twitter has become a great resource for all kinds of things, and perhaps surprisingly, for as-it-happens news as well.

But it seems to me that not very many musicians are taking advantage of this brilliantly simple tool. Yet.

As most of us know by now, the music industry has dug itself into a deeper hole than it can get itself out of for the time being and musicians are pretty much on their own when it comes to creating their own success. Obviously, you need a MySpace Music page. (I hate MySpace. I really do. But it IS necessary for musicians.) Obviously, you need a website, where you post your photos, tour dates, bio, etc. The next steps are also important: your blog (let your fans get to know you), your Facebook page, a Last.fm account, a YouTube channel for your music videos. These are all part of a multi-pronged approach to creating your musical identity online. Let your fans find you in the places where they are already spending their time. Give them the content they are already looking for.

Ok, so if I do all this, do I still need Twitter? Who cares what I had for lunch? Isn’t it a waste of my time??

Absolutely not! And here’s why.

First, it’s another way to broadcast the key things that you already have on your MySpace, Facebook, website etc, like tour dates, album release dates, and what not.

Second, and more importantly, it’s a way – similar to blogging – to get more personal. To let your fans get to know you, the person, in addition to you, the musician. Whereas blogging allows you to rant and rave and express your opinions in a very personal way, Twittering (which is technically microblogging), allows for the same thing. Just, you know….in 140 characters or less.

Those who follow you (presumably your fans) are interested in what you have to say, what you are doing, what you are feeling and thinking. They care. Whether you tweet about what city you’re in for your tour tomorrow or how much you hate the president today or what color underwear you have on, they care. (And if they decide they don’t care, they’ll just unfollow you.)

Say important things, say meaningless things, say witty things, ask questions. It’s all relevant if it’s on your mind.

Next, as a way of rewarding your loyal followers, give them stuff. Much like Obama sent his VIP pick out by text message first, you could announce a small show or party only on Twitter, or include a link to a free download in a tweet so your followers get it first.

Lastly, it’s a way to interact with your fans. Ask them for suggestions, like song requests for a set list at an upcoming show. Ask them which songs they like best on your last CD. Let them show their adulation with their @ replies.

One mistake to avoid: Don’t let someone else produce your Twitter content for you. Letting a PR manager or college intern or your unemployed roommate write your updates for you will defeat the purpose. Only you can mold your online identity and make it actually you.

Another tip: Share music with your fans on Twitter! You can do this by using Tra.kz, which will shorten your long audio links into cute, little links that point fans to a player page for the song; the song’s Tra.kz page  displays all the tweets about the song and makes it easy for people to share.

Which artists are currently on Twitter? Only a few have caught on so far. Here is a sampling: Snoop Dogg, MC Hammer, Jimmy Eat World, Sara Bareilles, Bjork, Brett Gurewitz (of Bad Religion), A Fine Frenzy, and Patrick Wilson (of Weezer).

Brad Sucks Does Not Suck

Self-proclaimed “one man band with no fans”, Brad Sucks (Brad Turcotte) is one of the pioneers of “open source music” and the Free Culture Movement. By waiving all the rights to his songs and giving fans access to the source of his songs for remixes, Brad has not only built a huge following, but his songs have been licensed for commercials and many of his fans choose to pay for his music.

This serves to further reinforce the school of thought which maintains that giving fans access to free music (whether for listening or download) actually results in increased sales in the end (of CDs, digital music, concert tickets, merchandise etc.)

Here is one of my favorite Brad Sucks songs (in a fan-made music video done as a film project and editing test):

Carefully, Correctfully Wrong has an interesting way of describing Brad’s sound: “…a smooth mix of indie rock and electro, mixed with sardonic lyrics and pounding disco beats. It’s what the Scissor Sisters would sound like if they weren’t trying to be the Bee Gees.”

Brad Sucks is a great example of a DIY musician who has taken full advantage of the tools available to artists online. Other than his official site, you can find him on MySpace, CD Baby, ccMixter, Last.fm, Magnatune, iLike, Sellaband, Jamendo, MOG and Twitter to name a few. Not only does Brad Sucks encourage remixing of his songs, he invites fans to submit their remixes so he can post them on the site.

I love the simplicity of his site and the plethora of options he offers his fans for how to enjoy his music. On the home page you can view the progress of his next album, view his upcoming gigs (you can also “demand” to see him live…), buy the album there (or Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby etc). On the music page, you can listen to songs, download them for free, buy them on a number of sites, or make a donation etc.

Also. Is it just me or is this guy a freaking marketing genius? With a self-deprecating artist name like “Brad Sucks” and an equally likable album name, “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing”, and the simple almost child-like branding style, he gets your attention immediately and is not easily forgotten.

Brad Sucks genuinely understands the power of encouraging direct artist-fan interaction by giving his listeners what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. And by letting them have a voice.

And he definitely does not suck.

The SanFran MusicTech Summit: Rockstars, Lawyers, Nerds and Me

Last week, a few of us attended the SanFran MusicTech Summit to worship learn from some of the innovative leaders in our rapidly evolving and still young(ish) industry. After nearly breaking off my big toe during a confused jog through Japantown, I limped into Hotel Kabuki armed and ready for note-taking, question-asking, and hand-shaking.

The group I found there was a rather predictable (yet lovable) mix of demographics including your standard socially awkward tech geeks (my favorite), the token I-was-born-for-networking (and my-Rolodex-is-bigger-than-yours) schmoozers, some badass rocker chicks turned marketing gurus, the young and fearless CEO/CTO/COO/founders of countless startups, the smartypants intellectual property attorneys (bless their souls – I’d rather be forced to listen to Mariah Carey* on repeat for a year while locked in a windowless room than be in their shoes), career musicians and producers, and a smattering of randoms. Each hour we had the choice of attending one of two panels or general schmoozing in the lobby.
* To be fair, I think she has an amazing voice, I just hate her music. A lot.

Halfway through one of the panels I noticed someone on their laptop twittering. Of course! I thought. Twitter! This is the perfect time to twitter. (Until then, I had only used the service a few times to say mundane things like “sore from working out” or “yay iPhones” or some such nonsense, and when you only have two people following you that seems pretty pointless). Suddenly it was starting to sink in how Twitter can be a very powerful tool. I quickly logged on and found the SFMusicTech live feed which, to my pleasant surprise, was filled with commentary ranging from concise updates about the panels (helpful for those not at the summit or just in the other room) to snarky comments about the speakers. It felt like a cross between real-time news coverage and anonymous chatroom blather.

When I twittered later in the day noting that most of the food on the snack table was yellow, someone promptly reiterated my observation and wondered if there was a hidden symbolism we were missing. Later one of the panelists messaged me directly and thanked me for quoting her earlier. That’s when I suddenly felt like part of some sort of cozy little invisible family. Want to join my twitter family? Follow me here.

Here are some highlights from the day:

  • During the “Future of Radio” panel – major trends include personalization and recommendation (think Pandora and Last.fm) and mobility (internet radio integrated into your car stereo, tabletop devices, on your phone, in your stereo etc).
  • During the “Creator’s Perspective on Technology” panel – Creeper Lagoon‘s Sharky Laguana talked about a cool service he created called MixPal. MixPal allows you to upload your music, choose the price, place a “MixLink” anywhere online (website, blog, MySpace, whatever) and you keep almost all the proceeds (they get 10% commission). Look at how their pricing compares to iTunes and Snocap. Since they’re non-exclusive you can use them in addition to any other service you use. MixPal is simple, straightforward and all about letting the musician decide.
  • Also during “Creator’s Perspective…” – panel moderator and summit co-producer Shoshana Zisk commented that now in the music tech industry “People don’t have to learn the language to speak music”, which resonated with me because that is very much one of the things that MixMatchMusic is facilitating – allowing non-musicians and music fans to participate in the creative process too.
  • During the “Social Networking and Music” panel – Ali Partovi, CEO of iLike, noted that they DO compete with MySpace Music. He recommended that artists keep a MySpace presence, but also use iLike because they will find far more fans on the latter.* Also interesting – apparently, people who use iLike purchase 250% more music online than people who don’t! I bet the ringtone companies love them… Toward the end of the panel, Ali asked with a note of exasperation in his voice why there isn’t just a “buy this” button anywhere and everywhere that you find music?? Excellent point. Anyone know if this is a realistic expectation in the future?

*Are you a musician who has a profile on both iLike and MySpace (and/or other sites)? I’d be curious to hear where you feel you’ve established a larger fan base. Leave a comment or email me.

  • During the “Business Models That Work…and Those That Don’t” panel – moderator Andrew Stess, CEO of Music IP, mused that someone should build a choose-your-own-price service for concert tickets a la Radiohead. I so agree. In the meantime, Inticketing, one of the summit sponsors, has a great online ticketing system and event management solution (not to mention a green business) with clients like Burning Man, the Great American Music Hall (where our buddy Scott recently performed), Yoshi’s, and Victor Wooten.

After the panels ended, we were unleashed into the boozing and networking portion of the event, which also included a performance by singer-songwriter Samantha Murphy. Though I had to run off to my own weekly musical endeavor, in the hour or so I was there I met some interesting people. One musician/student I was chatting with about MMM emailed me later to say he was delighted to see that I had blogged about the Bubblegum Sequencer. Turns out he is one of the Berkeley students that made it! Small world.

Overall, I found the Summit to be helpful and inspiring. What struck me was how nobody really knows where the music industry (especially the online music industry) is going. Licensing, copyright, distribution…these areas are rapidly being dismantled and slowly rebuilt without any concrete blueprint. Or vague guideline for that matter. All I know is that I’m excited to be riding the wave that is technology and I can’t wait to see what kind of distant exotic shore it dumps us on.

Social media, which wikipedia says uses “the ‘wisdom of crowds’ to connect information in a collaborative manner” is redefining the way that we interact with technology, one another, and our environment. I think this is especially true for those of us who are building something online (a fan base, a website, a blog, a clientèle, an identity) or those of us who simply enjoy being a prosumer/producer/content creator/participant (via blogging, twittering, digging, social networking, posting YouTube videos etc) rather than just a consumer. Passivity is so…well, passè. But it’s not just a matter of getting involved. Once you’re involved, you have to participate. And regularly. Let’s face it – no one is going to read a blog that you update once a year.

Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity put it best when she said: “New media is like an endless garden – you can’t just plant it and walk away”.


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